The lakes can be formed as a result of tectonic, volcanic or glacial activities, but intentional and accidental human activities have also created and destroyed many lakes. But today we are not here to remember the effects of the human being on the planet, but to account for the largest and most beautiful lakes on Earth.
The fact that most of the great lakes are in North America is not by chance; is due to the fact that in the distant past this region was covered with glaciers and, because the glaciers constantly move, the melted ice water causes these lakes to form.
While there are many remarkable lakes on the planet, we have selected the largest lakes. These bodies of water located inland, independent and separated from the divisions of oceans and seas can be found by millions around the world. It is estimated that there are about 2 million lakes. Some are in mountainous areas and others are located at elevations near sea level.
Lakes can be freshwater or saline.
Larger lakes are not only known for their enormous size, but also for their rich flora and fauna, and for recreational activities and outdoor excursions that are organized in many of them, guaranteeing the visitors truly unique experiences.
While the passage of the seasons causes the surface areas of several of these lakes to vary considerably, they are still considerable at all times. The largest of these lakes covers a total area of no less than 370,000 square kilometers.
So if you’ve ever wondered where the world’s largest lakes are, we’ve narrowed down this search for you.
All of them represent truly majestic bodies of water and, logically, we have not introduced artificial lakes and reservoirs into this photo gallery.
We will find from a mysterious lake hidden beneath several miles of ice to a lake where we can embark on an adventure of more than 1,000 kilometers through marshes and rocky shores.
Lake Reindeer (Canada)
Lake Reindeer of Canada covers an area of 6,500 square kilometers. It is the ‘smallest’ of our journey through the largest lakes on the planet. Located in western Canada, it has a spectacular coastline with innumerable inlets and bays and multiple islands dotting the lake. The southern end of the lake is home to Deep Bay, where the remains of a 140-million-year-old meteorite impact are found.
Lake Turkana (Africa)
Lake Turkana of Africa covers an area of 6,405 square kilometers. It s the largest permanent desert lake in the world; in the vicinity many fossils of hominids have been found. It is an area where the Nile crocodiles, vipers and scorpions abound.
Lake Taymyr (Russia)
Lake Taymyr of Russia covers an area of 4,560 square kilometers. It is the largest lake in the Arctic Circle. Located in northern Russia, it is usually covered with ice for nine months a year. The historic 1961 test of the Czar’s Bomb (the largest and strongest nuclear device ever detonated) at 4 kilometers above New Zembla caused some contamination in the lake, as plutonium particles were swept away by the winds of the archipelago.
Lake Athabasca (Canada)
Lake Athabasca of Canada covers an area of 7,850 square kilometers. It is home to the largest sand dunes on Earth as they stretch for over 100 kilometers. On the downside, uranium and the extraction of oil near the lake have led to serious pollution levels in this area.
Lake Cocibolca (Nicaragua)
The Great Lake of Nicaragua has an area of 8,264 square kilometers. Although it empties into the Caribbean Sea, the lake is so close to the Pacific Ocean that it can be seen from one of its two islands. Before the Panama Canal was built, Cornelius Vanderbilt (the famous American railroad magnate) worked to secure the area as an alternative interoceanic canal. In the future we could count on a potential Nicaragua Canal. And it is the only lake in the world where there are sharks.
Lake Titicaca (Peru and Bolivia)
Lake Titicaca of Peru / Bolivia covers an area of 8,135 square kilometers. It is the highest navigable lake in the world 3900 (meters above sea level and the largest fresh water lake in South America. It covers the border between Peru and Bolivia; it is also famous for its cane boats.
Lake Onega (Russia)
Lake Onega of Russia covers an area of 9,891 square kilometers. It is the second largest lake in Europe. Famous for its 1,650 lacustrine islands, the lake also houses the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kizhi Pogost: a collection of 89 wooden architectural wonders, including a church with 22 domes.
Lake Vostok (Antarctica)
Lake Vostok of Antarctica covers an area of 15,690 square kilometers. It is known that there are about 400 subglacial lakes (liquid water beneath glacial ice) on our southernmost continent, including the largest, Lake Vostok.
Lake Tonlé Sap (Cambodia)
The Tonle Sap Lake of Cambodia has an average surface area of 2,700 square kilometers but, depending on the cycle, it can range from 3,000 km² to 30,000 km². It is the largest lake in Southeast Asia and, as a curiosity, during the monsoon season; the Tonlé Sap River inverts the course and flows from southeast to northwest, making the lake one of the most productive fishing areas in the world. In fact, the lake provides three-quarters of the fish production inside Cambodia. Fish are the main source of protein for Cambodians.
