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Scuba diving and snorkelling in Austria

© by Aichinger / Österreich Werbung

Although Austria does not have a single centimetre coastline by the ocean, you still got plenty of opportunities for great scuba diving and snorkelling in the Austrian Alps.

Both scuba diving and snorkelling are popular in Austria, despite not having a single centimetre coastline by the ocean. In return, you will find many large and small lakes scattered throughout the country. Not to mention that many of Austria’s lakes hold drinking water quality and have a great underwater fauna. In most places it is possible to dive from shore, and many of the lakes have their own diving zones where you also park can your car. You can dive in everything from the largest lakes to the small ponds up in the mountains. Some rivers are also suitable for diving and snorkelling.

Good marine life

You don’t have to travel to the Caribbean to see fish in crystal clear and warm waters. Austrian lakes have very good water quality and  Moreover, the marine life in the lakes is surprisingly varied and interesting. Perch, trout, catfish, and grayling are some of the fish species that are often seen. Pike lurks in shallow waters waiting for prey. On the other hand, plenty of vegetation give shoals of fry shelter. Night diving is also allowed almost everywhere so that you can dive in and observe some of the nocturnal fish.

Diving for all levels of experience

Austria offers year-round diving and great diving conditions to fit all levels of divers. Dry suits are recommended for most of the year, but in some of the lakes it also works well with a wetsuit in the summer. The hottest summer months are from June to September with air temperatures on average 25 – 35 Celsius. The surface water reaches temperatures of up to 25 °C (77 °F) but drops to 4 °C (39 °F) at depth. The summers are generally dry, but a little rain must be expected. The largest lakes can also be exposed to wind. The winter season runs from December to March. You can count on air temperatures of -10 °C (14 °F) in many areas, and some lakes are often covered by ice. The best ice diving is in January / February.

< Click on the images to enlarge >

Dive Card

In most of the public and privately owned lakes in Austria you are required to have a Dive Card in order to dive. Dive card gives you permission to dive in many exciting lakes all over Austria. DIVE CARD costs 18 EUR and is valid for 12 months.

Good infrastructure

Diving centres and clubs are found throughout Austria and there is good infrastructure in place, allowing you to fill air, buy, rent or repair equipment. Furthermore, the vast majority of dive sites can be combined with other activities as you most often find yourself in areas with excellent tourist infrastructure. Furthermore, maps of dive sites with info about the fauna and special sights are often posted at the entry points. For safe diving, please follow the suggestions.


Of course, you can do snorkelling on your own almost anywhere. However, if you want to snorkel in rivers, we recommend going on an organized trip. Both in terms of safety and experience, you will get much more out of the snorkelling on a guided trip. Another advantage, then you do not have to bring your equipment but can rent it on site.

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Written by Arnold Weisz

Globetrotting multilingual communications specialist born in Vienna, Austria – with passion for scuba diving, golf and culinary delights! 15 years of experience as a scuba- and travel reporter for among others: X-Ray Dive Magazine and Dykking.