12 Most Scenic Lakes in Austria

by Anna Lukas
Aerial view of St. Wolfgang town in Austria

Even though Austria is completely landlocked, it is home to a number of beautiful bodies of water. Travelers and locals alike enjoy spending time on Austria’s beautiful lakes. Austrian lakes are perfect for anybody looking to relax with a waterfront view or enjoy a refreshing swim in the shade of the Alps. If you’re planning a trip to Austria, take the time to see at least one of these stunning Austrian lakes.

12. Plansee

The enormous Lake Plansee in Austria’s Tyrol area is linked to another lake, the Heiterwang, via a canal. Because of its proximity to two lakes and a number of rivers, the Plansee is a popular destination for boaters. The lake is a one-of-a-kind destination for nature lovers, and the miles of concrete paths are perfect for running, biking, and inline skating. In addition to scuba diving and fishing for trout and perch, the Lechtal Alps provide a stunning backdrop. Passenger ferries traverse the lake, too.

11. Traunsee

The Traunsee is one more of the lakes of the Salzkammergut. This large body of water is great for water sports, but it’s most famous feature is the Lungy, a legendary monster that lives in its depths. Its legends may be akin to those of Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster. Along the beaches of the Traunsee are a plethora of tourist destinations, such as the picturesque towns of Altmünster and Traunkirchen, and the breathtakingly preserved mediaeval fortress of Schloss Ort.

10. Millstatter See

The Millstatter See, in Austria’s Carinthia region, seems like a little fjord due to its precipitous coastline. The Nock Mountains and the Drava Valley contribute to the stunning landscape, while the forested Hochgosch region to the south adds even more verdant variety. It is possible to swim in the lake during the summer since the mountains shield it from the harsh winter winds. Millstatt, a little hamlet on the lake, is home to a stunningly maintained abbey from the 11th century and is not to be missed.

9. Gruner See

The Gruner See, sometimes known as the “Green Lake,” is located not far from the town of Tragöß. Its emerald green seas live up to their name, offering superb visibility. Due to the snowmelt from the Karst Mountains, the water remains icy even at the height of summer. The Gruner See, on the other hand, is an impressive sight, and scuba diving there—with the help of a local guide and a wet suit—is a real possibility.

8. Weissensee

Weissensee, sometimes known as “White Lake,” is located in the Gailtal Alps. Because private motorboats are not permitted on this glacial lake, visitors may enjoy the tranquil setting and diverse fauna without disturbing the natural balance of the area. During the warm summer months, sightseers may take a passenger boat trip across the lake, paddle over its surface, fish for trout and perch, and explore its borders on foot. Parts of the Weissensee are used for speed-skating contests and skiing during the winter months.

7. Faaker See

Drinking water may be found in the Faaker See, which is often regarded as Austria’s cleanest and most pristine lake. That, as you would expect, means the lake’s water quality is superb and that you can easily see the bottom. For a little cost, visitors to the Faaker See may lounge on one of numerous sandy beaches, go for a swim, and enjoy the sun and water. The biggest motorcycle gathering in Europe, European Bike Week, takes place every year at the lake. When the lake freezes over in the winter, ice skating becomes a thrilling activity.

6. Worthersee

This breathtaking lake is located in Austria’s Carinthia region. The Wörthersee has been a popular summer destination for Austrians and tourists alike since at least the 19th century, when the country’s elite began spending their summers there. The Wörthersee has some of the country’s warmest waters, making it a popular summertime swimming site. Pörtschach is a great place to hire a bike and explore the surrounding area, and during the summer months, there are ferries that go across the lake to other locations.

5. Mondsee

When you need to get away from it all, go to the beautiful Mondsee, one of the biggest privately owned lakes in Austria. Mondsee is so picturesque that it was mentioned in a James Bond book. The Northern Limestone Alps and the Northern Sandstone Alps are seen from various vantage points along the coast. The mountain range known as Drachenwand, or Dragon Wall, may be seen in its entirety from the town of Mondsee, located on the banks of the lake of the same name.

4. Achensee

Achensee, also known as the Fjord of the Alps, is the biggest lake in Austria’s Tyrol region. The lake’s beauty stems in part from its setting at the foot of a towering mountain. But what really sets this place apart as a unique and memorable vacation spot is the colour and purity of the ocean. The Achensee’s colour may range from green to blue, and in certain places, visibility is as high as 10 metres (about 30 ft). Windy conditions make sailing and windsurfing on the lake a popular pastime, while hikers may get excellent views of the lake from adjacent Bärenkopf Mountain.

3. Wolfgangsee

Tourists from all over the globe visit the Salzkammergut vacation district near Salzburg for its verdant scenery and beautiful lakes. The Wolfgangsee is renowned as a top lake. The legend has it that Saint Wolfgang, a bishop in the 10th century, constructed a church not far from the lake, thus the lake’s name. Take the Schafbergbahn up to the top of the mountain for breathtaking views over the Wolfgangsee.

2. Zeller See

Lake Zell, also known as Zellersee, is a tiny yet stunning freshwater lake located in the Austrian Alps. Zellersee’s size means it freezes over throughout the winter, making it an ideal destination for vacations at any time of the year. In the summer, the lake’s beautiful water is perfect for swimming, fishing, and kayaking. The Zellersee becomes a popular place for residents to go ice skating in the winter. The lake takes its name from the neighbouring town of Zell am See, which has a beautiful castle from the 16th century and an amazing Romanesque church.

1. Hallstatter See

Of the several lakes in the Salzkammergut area, Lake Hallstatt (also known as the Hallstatter See) is another popular destination. The lake and its surrounding mountains make for a beautiful scene. The beautiful Austrian town of Hallstatt is on the shores of the Hallstatter See and is known for its historic buildings and other sights. Hiking in the mountains is the best way to observe the Hallstatter See, but scuba diving lessons with a local guide are also an option for those who want a different perspective.

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