Originally published by Travel + Leisure
To help you find your inner peace, and catch a few waves and rays while you’re at it, we’ve put together a list of some of the bluest waters in the world. These lakes, seas, beaches, and bays have vistas that range from brilliant navy blues to the lightest, clearest turquoises imaginable. Needless to say, they are the perfect places to re-connect with nature, family, and yourself.
It’s hard to find a spot on Lefkada Island that doesn’t have spectacular views of the crystal clear Ionian Sea, but Egremnoi (or Egremni) beach on the west coast is particularly stunning. The beach requires a steep hike down some ersatz stairs, which thins the crowds, but once you’ve made the descent, the white sand stands in stark contrast to the turquoise water making it ideal for spending the day relaxing in the sun.
The deep blue waters that fill the caldera of the sunken volcano Mount Mazama help make Crater Lake one of America’s most beautiful lakes. The deep blue waters are almost crystal clear thanks to the fact that there are no incoming streams or rivers to make the water turbid. All of this makes it ideal for scuba divers willing to brave the chilly water. Crater Lake, located in Southern Oregon, is also the deepest lake in the United States, plunging to depths of 1,943 feet, with sunlight extending 400 feet down.
Granite cliffs outline the crystalline water on Con Son, the only inhabited island in the barely populated 16-island archipelago of Con Dao, one of the best secret islands on Earth. Located 110 miles off Vietnam’s southeastern coast, the unspoiled island’s beaches are lined with golden sand and gorgeous blue water. For the most breathtaking views of the turquoise sea, head to the remote Dam Tre Bay lagoon.
Sometimes it feels like the best views are the ones you have to work for, and it does take some work to get to Devil’s Bay on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. After you scrabble through the gem-colored Baths, you’ll emerge on the tiny, picture-perfect slice of white sand known as Devil’s Bay. It’s worth the effort to get here just to snorkel in the clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean or simply sit back and admire the surroundings.
Two hours from the industrial capital city of Zagreb lies a natural wonder—Plitvice Lakes National Park. The woodsy park, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979, is dotted with 16 turquoise blue lakes that are a staggering display of some of Mother Nature’s best work. A wooden walkway winds through the parks upper and lower lakes giving visitors the chance to wander alongside and even over the tops of crystalline waterfalls, while boat tours give visitors a closer look at the deep blue waters.
A short boat ride from the largest barrier reef outside of Australia, Belize’s Ambergris Caye is a scuba diver’s and snorkeler’s paradise. Head to Shark Ray Alley to snorkel among nurse sharks and stingrays; visit Hol Chan Marine Reserve to get up close with eels, turtles, and colorful fish; or explore the underwater caves of Blue Hole. When you’re not in the water, admire its warm glow from a hammock on the beach.
Spectacular waterfalls tumble into the brilliantly blue lakes at this UNESCO World Heritage Site in China’s Sichuan province. The park’s most famous attraction is the crystalline Five-Flower Lake—the startling blue water offers a window-like view to the bottom where fallen trees make a lace-like pattern on the lake floor. The water is so still and clear it mirrors the surrounding mountains and trees as well as the sky above.