The Largest Lakes in the World

The Deepest Lakes and Largest Lakes by Surface Area and Largest by Volume

Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal, at the start of the Angara River, Irkutsk, Siberia, Russia, 1980s. Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in Asia and the deepest lake in the world. Getty Images

This page includes three lists of the world's largest lakes. They are ranked by surface area, volume, and depth. The first list is surface area:

Largest Lakes by Surface Area

1. Caspian Sea, Asia: 143,000 square miles (371,000 sq km)*
2. Lake Superior, North America: 31,698 square miles 82,100 sq km ()
3. Lake Victoria, Africa: 68,800 sq km (26,563 square miles)
4. Lake Huron, North America: 59,600 sq km (23,011 square miles)

Lake Michigan, North America: 57,800 sq km (22,316 square miles)
6. Lake Tanganyika, Africa: 32,900 sq km (12,702 square miles)
7. Great Bear Lake, North America: 31,328 sq km (12,095 square miles)
8. Baikal, Asia: 30,500 sq km (11,776 square miles)
9. Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa), Africa: 30,044 sq km (11,600 square miles)
10. Great Slave Lake, North America: 28,568 sq km (11.030 square miles)

Source: The Times Atlas of the World

Largest Lakes by Volume

1. Baikal, Asia: 23,600 cubic km**
2. Tanganyika, Africa: 18,900 cubic km
3. Lake Superior, North America: 11,600 cubic km
4. Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa), Africa: 7,725 cubic km
5. Lake Michigan, North America: 4900 cubic km
6. Lake Huron, North America: 3540 cubic km
7. Lake Victoria, Africa: 2,700 cubic km
8. Great Bear Lake, North America: 2,236 cubic km
9. Issyk-Kul (Ysyk-Kol), Asia: 1,730 cubic km
10. Lake Ontario, North America: 1,710 cubic km

Deepest Lakes in the World


Lake Baikal, Asia: 1,637 m (5,369 feet)
2. Lake Tanganyika, Africa: 1,470 m (4,823 feet)
3. Caspian Sea, Asia: 1,025 m (3,363 feet)
4. O'Higgins Lake (San Martin Lake), South America: 836 m (2,742 feet)
5. Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa), Africa: 706 m (2,316 feet)

* Some consider the Caspian Sea not to be a lake, but it is surrounded by land and thus meets the generally accepted definition of a lake.

** Lake Baikal holds one-fifth of the world's freshwater.