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The best lakes and swimming spots in Austria

People make their way in pedal boats on the Old Danube (Alte Donnau), a subsidiary of the Danube river, in Vienna, Austria  (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
People make their way in pedal boats on the Old Danube (Alte Donnau), a subsidiary of the Danube river, in Vienna, Austria (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
From lakes framed by breathtaking mountains to ink blue waters, Austria has some of the cleanest and most beautiful swimming spots in Europe. 

There are hundreds of lakes in Austria where you can splash around.

Water quality in the alpine state is also the second highest quality in Europe according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) list published on Tuesday. 

READ MORE: Austria’s beaches ‘second cleanest in Europe’. 

Here are some of the best places to relax and take a dip in Austria. 

Achensee

The largest lake in Tyrol is the Achensee a mountain lake with cool, clean water. It is sometimes dubbed “Tyrol’s ocean”.

The lake is located in the Karwendel nature reserve.

You can paddleboard, windsurf, sail or dive as well as swim here – the average water temperature is around 19°C (66°F) in summer.

Achensee, also known as Tyrol's ocean. Photo by Alin Andersen on Unsplash
Achensee, also known as Tyrol’s ocean. Photo by Alin Andersen on Unsplash

Neusiedler See 

Neusiedler See, also known as Lake Neusiedl is a shallow lake in Burgenland, reaching only around one metre deep. The steppe lake is surrounded by reeds and meadows.

There are more species of birds here than at any other inland lake in Europe. Drinking local wine in lake taverns is also an option for visitors, as is cycling.

Be careful not to go too far as it is possible to cross the Hungarian border if you make your way around the lake in its entirety. 

Windsurfing is possible at Neusiedler See. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Altausseer See

In the middle of the Styrian Salzkammergut lies the Altausseer See, which is particularly known for its crystal clear water with its dark blue colour, giving it the name the “dark blue inkwell”.

Bathing is usually possible from late spring to autumn.

An excursion boat moves along on Lake Attersee (Photo by DIETER NAGL / AFP)

Attersee

Beloved by Austria’s most famous artist Gustav Klimt, Attersee is a beautiful glacier lake located in the Upper Austrian Salzkammergut.

The water is exceptionally pure and clear, with visibility under water for up to 25 meters. In addition, the water heats up to 25 °C in summer. The Attersee-Bädercard gives you access to seven bathing beaches.

Wörthersee

The largest and most famous lake in Carinthia is the Wörthersee , which lies between Villach and Klagenfurt. It is also one of the warmest alpine lakes due to the low water flow and the sheltered location.

The water is often over 25°C in summer and can even reach 28°C. There are numerous bathing beaches around the lake, including some nudist bathing areas. There are also hip beach bars and restaurants to visit. 

River Danube 

Even if you are stuck in Austria’s most urban city, Vienna, there are still many opportunities to swim in the River Danube. 

The EEA pointed out in its report that in recent years there has been a great deal of effort in Vienna to improve water quality here.

There are river beaches along the Danube Island (Donau Insel), just outside Vienna in Donaualtarm Greifenstein, and the Copa Kagrana sand beach near Uno City, which has cocktail bars and snack options.

The Old Danube (Alte Donau) is also great for a dip or a chance to try out paddle boarding or rowing.


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