Environment

The Largest Lakes in Europe

Ladoga, in Russia, is the largest lake in Europe with a surface area of 17,700 squared kilometers.

The five largest lakes in Europe are all located in Russia except for Lake Vänern which is found in Sweden. The lakes are Lake Ladoga, Lake Onega, Kuybyshev Reservoir, and Rybinsk. Most lakes are found in the northern and western parts of Europe where there are countries like Russia, Sweden and Scandinavia. Many of the lakes occur naturally, but some are man-made. Among the lakes are also freshwater lakes, salty lakes, and brackish lakes.

The Largest Lakes in Europe

Lake Ladoga

The largest lake in Europe is Lake Ladoga which is 17,700 km2. It is also the 14th largest freshwater lake in the world by area. Lake Ladoga is located in the outskirts of St. Petersburg; between the republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast in Russia. It has 660 islands which cover an area of 435 km2. Lake Ladoga is a freshwater lake which is 83 km wide, 51 m deep, 837 km3 in volume, and 5 m above sea level. It drains into the Gulf of Finland through the Neva River which acts as its outlet. Furthermore, it is popular for over 48 species of fish that are found in it. These fish include zander, the Ladoga seal, roach, and the endangered European sturgeon among others.

Lake Onega

The second largest lake in the European continent is Lake Onega with a surface area of 9,894 km2. It is also referred to as Lake Onego and is found in between the regions of Leningrad Oblast, Vologda Oblast, and Karelia. The lake is fed by 50 rivers and has an outlet called Svir River. Furthermore, Lake Onega possesses 1,650 islands including Kizhi Island which is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site called Kizhi Pogost. Lake Onega is of glacial-tectonic origin. It is 90 km wide, 245 km long, and 280 km3 in volume. Some of the species of fish found in the lake include brown trout, whitefish, European Crisco, spined loach, and sturgeon.

Lake Vänern

Though third largest by size, Kuybyshev is a reservoir and not considered the third largest lake in Europe. Instead, the third largest lake in Europe is the Lake Vänern which is found in Sweden. It is located around the provinces of Daisland, Värmland, and Västergötland. The lake is 5,655 km2 big, 27 m deep, and 44 m above sea level. It is believed to have been formed 10,000 years ago as a result of the Quaternary glaciation. Lake Vänern is fed by Klarälven, Byälven and Norsälven tributaries with Klarälven being the main tributary. Some of the fish species found in the lake are Vänern salmon, trouts, zander, and whitefish.

The economic importance of the lakes

Lakes Ladoga, Onega, and Vänern have had a great economic impact to their countries. All of the lakes are navigable so they provide water to transport for cargo and people alike. Furthermore, the fishing industry has really boomed in those regions where the lakes are located. In spite of this, the success of fishing is threatened by water cultivation, pollution, and the M74 syndrome. The M74 syndrome mainly affects Lake Vänern. Besides fishing, the coast of Lake Onega also flourishes with mining of minerals such as black schist, granite, and marble.

The Largest Lakes in Europe

RankLake NameCountryArea in Squared Kilometers
1LadogaRussia17,700
2OnegaRussia9,894
3KuybyshevRussia6,450
4VänernSweden5,655
5RybinskRussia4,580
6SaimaaFinland4,377
7PeipusEstonia, Russia3,555
8TsimlyanskRussia2,702
9KremenchukUkraine2,250
10KakhovkaUkraine2,155
11VätternSweden1,893
12SaratovRussia1,831
13GorkyRussia1,591
14Suur-SaimaaFinland1,377
15BeloyeRussia1,290
16VygozeroRussia1,250
17MälarenSweden1,140
18IJsselmeerNetherlands1,100
19PäijänneFinland1,081
20InariFinland1,040
21KievUkraine992
22TopozeroRussia986
23IlmenRussia982
24Lake SevanArmenia940
25SegozeroRussia906
26PielinenFinland894
27OulujärviFinland887
28ImandraRussia876
29PihlajavesiFinland713
30PihkvaEstonia, Russia710
31MarkermeerNetherlands700
32Iron GatesRomania/Serbia700
33KanivUkraine675
34PyaozeroRussia659
35KovdozeroRussia608
36MingachevirAzerbaijan605
37OrivesiFinland601
38BalatonHungary592
39GenevaSwitzerland, France581
40DniprodzerzhynskUkraine567
41HaukivesiFinland562
42ConstanceGermany, Switzerland, Austria541
43KeiteleFinland494
44HjälmarenSweden485
45KallavesiFinland473
46StorsjönSweden464
47PuruvesiFinland421
48VozheRussia416
49RazelmRomania415
50KubenskoyeRussia407
51Lough NeaghNorthern Ireland (United Kingdom)388
52SheksninskoyeRussia380
53ScutariAlbania, Montenegro370
54GardaItaly370
55MjøsaNorway365
56PyhäselkäFinland361
57OhridAlbania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia358
58LachaRussia356
59SiljanSweden354
60Manych-GudiloRussia344
61PuulaFinland330
62TorneträskSweden330
63IvankovoRussia327
64VodlozeroRussia322
65LokkaFinland315
66UmbozeroRussia313
67NeusiedlAustria, Hungary315
68HöytiäinenFinland282
69Great PrespaAlbania, Greece, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia273
70VõrtsjärvEstonia270
71SyamozeroRussia265
72AkkajaureSweden261
73Middle KuytoRussia257

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