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Largest lakes in the world

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The largest lakes in the world are more than just a body of water; they have an impact on the surrounding area and serve as beautiful tourist destinations. In this post, we will explore the biggest lakes that can be found all over the globe and rank them by size. You may think you know about some of these places, but there are also many surprises to discover!

The biggest lakes in the world are not only large, but they also have a lot of interesting facts about them. The 15 largest lakes in the world are all very different from one another and this article is going to explore these differences.

largest lakes in the world

What are Lakes?

Lakes are natural water reservoirs. Typically a lake is a body of water that has the shape of an oval; elongated. They can be found in mountainous regions, and on hillsides or plains near rivers where rainfall runoff accumulates into bodies such as these

Talking about the lakes have you heard about the Pink lakes scattered around the world. if not read our latest post

The Largest Lakes in the World

The largest lakes of on the planet earth have a tectonic origin and it is there that almost all of the lake water is found. The remaining types of lakes, including glacial ones, contain only 5% of all lake waters. In this ranking, we would like to present to you the largest tectonic lakes located on our globe.

The World’s Largest Lakes

1. The Caspian Sea – The largest lake in the world

Paradoxically, the world’s largest lake by surface area is called a sea – The Caspian Sea. It has been named a sea because of its salt water content and the mere size of it. If the Caspian sea was a country, it would’ve been the 62nd largest in the world.

It also has a very high water salinity, ranging from 10 to 300 per mile, depending on the part of the sea. Many species like the Caspian tiger went extinct due to human interference. Currently, amongst the local species of fish, sturgeons are under the threat due to the high catch ratio, and the high value of their roe in the caviar industry. Large human interference significantly changed the local landscape.

Due to its large surface area, the Caspian sea hosts several oil rigs especially along the coast of Azerbaijan and several beautiful beaches.

  • The Caspian sea – surface area 371,800 km2
  • Countries: Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Iran

2. Lake Superior

Lake Superior ranks second in our ranking of lakes, although lake superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world. It belongs to the group of Great Lakes, which are located at the junction of Canada and the United States. Even though the lake superior is almost four to five times smaller than the Caspian sea, you could easily fit countries like the United Arab Emirates within it. It is the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area.

Most of the lake superior is located in the united states and it is of relatively shallow depth when compared to other lakes of its size.

Lake Superior contains several islands and has some of the most scenic views you will ever see, and several American national parks enjoy its beauty, isle royale national park, lake superior provincial national park, etc.

  • Lake Superior – surface area 82,410 km2
  • Countries: Canada United States ( Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin)

3.Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second-largest freshwater lake. This lake falls under three countries Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. Lake Victoria owes its name to the European discoverer John Hanning Speke, who in 1858, in honor of the then reigning British Queen, gave the lake the title of “Lake Victoria”.

Lake Victoria is surrounded by several animal species, which unfortunately are endangered by human activities, including the import of species that destroy the ecosystem. Many parks around Lake Victoria have been created such as Rubondo Island to preserve the natural nature of the region. One of the most famous wildlife sanctuary in the world – Serengeti is located near the lake.

  • Lake Victoria – surface area 68,800 km2
  • Countries: Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya

4. Lake Huron

Lake Huron lies on the border of two countries U.S and Canada. The border goes through the center of the lake.

With a surface area almost 60k sqm is about as long and wide as all five Great Lakes combined. One of the most popular tourism spot in here is lake island – Manitoulin Island, where you can get by ferry from May to October

Lake Huron is connected to Lake Michigan by Straits of Mackinac

National parks have been established both along the coast belonging to Canada and the United States to protect the surrounding nature.

  • Lake Huron – surface area 59 596 km2
  • Countries: the United States and Canada

5.Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is the only lake from the group of the American Great Lakes that is entirely located in the United States. Lake Michigan lies between the states of Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Most inhabitants are concentrated around the cities of Chicago and Milwaukee.

A lot of holiday resorts are established along the coast of Lake Michigan and with perfect beach weather and crystal clear water it is a popular tourist spot amongst Americans. A reason this lake has earned the title of the “third coast of the U.S” (next to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean).

A whistle-like sound is created when walking upon the beach sand, due to the high quartz content, it joins the list of the singing beaches of the world.

red lantern on lake Michigan
  • Lake Michigan – 59 596 km2
  • Countries: the United States

6.Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika is situated in the Great African Rift and is an African great lake. Lake Tanganyika is the longest freshwater lake in the world. With a length of approximately 670 km, the surroundings of the lake are very picturesque, part of its coast is rocky and very steep due to the proximity of the mountains.

The warm waters of the lake (24-29oC) sustain many species of fish, most of which are endemic, and about 60 of them are of great importance for consumption to the surrounding towns and their inhabitants. This lake is home to almost 250 varieties of cichlid fish.

On the shores of the lake, you can observe numerous species of waterfowl and animals such as hippos and crocodiles. Many parks have been created to protect the local fauna and flora.

Lake Tanganyika is the second deepest lake in the world and the second-largest freshwater lake in the world.

beach and umbrella on the shore of Lake Tanganyika
  • Lake Tanganyika – 32,893 km2.
  • Countries – Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Zambia.

7.Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is a Russian lake often called the “Blue Eye of Siberia”. The second-largest lake is located on the Asian continent. It is the oldest and deepest lake in the world with its depth reaching around 1642 m.

