What comes to mind when you picture a tropical paradise?
It isn’t muddy seas or dingy shorelines, right?
You probably imagine yourself lounging next to clear blue water, with a cold drink in your hand and the sweet breeze gently lulling you to sleep!
I know I do.
In fact, with the English winter in full force, I find myself daydreaming about that exact scenario more and more at the moment…
Desperate to escape the cold and rain, I decided to look into the best places to bring those tropical dreams to life.
So, from oceans, lakes, and even gorgeous rivers, today I’m going to take you on a tour of 20 destinations with the most crystal clear water in the world!
Get your swimsuit and snorkel ready, because these spots are definitely dive-worthy.
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1. Peyto Lake: The Rocky Mountains, Canada
Peyto Lake is located in Canada’s stunning Banff National Park.
Fed year-round by a glacier, its turquoise waters are the stuff dreams are made of.
It’s especially beautiful in the summer, when the glacier melts and delivers rock flour to the lake.
You’ll want to bring your camera along and snap a pic for the ‘gram if you visit Peyto Lake.
It sits down in a valley, framed by three high peaks, delivering the panoramic shot of a lifetime.
2. Katherine Hot Springs: Australia
Katherine Hot Springs is a red rock cave with water so clear pictures don’t do it justice.
While a waterfall in the background does create visual ripples, it does nothing to distort the transparency of the 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- and for good reason!
3. Laghi de Fusine: Italy
Located about one mile from the Italian/Slovenian border, Laghi de Fusine is actually two glacial lakes.
They’re both crystal clear, but the larger one is the most popular.
While the freezing water is too cold for swimming, visitors can get an up-close view of it by renting a rowboat for the day!
Once your arms get tired, you can 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
Five Flower Lake is located in China’s Jiuzhaigou Valley, within the Sichuan Province.
While you’re admiring the water’s remarkable transparency, be sure to look beyond the surface.
This crystal clear lake is renowned for its many ancient trees lying underwater!
5. Sardinia (Some of the Clearest Beach Water in Europe!)
The second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sardinia has a few different claims to fame!
First, it’s one of five regions in the world with high concentrations of centenarians.
In fact, there are more than 500 people in Sardinia who are 100 years old or older. Who knows, maybe the secret to a long life is in the country’s gorgeously clear waters!?
Rare ocean species, including the Mediterranean Monk Seal and the Mouflon, call this place home…and I definitely don’t blame them.
6. Rio da Prata: Bonito, Brazil
There are layers of limestone underneath the rivers that surround Brazil’s Bonito municipality.
These stones act as natural filters, creating some of the clearest and bluest water in the world.
Rio de Prata is one of the biggest and clearest rivers in the area and, understandably, is a local hotspot for divers and snorkelers.
7. Exuma: Bahamas (Awesome Beaches with the Clearest Water!)
Most people expect the Bahamas to boast beaches with the clearest water, but you’ve never seen anything like Exuma!
Made up of over 360 individual islands, this is the tropical paradise of anyone’s dreams.
While you might be tempted to simply prop up your feet and grab a cold drink, there’s plenty of adventure to be had here.
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 lots of great sightseeing.
The best part about these islands?
Not only is it some of the most crystal clear water in the world, but it’s also said to be the perfect temperature to wade in!
8. The Blue River: Greenland (unexpected places with clear water)
The Blue River takes a slightly different shape each year, but it’s always awe-inspiring.
If you’re up for a challenge, you can kayak around to discover and explore nature’s wild and untouched beauty.
While the lack of infrastructure can make travel a little challenging, don’t let that deter you from checking out The Blue River yourself.
The tourist season here occurs during the winter months, when the heat subsides and the mosquitoes aren’t quite as persistent.
During this time, visitors flock to the river to admire its see-through waters up close.
9. Crater Lake: Oregon
Would you expect to find some of the clearest water in the world in the Pacific Northwest?
If you’ve ever visited Crater Lake, then you can say yes!
This lake formed with Mount Mazama collapsed roughly 7,500 years ago and it remains a local treasure to this day.
The picture doesn’t do it justice, but the water here’s said to be so clear that you can see the bottom of the lake bed even in the deeper zones.
10. Piccaninnie Ponds: Australia
Australia boasts countless areas with clear water and turquoise beaches.
Looking for a buzzy tourist place?
…This isn’t it.
But that’s exactly what makes it so intriguing! A designated nature preserve, Piccaninnie Ponds still remains mostly untouched. Yet that doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible.
If you’re interested in scuba diving in these transparent waters, you just need to obtain a special permit first. From there, this underwater utopia’s yours to explore!
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11. Zamami: Japan (Best Turquoise Beaches in Japan?)
Zamani is an Okinawan island chain that sees its fair share of tourists all year round.
Aside from the stunning surroundings, one of the biggest draws is definitely the clear water, which helped establish Zamami as a vacation locale in the years following WW2.
