Weissensee or Weißensee in German, is a lake located in the Austrian state of Carinthia. It is situated in the Gailtal Alps, at an altitude of 930 meters (3,051 feet) above sea level, and covers an area of 6.5 square kilometers (2.5 square miles).
The lake is known for its crystal-clear water, which is considered to be some of the cleanest in Europe, and has even been awarded the European Union's "Blue Flag" for water quality.
Weissensee is a popular holiday destination for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly during the summer months when the weather is mild and sunny.
Visitors can swim, fish, and sail in the lake, or explore the surrounding area on foot or by bike. The lake is also a popular spot for ice skating during the winter months, as it often freezes over completely.
The area around Lake Weissensee is also rich in culture and history, with several picturesque villages in its immediate vicinity.
Visitors can explore traditional architecture and local customs, and sample the region's delicious cuisine, which includes dishes such as Carinthian Kasnudeln (cheese dumplings) and Kärntner Reindling (a type of sweet bread).
One of the main attractions of Weissensee is its natural beauty and pristine environment. The lake is nestled within Weissensee Nature Park and is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery, and there are numerous hiking and cycling trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
In addition to its natural beauty, Lake Weissensee is also home to a diverse range of wildlife. Visitors can spot a diverse range of wildlife, including otters, beavers, and rare bird species such as the white-tailed eagle, as well as a variety of fish species in the lake's waters.
Keep reading and find out the best things to do on holidays at Lake Weissensee.
Things to Do at Lake Weissensee during Summer Months
There are plenty of things to do during the summer months at and around Lake Weissensee, as it is one of the major holiday destinations in the Carinthia region.
The lake is surrounded by majestic mountains and dense forests, providing a breathtaking backdrop and very fresh air for visitors.
Its location within the Weissensee Nature Park offers not only water activities but also countless hiking and mountain biking trails.
Swimming at Lake Weissensee
The crystal-clear waters of Weissensee are perfect for swimming, with temperatures reaching up to 24°C (75°F) in the summer.
There are several designated swimming areas around the lake, as well as a large beach with sun loungers and parasols.
For example, Weißensee Beach is the largest beach on the lake and is located on the southwestern shore. It offers a large grassy area for sunbathing, changing rooms, showers, and a restaurant.
The next one is Freibad Weißensee, located on the eastern shore, this beach offers a sandy shore and a grassy area for sunbathing. There are also several restaurants and cafes nearby.
As well as Neusacher Bad, a smaller, family-friendly beach located on the northern shore. It has a playground, a beach volleyball court, and a restaurant.
In addition to the beaches of Lake Weissensee, there are also great small swimming lakes nearby such as Pressegger See and Badesee Greifenburg, which are perfect for families with small children as well as offering nice attractions for everyone.
Watersports at Lake Weissensee
Lake Weissensee is a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts in Austria, and offers a range of activities to suit all interests and abilities, including kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, and sailing.
As for the water equipment rental spots, there are several rental points around the lake. Some of the most popular rental spots is located in Techendorf and Weissensee, which offers a wide range of water sports equipment, in Neusach, which is a popular spot for windsurfing and sailing, moreover, you can also learn these water sports with an experienced instructor.
Additionally, boat trips are available from May to October for a different Lake Weissensee experience, during which guests can enjoy beautiful views of the wonderful alpine scenery and shimmering waters. Also, guests can book private boat trips for special events.
Diving at Lake Weissensee
Lake Weissensee is a popular destination for divers from around the world, due to its crystal clear water with visibility that can reach up to 20 meters, and the fascinating underwater landscape.
The lake's clear waters offer a unique view of the diverse flora and fauna that call the lake home. Divers can expect to see a variety of fish, including trout and perch, as well as different aquatic plants.
There are about 20 diving spots around the lake, including the underwater forest at the southern side of the lake, where more than 100 years ago, during a landslide, a small part of the forest drowned, leaving the trees underwater to create an impressive underwater forest.
In addition, here is home to a variety of fish which you can spot even from above the water.
Other popular spots include the north shore, where divers can explore the submerged cliffs and boulders.