Lake Balkhash (Kazakhstan)
Balkash Lake of Kazakhstan has an average area of 18,428 square kilometers. This lake is usually frozen for four months during the winter. Located in one of the driest basins in the world, the lake does not flow into any ocean, which makes it a terminal lake. Lake Balkhash has seen many of its native fish species decline due to the introduction of non-native fish species.
Aral Sea (Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan)
The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest lake in the world with an area of 68,000 square kilometers. At present its surface is of 17,160 km ² thanks to the effects of the environmental degradation of this ecosystem. The lake has lost practically all its surface and more than 90% of the water flowing towards it. Tests of biological weapons in the open air, among others, have caused a high rate of contamination. Fortunately, an environmental recovery project is slowly recovering the area.
Lake Ladoga (Russia)
Lake Ladoga of Russia has an average area of 18,130 square kilometers. It is located just east of St. Petersburg. This lake of glacial and tectonic origin is undoubtedly the largest lake in Europe. It has served as an important trade route for thousands of years. The more adventurous will love the “4 × 4 largest adventure in the world” held over 20 years.
Lake Ontario (Canada)
Lake Ontario Canada / USA have an average area of 19,477 square kilometers. It is the smallest of the Great Lakes, but its water volume is almost four times greater than Lake Erie (it has a maximum depth of 244 meters). Its main source of water is the Niagara River, precisely from Lake Erie.
Lake Winnipeg (Canada)
Lake Winnipeg of Canada has an average area of 23,553 square kilometers. It used to be part of the ancient glacial lake Agaziz before the glaciers receded in North America from 12,000 to 8,000 years ago. It is the largest lake in southern Canada and because it is not very deep, it is also an important fishing area.
Lake Erie (Canada)
Lake Winnipeg of Canada has an average area of 25,719 square kilometers. It has the coasts and most densely populated watersheds of all lakes. The drainage of the lake leads to the popular Niagara Falls at its eastern end. In the lake there are many islands, such as Big Chicken, East Sister, Little Chicken, Middle Sister, Mouse or Rattlesnake.
Great Slave Lake (Canada)
The Great Slave Lake of Canada has an average area of 27,200 square kilometers. It is the deepest lake in North America. During the winter, the lake, already frozen, is an important ice route.
Lake Malawi (Africa)
Lake Malawi of Africa has an average area of 29,600 square kilometers. This lake located in southeastern Africa is probably the most diverse lake on Earth because of its species of fish. The inhabitants of the two inhabited islands of the lake survive thanks to the exploitation of bananas, mangoes, tapioca and fishing in the lake.
Great Bear Lake (Canada)
The Great Bear Lake of Canada has an average area of 31,080 square kilometers. It is one of the largest and freshest lakes of this selection, and resembles the open jaw of a bear. This Arctic Circle lake is frozen from November to July and is generally one of the most serene and pristine bodies of water on Earth.
Lake Baikal (Russia)
Lake Baikal of Russia has an average area of 31,500 square kilometers. With its 1,637 meters of depth, it is the deepest lake in the world. Its amazing depth makes it the largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, in addition to being one of the largest by surface area. It is one of the oldest lakes on Earth, appearing more than 20 million years ago. It is also one of the cleanest of our planet, due in part to its watershed and a shrimp hungry for algae and bacteria that inhabits it that is responsible for keeping it unpolluted.
Lake Tanganyika (Africa)
Lake Tanganyika of Africa has an average area of 32,893 square kilometers. It is one of the most biologically diverse lakes on Earth. One of its curiosities is that it drains an area seven times larger than its size, partly because of its long and narrow shape that almost place it in the longest freshwater lake in the world.
Lake Michigan (USA)
US Lake Michigan has an average area of 57,750 square kilometers. It is the only large lake that does not share border with Canada and one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is 494 kilometers long and 190 kilometers wide.
Lake Huron (North America)
Lake Huron of North America has an average surface area of 59,600 square kilometers. It houses the largest island in the world in a freshwater lake: the island of Manitoulin with 2,766 km² of surface.
Lake Victoria (Africa)
Lake Victoria of Africa has an average area of 69,485 square kilometers. Bordering Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the third largest in the world.
Lake Superior (North America)
Lake Superior of North America has an average area of 82,103 square kilometers. It is the largest of the Great Lakes in volume and surface. In recent years, the lake has been one of the most affected by the accelerated warming of the Earth and is in great danger by the loss of most of its ice.
The Caspian Sea of Central Asia has an average area of 371,000 square kilometers. It is undoubtedly the largest lake in the world. Its average depth is 170 meters. It is one of the few ancient terrestrial lakes that have existed for millions of years. Bordered by Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan, the Caspian Sea is a salty lake, largely because it does not flow into the ocean.