20 Stunning Destinations with the Clearest Water in the World

Desperate to swim, dive or snorkel in some crystal clear water? Check out this guide to discover 20 places with the clearest water in the world!

Crystal clear water holds a universal appeal. Whether it’s an ocean, lake, river, or stream, it draws you in like a moth to a flame – especially on hot days, when the sun’s golden rays glisten off its shimmering turquoise surface.

Are you on the lookout for the clearest water in the world? Do you want to swim in, surf on, kayak over, or simply sit beside water so translucent you can see the bottom? Read on for 20 glorious destinations from around the world that won’t disappoint. 

1. Peyto Lake, Canada

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Peyto Lake is in Banff National Park. Surrounded by mountains and fed year-round by a glacier, its bright turquoise waters are the stuff dreams are made of. It’s especially beautiful in the summer, when the ice melts and delivers rock flour to the lake.

Don’t forget your camera. Peyto Lake sits in a valley framed by three high peaks, delivering the panoramic shot of a lifetime.

2. Katherine Hot Springs, Australia

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Katherine Hot Springs is a red rock cave in Australia’s Northern Territory with water that’s so clear pictures don’t do it justice. While a waterfall in the background creates visible ripples, it does nothing to distort the transparency of these natural thermal springs.

This is actually a series of multiple pools of water, all surrounded by lush vegetation. It’s a popular local spot for swimming, picnicking, and hiking.

3. Laghi de Fusine, Italy

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Located about one mile from the Italian/Slovenian border, Laghi de Fusine is actually two glacial lakes. They’re both crystal clear and scenic, but the larger one is more popular.

While the freezing water is too cold for swimming, visitors can get up close by renting a rowboat for the day. Once your arms get tired, swap the oars for a pair of hiking boots. The Julian Alps are close by and offer some incredible trails and hiking paths.

4. Five Flower Lake, China

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Five Flower Lake is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in China’s Jiuzhaigou Valley, Sichuan Province. Considered a holy lake by locals, its incredible water clarity comes from the underground mineral-rich springs that feed it. While admiring its hues and transparency, you’ll notice colorful plant life and ancient fallen trees beneath the surface.

5. Sardinia, Italy

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Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean. It’s one of Italy’s most historic and picturesque destinations, with a coastline renowned for its clarity and turquoise hues. Notable beaches include Cala Brandinchi (nicknamed “Little Tahiti” for its clear waters) and Cala Biriola, where you can scuba dive and snorkel until your heart’s content.

6. Rio da Prata, Brazil

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Layers of limestone beneath the rivers surrounding Brazil’s Bonito municipality act as natural filters, creating some of the clearest and bluest water on earth. Rio de Prata, which means “Silver River,” is one of the largest rivers in the area.

Thanks to its crystal clear water, it’s a local hotspot for divers and snorkelers. If you visit, expect to explore a gorgeous underwater ecosystem full of colorful fishes. 

7. Exumas, Bahamas

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Made up of over 360 individual islands, Exuma is a true tropical paradise. There’s plenty of adventure to be had, too. Big Major Cay (AKA “Pig Beach”) is popular for the feral pigs that swim along the shore, and nearby Tropic of Cancer Beach also offers great sightseeing.

The best part about these islands? Not only do they have some of the clearest water in the world, but it’s also said to be the perfect temperature for swimming in.

8. The Blue River, Greenland

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The Blue River is awe-inspiring. Located on Greenland’s mighty Petermann Glacier, it forms when meltwater collects in its low-lying channels, creating bright blue snakes of water across the ice.

You can actually kayak on it to discover and explore nature’s wild and untouched beauty. The tourist season here occurs during the winter months when the heat subsides and the mosquitoes aren’t as persistent. During this time, visitors flock to the Blue River to admire its waters up close.

9. Crater Lake, Oregon, US

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Some of the clearest water in the world is in America’s Pacific Northwest. Crater Lake formed when Mount Mazama collapsed roughly 7,500 years ago, and it remains a national treasure to this day. Pictures rarely do it justice, but the water here’s said to be so clear you can see the lake bed – even in the deeper zones.

10. Piccaninnie Ponds, Australia

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The Land Down Under has countless places with crystal-clear water. Located in South Australia, Piccaninnie Ponds is one of them. A designated nature preserve and wetland of international importance, freshwater has bubbled up through limestone to create pools with incredible clarity.

Until recently, you were able to go scuba diving in these transparent waters. However, it’s now closed “for immersive water activities” until further notice in an attempt to combat a surge in algae growth. 

