Countries with the Most and Fewest Lakes

Moraine Lake by James Wheeler | CC-BY – The Traveling Pinoys

If you’re here on our blog, you’re probably captivated by lake living. At this point, perhaps your inundation with the lake lifestyle makes it hard to imagine an existence that doesn’t involve the lake. However, depending on where you live, lakes could play an even bigger — or much smaller — role in your life. As a follow-up to our previous blog post, States With the Most and Fewest Lakes, we’re now tackling the whole globe. Check out which countries have the most and fewest lakes in the world!

Countries With the Most Lakes:

Maligne Lake by Zhukova Valentyna / shutterstock via The Crazy Tourist


While the U.S. boasts many impressive lakes, Canada takes the cake for the country with the most lakes in the world. In fact, Canada contains more lakes than the rest of the world combined. You might be familiar with some of them. Bordering northern parts of the U.S., Canada is home to several Great Lakes such as Lake SuperiorLake Huron, and Lake Erie. But the country’s purely Canadian lakes may be more impressive. For example, the beautiful Moraine Lake is surrounded by gorgeous mountains, while Lake Ontario features stunning beaches. Unfortunately, several of its lakes are adversely affected by glaciers that are quickly melting due to global warming. However, there are several ways you can help this global issue.

Lake Baidal – Photo courtesy of


Russia is the noteworthy runner-up. This massive country boasts over 2.8 million lakes from various origins. The majority are freshwater, but it’s home to several saline lakes as well. Russia borders what is perhaps the most famous salt lake, The Caspian Sea — although an ongoing debate with significant economic and political implications still exists as to whether it’s a sea or lake. Speaking of remarkable lakes, Russia also contains the world’s deepest lake, Lake Baikal. And the “deepest lake” title is only one unique aspect of Lake Baikal. Eighty percent of its inhabitants are endemic, meaning they don’t live anywhere else in the world — including the adorable Nerpa Seal, the only freshwater seal on earth.

Lakeland Finland – Photo courtesy of


Although it isn’t one of the countries with the most lakes, Finland deserves an honorable mention. Called the “land of a thousand lakes,” Finland has the most lakes in relation to country size. Although it’s not as large as Canada or Russia, its smaller size boasts an impressive number of lakes (187,888 to be exact). Although many lakes are only the size of a tennis court, the statistics are still staggering. There is one lake for every 26 people in the country!

Countries with the Fewest Lakes:

Saudi Arabia – Photo courtesy of Reuters via The Economist

Land of No Lakes

The countries with the fewest lakes are those that have none at all — 19 countries to be exact. It may come as a shock that some countries lack lakes entirely, but various climates around the world are simply not conducive to permanent lake formation. Although many of these countries do have streams and seasonal bodies of water, they do not have permanent lakes and rivers. Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest country without a lake or river, is known as the “land of no rivers.” For a country so large, this may be surprising. However, the arid desert climate receives little rainfall throughout the year, and most of the freshwater comes from desalination plants or underground reservoirs.

Malta – @maltesewanderer via Twenty20

By contrast, although island countries are surrounded by water, they’re often devoid of lakes and rivers. For example, the Bahamas, Malta, and the Maldives are too small to accommodate these bodies of water. Another notable country (which is an anomaly in many ways) is Vatican City, the world’s smallest country without a lake. This 0.2 square mile country also happens to be the smallest in the world, completely landlocked in Italy. 

Where does the U.S. Fall?

Finally, the bronze medal for countries with the most lakes goes to the U.S.A. Of course, we’re all familiar with amazing U.S. lakes. You might even live on one! However, if you’re still looking for a lake property, be sure to check out our listings. From the most beautiful to the clearest, we’ve got you covered here at Lake Homes Realty.


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