history, myths, bathing
The 8.2 kilometre long, maximum 2.1 kilometre wide and up to 125m deep Lake Hallstatt has always attracted lots of visitors. The travel writer Christoph Wagner enthuses: "The lake appears upon first glance like the big sister of a sub-terranean mountain lake which Hades accidentally set free. The dark waters are of a bizarre beauty which bring forth the powers of the deep underground."
The lake has been referred to as the "melancholic lake", the "still fjord" and the "vision of a perfect mountain lake". Lake Hallstatt is a classic relic of the Ice Age and it has a total area of 858 square metres lying between the steep Obertraun and Hallstatt mountains and Bad Goisern. Lake Hallstatt is the fifth largest of the Salzkammergut lakes.
For early settlers ...
at the Hallstatt Mines the natural beauty of Lake Hallstatt was not so signifcant. Instead the lake was a means of transporting the most valuable commodity from the mountains: salt.
The lake also carried wood from the Gosau Valley, and then later on saline from Hallstatt to Ebensee. Today the lake is more important for Lake Hallstatt lake cruises business, operated by the Hemetsberger Family. The boats also transport passangers backwards and forwards across the lake to the railway station. Indeed, many people get their first glimpses of the picturesque World Heritage Resort from the lake having arrived by train and boat.
You can also take a stroll along the a Eastern Shore Trail from Bad Goisern or Obertraun to fully appreciate the beauty of the lake. The "Soleleitungsweg" along the steep sides of the western shore leads from Hallstatt via the Goisern Valley to Ebensee. This trail affords views down to the fjord-like lake. Perhaps you might be able to see under the surface of the lake where 12 different species of fish live. Lake Hallstatt is used for additional recreational purposes. The water can warm up to 23 degrees, making for a cooling retreat on hot summer days.
Lakeside bathing areas ...
... and swimming opportunities are plentiful between Obertraun and Bad Goisern and they are all free of charge. It is a sheer pleasure to swim with views of the mountains in this World Cultural Heritage Region.
There are also numerous concerts held on the shores of the lake, and brass bands sometimes perform on the lake itself. But some things never change. Lake Hallstatt found its own special "rhythm" tens of thousands of years ago and will hold on to this for ever.
Hotels and accomodation