Among the mountain peaks and peaceful valleys, you will find a wealth of captivating, glass-like lakes dotted throughout Wales. Offering beautiful walks, tales of myth and legend, and a wealth of water sports activities, it’s well worth adding a few of them to your itinerary. We’ve handpicked eight alluring Welsh lakes from the largest and most popular to those that are remote and hidden away.
Lakes in North Wales
A glacially formed lake in the heart of Eryri / Snowdonia National Park, Llyn Padarn is nestled within the 800-acre country park of the same name alongside the ancient Sessile Oak woodland of Coed Dinorwig. Both designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest, this enchanting destination offers unrivalled scenery and impressive views that often tempt photographers.
Activities on the lake: Hire water sports equipment from Eryri / Snowdonia Water sports and try your hand at kayaking or paddleboarding on the lake.
What else is there: Themed woodlands, heritage trails, rock climbing, orienteering, Llanberis Lake Railway, Quarry Hospital Museum, and the Welsh Slate Museum. For walkers, you can pick up the 5.1-mile Llyn Padarn Circular Walk and walk the whole way around the banks of this beautiful Welsh lake,
Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake)
Once considered the largest lake in Wales, Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake) is over 4 miles long and, at its widest point, 1 mile wide. Taking its name from Tegid Foel, a character from a collection of early native Welsh tales, it draws water sports enthusiasts and hikers from far and wide, offering a variety of outdoor pursuits and adventures from the water’s edge. The lake is also popular with keen anglers, offering a variety of fishing opportunities, including being the home of the unique ‘Gwyniad’.
Activities on the lake: There are two sailing clubs that offer hire facilities and run a range of experiences and special water sports events for visitors to enjoy. You can also book adventures through the Bala Adventure and Water Sports Centre.
What else is there: Bala Lake Railway, fishing, waterfalls, and fast-flowing rivers. If you’re feeling up for a hike, there is a 14-mile walk around the lake using the footpaths through the surrounding hills or you can split into shorter leisurely walks using the railway.
With towering cliffs to one side and a sloping beach to the other, this picturesque Welsh lake lies just 3 miles from the Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon Peak on the River Glaslyn. Although managed by Llyn Gwynant Campsite, it welcomes day visitors to its shore. A popular spot to take a dip, you’ll often find wild swimmers and visitors enjoying a refreshing paddle amid picnics to cool off after a long walk.
Activities on the lake: Give wild swimming a go or hire boats or kayaks from the campsite.
What else is there: Take a Nant Gwynant Circular walk and enjoy a peaceful stroll around the lake edge.
This stunning Welsh lake in Denbighshire is a popular attraction and family day out offering a wealth of activities and things to do. The reservoir is one of 91 owned by the Dwr Cymru Welsh Water who are responsible for ensuring it meets certain standards and that its visitor centres provide a range of activities and facilities.
Activities on the lake: Home to Llyn Brenig Sailing Club, it’s a popular spot for keen sailors. Welsh Water also works in partnership with Open Door Adventure to provide exciting activities such as kayaking, zorbing and raft building. As one of the best top-of-the-water-fisheries in the UK, it’s a hugely popular spot for trout fishing too!
What else is there: The visitor centre also offers an adventure playground and the chance to see ospreys from the RSPB hide. It’s also one of the most popular cycling spots in North Wales with a range of routes and hire options. It's a popular destination for walkers with a variety of routes around the lake and through the surrounding moorland ranging from 2.5 miles to 9.5 miles.
Hidden away beneath the summit of Yr Wyddfa on the Miner’s Track up Yr Wyddfa / Snowdon, Glaslyn lake is one of those magical Welsh lakes that you just stumble upon and are instantly blown away by its beauty. The spectacular upland lake often appears very blue, even on a cloudy day, tempting many adventurous wild swimmers.
Activities on the water: Due to its remote nature, the only activity you can enjoy on the water is wild swimming and while that might seem rather adventurous, we guarantee it will leave you feeling refreshed and motivated.
What else is there: Nothing, and quite possibly no one. Doesn’t that sound perfect? Embrace the solitude and warm up on the shores of Glaslyn with a flask of hot coffee before continuing your climb.
Lakes in South Wales
In the shadows of mysterious Brecon Beacon mountains, you'll find South Wales’ largest natural lake. Located between the Black Mountains and the Central Beacons, Llangorse Lake is surrounded by peaceful countryside, and it has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Teeming with wildlife and offering plenty of water sports, it’s a Welsh lake that offers the perfect combination of both natural beauty and adrenaline for thrill-seekers.
Activities on the lake: You’ll need a permit, but you can launch your own craft from the boat hire centre or the sailing club, or you can rent the equipment you require. It’s also a popular spot for fishing but this is only allowed from boats, not from the banks and you’ll need to secure licenses and permits.
What else is there: Discover Crannog, a man-made island which is thought to have once been a royal palace, take a walk along the western shore to Llangasty Nature Reserve and go wildlife watching.
Llyn Fan Fach
This alluring lake is hidden away in the remote western side of the Bannau Brycheiniog / Brecon Beacons National Park. Accessed only by foot, the wild and wonderful location of this beautiful Welsh lake attracts adventurers and photographers in equal measures. You don’t have to be a keen hiker to visit the lake though; an easy 4-mile walk from the small car park near Llanddeusant takes you initially along the Beacons Way, beside a lively river and through along a wild mountain ridge.
Activities on the lake: Given its location, there are little activities you can enjoy on the water; however, many visitors find it a beautiful spot for wild swimming and lakeside picnics!
What else is there: Keep an eye out for fish in the lake and red kites and buzzards above.
Llyn Cwm Llwch
A wild and remote Welsh lake, Llyn Cwm Llwch is one of the best-preserved glacial lakes in South Wales. Hidden away beneath some of the highest peaks in the Bannau Brycheiniog / Brecon Beacons, these captivating waters hold a story of fairy magic and the legend of an enchanted island. As you get closer to your destination, you’re sure to be captivated by its enchanting presence.
Activities on the lake: Another wild and wonderful wild swimming spot in Wales where adventurers love to cool off!
What else is there: There are several National Trust walks that will take you to the lake but, if you’re a keen hiker, the 8-mile route from Cwm Gwdi takes in Pen y Fan and Corn Du for an extra dose of Bannau Brycheiniog / Brecon Beacons magic.
Book a cottage in Wales
Have you been captivated by these stunning Welsh lakes? Whether you’re heading to the Bannau Brycheiniog / Brecon Beacons or Eryri / Snowdonia, plan a day trip or a hike to a lake in North or South Wales, and enjoy everything from water sports and fishing to lakeside picnics and country trails. Inspire your holiday in Wales with our guide to the Bannau Brycheiniog / Brecon Beacons and Eryri / Snowdonia before booking one of our Wales cottages.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.