There are some diving schools and clubs in the area that offer diving courses for beginners as well as guided dives for more experienced divers, additionally, they provide all necessary equipment.
Hiking and walking around Lake Weissensee
The Weissensee Nature Park offers more than 200 kilometers of well-marked hiking trails for all levels of ability, with breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding alpine scenery.
Guided hikes are also available, as well as maps and information about the various routes. Some of the most popular hiking trails near Lake Weissensee include:
Weissensee Slow Trail – This approximately 7 km (in one way) long hiking trail runs along the Weissensee lakeshore and offers stunning natural views of the water and surrounding mountains.
The trail starts from Neusach (Ronacherfels) and extends to Mösel (Dolomiteblick). It is a relatively easy hike that takes about 3-4 hours to complete.
Alternatively, you can use the ship to get back to the starting point.
Naggleralm Trail - This is a moderate about 6-km hike that takes you up to the Naggler Alm mountain hut, where you can enjoy traditional Carinthian food and drinks while taking in the views.
To make the hike easier, you can use the cable car from the Weißensee Bergbahn station to go up to the mountain and go down on foot.
Alm hinterm Brunn Trail - This is a hike of about 8 km if you start from Techendorf, which leads to the Alm hinterm Brunn mountain hut, where you can enjoy alpine pastures, a panoramic views of the Lake Weissensee and the surrounding towering mountains.
Alternatively, you can also do the 22.0-km loop trail that starts from Praditz.
Gitschtal Valley - This is a beautiful valley located very close to the Weissensee lake and is surrounded by high mountain peaks with countless hiking trails that offer wonderful views of the surroundings.
Garnitzenklamm Gorge Trail - This gorge trail offers several hiking routes, ranging from moderate 3-hour hikes to challenging 6-hour hikes and more.
The gorge is approximately 4.5 kilometers long and divided into 4 sections with narrow, sometimes steep footpaths and bridges nestled between crystal clear streams, steep cliffs, colorful rock formations, and swirling waterfalls.
Fishing at Lake Weissensee
Lake Weissensee is known for its excellent fishing opportunities, and it is considered one of the best fishing lakes in Europe. You can rent fishing equipment, purchase a fishing license and try your luck. Some useful information about fishing opportunities in Lake Weissensee:
Fish species - The lake is home to over 20 fish species, including brown trout, rainbow trout, lake trout, carp, whitefish, arctic char, pike, zander, perch, tench and much more premium edible fish.
Fishing season - The fishing season at Lake Weissensee typically runs from the end of April to the beginning of November. However, is also possible ice-fishing during the winter months when the lake is frozen.
Fishing permits - angling permits are required to fish at Lake Weissensee, and they can be obtained from local shops and tourist offices. There are different types of permits available, including day permits and week-long permits.
Fishing regulations - The lake has strict fishing regulations to ensure sustainable fishing practices and preserve the natural ecosystem.
Some of the regulations include catch-and-release rules for certain fish species, restrictions on the use of live bait, and limits on the number of fish that can be caught.
Fishing methods - A variety of fishing methods are used at Lake Weissensee, including fly-fishing, spin-fishing, and bait-fishing. Visitors can rent fishing gear and equipment from local shops.
Guided fishing tours - For those who are new to fishing or those who want to enhance the experience, guided fishing tours and seminars are available.
These tours and seminars are led by experienced fishing guides who can provide tips and advice on the best fishing spots and techniques, allowing visitors to perfect their angling skills.
Fishing Events - Lake Weissensee hosts several angling events every year, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to showcase their fishing skills.
The most notable event is the traditional international fishing competition for the "Goldene Forelle vom Weißensee" (Golden trout from Weissensee), which takes place in the spring. In the autumn, a competition is held to catch pike and perch, while in the late winter months, visitors can participate in ice fishing.
Moreover, during the fishing season, a list of the heaviest catches is also maintained, adding to the excitement of the fishing experience.
Biking holiday at Lake Weissensee
Lake Weissensee and its surroundings offer a wide range of scenic cycling routes that are suitable for visitors of all ages, including leisure and experienced cyclists.
