10 Largest Lakes in the World (2023)

There are hundreds of lakes around the world that hold claim to the title of the largest lake of some kind – either by volume, surface area, or a plethora of other defining qualifiers and caveats.

For the purpose of this article, we’ve listed the largest lakes in the world when measured by total surface area, from the smallest to the largest. From the Great Slave Lake in North America to the Caspian Sea that spreads across the continents of Europe and Asia, these are some of the biggest water sources on Earth.

10.Great Slave Lake (27,000 km2)[SEE MAP]

10 Largest Lakes in the World (1)

Great Slave Lake is the second largest lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada, overtaken only by Great Bear Lake. Reaching a staggering depth of over 600 meters, it is the deepest lake in North America. Stretching nearly 300 miles long and over 100 miles wide, it is the tenth-largest lake on Earth.

Various towns sit on the edge of the lake; these include Yellowknife, Fort Resolution, and Hay River, to name a few. Due to its location south of the Arctic Circle, the lake freezes over in winter and maintains a temperature so cold that the residents are able to carve an ice road through it, creating a shortcut between Yellowknife and Dettah.

The rest of the year, the lake is a hotspot for sailors and anglers, who enjoy trying their luck fishing for pike and trout in the lake or Arctic grayling in its tributaries.

9.Lake Malawi (29,500 km2)[SEE MAP]

10 Largest Lakes in the World (2)

Spreading across Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique along Africa’s East Coast, Lake Malawi – also known as Lake Nyasa – is the third largest lake on the African continent. One of the African Great Lakes, sprawling Lake Malawi has many claims to fame.

(Video) Top 10 Largest Lakes in the World

It is the fourth largest lake on Earth by volume, the ninth-largest by area, and the second deepest lake in Africa. It is not simply its sheer size that makes Lake Malawi special, but also the life it sustains.

Lake Malawi is home to more fish species than any other known lake – specifically, hundreds of cichlid fish. While fishing is permitted in some places, various sections have been designated as marine reserves to protect these creatures.

8.Great Bear Lake (31,000 km2)[SEE MAP]

Located in Canada’s Northwest Territories on the Arctic Circle, the Great Bear Lake is the eighth largest lake on the planet. It is also the largest freshwater lake located entirely within the borders of Canada, and the fourth largest in North America.

Plunging over 440 meters at its deepest point, the lake is fringed by boreal forest and tundra and known for its crystal-clear water. While the lake is home to speckled trout and several other species of marine life, it has the fewest variety of fish species of all of Canada’s Great Lakes.

7.Lake Baikal (31,500 km2)[SEE MAP]

10 Largest Lakes in the World (4)

Lake Baikal in Russia is the largest lake on Earth when measured by volume. Plunging over 1,632 meters deep, it is both the deepest and the oldest lake in the world, with many arguing that it should be deemed a sea.

(Video) Top 10 Largest Lakes in the World

This is backed up by the fact that it is one of the only lakes with enough oxygenated water to sustain life at its most profound depths. The lake is home to around 1,700 species of plant and animal species.

A total of 27 islands can be found in Lake Baikal, the majority of which are uninhabited. It also has hundreds of streams and rivers flowing into it and one river – just the Angara – that flows out of it and makes its way towards the Arctic Ocean.

Lake Baikal is one of the clearest lakes on Earth, filled with snowmelt from the Siberian mountains. On a good day, the visibility is as deep as 39 meters!

6.Lake Tanganyika (32,600 km2)[SEE MAP]

10 Largest Lakes in the World (5)

Another one of the African Great Lakes, the aptly-named Lake Tanganyika – which means ‘the great lake spreading out like a plain’ – is the world’s longest, second oldest and second deepest freshwater lake. It is also the second-largest lake when measured by volume.

Flowing between the four countries of Tanzania, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia, Lake Tanganyika eventually flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Forming one of the Rift Valley lakes, swimming in the lake is not recommended as Nile crocodiles are known to lurk beneath the surface in some places.

5.Lake Michigan (58,000 km2)[SEE MAP]

10 Largest Lakes in the World (6)

Lake Michigan, which means ‘Great Water,’ is one of North America’s five Great Lakes. It is the second-largest by volume and the third-largest by surface area.

(Video) Top 10 Largest Lakes in the World 2020

Extending to a maximum depth of 280 meters, it is the only one of the Great Lakes to be found wholly within the borders of the United States – spreading across Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin from east to west.

Swimming in Lake Michigan is risky for several reasons. Not only is its shoreline prone to dangerous rip currents, but the bottom is often uneven with holes and deep drop-offs while few beaches have lifeguards.

4.Lake Huron (59,600 km2)[SEE MAP]

10 Largest Lakes in the World (7)

Connected to Lake Michigan by the Straits of Mackinac, Lake Huron is the 4th largest lake in the world. It is also the second-largest by surface area and the third-largest by volume of the five Great Lakes of North America.

