Lake Atitlan Waterfront View in Panajachel

Be overwhelmed by the stunning beauty of Guatemala's Lake Atitlan or Lago de Atitlán (in Spanish), the third biggest fresh water lake in Guatemala and the deepest in Central America. A large crystal clear body of water in an ancient volcanic caldera, a mile above sea level, and surrounded by three majestic and active volcanoes which make for a magnificent background and highlights the lake's winning beauty. A lake famously hailed by “Aldous Huxley” as “the most beautiful lake in the world. Indeed, it is recognized as the fifth most beautiful lake in the world and a great place to see.

Lake Atitlán is volcanic in origin. It is the result of a land collapse filling an enormous cavity formed in an eruption 84,000 years ago known as Los Chocoyos. The continuing volcanic activity in the region built three massive volcanoes in the caldera flanking the lake.

The tallest of the three is Volcán Atitlán which lies on the southern rim of the crater, dominating the stunning lake with which it shares its name. Atitlán is a Mayan word that means “the place where the rainbow gets its colors”. While Volcán San Pedro and Volcán Tolimán lie within the crater, San Pedro is the oldest of the three and probably the most photographed of all Guatemala's volcáns because of its beautiful cone. Volcán Tolimán is the youngest among them, which began growing after San Pedro stopped erupting. Atitlán's summit takes about eight “long” hours to ascend, but definitely all rewarding to be able to reach the top, overlooking one of the world's finest attraction and Guatemala's Pacific Coast.

Lake Atitlán is also known as the “land of the eternal spring”. The climate is mild, cool at night and warm during the day with the springtime weather all year round, makes for an ideal climate. But for most of the locals who live there year round, the rainy season is their favorite time of the year.

Lake Atitlán is further characterized by towns and indigenous villages of the Maya people. And Panajachel or Pana, for short is the jewel of the highlands. Nestled beside Lake Atitlán, in a volcanic archipelago, Panajachel gives you one of the best views of the lake. Although, there is no single, must-see view of the lake, a bit of a sense of adventure can be useful Experience several other vantage points from the towns surrounding the lake or from up high on the highway.

Lucky are those fortunate enough who have seen one of nature's gifts and be able to greet the sunrise and the glassy water of the beautiful Lake Atitlán.

Lake Bled - Slovenia

Imagine a place with pristine blue-green water, a small castle perched on a steep cliff in a magical lush mountain setting and verdant forests that give it an atmosphere from a page in a fairy tale book– can this place be real or simply a figment of imagination? Well, believe it or not. There is such a place...

In the foothills of the Julian Alps and natural forests in northwestern Slovenia, adjoining the town of Bled, lies the enchanting Lake Bled. The only glacier lake in Slovenia with an island in the middle, Bled Island - the only natural island right in the heart of the lake, where the 15th century building known as the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary can be found. There is a medieval castle (Bled Castle) over 1000 years old stands above the lake. The temperature of the lake reaches up to 25°C in the summer and gets iced-covered in winter. The area is a popular tourist destination.

Every visitor to Bled is charmed by its fantastic range of views and its captivating alpine lake. Lake Bled boasts a beautiful lakeside setting for a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Cosmopolitan seekers of diversity and beauty, of relaxation and inspiration, tranquility and as well as sports will find here a multitude of opportunities. Walking and coaching trails around the lake, traditional boats, the castle treasures, the nearby ski pistes, mountain trails, hunting, fishing, the casino, congress facilities – are just some of the activities and attractions that Bled offers. In Bled, it is customary to climb the 99 steps to the charming medieval chapel and ring the wishing bell in the hope to make one's dream come true.

In the surrounding countryside of Bled, there is also a wealth of activities on offer --- If you are feeling adventurous, you might like to try rafting, canyoning, para-gliding or ballooning, or any number of other outdoor pursuits. Bled is also the cradle of golf in Slovenia and golfers from around the world adores its stunning courses. The latest addition to the array of facilities available in Bled is the Živa Wellness Centre at the Golf Hotel, which offers divine relaxation in its thermal swimming pools, saunas and beauty salons. Moreover, take a bite of the must-try delicious 'Kreme Schnitte' or custard cakes available in many of the lakeside cafés, as you stroll around the beautiful shore of Lake Bled.

While the lake is characterized by features close to that of a fairy tale, it is “no sleeping beauty”. In essence, lovely, exciting, bewitching, and regal is what it is!

