Lake Weissensee in Carinthia is one of the highest bathing lakes in Europe and is a real paradise for those who enjoy hiking.
There are 200 kilometres of marked walking trails lead directly from the lakeshore up to 2300 metres above sea level. A further 1000 kilometres of hiking trails await discovery in the surrounding valleys.
The Naturpark Weissensee (Nature Park Weissensee) opens up a world full of possibilities for hikers and mountaineers.
There are challenges for every level of fitness: from a leisurely walk around the lake to a scramble up the rocks of the mountain peaks.
No matter which route you choose there are unobstructed views of the crystal-clear waters of Lake Weissensee, which change through shades of colour from Caribbean turquoise to almost black.
If you prefer to hike in a group, simply join a guided tour with local hiking guides. At the end of each tour you can jump into the warm (24°C) lake.
One advantage of the vacation region: each accommodation at the Weissensee has its own entrance to the lake and can therefore offer relaxed days of sunbathing even in high summer.
Lake Ferry and Mountain Chairlift
The chairlift at the Weissensee can take hikers up to the Naggler Alm in just 12 minutes. There are fantastic panoramic views from the top and it is a starting point for wonderful hiking routes such as the Kohlröslhütte or the Golz (2004 m).
A boat trip on the lake should also not be missed and it can be a means of shortening a lengthy homeward section of a hike. There are two ferry companies who run scheduled services on the lake from May to October.
Tour Idea #1: Inspiring Views at the Golz (2004m)
The peak of the Golz, the Weissensee’s ‘own mountain’, offers an impressive view of the surroundings from the wide summit meadow where you can recover from your efforts in a comfortable wooden couch.
The first stage of the 4-hour ascent can be shortened with the Weissensee Bergbahn, a modern 4-seater chairlift. From the Naggler Alm the climb leads up to the Gaisrücken, on to the Kohlröslhütte, up to the Sattelköpfen and finally to the summit ascent. A stop can be made on the descent for the culinary pleasures at the Kohlröslhütte or the Naggler Alm.
Tour Idea #2: View the Whole Lake on the “Slow Trail”
Two-thirds of the fjord-like Weissensee is completely unspoilt. You can consciously enjoy every one of the 12 kilometres on a unique hiking trail that runs from the western shore to the eastern shore – right along the natural shore of the lake.
If you take a good three hours, you can actively slow down on the “Slow Trail”. A relaxing jump into the lake water is possible in numerous places. On the way, a multitude of idyllic bays and resting places are waiting to be discovered. Breathtaking lake views included: a secret tip is the Gosaria meadow with cosy wooden loungers.
Tour Idea #3: Following the Theme Trails Together
The theme trails in the lake and alpine pastures on Lake Weissensee are ideal excursion destinations for all ages. They are family-friendly, suitable for prams and lead to educational places in one of the most fascinating places in Austria.
An excursion that is definitely worthwhile is the hike along the bee nature trail: with the help of numerous display boards and some show hives you gain insight into the fascinating world of these insects.
The theme trail “On the Trail of Forest Glass” takes you into the world of the former glassmaking village of Tscherniheim and the life of glassblowers.
On the hiking trail “Of Fish and Fishers” you can see the 22 species of fish found in Lake Weissensee.
Extra Tip: Smugglers’ Secrets on the “Trail of the Book”
You can also hike along the Weissensee in the footsteps of Bible smugglers and secret Protestants. The long-distance hiking trail “The Trail of the Book”, created by the Evangelical Church, consists of 29 daily stages through Austria, one of which leads via Stockenboi to Weissensee.
For the 18 kilometres you should plan about five hours walking time. Lutheran bibles, songbooks and prayer books were once smuggled into remote mountain valleys via these walking routes.
More information: www.weissensee.com