Affectionately known to locals as the Sea of Tyrol, Lake Achensee is one of the best and largest swimming lakes in the region. Spanning 6.8km and up to 133m deep, the multi-tonal, jewel-coloured water sits between vibrant green mountains,and has mostly pebbly or sandy patches of beach along the shoreline.
Attracting families, watersports fans and sun worshippers, Lake Achensee offers something for the wide range of visitors flocking to its shores during the warmer months. The water is incredibly clear, perfect for diving, and can reach a mildly pleasant 20°C during peak season.
The best way to see the lake and its beaches is by hiring an electric boat, pedalo or row boat, or boarding one of the big sightseeing vessels to tour the different bathing areas. There’s a popular grassy spot in Pertisau which hosts a diving platform, water inflatables, a jetty and a little café.
Lake Achensee scoops the prize for peaceful holiday evenings taken at a slower pace. Enjoy a cold beer or spritz at your hotel bar before steadily making your way down the waterfront pathways, watching the lights of boats and other villages twinkle over the lake as the sun sinks behind the mountains.
The cuisine on offer in Achensee is exceptionally varied. You’ll find inns and restaurants - including four award-winning eateries - offering everything from local specialities like kaiserschmarrn to pizza and pasta dishes. Most restaurants are on the lakefront and some are dotted around near the golf club. And because the resort it relatively small, you won’t have to walk too far to find your favourites.
Take the Karwendel cable car up the mountain and you’ll find the Alpengasthaus Karwendel, a small café with incredible views of the hills. You can simply relax with a cold drink or choose something from their extensive menu – the meat and cheese platter is a good lunchtime option.
Located in the Hotel Sonnenhof is Essbar, a fine-dining restaurant with modern and stylish décor. The portions are good sizes and you’re even offered a small complimentary pre-starter as well as tastings of homemade dressings and olive oils between courses.
A short walk from the lakefront is Via Pasto offering a taste of Italy in the Austrian Alps. The cosmopolitan café-style eatery serves up a good range of typical Italian dishes - like delicious stonebaked pizzas - and the prices are pretty decent for the area.
There are 450km of trails around the region, so there’s something for everyone – from gentle lakeside strolls around Lake Achen to trails through the Karwendel Naturpark and mountain hikes up on the peak.
The most relaxing way to see the lake is by ferry, and there are lots of boats to choose from.
The nearest train station is down the valley in Jenbach. Catch the cog railway there and then jump on a train to the historical city of Innsbruck, the fortress in Kufstein or the town of Worgl for shopping and the adventure pool.
A bus service runs throughout the region, and there are lots of stops so it’s easy to use. You can also step back in time with a trip on the nostalgic bus between Pertisau and the Gramai Alm.
The three gondolas in the area run from early May to October and are the best way to see the most unforgettable views.
With 450km of trails, every type of walker is sure to find their perfect route in Achensee. Start with a gentle stroll around Lake Achen, Tyrol’s largest lake, which is 9km from end to end. If you really want to stretch your legs, you can head into the Karwendel Naturpark, the largest conservative area in the Northern Alps. You can also catch the Rofan or Karwendel lifts up into the mountains for incredible views and scenic walking routes.
Get a perfect overview of the area by jumping on the Karwendel cable car and taking it up to the peak. Follow the Seespitz forest path over the ski slopes and along the avalanche gallery – whilst taking in stunning panoramic views of Lake Achen. The path gently rises and falls as it leads to Maurach and, from there, you can walk back around the lake.
This route has something for everyone, and is a great place to start exploring the area. From Pertisau, follow the lakeside path which leads around the shore and up into the mountains. Stop at an Alpine hut, wander through the village of Achenkirch and pass the beaches of Buchau. You’ll also get to see Europe’s oldest cog railway before circling back to Pertisau.
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