Lake Baikal contains about 23,000 km3 of water, roughly 1/5 of all freshwater surface water resources globally. With almost 1500 species of animals located in this region, several parks have been created to protect the environment.

During winters, people enjoy ice skating on Lake Baikal. There are even cross-country skiing competitions from one end of Lake Baikal to the other.

  • Lake Baikal – 31,500 km2
  • Countries – Siberia Russia

8.Great Bear Lake

Another lake on the list is the Great Bear Lake in northwest Canada, the fourth largest lake in North America. It is further north than the Great Slave Lake and is located in the boreal forest of Canada, and the arctic circle between 65 and 67 degrees latitude. There are many mines in the vicinity of the lake, including uranium, which was discovered here in 1930.

Residents around the Great Bear Lake benefit heavily from fishing in it.

  • Great Bear Kake – 31,080 km2
  • Country – Canada

9.Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi is also known as Lake Nyasa. It was discovered by the famous African traveler David Livingstone in 1859. Endemic species of fish that confirm that evolution caused specialization, is the reason the lake Malawi and the Lake Nyasa National Park located above it have taken a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are several other national parks in the vicinity of Lake Malawi, including Nyika and Kaningina.

boy in a canoe on lake Malawi
Tanzania Lake Malawi
  • Lake Malawi – 30,000 km2
  • Countries – Mozambique, Tanzania, and Malawi

10.Great Slave Lake

Located in northern Canada, the tenth-largest lake in the world, the great slave lake is mainly utilized by the fishing and shipping industries and provides sustenance for the cities around it.

And Beautiful Cities around the great slave lake such as Yellowknife are worth visiting.

There are many nature reserves around the lake and on islets located on the lake, among the most important are Fred Henne Territorial Park and Hidden Lake Territorial Park.

  • Great Slave Lake – 28,919 km2
  • Country – Canada

11.Lake Erie

Lake Erie has been named after a tribe that resided on the southern part of the lake. And of the five largest lakes in North America, it is the fourth-largest by surface area, it has the least water volume compared to all the other great lakes. And it harbors the largest fishing industry of all the great lakes.

It is also very popular amongst divers, thanks to the number of shipwrecks in the lake. It also includes an extensive shoreline with a variety of wildlife. For water sports lovers, Lake Erie is a destination like no other.

  • Lake Erie – 9999 sq mi
  • Countries – Canada and the United States of America

12.Lake Winnipeg

Lake Winnipeg is one of the largest freshwater lakes among the Great Lakes of North America. It is the third-largest lake that is located entirely within Canada. Its southern end stretches 55 kilometers to North of Winnipeg city. It also serves as the largest water reservoir to Manitoba Hydro, and the third-largest located entirely within Canada. It is home to a range of habitats of varying fish species. There are numerous islands, most of which are undeveloped.

During the summer, Lake Winnipeg provides nesting and feeding sites for a variety of marine birds. The Gull Bay Spit holds national significance among them all and is one of the best lakes known for its pure white sandy beaches, perfect for a walk, and the clear shallow waters for swimming purposes.

  • Lake Winnipeg – 24,514 km2
  • Country – Canada

13.Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario is one of the five Greatest Lakes of North America. If you haven’t guessed yet, it was named after the popular Canadian city of Ontario.

Toronto, Kingston, and Hamilton are some of the cities situated on the lake’s shoreline. Although it exceeds Lake Erie in 1639 square kilometers by volume, it is the smallest freshwater lake out of the five great lakes.

It holds its importance because of its biodiversity. Many of the wetlands of this Lake are protected. Almost all of the Lake’s islands are on Eastern and Northeastern shores; Wolfe island is the largest of them all and it has outstanding recreational opportunities every season. The experience of scenic beauty and tranquility of this Lake is worth a visit.

  • Lake Ontario – 7340 square miles
  • Countries – Canada and United States of America

14.Lake Ladoga

Located in the Republic of Karelia, in Northwestern Russia, Lake Ladoga is the second-largest lake after Lake Baikal in Russia. By surface area, it is the fourteenth-largest lake in the world, Its basin divides into thousands of smaller lakes and almost 3,500 rivers and consists of nearly 660 islands, the most famous of them are the Valaam archipelago, Kilpola, and Konevets.

A truly breathtaking landscape surrounds the lake, inviting explorers and tourists to enjoy natural wonders at their best.

  • Lake Ladoga – 17,600 square km
  • Country – Russia

15.Lake Balkhash

Lake Balkhash is considered one of the largest lakes in Asia located in Kazakhstan. The Great Lake covers about 16,400 square kilometers and is about 112 square kilometers deep by volume. It belongs to an endorheic basin and includes several smaller basins. The west half comprises of fresh water, while the eastern half consists of saltwater.

The economic importance lies in the fishing industries. It is among the most popular vacation places in the country. The sandy beach, the blue, crystal-clear water, and the pleasant climate throughout the year attract hundreds of tourists and locals.

Every lake is truly a wonder of nature, and each one has its own unique feature that tourists and travelers from around the world visit to experience first hand.

Biggest Lakes in the world by Surface Area

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Ania James

photographer, traveller, mother of twin girls, wife, worldschooler, rulebreaker

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