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The best boat trips in Austria

© by Arnold Weisz

We have been cruising lots of idyllic lakes to find the best boat trips in Austria. Our expectations were exceeded as there is no shortage of unique and delightful trips.

We have been cruising the lakes to find the best boat trips in Austria. Passenger boats have been crisscrossing Austrian lakes for centuries. In the beginning, it serves the communities on the lake shores, but since the 18th century also been on tourist cruises. Some of the lakes still have historic cruises with steam-driving boats, making the cruise a special experience. Check out what we discovered on the waterways of Austria.

< Click on the images to enlarge >

Lake Millstatt (Millstättersee) in Carinthia

Situated in the Alps the lake is a popular retreat for Austrian families during the summer months. Lake Millstatt is 12 km long and narrow, located 600 metres above see-level. Hence, the good-sized lake is perfect for exploring the region by water. Millstätter See Schifffahrt, the local boat company, visits 8 ports all around the lake and you can choose from three different cruises. You can combine a range of activities with a boat trip or just relax onboard, taking in the scenery. Hike in the mountains on the eastern side of the lake, bike around the lake and make excursions by rowboat on the lake.

For more info: Millstätter See Schifffahrt

Lake Wörth (Wörthersee) in Carinthia

Tourism is not a new phenomenon on Lake Wörth, and especially boat trips have long been popular. From its very beginning in 1853 it kicked off with an amazing 30.000 passengers that year. It is easy to understand why, after taking a cruise on the lake with the steamship “Thalia“. Of course, you do not have to take a whole round trip at once, but you can jump on and off as desired at ports such as; Klagenfurt, Reifnitz (access to Pyramidenkogel viewing tower), and of course Velden, the up-scale resort with the casino. Nonetheless, Carinthia’s largest lake also offers other possibilities to enjoy the summer on the water. Either you can rent your boat or take a tour with some of the party boats that travel Wörthersee in the summer.

For more info: Wörthersee Schifffahrt

Lake Weissensee (Carinthia)

Weissensee is located in a nature park that has focused on nature tourism. The region around the lake is known for its 200 kilometres (124 mi) of hiking trails, and 150 kilometres (93 mi) of mountain bike routes. Travelling by boat to the 8 different landings around the lake offers access to a wide range of activities. Furthermore, just as on the other lakes, simply enjoying a cruise around the lake is worth the ticket price. The astonishing scenery is best experienced at cruising speed. Weissensee is located 930 meters (3051 ft) above sea level and is over 11 kilometres (6,85 mi) long. Despite its location in the middle of the Alps, water temperatures can reach 24 °C (75 °F) in late summer (August/September).

For more info: Weissensee Schifffahrt


Lake Achen (Achensee) in Tyrol

Lake Achen is the largest lake in Tyrol and is located in the mountains at 929 m (3,048 ft) above sea level. Tourist boats have been cruising the lake since 1887. The boats call at 6 different landings around the lake. They are useful to get around to different places, or for making a cruise around the entire lake. Moreover, the landing at Seespitz connects with the cog railway to Jenbach. A brilliant way to enjoy the Alps – is by steam train. Nevertheless, the roundtrip on the lake is a brilliant way to enjoy the fantastic scenery surrounding the Achensee. You can choose to relax in the sun outside on the deck, or shelter inside the salons if the weather is not cooperating. Moreover, all the boats have full-service restaurants, and during the high season (July – September) you should try a Friday evening cruise with dinner and live music.

For more info: Achenseeschiffahrt

Lake Hallstatt (Hallstättersee) in Upper Austria

The lake with the same name as the UNESCO World Heritage site Hallstatt offers scenic boat trips. You can choose between two different cruises, the northbound (80 minutes) and the southbound (50 minutes), or you can simply jump on and off at will. Moreover, the boats are practical to reach starting points for hikes along the lake. Many also cross to the opposite side of the lake and hike back to the point of origin. At approximately 8.55 km2 (3.30 sq. mi) this is not one of the largest lakes in Austria, but certainly has one of the most impressive sceneries along its shores. Consequently, the Hallstättersee offers you one of the best boat trips in Austria.

For more info: Hallstättersee Schifffahrt

Mondsee (Moon Lake) in Oberösterreich / Salzburgerland

Austria’s 5th largest lake is part of the Salzkammergut lake district. Two shipping companies offer cruises on the lake, leaving from the small town Mondsee, on the lake’s northern shore. Boat tours take about 1-2 hours, and cruises are available all year (as long as the lake is not frozen). The 11-kilometre-long lake is 14.2 km2 (5.5 sq mi) large and sits amid a mountainous landscape. Furthermore, it is the warmest lake in Salzkammergut and offers bathing areas and different watersports. Mondsee is only about a 20-minute drive away from Salzburg on the A1 motorway and is a popular day-trip destination. Mondsee is one of Austria’s last privately owned lakes and is up for sale for about 16 million euros.

 For more info:
Mondsee Schifffahrt Hemetsberger
Schifffahrt Meindl

Lake Constance (Bodensee) in Vorarlberg

Austria also borders the easternmost end of Lake Constance, which predominantly is shared by Switzerland and Germany. Bregenz, the state capital of Vorarlberg is also Austria’s main port on the lake. From here you can take anything from short harbour cruises to ships that call at ports in both neighbouring countries. This gives Bregenz a certain flair, with its busy port and seaside promenade. We enjoyed a boat trip to the German town Lindau, which is about one hour away across the bay. You get a different perspective of the Alps, as you leave or approach the Austrian shoreline. Nonetheless, except for part of the Swiss side, most of the regions around Lake Constance are rather low-lying. Nonetheless, the sheer size of the Bodensee makes you feel more like an ocean rather than a lake.

 For more info: Vorarlberg Lines
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Written by Ana Lucia Marcos

Ana Lucia has traveled the world, but fell completely in love with Austria. She loves the dramatic mountain landscape, the phototastiske lakes and the captivating castles. Moreover, a real Wienerschnitzel is always on the menu when she explores the alpine country.