More at home near a picturesque, freshwater lake than a busy seaside resort? We’ve picked a couple of lakes in France and Spain, ones that are great for bathing and water sports and where a second home would be especially appealing to nature lovers and outdoorsy people. We’ve also found a property for sale near each – could one float your boat?

Rustic house for refurbing in Beaumont du Lac

FRANCE, Lake Vassivière
Covering almost 10 square kilometres, Lake Vassivière is a highlight of the Limousin region. It sits in rolling, forested countryside within the Millevaches Regional Park, around 70 kilometres from Limoges.

The lake boasts several beaches, campsites and tourist hubs, including those at Vauveix, Auphelle and Beaumont-du-Lac, a pretty village a short walk from water. There are several small marinas on the lake and popular leisure activities include swimming, sailing, canoeing, stand-up paddle-surfing, windsurfing, wakeboarding and water skiing. A trail follows the water’s edge for 30 kilometres and is ideal for cyclists, joggers or a leisurely stroll.

Free boat taxis shuttle between various points around the lake, and there is even an island with its own international arts centre.

Rustic villa with views of Lake Sainte-Croix

FRANCE, Lake Sainte-Croix
Nestled within the Verdon Regional Natural Park, straddling the Var and Hautes-de-Haute-Provence départements in southern France, is the man-made Lake Sainte-Croix, known for its dazzling turquoise waters.

Covering 22 square kilometres and around 10-kilometres long, the lake has three supervised swimming areas located at the waterfront villages of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, Les Salles-sur-Verdon and smaller Bauduen. Pedalos and boats can also be hired at each. As well as picnic areas, there are other unsupervised beaches dotted around the lake.

At the northeastern end at the Pont du Galetas, an almost invisible slot in the mountain wall hides the deep Verdon canyon where the green waters of the river enter the lake. The French Riviera at Sainte-Maxime is around 90 minutes’ drive away.

Large villa beside Lake Viñuela

SPAIN, Lake Viñuela
Twenty-five minutes inland from the Costa del Sol resort of Torre del Mar and 50 minutes from Málaga is pretty Lake Viñuela, a focal point of the rugged unspoilt Axarquía province.

A selection of communities amongst the rolling landscape surrounding the lake have become popular with foreign homeowners who prefer a more peaceful, natural environment to the busier coast. These include Viñuela village – named after the abundant vines that produce the area’s famous sweet wine – Los Romanes, the Cortijo Romero urbanisation, Puente de Salia, and a little further out Benamargosa. Each is either a walk or short drive from the lakeside and traditional townhouses or villas with a private pool are especially popular there.

Lake Viñuela has a selection of sandy beaches for swimming, picnic areas, a campsite and a centre of non-motorised water sports.

Villa overlooking Lake Negratín

SPAIN, Lake Negratín
On the Altiplano de Granada plateau deep in the Andalusian interior is Lake Negratín, one of Spain’s largest freshwater lakes. The surrounding landscape is especially scenic, thanks to the lake being located between the Sierra de Baza and Sierra de Castril natural parks and overlooked by the majestic Mount Jabalcon.

The most popular beach, where pedalos are available, is near Freila. Meanwhile on the banks at Cuevas del Campo is the Negratín water sports club, where things to hire include kayaks and wind-surfing boards. A popular attraction at Lake Negratín is the outdoor pool fed by natural hot springs at Baños de Zújar. This corner of Granada is known for its cave houses, especially in the villages of Zújar, Baza, Cuevas de Luna and Cuevas del Campo.


Written by Overseas Guides Company.

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