Lake Schiederweiher is a small, man-made lake in Stodertal Valley in Upper Austria. Known as the “pearl” of the valley, it features an idyllic setting, crystal-clear water that’s home to many indigenous fish, and breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains, Spitzmauer (2,446 m) and Großer Priel (2,515 m). The area can be explored via a variety of easy hiking trails – both in summer and in winter.
How to get there: Take a train to Hinterstoder (1 hour from Linz), then an easy 30-minute hike to the lake.
Situated in a basin at 1,656m above sea level and surrounded by impressive mountain peaks, Lake Körbersee boasts a pretty unique setting. It is up to eight metres deep and even in summer, only reaches temperatures of 14°C. The area around the lake is uninhabitated – save for a hotel that truly is a retreat from the rest of the world.
How to get there: The lake can only be reached on foot or (in winter) by ski. Take a train to Dornbirn (2 h 20 min from Innsbruck), then take bus 40 to Schröcken Dorf. From there, it’s a 1-hour hike to the lake.
Like a trip back in time: Until 2008, this unique valley in Tirol could only be reached on foot, claiming the title of Austria’s last inhabited valley without a road link. It’s still largely car-free: Only the 44 locals are allowed to use the road. Visitors will have to climb 285 stairs to reach the picturesque St. Anthony's Chapel.
How to get there: Take a train to Kufstein (45 min from Innsbruck). Take bus line 1 (city bus) or regional bus 4030 to Kaiseraufstieg. From there, it’s a 4-hour hike to Kaisertal Valley.
With its intensely blue water, Lake Formarin almost has a mystical quality to it. Its backdrop is the rugged Rote Wand (Red Wall) mountain, making for a beautiful contrast. Situated at 1,793 m above sea level, the lake can be reached via a toll road or on foot.
How to get there: Take a train to Langen am Arlberg (1 h 15 min from Innbruck). Take bus 91 to Lech (25 min). From there, the Lech “Panorama Bus” takes you directly to the lake in summer. Alternatively, take the Formarinweg hiking trail from Lech to Lake Formarin (5 hours).
The first time you see a picture of Grüner See (Green Lake), you might get the impression it’s not quite real: Its waters are completely clear with an emerald shimmer, and underwater, you might find surprisingly well-preserved benches and bridges. This is because the lake all but disappears in winter, and only fills back up to its usual depth of over 10 metres during the melting of the snow in spring.
How to get there: Take a train to Bruck a. d. Mur (1 h 50 min from Vienna), then bus 175 to Tragöß. Walk about 30 min to Grüner See.
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