Beautiful Places Where The Water is Crystal Clear

The world is full of amazing crystal clear waters. Here are some of the most incredibly beautiful waters in the world that are crystal clear!

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Around 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, and there’s plenty of H2O to be enjoyed in most corners of the world. From lesser-known seas and mammoth lakes to rivers that snake their way through the landscape, there are some truly awesome bodies of water just waiting to be discovered.

And, thanks to the power of nature and preservation by humans, some of that water is clearer than you might ever have thought possible. Here are ten of the most beautiful places around the world where the water is crystal clear.

10. TeWaikoropupū Springs

TeWaikoropupū Springs Beautiful Places Crystal Clear Water

Formerly known as Pupu Springs, TeWaikoropupū springs is the largest freshwater spring in New Zealand and the largest cold water spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

The water is pumped up out of ginormous aquifers at an unfathomable rate of 14,000 litres per second. To give that figure some context, that’s the equivalent of filling 40 bathtubs per second.

Beautiful Places Where The Water is Crystal Clear

The reason the water is so clear is that it spends up to ten years being filtered by the surrounding rocks before it surges out into the pools. The waters are so clear, in fact, that they’ve attracted their fair amount of scientific attention.

In 1993, the National Institute for Water and Atmosphere carried out optical tests on the springs and found that visibility was an incredible 63 meters. You’ll find these spectacular falls close to the town of Takaka in Golden Bay, at the end of a pleasant 30-minute stroll.

9. Jiuzhaigou Valley Lakes

 Beautiful Places Crystal Clear Water Jiuzhaigou Valley Lakes Five Flower

Jiuzhaigou is a nature reserve and national park located in the north of the Sichuan Province in southwest China. The UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts millions of visitors each year with its multi-level waterfalls and spectacular mountain ranges, but its most incredible attraction is Five Flower Lake.

Of more than 114 lakes in the national park, it stands out because of its multi-coloured waters. As you might have guessed by the name, there are at least five colours visible at any one time. This is because of the calcareous sediment at the bottom, as well as the variety of algae and the colourful forest reflecting on the water’s glass-like surface.

If you fancy a visit, October is the best time to go as the forest turns shades of red, orange, and even purple which makes it even prettier.

 Beautiful Places Crystal Clear Water Jiuzhaigou Valley Lakes Five Flower Lake

8. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Beautiful Places Crystal Clear Water Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Founded in 1949, Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes is the oldest national park in southeast Europe and it's so beautiful, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s huge, too, and its maze of 16 lakes and waterfalls covers over 70,000 acres.

Over one million people head out to see the jewel of Croatia each year, and looking at these scenes, it’s easy to see why. The 16 lakes are interconnected and the water flows through all of them as it travels through the park, but they’re separated into upper and lower clusters which are formed by runoff from the mountains.

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The water’s world-famous colors range from blue and gray to turquoise and green depending on the number of minerals and organisms and the angle of the sunlight. If you want to take the trip to Plitvice, it’s 130 km from the capital, Zagreb, and it’s well worth staying for a couple of days to see the colors change.

7. Ambergris Caye, Belize

Ambergris Caye

Around 1.3 million people visit Belize each year, and Ambergris Caye, the largest island, is the main destination for travelers. The key reason people flock there is to scuba dive, and after taking one look at these crystal clear waters it’s easy to see why.

The area is also home to the second-largest coral reef system in the world. The Hol Chan marine reserve lies just 1.5 miles off the coast of Ambergris Caye and is an incredible 25 miles long. Around 40,000 people snorkel or dive here annually, hoping for a glimpse of the huge variety of sea life in the area.

If you’re wondering why oceans like the Caribbean Sea are so beautifully blue, science has the answer. The blue color is created when the sun’s rays are scattered by the water molecules. The water is lighter in the shallows because the sunlight is bouncing off the sand and reefs that sit near the surface.

Beautiful Places Where The Water is Crystal Clear

6. Melissani Lake, Greece

melissani lake greece crystal clear water
Jean Housen, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Greece is one of the world’s greatest locations for history and beauty, and Melissani Lake combines the two to become one of the most fascinating natural attractions in the world. Depressingly, the lake is said to have been named after a heartbroken nymph. According to legend, Melissani took her own life after being spurned by the god Pan.

The cavern is located 2 km outside the popular tourist destination of Sami and is thought to be around 20,000 years old. The lake was completely underground at one point, but a huge earthquake opened it up thousands of years ago and now sunlight floods in and lights up the water with an array of beautiful blue tones.

Beautiful Places Where The Water is Crystal Clear

The lake is so incredibly clear because the cave acts as an aquifer, which means that seawater is sucked into the cave and is filtered during the process. Don’t be tempted to take a sip of the water though: although it’s been filtered it still definitely tastes like salt water.

5. Grüner See

Grüner See
Martin Toedtling, CC BY-SA 3.0 AT, via Wikimedia Commons

Also known as Green Lake, Grüner See got its name thanks to its green, but incredibly clear water. This lake in Styria, in the southeast of Austria, is home to the most spectacular emerald green waters you could ever imagine.