There are about 160 kilometers of cycling routes that crisscross the region around Lake Weissensee, ranging from easy family-friendly routes to challenging mountain bike trails, including a 23-km (14-mile) loop that takes you around the entire shoreline.
The routes are well-marked and take visitors through picturesque landscapes, including forests, meadows, pastures and mountains.
In addition, from Lake Weissensee there is a direct connection with approximately 900 kilometers of cycling routes that lead through the Gail, Gitsch, and Lesachtal valleys and cross the Gailtal, Carnica, and even the Julian Alps in Italy.
For families with young children or inexperienced cyclists, there are several easy and flat routes that run along the Weissensee lake, Pressegger See and through the valleys.
These routes are suitable for all types of bikes, including e-bikes, and offer stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
On the other hand, for experienced and adventurous cyclists, there are 13 well-marked mountain bike trails around Lake Weissensee that provide an exciting and rewarding experience that includes steep turns, forest roads with tree roots, undulating tracks, wooden bridges, and breathtaking views of Gailtal Alps.
Three of the downhill trails start from the Naggler Alm, with a total downhill length of approx. 10 kilometers. You and your bike can reach the Naggler Alm by cable car from the Weißensee Bergbahn station in about 12 minutes.
Moreover, Lake Weissensee is also a popular destination for road cyclists, with several routes that provide a challenging and scenic experience.
Visitors who do not have their own bikes can rent bikes and e-bikes from several local shops and tourist offices.
There are also guided cycling tours available for those who want to explore the region with the guidance of experienced guides.
Lake Weissensee together with Weissensee Nature Park hosts several cycling events throughout the year, including the annual Weissensee Radmarathon, a challenging road cycling event that attracts cyclists from around the world.
Read also: 13 Must-See Lakes in Austria
Things to do at Lake Weissensee during the Winter months
Lake Weissensee is a beautiful and serene lake located at an elevation of 930 meters (3,051 feet) above sea level, therefore during the winter months, the lake is covered in ice, and its surroundings by snow, transforming it into a winter wonderland.
The lake is the largest and most persistent natural ice surface in Europe: with 6.5 km² for pure fun enthusiasts, offering a variety of skating options, including long-distance skating, speed skating, ice hockey, curling and other activities.
The ice on Lake Weissensee generally is 40 cm thick, enough to support winter activities on ice from mid-December to late February or early March, depending on weather conditions.
In addition to these activities, visitors can also enjoy winter hikes around Lake Weissensee, cross-country skiing on over 50 km of groomed trails, sledding on designated runs, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and skiing.
Ice Skating at Lake Weissensee
One of the most famous winter activities on Lake Weissensee is ice skating. The lake is the largest continuously frozen natural ice surface in Europe, and it offers a variety of skating options, including long-distance skating, figure skating, ice hockey, and curling.
Long-distance ice skating is one of the most popular activities on Lake Weissensee. The lake offers a 25 km circuit long-distance skating trail, which is marked and groomed regularly.
Ice skaters can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the lake and the surrounding mountains as they glide across the ice.
But for those looking for something faster, there is a 400-meter speed skating rink.
Moreover, Lake Weissensee hosts the Dutch tournament - Alternative Eleven Cities Tour.
The Eleven City Tour is the world's largest annual ice skating competition, once held on the frozen canals of Friesland, Netherlands.
But in recent years, when the canals are not suitable for skating, the competition is moved to Lake Weissensee as an Alternative 11-City Tour.
The race covers a distance of 100 and 200 km and attracts thousands of participants from all over the world.
Natural ice hockey is another popular activity on the lake and offers a completely different experience than playing in indoor hockey rinks.
There are several well-maintained hockey rinks on the lake, so that there is enough space for everyone, and all the necessary equipment can be rented at various rental points located on the shores of the lake.
So nothing stands in the way of one great match - grab the necessary equipment and join a game with locals or other visitors, or even play ice hockey among friends or family!
Curling is a traditional winter sport in Austria, especially in Carantia, and Lake Weissensee has several curling lanes for visitors to try their hand at the sport, and even if you don't know how to play it, don't worry, the locals will surely teach you this traditional Austrian sport.
