Although landlocked on all sides, Austria makes up for its lack of ocean with some spectacular, scenic lakes—perfectly picturesque, with backdrops of dramatic Alpine ranges, crystal clear waters, and sandy beaches. Here are our picks of the most beautiful lakes in Austria.
Lake Neusiedl is the largest endorheic basin in Central Europe, spilling over from Austria into bordering Hungary. Populated by wildlife, due to the high density of reeds, it is a paradise for birds that rest on the shores during migration periods. There are a few picturesque towns surrounding the waters, most notably Illmitz, Podersdorf am See (Pátfalu), and Weiden.
Lake Neusiedl | (c) austrian tourist board
Located in Tyrol, the ordinarily tranquil waters of Lake Achensee are buzzing with activity during the summer months, when holidaymakers descend on the surrounding villages. Swimming, boating, and windsurfing are just a few of the water sporting activities that take place on Lake Achensee, famed for its extremely high water quality.
Lake Achensee | © Austrian Tourist Board
Lesser known by tourists, this breathtaking area can be found by hiking through Senderstal. Although the lake itself isn’t particularly awe-inspiring, the reflection of the incredible mountainous surroundings make it worth the climb.
A popular holiday destination in Carinthia and a swimmer’s dream, Lake Millstatt boasts warm, clear and sparkling waters in the summer months and a range of bathing areas for relaxing in.
Lake Millstatt | (c) austrian tourist board
With waters so clear it could be mistaken for a swimming pool, it’s difficult to resist the temptation for a dip in Lake Weissensee. During the colder months, occasionally the lake freezes over, transforming itself into a spectacular, natural ice rink.
Lake Weissensee | (c) austrian tourist board
Part of a set of three lakes in Upper Austria, this spectacular lake sits beneath the mighty Dachstein glacier and the jagged peaks of the Gosaukamm Mountain. Hiking is popular around this area and fishermen are frequently seen on the waters.
Lake Gosausee | (C) austrian tourist board
Legend has it, Traunsee Lake is home to Austria’s version of the Loch Ness monster, a creature known as “Lungy.” According to Austrian folklore, the legends tell of the sighting of a mermaid riding a seahorse. Sound far-fetched? There are photos and videos online showing, what appears to be, a large creature swimming in the waters.
Lake Traunsee | (c) austrian tourist board
Hallstatt is one of Austria’s most attractive and oldest villages. The shimmering waters of the lake are perfect for boating and swimming.
Hallstatt | ©veronia111886/Pixabay
Mondsee, translating to Moon Lake in English, had a brush with 007 when Ian Fleming mentioned the location in one of his James Bond novels, Thunderball. Aside from this claim to fame, the lake is a fantastic location for swimming and boating in the summer.
Lake Mondsee | (C) austrian tourist board
Close by to the aforementioned Mondsee, you’ll find Irrsee Lake. Beautifully warm and serene, the crystal clear waters attract a variety of water sports fans in the summer.
Boats on Lake Irrsee | (c) TVB Mondsee – Irrsee / flickr