Stretching for over 3,800 miles, the coastline is the longest of all the Great Lakes and encompasses over 30,000 islands.

Lake Huron is most infamous for its many shipwrecks. Thousands of battered ships lie wrecked off the coastlines here; Fathom Five National Marine Park is home to 22 wreck sites alone.

3.Lake Victoria (68,870 km2)[SEE MAP]

10 Largest Lakes in the World (8)

One of the African Great Lakes, Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater lake in Africa, spreading across Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. It is also the largest tropical lake on Earth and the second largest freshwater lake by surface area – beaten only by Lake Superior.

(Video) The LARGEST LAKES In The World

The main reservoir of the Nile River, Lake Victoria is home to more than 200 different species of fish, including Tilapia, which provide a livelihood for thousands of people who live on and near its shoreline.

Named after Queen Victoria of England by John Hanning Speke, who first documented the lake in the 1850s, Lake Victoria is recorded as the most dangerous lake in the world. It sees the most deaths of any lake each year, caused by black spots, changeable weather conditions, and crocodile attacks.

2.Lake Superior (82,100 km2)[SEE MAP]

10 Largest Lakes in the World (9)

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, the third-largest by volume, and the largest, deepest, and coldest of North America’s Great Lakes. It is also Canada’s largest lake, bordering the US states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Lake Superior, which means ‘Big Sea Water’ is a prominent hotspot on the Great Lakes Waterway, ferrying goods and materials across the water. However, as it measures more than 400 meters deep in some places and is prone to riptides, it is one of the most dangerous lakes to swim in on Earth.

1.Caspian Sea (371,000 km2)[SEE MAP]

10 Largest Lakes in the World (10)

Despite its misleading name, the Caspian Sea is actually a lake as it is entirely landlocked – the world’s largest lake or body of water, in fact. Located between the continents of Europe and Asia, this inland sea is bordered by Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan.

Interestingly, the lake is not fresh water; it is partially salty, albeit only a third as salty as seawater, because it once formed part of the ancient Paratethys Sea. Today, the sea is celebrated for its amazing caviar and prominent oil industry.

(Video) Horrifyingly Mysterious Lakes In The World


What is the number 1 largest lake in the world? ›

The largest lake in the world by a long shot is the Caspian Sea – a name that hints at a past when it was contiguous with the ocean around 11 million years ago. This massive saline lake, which is nearly the same size as Japan, borders five countries: Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Iran.

Where is the world's 15 largest lakes located? ›

List of world's largest lakes
  • Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan-Russia-Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran. 143,250. 371,000. ...
  • Superior, U.S.-Canada. 31,820. ...
  • Victoria, Kenya-Tanzania-Uganda. 26,828. ...
  • Huron, U.S.-Canada. 23,010. ...
  • Michigan, U.S. 22,400. ...
  • Tanganyika, Tanzania-DRC-Burundi-Zambia. 12,700. ...
  • Baikal, Russia. 12,162. ...
  • Great Bear Lake, Canada. 12,000.

What is the #1 lake in America? ›

Lake Superior

What is the 1 deepest lake in the world? ›

Situated in south-east Siberia, the 3.15-million-ha Lake Baikal is the oldest (25 million years) and deepest (1,700 m) lake in the world. It contains 20% of the world's total unfrozen freshwater reserve.

What are the 20 deepest lake in the world? ›

Lakes ranked by maximum depth
  • Baikal. Russia. Southern Siberia. ...
  • Tanganyika. Tanzania. Democratic Republic of the Congo. ...
  • (Caspian Sea) Kazakhstan. Turkmenistan. ...
  • Vostok. Antarctica. Under the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. ...
  • Viedma. Argentina. Santa Cruz Province. ...
  • O'Higgins-San Martín. Chile. Argentina. ...
  • Malawi. Malawi. ...
  • Issyk Kul. Kyrgyzstan.

What are the 10 deepest lake in the world? ›

The 10 Deepest Lakes in the World
  • Lake Matano, Indonesia. ...
  • Crater Lake, USA. ...
  • Great Slave Lake, Canada. ...
  • Issyk-Kul or Lake Ysyk, Kyrgyzstan. ...
  • Lake Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. ...
  • O'Higgins/San Martín Lake, Chile and Argentina. ...
  • Lake Vostok, Antarctica. ...
  • Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Russia.
Feb 3, 2023

What are the 5 Famous Great Lakes? ›

The Great Lakes are, from west to east: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario. They are a dominant part of the physical and cultural heritage of North America.

What are the top 10 man-made lakes in the US? ›

The 10 Largest Man-Made Lakes in the United States
  • Lake Mead, Nevada. ...
  • Lake Powell, Arizona. ...
  • Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota. ...
  • Lake Oahe, South Dakota. ...
  • Fort Peck Lake, Montana. ...
  • Lake Franklin, Washington. ...
  • Lake Cumberland, Kentucky. ...
  • Lake Koocanusa, Montana.
Jan 16, 2023


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