In addition, the largest curling tournament in Europe is held every January right here on Lake Weissensee.
Ice diving at Lake Weissensee
Lake Weissensee is one of the best places in Austria for ice diving, thanks to its crystal-clear waters and thick layer of ice that forms during the winter months.
Divers can explore the frozen landscape beneath the ice, and see a variety of aquatic creatures that thrive in the cold water.
Ice diving at Lake Weissensee is a thrilling and unique experience that requires specialized training and equipment.
It's an activity that is best suited for experienced divers who are comfortable with cold water and are looking for a new challenge.
In addition, the first Underwater Ice Hockey World Championship was held in 2007 at Lake Weissensee, making it the birthplace of this unique sport.
Underwater ice hockey is a variation of ice hockey that is played underneath the frozen surface of a lake.
The game is similar to traditional ice hockey, but is played with different equipment and rules to accommodate the underwater environment.
Ice hole fishing at Lake Weissensee
Ice hole fishing is one of the popular activities at Lake Weissensee in the winter months for fishing fans.
However, it's important to make sure that you have the proper equipment and permits, and that you follow all safety guidelines and regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable outing.
There are a variety of fish species that can be caught in Lake Weissensee, including pike, perch, whitefish, and carp.
To start ice hole fishing at Lake Weissensee, you will need a few essential items, including an ice auger to drill the hole, a fishing rod, bait, and warm clothing.
Ice augers can be rented from local fishing associations or outdoor shops in the area.
Ice fishing on Lake Weissensee usually begins in late December or early January, when the ice has reached a thickness of at least 20-25 centimeters.
There are designated areas on the lake where ice fishing is permitted, and it's important to follow the regulations and guidelines to ensure the safety of all participants.
Ice fishing at the lake is strictly regulated, and a valid fishing permit is required.
These permits can be obtained from local fishing associations or from the tourism office in Techendorf.
Snowshoes hiking at Lake Weissensee
Snowshoeing at Lake Weissensee in Austria is a fantastic winter activity that offers breathtaking views of the snow-covered landscape.
The lake is known for its stunning alpine scenery and mild climate, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
There are several well-marked snowshoeing trails around Lake Weissensee that are suitable for all levels of snowshoers, ranging from easy to challenging.
One of the most popular trails is the "Naggler Alm Trail," which takes you up to the Naggler Alm mountain hut, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the icy lake below.
The trail is moderately difficult and is suitable for intermediate snowshoers.
One of the advantages of snowshoeing is that you can do it at your own pace, enjoying the silence and the beauty of the winter landscape.
However, if you prefer to explore the area with a guide, there are many local guides available who can take you on a guided tour and provide you with all the necessary equipment.
Cross-country skiing at Lake Weissensee
Cross-country skiing at Lake Weissensee is another popular winter activity that allows you to explore the snowy landscape while getting a great workout.
The lake is surrounded by picturesque alpine scenery, making it a perfect destination for cross-country skiers of all levels.
The lake offers over 50 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails, which are suitable for both classic and skate skiing techniques.
The trails are well-groomed and maintained, providing excellent conditions for skiing.
There are many cross-country skiing routes to choose from, and if you're new to cross-country skiing or want to improve your skills, there are many ski schools and instructors available who can help you get started.
Furthermore, there is an opportunity to try biathlon, where in addition to intense skiing through the beautiful landscape, you need to concentrate to hit the target with a rifle.
Tobogganing and Snow Tubing at Lake Weissensee
Lake Weissensee is a popular winter destination for families in Austria, known for its picturesque views and a wide range of winter activities, including tobogganing and snow tubing.
Tobogganing is a fun-filled activity for the whole family where individuals ride a sled or toboggan down a snow-covered slope.
At Lake Weissensee, there are several tobogganing runs available, including a 4-kilometer long natural toboggan run that starts at the Naggler Alm mountain hut and ends at the lake's shore.
This tobogganing run is considered as one of the longest natural tobogganing runs in Carinthia and is suitable for individuals of all ages.
On the other hand, the novelty at the Weissensee lake is Snow Tubing, which includes riding on a specially designed inflatable ring on a snow-covered slope.