Once you’re here, there are many different places to set up shop and explore.
Start at Furuzamami Beach and spend the day snorkelling and exploring the vibrant coral reefs.
Then, walk along the shore and try to spot a humpback whale making a splash in the distance!
There are many sightseeing boat tours that offer a 360-degree view of the area, as well as observation gazebos that give you a moment to reflect on the beauty of the island.
12. Lake Mashu: Japan
Japan offers plenty of places with clear water, but Lake Mashu takes top honours.
Named after nearby Mount Mashu, this lake remains fully transparent even at depths of up to 31.6 meters!
This officially makes it one of the clearest lakes in the world and gives you yet another reason to plan a trip to this incredible country.
13. Hvar: Croatia (Beautiful Places with Clear Water)
If you’re into clear beaches, then the entire Dalmatian Coast is well worth a visit.
However, of all of the available getaways, you simply can’t miss the beaches that line the Croatian island of Hvar. This place has been on my bucket list for years now!
This is some of the clearest beach water in the world.
If it weren’t for the lush greenery surrounding you, it’d be easy to assume you were dipping your toes in a swimming pool!
Another reason to book a visit?
Hvar has the highest number of sunlight hours in all of Croatia (around 2,700 hours per year!) so you can rest assured you’ll have beautiful, bright weather during your stay.
14. The Weddell Sea: Antarctic Peninsula
Some scientists say that The Weddell Sea has the clearest water of any ocean in the world.
It’s also immensely deep and, as you’d expect, usually exceedingly icy.
Interestingly, waters at the bottom of this sea seem to be warming at five times the rate experienced elsewhere on the globe.
This is likely attributed to the changing winds and currents that lie above and within the nearby Southern Ocean.
If the warming continues at the current pace, it could weaken the routine overturning of enormous water masses that takes place there.
That, in turn, could affect ocean circulation around the world…
15. Koh Lanta: Thailand
Koh Lanta’s located west of the Thai mainland, in the Andaman Sea.
It’s a stunning, laid back place with white sands and crystal clear water you have to see to believe.
The shallower water tends to be clearest, but if you want to venture a little further out, consider doing some diving.
Join the local snorkelers and scuba divers going down into the depths to enjoy the coral reefs, underwater caves, and bright fish below.
16. Sheosar Lake: Pakistan
Located in Pakistan’s northern region, Sheosar Lake looks like something out of a painting.
The transparent water’s offset by the lush green pastures and mountains that surround it.
Planning a visit? Keep your eyes peeled for the abundance of wild woodland animals that are meant to roam the hills there.
17. Lefkada: Greece
You can’t go wrong by booking a trip to any of the beaches in Lefkada, Greece.
If you want to see some of the clearest water on Earth, though, stick close to the ones that dot the west coast, facing the Ionian Sea.
Here, the shoreline shifts gently from small pebbles to silky smooth sand.
And don’t worry.
There’s no danger of stumbling on an unexpected rock or shell here! The water’s so perfectly see-through that you’ll see everything on the seafloor around you.
18. Te Waikoropupū Springs: New Zealand
Te Waikoropupū Springs (otherwise known as Pupu Springs) is a mindbogglingly beautiful place that funnels some of the world’s clearest freshwater.
The springs pump out massive aquifers at a rate of 14,000 litres per second!
Before it pumps out, the water spends up to a decade filtering through the rocks below, which explains why it’s shockingly clear and so beautifully blue.
Because these springs are spiritually significant to New Zealand’s local iwi, Ngati Tama, you can’t swim, drink, or touch the water.
However, you can walk around the springs, enjoying their natural beauty from a distance.
19. Anse Source d’Argent: La Digue Island, Seychelles
For centuries, the idyllic island of Seychelles has been heralded as an iconic island paradise.
This particular beach is the most prominent reason why: Anse Source d’Argent.
In addition to clear ocean water, you’ll also find pure white, pillow-soft sand along the shoreline. Couple this with the beach’s comfortable climate and you’ll never want to leave.
20. Lençóis Maranhenses National Park: Maranhão, Brazil
It’s not every day that you see sand dunes, lagoons, and crystal-clear water in the same spot.
In this park, there are actually so many dunes that it looks like you’re in the desert. Take a few steps though, and you’ll soon discover the lagoons lying all around.
Not only is the water exceptionally clear, but it’s also comfortably warm.
This makes it an oasis of swimming holes just waiting for you to jump into!
Enjoy Crystal Clear Water Around the Globe!
There you have it then: 20 places with the most crystal clear water in the world.
I hope this article’s been useful for anyone who, like me, is growing increasingly desperate to hop on a plane and escape to an idyllic waterside paradise!
Keep these locations with the clearest water in the world in mind and it shouldn’t be long before you’re swimming, snorkelling, and cavorting until your heart’s content.
Sound good, but want to do it without breaking the bank?
Check out my guide to the 15 cheapest islands to visit next!