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Discover the most beautiful lakes in Eastern EuropeLakes in Eastern Europe

If you've already taken in the most beautiful lakes in Italy and the Alps, it's time to stop in Eastern Europe to explore some real treasures of nature. From Slovenia, through Croatia and Albania and into Hungary - let's head for Lakes Bled, Bohinj, Plitvice, Ohrid and Balaton

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Located in the Triglav National Park, Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, very close to one another and yet so different, are the most beautiful lakes in Slovenia.

The first, Lake Bled is a glacial lake, 55 km from the capital Ljubljana. A gem nestled on the eastern border of the Alps, Lake Bled is set in a sumptuous landscape surrounded by mountains and emerald water, ideal for bathing (if you're not too sensitive to the cold). With a castle perched atop a steep cliff and a church on its small island, it is a sensational attraction across the seasons.

Top tip: take the walking trail. This peaceful walk goes around the lake (6 km, approx. 1hr 30mins). After walking 2 km, climb up to Mala Osojnica for a picture-postcard view over Bled. 1km further and you can stop at the Tito pavilion for a coffee or to taste the traditional regional dessert, Kremšnita.

A few kilometres from Bled is the Vintgar gorge, near the village of Zasip with its rapids, waterfalls, translucid, turbulent water... In short, it's stunning! And don't miss the Pokljuka Gorge, winding through a narrow canyon for 2 km. 

Lake Bohinj

The second lake, Bohinj, is about 29 km from Bled. Set in an impasse, this sumptuous lake is more unspoiled. Nature lovers and outdoor activity enthusiasts will love this lake: rafting, climbing, canyoning, hiking, etc.

On the itinerary: take a trip on the heritage railway. This steam train takes visitors from Jesenice to Bled, past Lake Bohinj to Nova Gorica. 

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park, listed as world heritage by UNESCO, is home to 16 lakes in northern Dalmatia. Linked together by waterfalls, the lakes create a panorama of around a hundred waterfalls on an incline of approximately 130 metres.

There are 8 walking trails in the park, ranging from 2 to 3 hours and up to 8 hours for the longest. Venture on to the small pontoons for the most spectacular views of the waterfalls. Immerse yourself in the region - it's the best way to take in all the beauty of the Plitvice Lakes. 

Lake Balaton

To the north, lush green hills and Mount Bakony with volcanic rocks, to the south, beaches and sandy dunes surround Lake Balaton, known as the "Hungarian Sea" and just 1 hour from Budapest. The biggest lake in Europe is just like a seaside resort, ideal for relaxing: still waters for fishing, water sports or lazing on one of the beaches around the lake (an important detail: in summer, water temperature varies between 20°and 26°!)...not to mention the castles and surrounding peaceful villages.

Try the northern bank, more typical, with picturesque little villages. Wander through the charming 19th-century streets of Balatonfüred, visit Keszthely and Festetics Palace, superbly baroque with 101 rooms; or hike in the heights of the Tihany peninsula to admire the panoramic view of the lake.

Good to know: Lake Balaton is also known for its pretty spa towns and premium vineyards. An ideal opportunity to discover vinotherapy: try a wine bath or a grape-seed mask in the Balatonfüred, Hévíz ou Zalakaros centres. 

Lake Ohrid

Situated on the border of Macedonia and Albania, Lake Ohrid is the deepest lake in the Balkans, and the oldest in the world. The clear water (transparent up to a depth of 22 metres!), rich, varied wildlife, several beaches (including Gorica and Saint-Stéphane for example) and monasteries are definitely worth the detour.

Head for the village of Velestove on the slopes of the Petrino mountain for a spectacular view of the lake. And if you are a camping fan, don't miss Gradište peninsula, one of Ohrid's most beautiful sights.

Ohrid