The snowtubing run at Lake Weissensee is located in the snow park in Techendorf and offers a 100% exciting experience for both children and adults.
Both tobogganing and snow tubing are popular winter activities for families, providing visitors with a fun and exciting way to enjoy the winter.
Horse-drawn sleigh rides
Lake Weissensee is not only a popular winter activity destination for skiing and skating, but also for enjoying horse-drawn sleigh rides in the surrounding area.
These sleigh rides are a great way to experience the winter wonderland of Lake Weissensee, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and pristine forests.
During the horse-drawn sleigh ride, you'll be seated on a cozy sled, wrapped up in warm blankets, and pulled by a team of majestic horses.
The ride takes you through the snowy landscape around the lake, and you'll have the opportunity to take in the stunning views and breathe in the crisp mountain air.
The clopping of the horseshoe on the snow, combined with the jingling of the sleigh bells, adds to the enchanting experience.
The sleigh rides at Lake Weissensee are available during the winter season, typically from December to March, and they can be booked through local tour operators or hotels in the area.
Some tours even include a stop for hot beverages and traditional Austrian snacks, such as hot chocolate and Kaiserschmarrn (a sweet pancake dish).
Horse-drawn sleigh ride at Lake Weissensee is a magical winter experience for the whole family that shouldn't be missed!
Skiing at Lake Weissensee
In addition to all the winter fun activities mentioned above, the Weissensee area also has several ski areas with ski lifts.
One of the main skiing areas of Lake Weissensee includes the Weissensee Bergbahn, located right on the lake. It offers 22 km of ski slopes for skiers of all levels.
The pistes are mostly suitable for beginners and intermediate skiers, while there are some difficult pistes for advanced skiers.
The ski area also has a ski school, a ski rental shop and a mountain restaurant.
In addition, there is also a special area for children - Weissensee Children's Ski World. Weissensee Children's Ski World is a great place for families with young children learning to ski.
It provides a safe and supportive environment for children to learn and have fun on the slopes.
In addition to skiing, Children's Ski World also offers a variety of other activities for children, including snow tubing, snowman building and face painting.
The ski season at Lake Weissensee usually runs from December to March, although exact dates may vary depending on snow conditions.
It's always a good idea to check the ski area's website or contact them directly for the latest information.
Ski passes can be purchased at the Weissensee Bergbahn ticket office and are required to access the ski lifts and slopes.
A variety of ski passes are available, including day passes, multi-day passes and season passes. Discounts are often available for children, seniors and groups.
Some of the most popular ski areas relatively close to Lake Weissensee
Skiarena Nasfeld is located about 50 km south of Lake Weissensee, is one of the largest ski areas in the Carinthia region. It offers more than 110 km of ski slopes from beginner to expert, as well as a variety of other winter activities.
Skigebiet Goldeck is located about 30 km southwest of Lake Weissensee and is a smaller ski area with about 30 km of pistes. It is known for its wide and well-groomed slopes, as well as the wonderful view of Lake Millstatt.
The Mölltaler Gletscher is located about 80 km south of Lake Weissensee and is a glacier ski area that offers skiing all year round. It has more than 50 km of pistes, including some challenging terrain for experienced skiers.
Bad Kleinkirchheim, located about 40 km northwest of Lake Weissensee, Bad Kleinkirchheim is a popular ski area known for its natural hot springs. It offers more than 100 km of ski slopes, as well as several thermal spas and wellness centers.
Gerlitzen Alpe is located about 60 km northeast of Lake Weissensee and is a ski area with a wonderful view of Lake Ossiach. It has more than 40 km of ski slopes and several restaurants and lodges where visitors can enjoy traditional Austrian cuisine.
Accommodations at Lake Weissensee
There are plenty of different options for accommodations around Lake Weissensee to suit different budgets and preferences.
Keep in mind that Weissensee is a popular holiday destination in both summer and winter, so advance booking is essential to ensure availability, especially during high season.
