Austria’s 7 Most Beautiful Lakes for Bathing & Swimming

    It’s a perfect summer day. The waves lazily lapping against your feet, the sunrays dancing on the water. You can’t decide if the lake is more blue or green today. The one thing you do know is it’s so clean you can see all the way down to the ground, where tiny fish scurry about.

    These are Austria’s most beautiful lakes for spending just such a day:

    1. Achensee Lake in Tirol

    Sometimes dubbed “Tirol’s ocean”, this lake was carved out of the Alps by glaciers more than 20,000 years ago. Today, it welcomes visitors with its emerald green surface and its crystal-clear water. Surrounded by picturesque mountains and lush green meadows, Achensee lake offers surfing, sailing, paddleboating, and diving to action-minded tourists.

    How to get there:

    Easily accessible by car, Achensee lake is located just 45 minutes from Innsbruck in Tirol. By train, it can be reached by travelling to Jenbach station, then taking a free bus, the local steam railway, or a taxi. Find detailed directions here.

    • Altitude: 929 m / 3,048 ft
    • Surface area: 6.8 km2 / 1,680 ac
    • Avg water temperature: 19°C / 66°F
    • Max water depth: 133 m / 436 ft
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    Bathing at the jetty in Pertisau am Achensee

    2. Attersee Lake in Upper Austria

    Located in the heart of Austria’s lake region, Attersee lake has a special artsy, laid-back flair. Enjoy a stroll through “Little Venice” – an area full of meditarrenan-style villas that used to belong to the likes of Gustav Klimt – then dip your toes into the cool water while admiring the rugged mountains that frame the lake.

    How to get there:

    Located about halfway between Salzburg and Linz, the Attersee region can easily be reached by car via the A1 motorway, or by train via the Frankenmarkt, Vöcklamarkt, Vöcklabruck, or Attnang-Puchheim stations. Find directions here.

    • Altitude: 469 m / 1,539 ft
    • Surface area: 46,2 km2 / 11,416 ac
    • Max water depth: 169 m / 554 ft
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    Sailboat at the Lake Attersee

    3. Neusiedler See in Burgenland

    Neusiedler See (or Lake Neusiedl) is pretty special in a few respects: It is, on average, only 1 m (3.3 ft) deep whilst being one of Austria’s largest bodies of water in terms of surface area. It is a steppe lake, and the landscape is characterised by vast meadows and reeds. Birdwatchers will find more species of birds here than at any other inland lake in Europe, and wine lovers will be able to try a variety of local vintages.

    How to get there:

    Vienna airport is only about 70 km / 43 mi from Lake Neusiedl. The lake can easily be reached via the A4 motorway by car, or by hourly trains from Vienna. More details here.

    • Altitude: 115 m / 377 ft
    • Surface area: 320 km2 / 79,074 ac
    • Avg water depth: 1 m / 3.3 ft
    • Max water depth: 2 m / 6.6 ft
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    Ike Hodits doing stand-up paddling on Lake Neusiedl

    4. Weissensee Lake in Carinthia

    Its location on the southern side of the Alps is unbeatable: You get all the mountainous beauty you could ask for, combined with 2,000 hours of sunshine per year. The fjord-like

    Weissensee lake welcomes you with clear, emerald water, great hiking and biking trails, and activities like surfing, stand-up paddling, and fishing.

    How to get there:

    The closest airport is Klagenfurt (1.5 h by car). By train, you can go as far as Greifenburg station, then take a free shuttle to Weissensee nature park. Learn more.

    • Altitude: 930 m / 3,051 ft
    • Surface area: 6.5 km2 / 1,606 ac
    • Water temperature: up to 24°C / 75.2°F
    • Water depth: 99 m / 325 ft
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    Jumping into Lake Weissensee

    5. Wolfgangsee Lake in Upper Austria and SalzburgerLand

    Surrounded by forests, meadows, and mountains, Wolfgangsee lake (or Lake Wolfgang) straddles the border between Upper Austria and SalzburgerLand. On its shores, you’ll find one chocolate-box village after the other – visit St. Gilgen, St. Wolfgang, or Strobl if you get a chance. A vintage cable car takes you up Zwölferhorn mountain to one of the region’s most beautiful viewpoints.

    How to get there:

    The closest airport is Salzburg. From Salzburg, take bus 150 to Strobl, then change to bus 546. Find detailed directions here.

    • Altitude: 538 m / 1,765 ft
    • Surface area: 12.4 km2 / 3,064 ac
    • Avg water depth: 52 m / 171 ft
    • Max water depth: 114 m / 374 ft
    • Avg temperature: 22°C / 71.6°F
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    Strobl am Wolfgangsee Lake Wolfgangsee Salzkammergut

    6. Wörthersee Lake in Carinthia

    Wörthersee lake or Lake Wörth is the largest lake in Carinthia, and, due to climatic conditions, one of the warmest Alpine lakes with temperatures of up to 28°C / 82.4°F. In the evening, visit one of the hip beach bars or first-rate restaurants on the shores, and watch the sun set over the lake. A fruity cocktail in hand, you’ll listen to the waves pattering and watch the warm sun rays reflect in the water’s surface.

    How to get there:

    Klagenfurt is located right at the lake, with the airport just 15 min away. The city can also easily be reached by train from all major Austrian cities. Learn more here.

    • Altitude: 450 m / 1,476 ft
    • Surface area: 19.4 km2 / 4,793 ac
    • Avg depth: 42 m / 138 ft
    • Max depth: 84.6 m / 278 ft
    • Max temperature: 28°C / 82.4°F
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    Pyramidenkogel at the Lake Wörthersee

    7. Lake Zell in SalzburgerLand

    Lake Zell is one of a kind: First, its crystal-clear waters will catch your eye. Then, you'll look up at the majestic mountains surrounding it, crowned by a glacier (fun fact: you can go tobogganing all year here if you are so inclined). On the banks of the lake, the town of Zell am See offers laid-back street cafés, a promenade, and a hint of imperial flair. Spend the day relaxing at one of three lake lidos or try stand-up paddleboarding.

    How to get there:

    The closest airport is Salzburg. From Salzburg's main train station, you can take a direct train to Zell am See. There are also convenient train connections from other cities, including Innsbruck, Munich, Klagenfurt, and Graz. Find more information here.

    • Altitude: 750 m / 2,460 ft
    • Max length: 4 km / 2.5 mi
    • Max width: 1.5 km / 0.93 mi
    • Max water depth: 73 m / 240 ft
    • Avg temperature: 23°C / 73.4°F
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    Lake Zell with boats