The clean, clear water comes from the snowmelt from the Karst Mountains. Because of the water’s origins, the lake is extremely shallow during the winter months, but the water levels begin to rise once the weather warms up and snow begins to melt faster.

The lake used to be hugely popular with divers who would head there in droves to take advantage of the 50-meter visibility and the underwater meadows, footpaths, and benches. But, all watersports were banned in 2016 because experts worried that the sediment stirred up by divers was resulting in the clear green waters becoming murky.

2006 - Grüner See2
TauchSport_Steininger, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

4. Rio Sucuri, Brazil

Beautiful Places Crystal Clear Water Rio Sucuri, Brazil

The Amazon might be the most famous river in Brazil, but those in the know will tell you that Rio Sucuri is by far the most beautiful. Located in Bonito, four hours' drive from Brazil’s capital, you’ll find Rio Sucuri hidden inside the Riparian Forest. After a short walk visitors are rewarded with a natural aquarium rich with aquatic plants and shoals of colourful fish.

The water is so incredibly clear because it originates from artesian wells. It then springs out of the ground to form pools with visibility of up to 18 metres, and Brazil’s government is so keen to preserve the natural wonder that the entire area is protected, being declared a national park.

Beautiful Places Where The Water is Crystal Clear

3. The Philippines

There are so many incredibly beautiful and crystal clear waters found in the Philippines, and a few places in this beautiful country deserve a mention. First up, Palawan Island, which is perhaps the best-known place in The Philippines to swim in glassy ocean waters.

Island lagoon in Bacuit Bay, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

The Palawan archipelago sits in the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea and attracts over 1 million visitors every year with its reefs, wildlife sanctuaries, and UNESCO world heritage sites. One of the main draws to the area is the opportunity to scuba dive at the site of 12 Japanese shipwrecks from World War 2.

The Phillippines is also home to the Hinatuan Enchanted River, which can be found on the island of Mindanao. The river’s beautiful colours and its unexplored depths have bred many legends, including the theory that fairies add the blue tones to it when nobody’s looking. In actual fact, the clarity of the water is due to its origins in the jungle’s deep springs.

Beautiful Places Crystal Clear Water The Philippines

But no visit to the Philippines would be complete without a trip to Boracay Island. Its calm, clear turquoise bay once hosted 2 million people each year, and this had a terrible effect on the paradise island so the president shut it down for a thorough cleanup.

The island reopened but with a new list of strict rules, including no beach parties, limited watersports, and no vomiting in public. Consider yourself warned.

2. Flathead Lake, Montana

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Flathead Lake in Montana is the largest natural freshwater lake in the west of the US and is known around the world for how incredibly clear its water is. The lake is actually the remnants of a huge inland sea called Lake Missoula which covered a lot of the region around 13,000 years ago.

It’s 370 feet deep at its deepest point and is said to be the cleanest lake of its size in the world. The main reason that the water is so clear is that it originates from the surrounding Rocky Mountains and consists of pure snowmelt. Locals take good care of their natural wonder and ensure that there’s no chance of pollution, helping to keep the lake so pristine.

Honorable Mentions

Before the world’s number-one location for clear water is revealed, there are some honorable mentions that are too spectacular to ignore. The incredible shot below was taken by photographer Ian Coble for outdoor clothing manufacturer Mountain Hardwear.

 Beautiful Places Crystal Clear Water Hoh Rainforest

The shoot took place in Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington State. The Hoh River originates at the Hoh Glacier on Mount Olympus, and the glaciers grind rock into fine glacial flour which turns the river a slate blue colour. The stillness of the water allows the glacial sediment to settle, which makes it crystal clear.

The crystal clear lake in Sabah, Malaysia also deserves a mention. Located in the northern part of Borneo Island, visitors can take advantage of the area’s freshwater wetlands and spend the day paddle boarding on the flat and clear mirror-like water.

Beautiful Places Crystal Clear Water Lake in Sabah, Malaysia

1. Blue Lake, New Zealand

Lake Rotomairewhenua Blue Lake

Blue Lake, also known as Rotomairewhenua, holds the title of the world’s clearest lake. Located in Nelson Lakes National Park on the South Island of New Zealand, Blue Lake underwent scientific testing in 2011, and the results showed it to be the clearest natural body of fresh water known to man.

Visibility is as high as 80 meters, which makes it almost as optically clear as distilled water. The spring-fed lake is so incredibly clear that local Maori tribes regard it as being sacred, so trying to take a dip could land you in big trouble.

The national park is open for hiking, camping, and fishing, though, so at least you can gaze upon the water’s beauty from the lake’s edge. To see it at its best, visit in summer: the higher position of the sun means that more light hits the surface of the lake, turning it into a vibrant shade of blue.

Rotomairewhenua
Squashem, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The world is a beautiful place. I hope you one day get the chance to visit these beautiful places with crystal-clear water. Thanks for reading.

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