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The Largest Lakes in Europe – by size and water volume

The Largest Lakes in Europe – by size and water volume

Want to know which is the biggest lake in Europe? There is a relatively large number of European lakes compared to the size of the continent. Here’s a list of the largest lakes in Europe by size and water volume. 

Ladoga is the largest lake in Europe with a size of 17 700 km².

From a tourist perspective, the most famous European lakes are Lago di Braies, Lake Bled, Plitvice Lakes, Lake Ohrid, Lake Garda, Lake Como, and Königssee. 

Europe’s largest lakes by size

10. Enare träsk (Inari)

Enare Träsk, also known as Inari in English is located in Finland, north of the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland. It’s a vibrant lake with various species of fish such as Char, Trout, and Salmon. 

From November to June, there is almost always a layer of ice on the lake. It covers an area of 1,040 square kilometers (400 sq mi) and there are 3000 islands in total within its boundaries.

Size: 1 040 km²
Country: Finland

Enare trask

Photo: Shutterstock

9. Päijänne

Another Finnish lake, this one is known as Päijänne and is located in midmost Finland. It has a water volume of 18,1 k m³ and an average depth at 16,2 meter. The max depth is a staggering 104 meters, though.

Size: 1,070–1,082 km2
Country: Finland

Lake Päijänne

Photo: Shutterstock

8. Beloje ozero

Beloye is 44 kilometers long with a maximum depth at 34 meters. Beloje Ozero, as it’s called in Russian is also nicknamed the white lake. It’s located in Vologda Oblast and covers a distance of 1 130 km² (500 sq mi)

Size: 1 130 km²
Country: Russia

Lake Beloye

Photo: Shutterstock

7. Mälaren

The 7th largest lake in Europe is found in Sweden, namely in the provinces of Södermanland, Uppland, and Västmanland. Mälaren has a max depth at 76 meters and a water volume that measures a whopping 14,3 billion cubic meters. 

Size: 1 140 km²
Country: Sweden

Malaren

Photo: Shutterstock

6. Vättern

Vättern is yet another Swedish lake with a large surface area and water volume. It’s a relatively long and narrow lake with a width at 31 kilometers. The maximum depth of Vättern is 128 meters.

Size: 1 893 km²
Country: Sweden

Vättern

Photo: Shutterstock

5. Peipus

The fifth-largest lake in Europe is located in Estonia. It’s known as Peipus and lies on the border of Estonia and Russia. It has a depth at 15 meters and a total area of almost 3600 square kilometers (1,373 sq mi).

Size: 3 555 km²
Country: Estonia

Peipus

Photo: Shutterstock

4. Saimen

Saimen, also known as Saimaa is the largest lake in Finland with a surface area of 4377 square kilometers (1,690 sq mi). What makes this lake so unique is the fact that there are over 13 710 islands within its boundaries. 

The max depth has been measured at 82 meters and it has a water volume of 36 km3.

Size: 4 377 km²
Country: Finland

Saimaa

Photo: Shutterstock

3. Vänern

Vänern is the third-largest lake in Europe by surface area and the largest lake within the European Union. It was formed after the last ice age and is located in the Swedish provinces of Värmland, Västergötland, and Dalsland.

Size: 5 650 km²
Country: Sweden

Largest lake in Sweden

Photo: Shutterstock

2. Onega

Onega is a massive lake in Russia with a surface area of just under 10 000 square kilometers, which makes it the second-largest lake in Europe. The deepest part of Onega has been measured at 150 meters, and the total water volume is estimated to be 280 km³. 

Size: 9 894 km²
Country: Russia

Onega

Photo: Shutterstock

1. Ladoga

Ladoga is by far Europe’s largest lake with a total surface area of 17 700 square kilometers (6,800 sq mi), which means that it’s larger than both Onega and Vänern combined. 

It’s beautifully located in Karelia in the northwestern part of Russia. Ladoga is ranked as one of the largest lakes in the world (14th) and has an average depth at 51 meters, and maximum depth at 230 meters. 

Visitors can rent a boat to get around the lake and stop for a picnic at one of the 600 islands that are located within its boundaries.

Size: 17 700 km²
Country: Russia

Ladoga Lake

Photo: Shutterstock

More about the biggest lake in Europe

Both Ladoga and Onega are located within Europe, even though they belong to Russia, which is located in both Asia and Europe. There are various ways to measure the largest lakes in Europe, and some lists will also include reservoirs, but these are often man-made, which makes it less interesting. 

Another thing that’s quite fascinating is the fact that most of the larger lakes in Europe are located in Finland, Sweden, and Russia. You would have to go down to the 13th largest European lake if you exclude those 3 countries. 

Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe, and Geneva shortly after with just 11 square kilometers less than Balaton.

Biggest lake in Europe

Photo: Shutterstock

List of the largest lakes in Europe

This list includes the largest lakes in Europe by size measured in km² and square miles. Reservoirs are not included. 

Rank Name of the lake Country Area in km² Area in sq mi.
1 Ladoga Russia 17,700 6,800
2 Onega Russia 9,894 3,820
3 Vänern Sweden 5,655 2,183
4 Saimaa Finland 4,377 1,690
5 Peipus Estonia 3,555 1,373
6 Vättern Sweden 1,893 731
7 Beloye Russia 1,290 500
8 Mälaren Sweden 1,140 440
9 Päijänne Finland 1,081 417
10 Enare Träsk Finland 1,040 400
11 Pielinen Finland 894 345
12 Oulujärvi Finland 887 342
13 Lake Balaton Hungary 592 229
14 Lake Geneva Switzerland, France 581 224
15 Lake Constance Germany, Switzerland, Austria 541 209
16 Keitele Finland 494 191
17 Hjälmaren Sweden 485 187
18 Kallavesi Finland 473 183
19 Storsjön Sweden 464 179
20 Razelm Romania 415 160
21 Lough Nead Northern Ireland (UK) 388 150
 
Largest Lake in Europe

Photo: Kvn1777/Shutterstock

How many lakes are in Europe?

There are over 500 000 natural lakes in Europe that have an area larger than 0.01 km2 (1 ha). About 16 000 European lakes have an area that is larger than km2.

Which is the deepest lake in Europe?

Hornindalsvatnet is the deepest lake in Europe with a max depth of 514 meters. It’s the only European lake with a depth greater than 500 meters below the surface. 


Did you know about the largest lakes in Europe or were you surprised? Leave a comment below!

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Marianne Ahrne

Friday 30th of October 2020

As a Swede I was not surprised by these facts but I have been astonished to learn that some American sites believe Lake Geneva to be one of the largest lakes in Europe.