(Last update, September 2023). Since we live in Austria we started bucket list of all the experiences we wanted to have – and this stay in a bivouac was on the very top for a long time. Now that we finally stayed there we can say it’s as amazing as it sounds (and looks!).
Check the rest of our #AustriaSummerBucketList to find more ideas for summer holidays and experiences in Austria!
But back to the bivouac! Never before have we received so many direct messages on Instagram and questions about a place. Two of our readers even booked a stay right after we posted on Instagram – so that goes to show how many of you are currently craving for some special Austria vacations. Without further ado, let us show you some more impressions from the bivouac at lake Millstättersee called “Refugium am See” and share all our tips for a stay.
The bivouac “Refugium am See”
Now as you might know, we’re not really the camping kind of travelers. We do appreciate some comfort! The bivouac is like the luxury version of camping – you’ll get to enjoy the benefits without the hassle 🙂 No need to worry about where to plug in to power or how to get fresh water. The bivouac is equipped with all comforts – from heating to a separate bathroom with a flush toilet and sink, even electrical blinds for the windows. This bivouac also features an outdoor warm water shower (Maybe good to know: not all the bivouacs at the lake have running water – let alone warm water!)
Not all the bivouacs at lake Millstättersee feature all the amenities that “Refugium am See” offers.
Privacy – the purest form of luxury
Of course it’s still a small space, so there’s no couch or writing desk – only a really comfortable queen size bed, two chairs, a small table and the separate bathroom. The real luxury here is the ample private outdoor space. The bivouac is located on a private lakeside property with your own lake access, a pier and even a decades old wooden rowing boat up for your disposal. The only people you might meet is the family that owns that bivouac – Nina and her little daughter Georgina and maybe grandma also comes by for an afternoon swim.
Gourmet picnic basket & breakfast delivery to the bivouac
When it comes to food you won’t have to leave your private bivouac. Dinner is served in form of a lusciously filled picnic basket with regional specialties. We told the owner beforehand that we’re vegetarians, so we got mozzarella with tomato salad instead of a meat platter and lots of local cheese, homegrown veggies and fruit and of course a bottle of champagne. The only thing you need to figure out is where to eat – either in front of your bivouac or maybe on the boat?
Either in front of your bivouac, at the pier or on the boat? Tough choices on where to eat your picnic 😉
For the breakfast service we told Nina that we wanted to eat around 8am and she stopped by with a full basket of breakfast delicacies just in time. From granola to soft-boiled eggs, that were still warm, freshly baked bread rolls, homemade jams and a bottle of orange juice.
Our recommendations for a stay at the bivouac
Tip 1: Choose the right bivouac
There are 7 different bivouacs at lake Millstättersee and they all belong to different owners (Nina from the bivouac “Refugium” is the only private owner, the others are all adjacent to hotels or a camping ground). So if you want to stay in one of the bivouacs take into consideration which one fulfils your wishes the best.
The bivouac “Refugium am See” is the only privately owned bivouac and also the only one located so exclusively on a large private lakeshore property. We also looked at one other bivouac (the bivouac “Tramonto”) and this one is located right next to the heavy traffic lakeside street. So while it looks beautiful on photos (as it is built directly next to the lake) you won’t have as much privacy and quiet in this bivouac.
The bivouac “Tramonto” is located right next to the lakeshore, but there’s a heavy traffic street right behind the bivouac (and on the left side you can already see the hotel beach, so not as much privacy here.
Tip 2: Combine the trip and make it a Carinthia tour
We only stayed one night in the bivouac and then combined the trip with 2 nights at lake Wörthersee and 1 night at lake Weißensee. In hindsight we should’ve stayed 2 nights at each lake to fully enjoy the surroundings and have enough time.
Related articles: In this blogpost we’ll show you a round-up of our Top 3 lakes in Carinthia.
Tip 3: Stay two nights
Most people book the bivouac for one night only, but we would recommend a two night stay. This way you get to enjoy a full day at the private lakeshore, swim, lounge in the sun, go out on the lake with Nina’s rowing boat, that was passed down by her grandfather and just really relax. We believe that two nights are the perfect length of stay at the bivouac. If you don’t mind the outdoor shower and small indoor space you can of course also stay longer 😉
If you’re looking for more tips from our #AustriaSummerBucketList click here: