As part of our #AustriaSummerBucketList we’re currently travelling around our home country on the lookout for special kinds of vacations. We know that most holiday goers think of hiking when they consider Austria as a summer destination. But we prefer a more relaxed holiday and are therefore suggesting ideas for non-hiking related Austria holidays this year 🙂
One of the main ingredients for a relaxed vacation is the element water – so in the case of Austria it’s one of the thousands of lakes of the country. Let us introduce you to 3 very different lakes in Carinthia, Austria’s southernmost state. Carinthia is home to over 1.200 lakes and it’s not easy to choose where to go. In our selection we looked for 2 important criteria – the beauty of nature as well as the quality of hotels & accommodations. For us a successful lake holiday has to cover both parts equally!
The Wörthersee is a playground for boats of all kinds – also motorboats, so it’s not as quiet as other lakes in Carinthia.
3 very different lakes in Carinthia
- Wörthersee: The mundane, chic & beautiful lake
- Millstättersee: The creative, relaxed & innovative lake
- Weissensee: The calm, sustainable & culinary lake
1. Wörthersee: The mundane, chic & beautiful lake
The lake Wörthersee is not the place to go for a calm, nature focused holiday. While the turquoise color of the lake shines bright the days are filled with activities from motorboat rides to Sushi dinners at the pier. This is where the rich & beautiful go on vacation in Austria – and they aren’t shy to show what they have.
This year much of lake Wörthersee’s accommodations are already fully booked, especially the lakeshore locations and the private vacation homes. Unfortunately lake Wörthersee doesn’t have many public beach access options, so you better stay in a hotel or rental home with it’s own lakeshore property.
These photos are part of a photo shoot we did for a client who runs a luxury detox clinic called “VIVAMAYR” in Maria Wörth.
Our hotel tip:
We have stayed at a multitude of hotels at Wörthersee throughout the recent years. With trips to Velden and Klagenfurt we covered both tips of the lake (and everything in between). But the place that sticks out the most for us is the “Schlossvilla Miralago” – a castle-like boutique hotel from 1893 with a very talended chef and private beach access. We loved the unique atmosphere, creaky wood floors and private appeal. If you crave a unique experience book the bathing house right at the pier (like many newly-weds do!).
The “Schlossvilla Miralago” has a very unique appeal and is perfect for travellers who like a historic place!
More hotel options:
- Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden: Probably the most iconic hotel at the lake – with the best beach club at Wörthersee, a huge spa area and a combination of old and new architecture.
- Hotel Linde: A family-owned gem on the Maria Wörth peninsula with perfect sunset views.
Our restaurant tips:
- Seespitz Velden: The Falkensteiner’s lakeshore restaurant offers stunning vistas & mundane cuisine
- Rocket Rooms: This is the go to spot for burgers and a more relaxed atmosphere (unfortunately it’s not at the lake)
- Lakeside: While you sip on a glass of champagne the guests arrive on their yachts – it doesn’t get more chic than here
- Seebar Linde: Make sure to reserve a table at the pier and enjoy their Sushi menu
At the “Lakeside Lounge” you can enjoy the atmosphere, a glass of champagne and the mundane cuisine.
2. Millstättersee: The creative, relaxed & innovative lake
Our next lake sits somewhere in the middle – it’s not as mundane and chic as Wörthersee, but not as calm and quiet as Weißensee. So it’s the best of both worlds, if you know how to combine it well. Location is key at Millstättersee!
Much of the Southern shore is unspoilt – except for some privately owned vacation homes. The Northern side of the lake is home to many hotels, but also to a road, that travels alongside the lakeside in close proximity. If you stay at Millstättersee we recommend to pay attention to book an accommodation that isn’t located to close to the main street!
Our hotel tip:
Thanks to the creativity and innovative power of the local tourism board the Millstättersee has introduced the concept of the “Bivouacs under the stars“. This is exactly the kind of holiday we’re looking for – something different and unique. There are 7 bivouacs located at special places around the lake and we stayed in the most relaxed and quiet one in the village of Seeboden, far away from the busy street.
The bivouac “Radura al Lago” sits on a private lakeshore property and offers a maximum of exclusivity. It also comes with a beautiful wooden rowing boat, that you can take out on the lake for a spin or a picnic on the boat.
Related articles: Read more about the holiday in a bivouac here!
More hotel options:
- Villa Verdin: This old and colourful villa is a hotspot for the creative scene and also features a private lake access. If you’re not a guest you can visit for a coffee or cake (but due to Covid-19 only after 4pm this summer!).
- Hotel Kollers: If you’re looking for a more mundane holiday you might want to book yourself a suite on their luxury house boat!
3. Weissensee: The calm, sustainable & culinary lake
Lake Weissensee is the polar opposite to the chic and glamorous Wörthersee. The lake is part of the Alpine Pearls collective of sustainable regions, motorboats aren’t allowed on the lake and most of it’s shoreline is completely unspoilt. Fortunately for the lake, but unfortunately for guests that also means that hotels aren’t allowed to be built right at the lakeside.
Most of the hotels around Weissensee are located a few steps away from the lakeshore – separated by a dead end street. And although the street leads nowhere than to the hotels and vacation homes it can become a bit busy at times. We therefore recommend to book a hotel as far in the East as possible on the Northern shore.
Our hotel tip:
We were among the first guests to stay at the brandnew boutique hotel “Neusacherhof”, which just opened it’s doors in June 2020 and focuses on seminars, yoga retreats, slow food and regional delicacies. The rooms are equipped with natural materials from larch wood to Loden fabric. Even the modern designed steel lamps were manufactured in a traditional workshop in the region. We loved the lake views and the served breakfast with local specialities like the sheep yoghurt from iconic manufacturer Nuart vulgo Hafner.
More hotel options:
- Biohotel Gralhof: This hotel isn’t only carbon neutral, but also fully booked for almost all of the summer of 2020. So if you want to go here, make sure to book well ahead of time! The architecture is a compelling argument and so is the sustainable philosophy.
- Strandhotel am Weissensee: This hotel has two strong arguments – they were the first hotel to offer all vegetarian haute cuisine and secondly they offer a lake spa, that sits directly at the lakeshore. The architecture isn’t our cup of tea, but maybe you can overlook this fact 😉
- Genießerhotel Forelle: This hotel isn’t located at the most quiet spot of Weissensee, but has won accolades for it’s culinary creativity. This is the place to go for a cooking classes, food pairing specials and culinary months.
Our verdict about the lakes in Carinthia
The lakes of Carinthia are as diverse as it gets and there’s the right lake for each kind of traveller. The 3 lakes we covered here only give a small glimpse of the diversity, but showcase some of the most iconic lakes of the region. There are still many lakes to visit and discover and we can’t wait to also visit the Faakersee or the Ossiachersee the next time we travel to Carinthia!
What are your favourite lakes in Carinthia and why?
If you’re looking for more tips from our #AustriaSummerBucketList click here: