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The Largest Lakes in the World (by area)

The Largest Lakes in the World (by area)

Want to know which is the world’s largest lake? Here’s a list of the largest lakes in the world by their total area and water volume.

1. Caspian Sea

Even though it is named the Caspian “Sea” it’s not a real sea because it’s enclosed by land. This makes the Caspian Sea the largest lake in the world with a total area of 371,000 km².

What’s even more impressive is the fact that it’s holding more water than all of the Five Great Lakes combined with a water volume of 78,200 km3. The following countries have shorelines to the Caspian Sea: Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Iran. 

Caspian Sea is the largest lake in the world

Photo: Ekaterina Kuchina/Shutterstock

2. Lake Superior

Lake Superior is the world’s largest freshwater lake in terms of area. It spans across 82,100 km2 (31,700 sq mi) and is located both in Canada and the United States, which also makes it the largest lake in North America. 

It was formed due to glacial movements and has a water volume of 11,600 km(2,800 cubic miles). 

Superior Lake

Photo: Like He/Shutterstock

3. Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is the third largest lake in the world and the largest of all African lakes. The countries bordering to the shorelines of the lake are Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

The total area of Lake Victoria is 68,870 km2 (26,590 sq mi) and it has a water volume of 2,700 km(650 cubic miles)

Victoria Lake

Photo: Shutterstock

4. Huron

Lake Huron is one of the Five Great Lakes and the second largest lake in North America with a total area of 59,600 km2 (23,000 sq mi). Just like Superior, Huron has shorelines in both Canada and the US. 

Huron

Photo: Photo: Shutterstock/Shutterstock

5. Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is the largest lake entirely located within the United States. It covers an area of 59,600 km2 (23,000 sq mi) and ranks 7th in the world in terms of water volume. 

The deepest point of Lake Michigan is measured as 282 meters below the surface but the average depth is 85 meters.

Lake Michigan

Photo: Shutterstock

6. Tanganyika

Tanganyika is the second largest lake in Africa and covers an area of 32,600 km2 (12,600 sq mi).

The shorelines of Tangyanika are located in four countries: Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and it’s very important for the daily life of the people living around the lake. 

Tanganyika

Photo: Shutterstock

7. Lake Baikal

The Baikal Lake is the world’s biggest lake when it comes to water volume, and it holds about 20% of the world’s freshwater. The lake holds as much as 23,600 km(5,700 cubic miles) water, and it has an area of 31,500 km2 (12,200 sq mi).

It’s located entirely within Russia, in Siberia. Baikal is also considered being the deepest lake in the world. 

Lake Baikal

Photo: Shutterstock

8. Great Bear Lake

The Great Bear Lake is one of the largest lakes in the world and the largest lake entirely within Canada. It’s located by the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories and spans an area of 27,000 km2 (10,000 sq mi). 

Great Bear Lake

Photo: Shutterstock

9. Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi is also known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania and Lago Niassa in Mozambique. It’s a lake which is teeming with marine life, and it’s home to the highest number of species of fish in the world.

The deepest point of Lake Malawi is 706 meters, and the average depth is 292 meters. It spans across an area of 29,500 km2 (11,400 sq mi). 

Lake Malawi

Photo: Shutterstock

10. Great Slave Lake

Last but not least, the Great Slave Lake, which is another large Canadian lake. In total it has an area of 27,000 km2 (10,000 sq mi) and the lake is known as the deepest lake in North America with the deepest point being 614 meters below the surface. 

