Have you ever wondered where the biggest lakes in Europe are? Let’s take a look.
Europe is home to some of the most beautiful natural lakes in the world. There are some fascinating artificial lakes, too, that make up the biggest lakes in Europe.
Many of these lakes are located in Eastern Europe, in particular, more than half of them come from Russia alone.
In fact, only two of these lakes are outside of Eastern Europe. So, let’s take a look at the top ten biggest lakes in Europe, both natural and artificial.
10. Kakhovka Reservoir, Ukraine − a manmade lake in Ukraine
While a reservoir is more of a manmade lake, they still make up some of the biggest bodies of water in Europe, despite being artificial.
Kakhovka Reservoir is a water reservoir on the Dnieper river in Ukraine. Built in 1956, it has an area of 2,155 km² (832.05 sq mi).
9. Kremenchuk Reservoir, Ukraine − one of Europe’s biggest reservoirs
While it is the ninth biggest lake in Europe, it is also one of the largest reservoirs in Europe. Situated on the Dnieper River, it has an area of 2,250 km² (869 sq mi).
8. Tsimlyansk Reservoir, Russia − an artificial wonder
Tsimlyansk Reservoir is an artificial body of water on the Don River in Russia. Finished in 1952, it provides power and irrigation to the Rostov and Volgograd regions of the country. It’s 2700 km² (1042 sq mi) in size.
7. Lake Peipus, Estonia/Russia − the perfect spot for ice-fishing
Lake Peipus is the largest transboundary lake in Europe. It lies on the border between Russia and Estonia. It has an area of 3,555 km² ( 1372.59 sq mi).
This lake is dotted with traditional culture and scenic country roads. It is the perfect spot for those who like ice-fishing.
6. Lake Saimaa, Finland − catch a glimpse of endangered seals
Otherwise known as Saimaa Lake, this lake is located in southeast Finland, close to the Russian border. It’s the largest lake in Finland at 4,400 km² (1,700 sq mi).
This lake is a popular spot to soak up the scenery, go boating, or spot some of the country’s endangered seals.
5. Rybinsk Reservoir, Russia − one of the biggest manmade European lakes
Rybinsk Reservoir, informally known as the Rybinsk Sea, is a water reservoir on the Volga River in Russia.
The third Russian entry on our list, this lake has an area of 4,580 km² (1768.34 sq mi). At the time of its construction, this was the biggest manmade body of water on Earth.
4. Lake Vänern, Sweden − one of the biggest lakes in Europe
Lake Vänern is the largest lake in Sweden and the third-largest natural lake in the whole of Europe.
Here, the views are unparalleled, and the horizon seemingly goes on forever and eventually meets with the water.
This Swedish lake has an area of 5,650 km2 (2,180 sq mi) and an average depth of 89 ft (27 m).
3. Kuybyshev Reservoir, Russia − sometimes called the Kuybyshev Sea
The Kuybyshev Reservoir has a surface area of 6,450 km² (2490.35 sq mi) and is the largest reservoir in Europe and the third largest in the world.
Other names for the river include Samara Reservoir and it’s sometimes informally called Kuybyshev Sea.
2. Lake Onega, Russia − located in northwestern Russia
Lake Onega is the second largest lake in the world at 9,700 km² (3745.19 sq mi). A freshwater lake, it is located in the northwestern part of European Russia, in the Russian regions of the Republic of Karelia, Leningrad Oblast and Vologda Oblast.
After Lake Onega, Lake Beloye is the second largest natural lake of Vologda Oblast.
1. Lake Ladoga, Russia − the largest lake in Europe
The top stop on our list of the biggest lakes in Europe goes to Lake Ladoga in Russia. This lake is the largest lake that sits entirely in Europe. It is the 14th biggest freshwater lake in the world.
This lake has an interesting and dark history. While it’s credited to Russia’s Russian Standard Vodka, it was also a vital supply route during the Seige of Leningrad during World War 2. It has a surface size of 17,700 km² (6834 sq mi).
For more on the subject, you can check out our article on the longest lakes in Europe.
Other notable mentions
Lake Balaton, Hungary: Lake Balaton is a popular tourist destination and is the biggest lake in central Europe.
Lake Päijänne, Finland: Lake Päijänne is the second biggest lake in Finland.
Lake Inari, Finland: Located in the north of the country, Lake Inari is the third largest Finnish lake.
Lake Bled, Slovenia: Lake Bled is one of the most famous lakes in Europe, along with Lago di Braies, Lake Garda, and Lake Como.
Lake Geneva, Switzerland: Lake Geneva is the largest lake in Switzerland overlooked by the stunning Alps and one of the most beautiful lakes in the region.
Lake Baikal, Russia: Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world.
Lake Lugano: Lake Lugano is one of Europe’s glacial lakes located on the border between Northern Italy and Southern Switzerland. These glacial waters are a stunning mark on Europe’s lakes.
Lake Hallstatt, Austria: Lake Hallstatt dates all the way back to the Ice Age. It is one of the most fascinating lakes in Europe.
FAQs about the biggest lakes in Europe
How many lakes are in Europe?
Europe is home to over 500,000 lakes of all shapes and sizes.
Which is the deepest lake in Europe?
Hornindalsvatnet in Norway is Europe’s deepest lake at 514 m (1686 ft) deep.
Where is the largest freshwater lake in Europe?
Russia’s Lake Ladoga is the largest freshwater lake in Europe.