Top 10 Lakes

Chris’ personal picks from places in the world that he has visited.

Finger Lakes, New York:  This chain of lakes in Upstate New York is such a civilized Lakeland landscape!  Over 100 wineries and vineyards are centred around Seneca, Cayuga, Canandaigua, Keuka, Conesus and Hemlock lakes, and the rolling hillsides and often secluded shores are a perfect getaway retreat.

Titicaca, Bolivia/Peru: I once spent several weeks hiking around this highest lake in the world, entranced by its ethereal situation at 12,500 feet atop the Altiplano, surrounded in the clear, thin air by mesmeric snow-capped Andean mountains and peopled by gentle and hospitable Aymara and Quechua villagers.

Band-e Amir, Afghanistan: Travelling through the dry, dusty arid scenery of central Afghanistan, the visual shock of the first sight of these five lakes high in the Hindu Kush Mountains is jaw-dropping. The intense blue of the lakes and the colours of the travertine walls that naturally dam the waters are stunning.

Superior, Canada/US:  Superior by name, superior by nature, this is the largest lake in the world by surface area and holds enough fresh water to cover the entire American landmass to a depth of one foot. The North Shore is the most spectacularly beautiful coastline of all the Great Lakes.

Baikal, Russia: This is a lake of extremes situated in southern Siberia. It’s the oldest and deepest lake in the world. It holds more fresh water than Lake Superior and two thirds of the species in the lake are totally unique to Baikal – hence its name, ‘the Galapagos of Russia”.

Lake District, UK: Beloved of poets, writers and travellers over many centuries, this landscape of fells, becks and lakes casts a spell on all who wander its paths. Through mists or sunshine, its many lakes have different characters from homely to wild. My favourite: Wastwater.

Kluane, Yukon: A dazzling jewel adjoining Kluane National Park, this blue, blue lakes fringes 70 kilometres of the Alaska Highway and is fed by the melt-waters of the  Kaskawulsh Glacier, one of the longest in Canada. Snowcapped peaks reflect in the waters and bighorn sheep dot its shores.

Naivasha, Kenya: Lake Naivasha lies at a height of nearly 2,000 metres in the heart of the Great Rift Valley.  With an average depth of only six metres, it is a haven for over 400 bird species, making it an ornithologists’ paradise. The large hippo population is a wildlife bonus!

Como, Italy: It’s not easy to choose just one of the Italian Lakes, but Como is my choice for its wonderful mix of mountains, coastline, little lake ferries, forests, olive groves and historic villas. The Villa Melzi, at Bellagio is my favourite with its park of huge rhododendrons.

Dal, Kashmir: My idea of bliss is to stay again on one of Lake Dal’s many Victorian houseboats, with the shimmering reflection of Himalayan snows in the lotus studded waters and the Mughal-era gardens surrounding the canals and waterways of Srinigar.