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Embrace the allure of Portugal, a hidden gem tucked in Southern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula, brimming with irresistible charm and captivating wonders.

While most globetrotters flock here to bask in the sun-kissed beaches of the Algarve, savor the finest wines of Porto, or explore the urban beat in bustling cities like Aveiro and Lisbon, Portugal’s well-kept secret—the enchanting lakes—remains largely untouched by the throngs of tourists.

Dare to venture beyond the known, and let us guide you through a remarkable journey across seven of Portugal’s most breathtaking and thrilling lakes, each promising an unforgettable adventure. Some are situated on islands off Portugal but can be easily reached.

Lagoa do Caldeirão (Corvo Island)

Lagoa Corvos portugal, one of the great lakes

Corvo, the smallest and northernmost island of the Azores archipelago, is a haven of unspoiled natural beauty. It has been declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO and is the perfect destination for those seeking serenity and an intimate connection with nature. At the heart of Corvo lies its crowning glory – Lagoa do Caldeirão, pictured above.

This enchanting lake, cradled within a vast volcanic caldera, boasts emerald green waters that mirror the lush vegetation and cloud-kissed skies above. To reach Lagoa do Caldeirão, one can embark on a scenic hike from the quaint village of Vila do Corvo. Guided tours are also available, offering jeep rides to the top of the caldera. The path can be steep, but the panoramic views of the isl and and the mystic lake are well worth the journey.

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Pateira de Fermentelos

This is the largest natural lake in all of the Iberian Peninsula. It is specifically known for being home to various diverse flora and fauna, including ducks, butterflies, fish, and frogs. It is fed by two different rivers, the Cértima and the Águeda, which converge at the lake.

The nearest city is Aveiro, which offers plenty of accommodation choices for visitors.  The closest hotel to the lake is Hotel Estalagem da Pateira, which actually overlooks the lake.

portugal lake hotel

Getting from Lisbon to Pateira de Fermentelos, one of Portugal’s hidden natural gems, is straightforward. Start your journey by hopping on a train from Lisbon’s Santa Apolonia or Oriente station to Aveiro, which takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours.

From Aveiro, Pateira de Fermentelos is a short trip away, about 20 minutes by car or taxi. Alternatively, local buses also service this route, although the journey may be longer.

Regardless of the mode of transportation, the journey is scenic and well worth the time, offering a delightful preview of the natural beauty you’re about to discover at Pateira de Fermentelos.

Lagoa da Vela

Lagoa da Vela, nestled in the lush landscapes of Quiaios, is the largest natural lake in Portugal’s mainland. This tranquil haven is an oasis of diverse flora and fauna, enveloped by a sprawling pine forest and golden dunes.

Its clear blue waters, teeming with various fish species, make it a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts. Yet, its serenity also draws those seeking a peaceful retreat, with its picturesque shoreline offering an ideal spot for contemplative walks or quiet picnics.

The lagoon’s striking beauty is magnified at sunset, when the shimmering waters reflect the hues of the setting sun, creating a truly magical ambiance. In all its simplicity and allure, Lagoa da Vela is a hidden gem waiting to be explored.

Lagoa da Vela - best portugal lakes

Traveling from Lisbon to the tranquil Lagoa da Vela is a scenic voyage that unfolds the natural beauty of Portugal. You begin by taking a train from Santa Apolonia or Oriente station in Lisbon to Coimbra-B. The journey typically takes around two hours. From Coimbra, Lagoa da Vela is a roughly 45-minute drive westward.

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Rental cars and taxis are viable options for this leg of the journey. As you approach Quiaios, you’ll find Lagoa da Vela tucked between the verdant pine forest and undulating dunes, offering a picturesque backdrop that heralds the serenity and beauty of your destination.

My closest hotel near Lagoa da Vela is Arcada Hotel, only a 10 min drive away.

Lagoa da Pedreira

This lake is not a natural formation but was created due to mining and a large quarry in the area. Directly translated, the name Lagoa da Pedreira actually means Lagoon of the Quarries. While swimming is popular, it is rarely used for that purpose by locals. The best way to enjoy the lake is to walk along the perimeter, enjoy the abundant wildlife in the area or try your hand at fishing in the lake.

The nearest town is Póvoa de Varzim and accommodations there include a few affordable Portuguese villas that are ideal for families. Grande Hotel da Póvoa overlooks the port and has reasonably priced rooms (around 100 Euros per night).

Lagoa de Óbidos

More of a lagoon than a lake, the Lagoa de Óbidos is located in the districts of Óbidos and Caldas da Rainha in Portugal. It is one of the larger water sources in Portugal and empties out into the nearby Atlantic Ocean along the country’s coast.

Source: Wikipedia

Visitors to the area can visit the nearby town of Óbidos for authentic Portuguese dining, a few small guesthouses and hotels, and a chance to tour the impressive medieval fortress. The fortress is actually home to many of the local residents. There is no fee associated with visiting or even swimming in the Lagoa de Óbidos.

Lagoa do Negro

Lagoa do Negro, or ‘Black Lake,’ is an enchanting natural wonder nestled on the island of Terceira in the Azores archipelago.

Source: wikipedia

The lake gets its unique name from the dense, dark foliage surrounding it, which is often reflected in its serene, mirror-like waters, creating an aura of tranquility and mystery.

Located amidst a forest of Cryptomeria japonica trees, the site is an oasis of untouched beauty that offers visitors an escape from the bustle of modern life. The area around Lagoa do Negro is perfect for leisurely walks, picnics, or simply soaking in the magnificent views. This tranquil lagoon, steeped in a peaceful ambiance and a hint of folklore, provides a refreshing connection with nature in its purest form.

Lagoa do Fogo (Azores)

Lagoa do Fogo, or ‘Lake of Fire,’ is one of the most striking natural attractions in the Azores. Nestled in the heart of São Miguel island, this crater lake is situated within the Agua de Pau stratovolcano and is recognized as a nature reserve for its unique flora and fauna.

Its name comes from its fiery past of volcanic activity, but today, it embodies tranquillity and serene beauty. The lake’s crystalline blue waters contrast dramatically with the lush greenery of the surrounding hills and the stark volcanic terrain.

The breathtaking panoramas it offers make it a hiker’s paradise, while its secluded beaches often beckon visitors for a rejuvenating swim. Experiencing Lagoa do Fogo, in all its untouched splendor, is like stepping into a magnificent painting.

Source: https://www.travelbusy.com/

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By Lala