11. Zamami, Japan

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Zamami is a popular island in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture. Aside from its stunning surroundings, one of the biggest draws is the clear water, which helped establish it as a popular vacation spot in the years following WW2.

If you visit, start at Furuzamami Beach, where you can spend the day snorkeling and exploring the vibrant coral reefs. Walking along the shore between January and March? Keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales. These majestic animals can often be seen making a splash in the distance at this time of year.

12. Lake Mashu, Japan

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If Zamami doesn’t satisfy your desire for clear water in Japan, make the trip to Lake Mashu. Named after nearby Mount Mashu, it remains incredibly see-through even at depths up to 31.6 meters. It’s one of the clearest lakes on the planet – and one of the deepest in Japan. The scenery is also spectacular, which makes up for the fact you’re not allowed on the water itself.

13. Hvar, Croatia

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The entire Dalmatian Coast is a paradise for beach lovers. Yet, of all of the available getaways here, the beaches lining the Croatian island of Hvar are hard to beat.

It’s home to some of the warmest and clearest beach water in the world, surrounded by lush greenery. Better yet, Hvar also has the most sunlight hours in Croatia (around 2,700 hours per year), so you can be confident of good weather during your stay.

14. The Weddell Sea, Antarctic Peninsula

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The Weddell Sea has some of the clearest, deepest, and coldest water of any sea on earth. Sir Ernest Shackleton called it “the worst sea in the world.”

It’s ice-covered, with tabular bergs of unfathomable size. Scarily, the Weddell Sea is warming at five times the rate experienced elsewhere. If that continues, it will have devastating consequences for things like sea level rise and ocean circulation.

15. Koh Lanta, Thailand

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Koh Lanta is located west of the Thai mainland, in the Andaman Sea. It’s a beautiful, laidback place with white sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise water. The shallower water tends to be clearest, but if you want to venture a little further out, consider donning a mask and oxygen tank.

Join the local snorkelers and scuba divers as they descend to the depths. You’ll see coral reefs, underwater caves, shipwrecks, and tropical fish galore.

16. Sheosar Lake, Pakistan

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Sitting over 4,100 meters above sea level in northern Pakistan, Sheosar Lake looks like something out of a painting. The transparent water is offset by lush greenery and mountains of the Karakoram range. Planning a visit? Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Brown bears, golden marmots, and markhors are just a few of the animals that live here. 

17. Lefkada, Greece

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Every beach on the Greek island of Lefkada is worth visiting. But if you want to see more of the clearest water on earth, stick to those on the west coast, facing the Ionian Sea.

Here, the shoreline shifts gently from small pebbles to silky smooth sand. There’s no danger of stumbling on an unexpected rock or shell. The water’s so clear you’ll see everything on the seafloor around you.

18. Te Waikoropupū Springs, New Zealand

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Te Waikoropupū Springs (otherwise known as Pupu Springs) is a gorgeous location on New Zealand’s South Island. These natural freshwater springs pump out water of breathtaking clarity and color. The water spends up to a decade filtering through the rocks below before hitting the pools, which explains why it’s so shockingly clear and blue.

Because Te Waikoropupū Springs is spiritually significant to the local Māori iwi (tribe), you can’t swim, drink, or touch the water. However, you can walk around them, enjoying their natural beauty from a distance.

19. Anse Source d’Argent, Seychelles

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The Seychelles is an island paradise, and one particular beach shows it at its glorious best: Anse Source d’Argent. In addition to clear ocean water, you’ll find white, sugar-soft sand along a pristine shoreline dotted with iconic granite boulders. Couple this with the beach’s comfortable climate, and you’ll never want to leave.

20. Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil

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Sand dunes and freshwater lagoons extend for countless miles in this remote yet picture-perfect national park in northeast Brazil. There’s so much sand it looks almost desert-like, except for the thousands of glorious cerulean pools peppering the landscape. They’re only there seasonally, though. Visit in June to see the lagoons at their fullest.

Enjoy the Clearest Water in the World

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There you have it then: 20 places with the clearest water in the world. Keep these locations in mind, and it shouldn’t be long before you’re swimming in or sitting beside an idyllic waterside paradise.


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Author: Danny Newman

Title: Writer and Content Creator

Expertise: Travel, Digital Nomadry, Outdoors, Blogging

Danny Newman is a writer, content creator, and digital nomad from the UK. He founded the travel and lifestyle blog What’s Danny Doing, a popular resource for people seeking more adventure, self-discovery, and purpose. A nationally syndicated writer, Danny’s work features in dozens of online publications, including MSN.com and news sites across the US.