Marvellous and Inspiring Swiss Lakes

The Swiss lakes with their magnificent sceneries inspired Lord Byron, Victor Hugo, Rousseau, Wagner, Dostoïevski, Tolstoï.

Swiss lakes? The first thought is for Lake Geneva as we all recall The prisoner of Chillon by Lord Byron and Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Nouvelle Eloïse with the so romantic site of the castle immortalized by both authors. Switzerland is a country of mountains and lakes.Where the majestic Alps resemble a gigantic rampart, the peaceful and pure lakes create havens of beauty in the landscape.

On a total of 1484 natural lakes, 5 have a surface over 100 square kilometers: Lake Geneva (581 square kilometers, 347 in Switzerland), Lake Constance (541square kilometers, 171 in Switzerland), Lake Neufchâtel (218 square kilometers, the largest entirely Swiss lake), Lake Maggiore (212 square kilometers, 41 in Switzerland) and Lake Lucerne (114 square kilometers). The Zurich, Lugano, Thun, Bienne, Zoug, Brienz, Walenstadt, Murten, Sempach and Hallwil lakes have a surface comprised between10 and 90 square kilometers. Generally, the lakes are fringed with well-timbered mountainous slopes. We find many vineyards though on the Swiss banks of the Lake Geneva and around Lake Neufchâtel where Honoré de Balzac met his intended wife, Ewelina Hanska, for the first time in 1833. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was so much fascinated by the splendour of the sceneries that he called the region located between Vevey and Montreux, on the banks of the Lake Geneva, "a sanctuary of Romanticism".The Romantics and nature lovers are not the only ones who come here for a sort of pilgrimage, tourism is an important source of revenue for Switzerland.

The great lakes,Constance and Geneva, are used as reservoirs for the Rhine and Rhône. These are real inner seas. Lake Geneva offers a depth of more than 300 meters and lake Constance is 64 km long, 12 wide. Amongst the smallest lakes, Lake Lucerne, in the centre of Switzerland, deserves a special mention.Its shape is indented and although situated on the Northern and relatively cold versant of the Alps, it is known for its pleasant climate, almost comparable to the South. Along the Northern banks runs the Rivierstrasse, enabling the travellers to visit picturesque cities such as Gersau, Weggis and Vitznaü, at the foot of the mountainous massif of Rigi Kulm. At the North-West of the lake is found the old town of Lucerne. Since the XIIIth century, the merchants began to use this itinerary through the Saint-Gothard saddle. The city then became an important stage on the commercial route between Flanders and Italy. It is in this part of Switzerland - in the cantons around Lucern - that was established the democratic Swiss Confederation at the end of the XIIIth century. It is the country of William Tell for whom the romantic poet Schiller wrote a play in 1804. Many a writer, many a painter were inspired by the magnificence of the lakes and atmospheres of its cities like Lugano, the Italian on the South, and mainly Lucerne. Dostoïevski and Tolstoï stayed here and also Victor Hugo and Richard Wagner who composed his operas Siegfried, Die Meitersinger von Nürnberg and Tristan.

Of course, you can practice water-skiing on the Swiss lakes, you will breathe fresh air from the mountains, enjoy nature, good meals and delicious chocolate. Bon voyage!

Lake Lucerne, Chapel Bridge, the oldest wooden bridge in Europe.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3f/Luzern_Kapellbruecke.jpg

Lake Thun as seen from the Niederhorn.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ed/Thunersee.jpg

Oberhofen on the Lake Thun.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/Oberhofen.jpg

Lake Geneva from Lavaux with the vineyards.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/Lavaux_Alpes_et_Lac_l%C3%A9man.jpg

Roman columns at Nyon on the banks of Lake Geneva.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/Roman-column.jpg

Castle of Chillon that inspired Lord Byron and J-J.Rousseau, on Lake Geneva.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f7/Schweiz_Schloss_Chillon_Gesamtansicht.jpg

Chillon Castle, built on the rocks that appear in the basement.

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Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/Basement-of-chillon-castle.jpg

Chillon Castle.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/SchlossChillon03.jpg

Lake Maggiore.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b3/LacMajeur.JPG

Lake Lugano.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/26/Lake_Lugano.jpg

Lake Zurich.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Seedamm_-_Z%C3%BCrichsee_-_Felsenegg_IMG_5280.JPG

Lake Bienne.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7f/Swiss-bienne-city-1.JPG

Lake Brienz.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/Brienzersee_Winter.jpg

Water-skiing on Lake Brienz.

Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/66/Brienzersee.JPG

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