Peyto Lake, Canada

When you imagine the bluest waters in the world, the first place your mind likely goes is to a tropical beach somewhere. But not so fast: Peyto Lake, located in Banff National Park amid Alberta’s Canadian Rockies, is actually too cold for swimming. The lake, which is one of Canada’s top tourist attractions, gets its color from glacial salts that flow down into it during the summer months. For a particularly stunning contrast, visit Petyo Lake during Alberta’s frigid winter, whose bright white snow draws further attention to the aquamarine hues of the water.

Bohey Dulang Island, Malaysia

When it comes to Southeast Asia, Malaysia is usually not the first country that comes to mind when you think of amazing beaches. If you don’t mind a long journey, however, you can see some of the bluest waters in the world just off the coast of Malaysian Borneo. Specifically, Bohey Dulang Island requires a flight to the small port of Tawau, a taxi to Semporna Port and a boat ride, in that order. To get the best perspective on the blue waters of Bohey Dulang, which result from a shallow crater left by an ancient volcano, you’ll need to hike up an hour after your boat docks at the island’s ranger station, but be warned: If there’s been recent rain, you won’t be allowed to hike the chronically muddy trail.

Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

Like Peyto Lake, Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is about as far from tropical as you can get, but thankfully these supernaturally blue waters are perfectly equipped for swimming: They’re part of a hot spring system, with a year-round temperature of around 100°F. Even better? The Blue Lagoon is only a short drive from Keflavik International Airport, Iceland’s main air gateway, which means you can theoretically take a dip in some of the world’s bluest waters on a stopover, which is a pretty remarkable fact. On the other hand, the Blue Lagoon can get rather crowded, so if you happen to take a road trip through Iceland, you might want to experience its crazy blue waters from a different vantage point, such as Myvatn Nature Baths, in the north of the country not far from Akureyi.

Belize’s Great Blue Hole

The story of Belize’s Great Blue Hole is complicated, and requires a great deal of historical perspective. Specifically, about 150,000 years’ worth! In fact, the hole has been formed gradually over the time, and features several concentric ledges, bottoming out somewhere around 400 feet beneath the surface. Of course, geology will be the last thing on your mind as you approach the Great Blue Hole, which sits about 45 miles off the coast of mainland Belize in the Lighthouse Reef Formation. Instead, you’ll be astounded by just how blue these waters are!

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Most people come to Lake Bled, Slovenia for one of two reasons. The first is to take a boat and paddle to the church on an island at the center of the lake. The second is to hike up to Bled Castle, which provides a panorama of the lake and church, as well as the Julian Alps behind it. What might not dawn on you until you reach the precipice is that the waters of Lake Bled are among the bluest in the world, a fact you’ll probably also note if you cool off by jumping into them. As is the case with Petyo Lake, Lake Bled’s coloration results in part from the fact that it’s formed of glacier run-off. Lake Bled is just a few hours’ bus ride from Ljubljana, Slovenia’s charming capital, so a visit here is a no-brainer if you happen to be in the area!

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