Great Slave Lake

Photo: Shutterstock

List of the World’s Largest Lakes by area

Rank Lake Area Country
1 Caspian Sea 371,000 km2 (143,000 sq mi) Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Iran
2 Lake Superior 82,100 km2 (31,700 sq mi) Canada, United States
3 Lake Victoria 68,870 km2 (26,590 sq mi) Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania
4 Huron 59,600 km2 (23,000 sq mi) Canada, United States
5 Lake Michigan 58,000 km2 (22,000 sq mi United States
6 Tanganyika 32,600 km2 (12,600 sq mi) Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo
7 Baikal 31,500 km2 (12,200 sq mi) Russia
8 Great Bear Lake 31,000 km2 (12,000 sq mi) Canada
9 Lake Malawi 29,500 km2 (11,400 sq mi) Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania
10 Great Slave Lake 27,000 km2 (10,000 sq mi) Canada
11 Erie 25,700 km2 (9,900 sq mi) Canada, United States
12 Lake Winnipeg 24,514 km2 (9,465 sq mi) Canada
13 Lake Ontario 18,960 km2 (7,320 sq mi) Canada, United States
14 Ladoga 18,130 km2 (7,000 sq mi) Russia
15 Balkhash 16,400 km2 (6,300 sq mi) Kazakhstan
16 Vostok 12,500 km2 (4,800 sq mi) Antarctica
17 Onega 9,700 km2 (3,700 sq mi) Russia
18 Titicaca 8,372 km2 (3,232 sq mi) Bolivia, Peru
19 Lake Nicaragua 8,264 km2 (3,191 sq mi) Nicaragua
20 Athabasca 7,850 km2 (3,030 sq mi) Canada
21 Taymyr 6,990 km2 (2,700 sq mi) Russia
22 Turkana 6,405 km2 (2,473 sq mi) Ethiopia, Kenya
23 Reindeer Lake 6,330 km2 (2,440 sq mi) Canada
24 Issyk-Kul 6,200 km2 (2,400 sq mi) Kyrgyzstan
25 Urmia 6,001 km2 (2,317 sq mi) Iran
26 Vänern 5,545 km2 (2,141 sq mi) Sweden
27 Winnipegosis 5,403 km2 (2,086 sq mi) Canada
28 Albert 5,299 km2 (2,046 sq mi) Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo
29 Mweru 5,120 km2 (1,980 sq mi) Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo
30 Nettilling 5,066 km2 (1,956 sq mi) Canada

More about the largest lakes in the world

As you might notice, none of the 10 largest lakes in the world are located in Europe, Oceania or South America. The largest lake in the world and the biggest lake in the world are both located on the Asian continent, whereas the other largest lakes in the world are primarily in North America and Africa.

When you take a closer look at the history and how many lakes were formed, it’s no longer a surprise that so many of the world’s largest lakes are located in North America. It’s quite simple because they are mostly formed due to glacial movements, which happened in the past. North America used to be covered in glaciers, and after melting they formed some very large lakes.

The Largest Freshwater lakes in the world play a vital role for humanity and without them, it would be substantially harder for Mother Nature to allow more than 7 billion people roaming this Earth. 

Largest lake in the world

Photo: Katvic/Shutterstock

Canada is one of the largest countries in the world, and of the 25 largest lakes in the world, as many as 11 lakes can be found in Canada. 

Which is the biggest lake on the Earth?

The Caspian Sea is the biggest lake in the world with an area of 371,000 km2 (143,000 sq mi) and water volume of 78,200 km(18,800 cubic miles).

Which is the largest fresh lake in the world?

Lake Baikal is the world’s largest freshwater lake in terms of volume with 5,521 cubic miles of water (23,013 km3).

Largest Lakes in the world by water volume

Rank Lake Volume
1 Caspian Sea  78,200 km(18,800 cu mi)
2 Baikal 23,600 km(5,700 cu mi)
3 Tanganyika 18,900 km(4,500 cu mi)
4 Superior Lake 11,600 km(2,800 cu mi)
5 Malawi 7,725 km(1,853 cu mi)
6 Vostok 5,400±1,600 km³ (~1,300 cu mi)
7 Lake Michigan 4,920 km(1,180 cu mi)
8 Huron 3,540 km(850 cu mi)
9 Victoria Lake 2,700 km(650 cu mi)
10 Great Bear Lake 2,236 km(536 cu mi)

How many of the largest lakes in the world did you know about? Leave a comment below!