Lake Annecy – France

Among the many places of interest known to man, The Great Lake Annecy, certainly deserves to be on the list. Situated in a picturesque setting in the Haute-Savoie region in the eastern part of France. This second biggest lake in France is among the “popular” destination for swimmers and water sport adventures.

Back in the years past the 1950's, Lake Annecy was once an “ugly duckling”. The lake was used as a place where surrounding communities used to drop their used and dirty waters. Thereby, the lake was almost condemned to remain unhealthy forever. But on 1957, upon the joint efforts initiated by Dr. Servettaz and Charles Bosson (Mayor of Annecy then), the SILA (Inter-municipal Union for Lake Annecy) was created. A main sewer linking all the villages was built so that all water released into the lake is treated and checked. Today, the water of Lake Annecy is bacteriologically drinkable and notable fish populations have been restored. At present day, the lake is hailed as Europe's “cleanest lake”. The resulting fresh and clean water of Lake Annecy have become a home to activities all year round.

The gorgeous Lake Annecy provides the centerpiece for the wooded wonderland flanked in alpine, snow-capped mountains. With mountains - Mont Semnoz and Entrevernes on the east bank, Mont Veyrier Dents de Lanfon and Tournette on the west bank, provides that stunning backdrop that enhances the overall ambience of this part of the land.

When at Lake Annecy, there are far better ways of spending your time than gazing over the clear water and admirable landscapes for a quiet meditation. Lake Annecy offers the enjoyment of life. The artful design of the lake and nearby mountains make it favorable for a great range of leisure and outdoor activities.

Lake Annecy provides a wide variety of activities for lovers of the outdoors including kayaking, para-sailing, lake sailing and boating of all sorts. There are five rowing clubs spread around the Lake – which offers training for competition and high level practice or simply just for fun. Although, lake fishing is the most popular activity in the area. Summertime on the lake includes all the usual activities such as water skiing, wakeboarding, sailing, swimming and diving. First class ski resorts in the mountains nearby Lake Annecy offer winter sports at very affordable prices.

Unlike other French and Italian lakes, Lake Annecy has never been famous for water activities...until recent years. Thus, what was once an “ugly duckling” is an ugly duckling no more. The beauty of Lake Annecy does not only reflect what the eyes can see, she is an exceptional beauty because she is respected and cared for by the people.

Crater Lake – Oregon, USA

This is Crater Lake, South Central Oregon, USA. An abounding beauty of nature on the crest of the Cascade Mountain Range, 160 kilometers east of the Pacific Coast. Best known for its intense and indescribable deep blue color, water clarity, depth and grand design. Crater Lake earned the title of the number one most beautiful lake in the world; with exceptional features being the deepest lake in the United States, the seventh deepest lake in the world and the largest known eruption from Cascade Range volcanoes.

Before Crater Lake became what it is today, a cluster of ancient volcanoes called Mount Mazama dominated the landscape. The caldera was formed around 7,700 years ago after a large volcanic explosion destroyed Mt. Mazama. The 2,500 to 3,500 feet mountain peak fell into the volcano's partially emptied neck and magma chamber, that led to the formation of a new crater, known as Crater Lake. But before it got its new name, Crater Lake was formerly known as Blue Lake or Lake Majesty.

The name “Crater Lake” was coined by James Sutton, editor of the Oregon Sentinel in Jacksonville, in 1869 for its beautiful and symmetrical crater. But the world greatly owes its gratefulness to William Gladstone Steel, for devoting more than 30 years of his life promoting and establishing the park known as Crater Lake National Park, featuring the blue gem of the Oregon, Crater Lake. In 1902, President Roosevelt signed legislation making Crater Lake and its surrounding 180,000 acres as America's 6th National Park -- the only National Park in Oregon.

Lying in the waters at the west end of Crater Lake is a small volcanic island known as Wizard Island which is a cone of the new volcano which projects 755 feet above the average surface of the lake. The Wizard Island is the cinder cone that formed in Crater Lake. However, there is a second island. It's called the Merriam Cone. The Merriam Cone is another cinder cone located on the northeast part of the lake. Its surface features and lack of a crater (compared to the Wizard Island) suggest that it formed under water.

The last recorded eruption of Crater Lake was about 2290 BC +/- 300 years, it is considered dormant. And although it has been dormant for 5,000 years, geologists do expect it to reawaken someday.

Volcanoes in general can be exciting and fascinating, but also very dangerous. With all its superlative qualities, the sight of Crater lake will take your breath away... but also beware a “calm beauty” with a violent volcanic past.