Beautiful lakes you won’t believe are man-made

Noble Horvath

Fake lakes While Mother Nature usually knows best, sometimes human intervention can create places of great beauty as these artificial lakes go to show. The construction of reservoirs, dams and mines has produced some incredible waterways that are equally as gorgeous as their natural counterparts. Microsoft may […]


While Mother Nature usually knows best, sometimes human intervention can create places of great beauty as these artificial lakes go to show. The construction of reservoirs, dams and mines has produced some incredible waterways that are equally as gorgeous as their natural counterparts.



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When it comes to beautiful “fake lakes”, Lake Powell, which straddles the states of Utah and Arizona, takes some beating. With its vast blue waters, natural bridges, dams and canyons carved into red and apricot rock, it’s an extraordinary place. The lake was created in 1963 when the Glen Canyon Dam was built across the Colorado River. It’s America’s second-largest man-made lake and the most famous feature is Rainbow Bridge, the world’s largest natural stone bridge.



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A vast freshwater lake near Kununurra in Western Australia’s east Kimberley region, Lake Argyle was formed by the damming of the mighty Ord River. It was filled in 1974 and is the largest reservoir of freshwater in Australia when in flood. With its beautiful bays and inlets, plus rich wildlife (it’s teeming with fish, birds, rock wallabies, crocodiles and wallaroos), it has become one of the remote Kimberley region’s top attractions.



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Sitting at the end of the mighty Gorge du Verdon, a deep canyon carved by the Verdon River in southeastern France, Lac de Sainte-Croix is the country’s second-largest lake. It might be artificial but it certainly looks the real deal with sandy shores (ideal for sunbathing and picnics) and limestone cliffs. It’s usually awash with people messing about on kayaks, paddleboards and rowboats.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


One of the largest artificial lakes in Europe, Buško Blato sits at 2,350 feet (716m) above sea level near the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina with Croatia. It was constructed in the 1970s on farmland – its name translates as “mud” or “swamp”. The scenic lake is popular with anglers thanks to its plentiful fish including the European chub, minnow-nase and catfish, and swimmers flock to its warm waters in the summer. But things can get a little chilly at this lofty lake in winter.



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Surrounded by dense forests, the slopes of the Agrafa Mountains, little rural villages and monasteries, Lake Plastiras in Thessaly on mainland Greece is a hot spot for hikers and outdoor lovers. It’s hard to believe this scenic high-altitude lake hasn’t always been part of this beautiful landscape, but the reservoir was created in 1959 after a dam was constructed for irrigation and power.



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America’s largest artificial lake, Lake Mead was formed when the Hoover Dam was constructed in the 1930s. As well as supplying Las Vegas with water, the vast desert oasis is a huge playground for boating, sailing and fishing. A bird’s-eye-view gives some sense of the lake’s scale and it’s usually possible to get up close on the water, on a boat tour of the lake to see the gigantic Hoover Dam.



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Famed for its pretty stilt villages, Hungary’s Lake Bokodi is a popular summer retreat, especially with anglers. But the season extends into the winter as the lake never freezes despite the region’s bone-chilling temperatures. That’s because the lake is actually a cooling pond for a power plant that pulls cool water out and pumps warm water back in.



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Periyar Lake is situated in a wildlife reserve in the Western Ghats of Kerala, southern India. The reserve is home to elephants, wild boar and a scattering of Royal Bengal tigers, and the lake is usually a popular place for boat safaris before guided hikes into the surrounding park in the hope of tracking the elusive tiger. The pretty lake was created by the British in 1895 when a dam was built across the River Periyar.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


Surrounded by lush tropical rainforests, Lake Kenyir in Malaysia’s Terengganu state is the largest artificial lake in South East Asia. It was formed in 1985 after a power station dammed the Kenyir River. As well as providing electricity to the region, the expansive waters have dramatically boosted tourism too. Islands, limestone caves and waterfalls lie dotted around its waters and shores, which are only accessible by boat. Birdwatching, kayaking and canoeing are usually popular activities here.



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Lake Campotosto is a scenic stretch of water in Abruzzo’s mountainous Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park. The artificial lake was formed in the 1930s to establish a water reservoir that could be used to generate hydroelectric power for the nearby Vomano valley. Surrounded by a network of hiking trails, the stunning lake is a popular spot for walkers, horse riders, cyclists and campers.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



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Lake Nasser in southern Egypt is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, stretching across 2,030 square miles (5,257sq km). It was formed when the Aswan High Dam was built across the Nile between 1958 and 1970, threatening to submerge several historical tombs and temples, and spurring a major international campaign to save them. Today traditional felucca sailboats usually take tourists to see the ancient sites located on its shores, including the Great Temple at Abu Simbel.



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Indonesia’s striking Kaolin Lake is an abandoned quarry which was built to collect industrial minerals needed for cosmetics, toothpaste and paper production, and later flooded. Located on the island of Belitung, its dazzling turquoise expanse is surrounded by mountains of excavated white rocks. Swimming in its waters is reputed to have health benefits.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.



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