The World’s Smallest and Largest Underground Lakes

Photo courtesy of John Karakatsanis Travelgrove

Did you know that 71% of the earth’s surface is made up of water? Mostly referring to the oceanic waters of the world, this statistic reminds us how integral that water is to life on earth. However, not all water is surface-based. In fact, there are multiple bodies of water that exist beneath the surface of the earth. From subglacial lakes to cave lakes, hundreds of intriguing bodies of water lie tucked away in the most unexpected spots on earth. Today, in honor of all the lakes we can’t see, we’re covering the smallest and largest underground lakes!

The Largest Subglacial Lake

Image courtesy of Live Science

Given the expansiveness of Antarctic lakes, it’s no surprise that the largest underground lake in the world is subglacial. As opposed to typical underground lakes, a subglacial lake simply refers to one that is covered by a layer of ice. In the case of Lake Vostok, this layer happens to be 2.5 miles. Because of this lake’s hidden nature, its existence was unknown until the 1990s when a Russian pilot and geographer noticed a unique oblong shape from the air.

Today, the lake is part of Vostok Station, a Russian research hub in central Antarctica. Although scientists disagree about whether the lake existed before or after the East Antarctic Ice Sheet was formed, they do agree on one thing — the lake’s ecosystem is fascinating. With a temperature of -89 degrees Fahrenheit, the presence of life in earth’s coldest temperatures has implications for the possibility of life on other planets.

The Largest Non-Subglacial Underground Lake

Photo courtesy of Gondwana Collection

The country of Namibia is famous for a lot of natural wonders — the treacherous skeleton coast, the world’s highest sand dunes, and most of the endangered black rhino population. Beyond these wonders, the country is also home to the largest non-subglacial underground lake. Located in the Otjozondjupa Region in Namibia, Dragon’s Breath Cave was discovered in 1986 and named for the moist air that can be seen from the cave’s entrance, resembling dragon’s breath. At least 16 invertebrate species live in these zero-sunlight conditions, as well as a few other species such as golden catfish, the most isolated fish in the world.

The Smallest Underground Lake

Photo courtesy of Awe-inspiring places

In a small island in the southwest Pacific, the Moqua Well sits on the island of Nauru. In this tropical location, a limestone plateau formed low cliffs, which later produced caves. Inside, Moqua Well is a 16 foot deep freshwater lake. During World War II, this lake was a primary source of freshwater for the people living on Nauru island. Its integral nature during the war earned its name “well” instead of “lake.” After the war, it was primarily a destination for partiers to drink. However, after an inebriated man fatally fell into the well, the lake is now closed access.

The Smallest and Clearest Underground Lake

Photo courtesy of PandoTrip

Although it is larger than Moqua Well, Melissani Lake is another one of the world’s smallest underground lakes. It also happens to be a fascinating tourist attraction. Close to the mainland of Greece, it’s located in Melissani Cave on the Greek island of Kefalonia. According to Greek mythology, Melissani was the cave of the nymphs, female deities who are usually personifications of nature. Tourists have remarked on the clarity of the water, which can make boats look as though they’re floating on air. While its length is only 3 miles long, it’s beauty is breathtaking and certainly worth a visit for any travelers to Eastern Europe. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some of these underground lakes across the world!

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.


7 Colorful Lakes Around the World

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“Drive until the map turns blue,” Brad Paisley sings in one of his songs called “Water.” Typically, he’s not wrong. Due to concentrations of algae, molecule interactions, and the water’s reflection of the sky, lakes are ordinarily blue. However, this isn’t always the case. For various reasons, several lakes worldwide boast shades of bright green, pink, and dark red. Today, we’re celebrating some of the most stunning colorful lakes across the globe. 

el Djerid, Tunisia

Photo courtesy of

This large, endorheic salt lake in Tunisia is the largest salt lake in the Sahara desert and possibly on the African continent. Its name is translated from Arabic as “Lagoon of the Land of Palms,” since the number of date palm trees outnumber people in this region. The mixture of saltwater and minerals creates its distinctive pink color. Juxtaposed with the barren surroundings, it’s a unique look. (No wonder it was a filming location for Star Wars!) Since this lake is in the middle of an unforgiving desert climate, if you visit, make sure you have enough gas! 

Devil’s Bath, New Zealand

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock via

Imagine a lake the same shade as the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. You’ve pretty much got Devil’s Bath, a neon green geothermal pool in New Zealand. The country is known for its volcanoes and massive mountains, but this body of water is unique. Its blinding lime green color comes from sulfur deposits that rise to the water’s surface, and the resulting look is both ominous and cartoonish at once. 

Los Colorados Yucatán, Mexico

Photo courtesy of Expert Vagabond.

“Los Colorados” means “The Red” in Spanish — the same word from which our state “Colorado” is derived. Although the lake isn’t exactly red, it’s certainly a variation. Near a small fishing village in Mexico is a stunning bright pink lake. It is located in the Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, home to animals like flamingos, sea turtles, and crocodiles. The lake’s pink color comes from brine shrimp (which attracts the flamingos) and plankton, a type of red algae. 

Kelimutu, Indonesia

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Who says fire and water can’t coexist? Kelimutu is a volcano with three lakes that rest in its craters, each of them a different color. Depending on the balance of volcanic gas and rainfall, various oxidation-reduction levels occur, resulting in distinctive colorful lakes. Sometimes, its lakes’ hues will change as many as six times in less than a year. They’re practically a natural version of a mood ring. It’s no wonder that Kelimutu National Park is such a prime tourist attraction in Indonesia. 

Lake Hillier, Australia

Photo courtesy of

This small landlocked salt lake off the coast of Western Australia is revered for its Pepto-Bismol pink color. Although its color isn’t fully understood, some possible explanations are the presence of Dunaliella algae that produce a pink pigment or a chemical reaction between salt and sodium bicarbonate. Either way, it’s incredible. And next to the Pacific Ocean, the juxtaposition of adjacent pink and blue shades are incredibly gorgeous.

Five Flower Lake, China

Photo courtesy of Nature’s Delights.

Located on the UNESCO World Heritage site of Jiuzhaigou National Park, Five Flower Lake is a top tourist attraction. This 16-foot-deep lake does not freeze in the winter and remains constant all year long. However, its colors do change. Depending on the day, you might see this lake as turquoise, emerald green, or sapphire blue. Regardless of the shade, its beauty is magnificent. Against a backdrop of five mountains, it’s certainly worth a visit. 

Which colorful lakes are you adding to your list of future travels?