Switzerland is famous for its impeccable nature, which includes a myriad of gorgeous lakes hidden away in its mountains. Although the larger bodies of water like Lake Geneva and Lake Lucerne are what draws most travelers to this country, the beauty of Swiss Alpine lakes is what makes them return here over and over again, in an attempt to discover them all.
It would take you years of travel through Switzerland to discover only half of the country’s gorgeous mountain lakes, which is why you should start with the absolute best ones. This guide to the most beautiful mountain lakes in Switzerland covers 13 of the most impressive Swiss Alpine lakes, most of which are easily accessible in every season.
Bachalpsee (Bernese Oberland)
Bachalpsee is a beautiful mountain lake best known for the reflections of Schreckhorn that can be observed on its surface. The lake is also known as the “blue jewel” because of its impressive color. It is situated close to Grindelwald in the Bernese Oberland and it can only be accessed by hiking trails.
The good news is that the path to the lake is short and fairly easy. You can take the cable car from Grindelwald to First, and then it’s less than an hour to this magical blue lake. It’s best to visit Bachalpsee on clear, non-windy days if you want to see the magical reflection of the tall mountain peak on its surface.
Lake Oeschinen (Bernese Oberland)
Near Kandersteg in the Bernese Oberland, Lake Oeschinen is a magical alpine lake famous for its turquoise color. The lake is popular for ice fishing, hiking trails, and stunning panoramic views. It is easily accessible by a gondola ride and hiking trails from Kandersteg, a charming resort village.
You can take the gondola from Kandersteg, and from the top station, it’s only about 25 minutes to the lake. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, so anyone can go on this easy hike. However, it is important to note that the loop trails around the lake have been closed since late 2021, due to the dangers of rockfall. The south shore of the lake is perilous, and the hiking trails in that area are closed off to the public.
Another thing to note is that there is a charming mountain hotel near the lake, so consider staying here if you want to wake up to magical panoramic views.
Lauenensee is a little mountain lake in the Lauenen municipality, which lies near the southern border of the Bern canton. This is one of the easiest Swiss mountain lakes to reach because of easy vehicle access. There’s a parking lot just a few minutes from the lake, plus it’s worth noting that buses run in this area in the summer season. You can catch the bus to Lauenensee in Gstaad, and the ride to the lake is approximately half an hour.
There are two lakes in this area that are separated by marshland – the larger Lauenensee and the smaller Lauenensee. The smaller of the two lakes has a charming Swiss restaurant near its shore, where you can enjoy some local delicacies along with some truly incredible scenic views.
Ebenalp Seealpsee (Appenzell)
Seealpsee is a gorgeous little mountain lake situated in the Alpstein mountain range, one of the best tourist destinations in Switzerland. The area of Ebenalp in Appenzell is better known for the Aescher guesthouse, the charming wooden house that is built into the mountainside. If you’re goi
ng to travel to this region, it’s best to make a day of it and visit as many landmarks in the area as you can manage.
The distance from the lake to the mountain house is only about an hour, and there’s a well-marked path that connects the two. Both Aescher and Seealpsee are easily accessible by hiking trails from the Ebenalp cable car station, which is serviced by the cable car from Wasserauen. From the top of Ebenalp station, you can descend towards the charming lake, hike around it for a little while, and then hike uphill to the beautiful guesthouse for the absolute best experience.
Lac Bleu (Arolla, Valais)
Lac Bleu is a tiny Alpine lake in southern Switzerland, easily accessible by hiking trail from Arolla village in the Valais canton. The lake is in Val d’Hérens, an Alpine valley at the foot of the imposing Dent Blanche peak, and you can reach it in approximately an hour from La Gouille hamlet, but about an hour and a half directly from Arolla. The lake is accessible in every season, but you will need snowshoes during winter hikes.
This charming lake is famous for its mesmerizing turquoise color. It’s absolutely surreal, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re visiting in the middle of August or in the dead of winter – the spectacular nature around the lake is breathtaking any time of the year.
Lac Bleu is formed by glacial waters, and the glacial clay along with the algae in the lake is responsible for its impressive color.
Riffelsee in Zermatt (Valais)
Riffelsee is a small mountain lake near Zermatt, best known for the wonderful view of the Matterhorn. On a clear and non-windy day, you can see the pyramid-shaped peak reflected on the still surface of the lake. The entire surroundings of beautiful lake Riffelsee are absolutely mesmerizing and well worth a visit if you find yourself traveling in the Canton of Valais.
The lake is easily accessible from Zermatt by the Gornergrat railway. Just ride the train to the Rotenboden station, and when you get off the train you should see a signpost that marks the beginning of the hiking trail to Riffelsee. It’s less than 10 minutes from the station to the lake, and the path is easy and can be followed by anyone.
For the absolute best view (and photograph), you should be at the lake either at sunrise or sunset to catch the alpenglow, which turns the iconic peak bright orange. It’s an incredible view, and absolutely worth getting up at the crack of dawn.