Hotels at lake Weissensee
There are several hotels around Lake Weissensee that offer comfortable rooms and amenities such as restaurants, spas, and fitness centers. Here are some of the best hotels at Lake Weissensee based on guest reviews and ratings:
Hotel Moser, this 3-star hotel offers cozy and comfortable rooms with balconies overlooking the lake or the mountains. The hotel features a sauna, steam room, and fitness center, as well as a restaurant serving traditional Austrian cuisine. Guests have praised the hotel for its friendly staff and great value for money.
Hotel Regitnig, this 4-star hotel offers modern and spacious rooms with balconies overlooking the lake or the mountains. The hotel features an indoor pool, sauna, and spa, as well as a restaurant serving international cuisine. Guests have praised the hotel for its comfortable accommodations and helpful staff.
Hotel Weissenseerhof, this 4-star hotel is located right on the shores of Lake Weissensee and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, as well as eco-friendly accommodations with a focus on health and wellness.
The hotel features a natural swimming pond, sauna, and spa, as well as a restaurant serving organic and vegetarian cuisine. Guests have praised the hotel for its peaceful atmosphere and healthy amenities.
Apartments and chalets
For those who prefer more space and privacy, there are also apartments and chalets available for rent around Lake Weissensee. These accommodations typically come equipped with a kitchen, living area, and private bathroom. Here are some of the best apartments and chalets at Lake Weissensee based on guest reviews and ratings:
Seehaus Weissensee, this lakeside chalet offers spacious and modern apartments with balconies or terraces overlooking the lake. The apartments feature fully equipped kitchens, living areas, and private bathrooms. Guests have praised the chalet for its beautiful location and peaceful atmosphere.
Holiday apartments Knaller-Möd, these cozy apartments are located just a few minutes' walk from Lake Weissensee in the middle of Techendorf, and offer balconies with mountain views. The apartments feature fully equipped kitchens, living areas, and private bathrooms. Guests have praised the apartments for their cleanliness and friendly hosts.
Landhaus Vogel, this traditional alpine chalet offers comfortable apartments with balconies or terraces overlooking the garden or the mountains. The apartments feature fully equipped kitchens, living areas, and private bathrooms and a beach. Guests have praised the chalet for its quiet location and beautiful views.
Camping at Lake Weissensee
Camping is also a popular option for those who want to be closer to nature. There are several campgrounds around Lake Weissensee that offer amenities such as showers, toilets, and electricity hookups.
Some popular options include Camping Knaller Weissensee located at the shores of lake in Weissensee village, Seecamping Müller located at the western shores of lake, and Camping Ronacher located at the east corner.
How to get to Lake Weissensee
There are several convenient ways to reach Lake Weissensee, depending on your location and preferences.
By car: Lake Weissensee is located in Carinthia, Austria, and is easily accessible by car. The nearest major city is Villach, which is about a 45-minute drive away. The lake is located off the B87 road, which connects the towns of Hermagor and Greifenburg. There is ample parking available around the lake.
By train: The nearest train station to Lake Weissensee is in the town of Greifenburg, which is about a 20-minute drive away. The station is served by local trains from Villach and Lienz. From Greifenburg, you can take a bus or taxi to reach the lake.
By bus: There are regular bus services connecting the towns around Lake Weissensee with the nearest cities and train stations. You can check the local bus timetables on the website of the regional public transportation provider, Kärnten Bus.
By plane: The nearest airports to Lake Weissensee are Klagenfurt Airport and Ljubljana Airport, both of which are about a 2-hour drive away. There are also several airports in Italy and Germany within a 3-4 hour drive of the lake.
Once you arrive, you can explore the lake and surrounding region on foot, by bike, or by car.
Read also: Best Places to visit around Lake Weissensee
In conclusion, a holiday at Lake Weissensee offers a wonderful opportunity to experience the natural beauty and cultural richness of Austria, with plenty of opportunities for relaxation, adventure, and exploration. It is not called the Alpine Pearl for nothing.
Its crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming, boating, and fishing, and the surrounding mountains provide a range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and skiing, depending on the season.
Whether you're traveling solo, as a couple, or with family and friends, a holiday at Lake Weissensee is sure to be a memorable and rewarding experience.