Nostalgic steam train trips, cruising the lake or hiking in alpine nature – Achensee (Lake Achen) in Tyrol is much more than a picture-perfect alpine paradise.
Tirol’s largest lake has been a popular tourist destination since the late 1800s. With the arrival of the main train line in Inntal and a cogwheel train up to the lake corresponding with a steamboat, tourism has flourished ever since. Moreover, surrounded by two mountain chains, Rofan to the east and Karwendel to the west, the scenery is nothing less than stunning. Finally, adding to the charm several idyllic lakeside villages. Arriving at the Achensee by steam train is a great start to your journey.
A narrow-gauge steam train takes you from Jenbach in the Inntal up to Achensee at 929 m (3,048 ft). Huffing, puffing and chugging, the small train takes you along a steep winding track, passing through villages, woods and fields. The seven kilometres take about 45 minutes. Thus, you have ample time to enjoy the landscape and take photos. You don’t have to go all the way but can jump off at any of the four stations along the way. Seespitz is the last station and where you can transfer to the boats, that correspond with the train.
< Click on the images to enlarge >
From Seespitz we picked up one of the boats that take you around the lake. The ferries call at 6 different landings on the lake and are useful to get around to different places. Or for simply making a cruise around the entire lake. We made a stop-over at the Gaisalm, where we had lunch. Moreover, The roundtrip is a brilliant way to enjoy the fantastic scenery surrounding Achensee. You can choose to relax in the sun outside on the deck, or shelter inside the salons if the weather is not cooperating. The boats have full-service restaurants and during the high season (July – September), you can join a Friday evening cruise with dinner and live music.
Hiking & Biking
The wandering, hiking and biking possibilities are, as always in the Austrian Alps, plentiful and varied. You can make easy hikes in the valleys or more challenging hikes to a range of different mountain peaks. Nevertheless, staying lakeside, you should use the opportunity to hike around the lake. There are trails around the entire lake, but especially on the west side where there aren’t any roads, you can enjoy nature with a bit more tranquillity. The trail between Pertisau and Achenkirch sometimes passes the water’s edge, and other times takes you through the forests or on cliffs high above the lake. About halfway you reach Gaisalm, where you can get some food or drink at the restaurant, or just hang out in the park by the lake. Aditionally, all boats also stop at Gaisalm, both on the north and southbound runs.
Land, water and air
Even if you’re only spending one day at Achensee, you can easily combine a train trip, a cruise and some hiking. Nonetheless, we recommend you spend at least 2-3 days enjoying the different activities in a more leisurely manner. In Pertisau, Achenkirch and Maurach there are cable cars for trips to the mountains, where there are numerous hiking routes, short, medium and long. For water sports enthusiasts the Achensee offers excellent sailing, windsurfing and kiting. For those who prefer to enjoy a day on the water at a slower pace, you can rent sail- or electric boats. Stand-up paddle boards are also available if you want to get around by your force. If you prefer to see the lake by air, there are possibilities for paragliding as well.
We put together some suggestions for a self-drive from Salzburg that gives you a variety of experiences. Visit historic villages and medieval castles, get back to nature on fantastic family-friendly hikes in the Alps, enjoy a relaxing lakeside stay and drive on some truly stunning roads. So let’s hit the road! Historic Mauterndorf, Lungau Starting […]
Many old buildings are well preserved, creating a great atmosphere. The historic centre of Hartberg lies within the partially preserved city wall from the Middle Ages (12th and 13th centuries), which once surrounded the entire town. Today, visitors and residents enjoy a place where you can relax and enjoy life – in historic surroundings. The […]
Carnuntum was a Roman military camp on the Danube in the province of Noricum, located in present-day Austria (in Lower Austria, about 43 km east of Vienna). From the 1st to the 4th century AD Carnuntum was a significant Roman metropolis on the outer border of the Roman Empire. Furthermore, Carnuntum became the capital of […]
The contrasts in the Salzkammergut region are significant not only because the landscape alternates between massive mountain ranges, glaciers, lush valleys, and many lakes. But also because the region offers a rich cultural landscape characterized by more than 5,000 years of human activity. The Salzkammergut holiday region covers 58 municipalities in three states (Salzburg, Upper […]
We are not in the tropics but in southern Austria where the river Mur forms part of the border with Slovenia. This landscape, a combination of floodplains and forest is very unlike what we expect from mostly alpine Austria. Nonetheless, we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived. Austria’s second largest river landscape The river Mur […]
Austria is a small country with short distances, good roads and well-developed tourist infrastructure. Moreover, you can find outlets from most international car rentals in Austria, and there are several local companies as well. Great fly-drive holiday destination Just like in most European countries, driving and parking within the larger cities in Austria can be […]