Lac de Salanfe (Valais)
Lac de Salanfe is a man-made lake in Evionnaz, Switzerland. It’s in a glacial basin surrounded by tall peaks of the Dents-du-Midi mountain range, for some of the most impressive panoramic views in southern Switzerland.
The lake basin is easily accessible by a 3-kilometer discovery trail from Van d´en Haut, which offers information about the Alpine flora and fauna of the region. The trailhead is near the Van d´en Haut parking lot, so the lake area is easily accessible by personal vehicle. There’s also a bus stop near the campgrounds in this area, and it’s serviced by a bus from Salvan that operates every day.
Lac Noir (Valais)
Schwarzsee, also known as Lac Noir, is a tiny dark lake near Zermatt, in Valais. The lake lies at the foot of the Matterhorn and offers beautiful views of the impressive pyramid-shaped peak. The lake is famous for the chapel dedicated to Mary of the Snows, which is situated on the lake’s northern shore.
This lovely Alpine lake is easily accessible by a 12-minute cable car ride from Zermatt. You can visit the lake and be back in Zermatt in about an hour, or you can make it a day excursion and explore the walking trails in the area. There’s plenty to do and see around Schwarzee, including an ascent on one of the tallest mountain peaks in Switzerland, for those who are brave enough to attempt it.
Lac de Joux (Vaud)
Lac de Joux (Vaud) is the largest lake in the Jura mountains, very close to the border with France. The lake is equally popular with visitors in the summer and in the winter, thanks to a variety of recreational activities that are available in the region.
During the warmer months, the water temperature warms up to a pleasant 24 degrees Celsius, which is more than comfortable enough for swimming. Paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, and windsurfing are also popular summer activities on this lake.
But when the winter comes, Lac de Joux freezes entirely and it becomes Europe’s largest natural ice skating rink. It’s the perfect place for outdoor skating in Vaud canton, especially if you want to enjoy some magical panoramic views while gliding over its frozen surface.
Lago Ritom (Tessin)
Lago Ritom is the largest mountain lake in the Ticino canton, boasting a basin with a surface of 1.49 km². It is easily accessible by funicular from Quinto and about an hour and a half away from the top funicular station. The hiking trail is around 4.5 kilometers and it boasts truly epic views along the way.
It’s worth noting that there is also a shorter route that leads from the top station to the lake, but it follows a road and there’s no pedestrian path next to it. But that means that the lake is also easily accessible by personal vehicle, so you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to reaching this charming lake in the Leventina Valley.
Tremorgio Lake (Tessin)
Lago Tremorgio is a beautiful circular lake surrounded by tall mountains. This natural lake is easily accessible by walking trails and cable car rides. The cable car operates only in the summer, between June and October, and it takes you to this magical lake in only five minutes from Rodi.
It takes about half an hour to hike from Rodi to the lake, and the trail is fairly easy even in winter conditions. So, you can visit the lake whenever you want, as long as you’re fine walking to it. It’s worth noting that there are many other trails near this beautiful lake, and you could spend days exploring this entire region if you wanted to!
Tremorgio Lake also boasts a small mountain cabin with a restaurant near its shore, where you can enjoy a drink or some local delicacies while admiring the pretty panoramic views.
Lake Silvaplana (Engadine, Grisons)
Lake Silvaplana is one of the most popular mountain lakes in Switzerland, and together with Lake Sils, one of the largest lakes in the Grisons. It’s close to St. Moritz, a glamorous resort village in the Engadine valley. This lake is very well connected to the surrounding towns and villages with buses and cable cars, plus it’s easily accessible by personal vehicle.
Silvaplana Lake is undoubtedly one of the prettiest Swiss mountain lakes. It’s popular with locals and tourists in the summer and winter, thanks to the variety of fun activities it offers. During the warmer months, the lake is suitable for kitesurfing, windsurfing, kayaking, rowing, and many other fun water activities. There’s also a campsite on the lake shore, which is absolutely perfect for campers and RVers.
The lake freezes in the winter, and it becomes a part of the many cross-country skiing trails that pass through this area. The popular Engadin Skimarathon, which is an annual ski race that takes place on the second Sunday of March, crosses Lake Silvaplana every year. Even ice skaters will sometimes come to this lake, but only on very rare occasions when black ice forms on its surface.
Lai da Palpuogna (Grisons)
Located on the Albula Pass in the Grisons, Lai da Palpuogna is an absolute must on every road trip through Switzerland. It’s directly below the road, so you definitely can’t miss it if you’re driving through this region. The lovely lake is also easily accessible by public transport and it’s serviced by a bus stop that is just a few minutes away from the shore.
The lake is famous for its beautiful blue-green color and gorgeous surrounding landscapes. The area is absolutely mesmerizing during every season, but it’s especially beautiful in the fall when all the surrounding trees start changing colors. In addition to being absolutely gorgeous, the immediate surroundings of the lake are also quite peaceful, and the perfect destination for a romantic picnic in eastern Switzerland.