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There are hundreds of lakes around the world that hold claim to the title of the largest lake of some kind – either by volume, surface area, or a plethora of other defining qualifiers and caveats.

For the purpose of this article, we’ve listed the largest lakes in the world when measured by total surface area, from the largest to the smallest. Here are the 7 largest lakes in the world to add to your bucket list of places to visit in the future. Pack your swimsuit, wet suit or dry suit and take a dip or a boat ride around one of these massive lakes.

Top 7 Largest Lakes

1. The Caspian Sea (371,000 km2)

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The Caspian Sea is the largest lake in the world. For its humongous size, it is also called a full-fledged sea.

Despite its misleading name, the Caspian Sea is actually a lake as it is entirely landlocked – the world’s largest lake or body of water, in fact. It is located between Europe and Asia, like the soul of a single body! This inland sea is bordered by Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan.

Interestingly, the lake is not fresh water; it is partially salty, albeit only a third as salty as seawater, because it once formed part of the ancient Paratethys Sea. Today, the sea is celebrated for its amazing caviar and prominent oil industry.

2. Lake Superior (82,100 km2)

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Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake with a surface area of 82,170 sq. km (31,700 sq. mi), which is greater than combining Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. The lake is about 563 km (350 mi) long, 257 km (160 mi) wide, and reaches a maximum of 400 m(1,300 ft) in depth.

The 10,000-year-old Lake Superior is home of about fifty-eight orchid species. Every fall, countless migrating birds, that reaches up to 100,000, pass by the lake’s northern shore.

Every winter, the lake turns into a magical frozen lake with ice formations and icicles decorating the ice caves. However, this event happens rarely.

3. Lake Victoria (68,870 km2)

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One of the African Great Lakes, Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater lake in Africa, spreading across Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. It is also the largest tropical lake on Earth and the second largest freshwater lake by surface area – beaten only by Lake Superior.

The main reservoir of the Nile River, Lake Victoria is home to more than 200 different species of fish, including Tilapia, which provide a livelihood for thousands of people who live on and near its shoreline.

Named after Queen Victoria of England by John Hanning Speke, who first documented the lake in the 1850s, Lake Victoria is recorded as the most dangerous lake in the world. It sees the most deaths of any lake each year, caused by black spots, changeable weather conditions, and crocodile attacks.

4. Lake Huron (59,600 km2)

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Bounded on the west by Michigan (US) and on the north and east by Ontario, Lake Huron is another Great Lake that boasts as the second largest when it comes to its surface area of 59,600 sq. km (23,000 sq. mi). The lake is 331 km (206 mi) long, 295 km (184 mi) wide and 229 m (750 ft) deep.

Several economic activities are done in Lake Huron like lumbering and fishing. Moreover, tourism isn’t forgotten for several resorts can be seen in the lake’s shores. There’s also the commercial traffic in iron ore, grain, and limestone which are exported to other locations around Ontario and Michigan.

5. Lake Michigan (58,000 km2)

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There are tours where you can join in if you want to see the five Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan. If seeing lighthouses is your thing, there’s also a tour that goes around the islands of Lake Michigan discovering the numerous lighthouses while learning about the site’s history.By volume, Lake Michigan is the second largest Great Lake with 4,918 cubic km (1,180 cubic mi) of water. It is 494 km (307 mi) long and 190 km (118 mi) wide and has more than 2,575 km (1,600 mi) of shoreline. With an average depth of 85 m (279 ft), the lake can even reach down to 282 m (925 ft) at its deepest point.

6. Lake Tanganyika (32,600 km2)

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This African Great Lake is the second oldest freshwater lake in the world and at 673 kilometres is the world’s longest freshwater lake. Lake Tanganyika is surrounded by mountains and valleys within the Albertine Rift and sits at an elevation of 773 metres above sea level.

Over 85 per cent of the 32,600 square kilometre lake is in Tanzania and DR Congo, with water flowing into the Congo River and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also home to numerous islands, including Kavala Island, Milima Island and Mutondwe Island.

The lake is home to the threatened storm’s water cobra that can be found on its rocky shoreline. This cobra lives nowhere else in the world. The lake is also home to Nile crocodiles, terrapins and a plethora of cichlid fish species, as well as around 80 other fish species, some of which are endemic.

7. Lake Baikal (31,500 km2)

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Lake Baikal is the 7th largest lake in the world and the largest freshwater lake by volume. It contains 22-23% of the world’s fresh surface water. It contains more water than all of the North American Great Lakes combined!

Baikal is also the deepest lake on the planet and it is considered among the clearest lakes in the world. UNESCO declared this lake a World Heritage Site in 1996. Yes, it is the most popular lake on the planet. Never miss the chance of visiting Lake Baikal ever in your life!

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