Lakes in Austria: Langbathseen.

In the heart of the Salzkammergut, a very beautiful area in Austria where you’ll find high mountains, precious salt mines, cultural heritage sites and many many lakes there. Back in May, I took a prolonged weekend to explore the Salzkammergut a bit, go on hikes and check out the local lakes. There are actually some of the most beautiful ones that you’ll ever find in Austria if you ask me: the Vorderer & Hinterer Langbathseen.

Two lakes make up one

The Langbathseen are mountain lakes in the Salzkammergut, in its Upper Austrian part right between the Traunsee and the Attersee, on the foot of the Höllengebirge (literally ‘mountains of hell’). There are two of them, and they’ve got a very creative name to distinguish them: ‘Hinterer’ and ‘Vorderer’, which translates to the one in the back and the one in the front. The surface elevation of the lakes is 664 metres and their surroundings are a nature reserve.

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Hinterer vs. Vorderer Langbathsee

 They are located in a long basin next to the limestone massif of the Höllengebirge and are both surrounded by deep green mountain forests. However, the lakes are actually quite different from each other.

The lake in the back has a darker, greener colour. The Hinterer Langbathsee lake isn’t a typical bathing water, probably because of its high biomass content aka algae.

Grey mountains and clouds at the Hinterer Langbathsee

Reflections and a fisher hut on the Hinterer Langbathsee

The Vorderer Langbathsee, the one in the front, the bigger one of the two. Its colour is lighter and its water (in terms of classification and temperatures up to 25°C) is perfect for going for a swim. It’s also rather populated with many visitors who go swimming or diving, or who sit down for a cup of coffee in the restaurant, the Langbathsee Stüberl, next to the parking lot on the shore of the lake.

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Vorderer Langbathsee

On the shores of the Vorderer Langbathsee, there’s the hunting lodge of the famous emperor of the Habsburg monarchy, Franz Joseph. In 1870 he had this lodge built there and used to say in the Salzkammergut for extended hunting trips in the surrounding mountains. The lodge is still there, and sits dreamily, almost a bit deserted in the meadow with the mountains in the back and the lake in the front. So you see that this area has been a nature paradise for quite some time. In case you’ve got some loose change, you can rent the lodge, by the way. I stumbled over this while trying to find out when it was built… In case you’re interested, check out this website. They’ve got more info on what’s inside the building etc.

hunting lodge on the shores of the langbathsee

Hiking around the lakes

The Langbathseen are perfect for very easy hiking adventures (to be honest, it’s more a leisurely Sunday stroll) as you can walk around both of the lakes on a nice gravel path. If you wanna do this, the 6.84km would take you less than 2 hours. Or you can also opt for the shorter route of 45 minutes and just turn left (or right, depending on whether you’re walking clockwise or not) at the western shore of the Vorderer Langbathsee and skip the lake in the back.

Hinterer Langbathsee

woods near the Vorderer Langbathsee

Vorderer Langbathsee

The hunting lodge

It’s even possible to take your car up to the Vorderer Langbathsee (coming from Ebensee), park there and march away. If you’re opting for the circular route, there’s this Bergfext tour that you can follow. Or if you want to be as adventurous as my boyfriend and I were, you can actually combine it with an actualy uphill hike coming from the Großalm restaurant via the Hohe Lueg mountain. This would be an additional 4km that would take you 200 metres up a mountain (981m) and 200 metres down again, then you’d surround the lakes and hike back to where you started from. So in total you’d be on the road for around 5 hours, plus breaks from time to time to take in the scenery and have some food maybe. You’d be walking a lot in the shades of the woods, so it’s also a perfect hike when the sun’s out. It’s still a fairly easy route and you won’t need very good equipment for this tour.

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Lakes in Austria: Lake Neusiedl.

Quite a lot of (Austrian) people sneer at Austria’s biggest lake – lake Neusiedl.’The lake is dirty, it is not very deep. Not a real lake.’ At least I sometimes have the feeling that they do ;) Nevertheless, I still kinda like it there and find it charming. After many years since my last trip to it I wanted to revisit it. So I grasped at an opportunity to go there to have breakfast and enjoy the view before returning to Vienna.

The Lake

The Lake Neusiedl is located in the East of Austria, in the state of Burgenland. The Neusiedlersee (how we call it in German) is with 315 kmthe largest ‘endorheic’ lake in Central Europe, which means it retains the water within the lake and there are not outflowing rivers. The Neusiedlersee lies both in Austria and Hungary, and it is also the largest lake that we have in Austria (Austrian’s share of the Lake Constance is very small in comparison to the part of the Neusiedlersee that is within the Austrian border). With around 1.5 metres deep, the lake Neusiedl is also the most westerly steppe lake in Eurasia. Reeds predominantly cover the surface of the lake, and with its mild climate the area is perfect for plants and animals to flourish.

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In December 2001, the cross-border ‘Ferto/Neusiedler See Cultural Landscape’ was put on the UNESCO World Heritage list, so the surroundings and the lake were recognised for its ‘universal value’. Near the lake there are many vineyards one can visit, the lake and its surrounding are perfect for water enthusiasts, cyclers, bird watchers and nature lovers. And in winter there are some activities you can do on the ice as well, for example ice skating, which seemed to be a very popular activity last winter.

Quite some time ago (I think it was in 2008) I even got a boating certificate at the lake Neusiedl in the course of a school trip. So when I was a bit younger I spent a nice week doing lots of sports and enjoying a vineyard tour at and near the lake. I even swam in there once, but due to the shallow water I would not recommend doing it again :D

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Neusiedl and Mole West

Coming from Vienna we decided to drive to one of the nearest towns next to the lake so we opted for ‘Neusiedl am See’, a town with around 7,800 inhabitants. It is located on the northern shore of the lake. We only drove through the town, passing all the cute colourful buildings on the main street, and went straight to the lake. After doing some research the day before we ended up at the Mole West, a very nice looking café/restaurant right on (or next to?) the lake. The place is very modern, with a lot of glass, teak and steel. We were lucky and got a table right next to the huge glass wall so we could truly enjoy the beautiful view over the lake while eating our breakfast. It was very delicious yet slightly overpriced but I guess the prime location and the view increase the price of the food.

During spring and summer it is open daily fro 9AM – 24:00, and you can enjoy your drinks and food outside on a terrace overlooking the waterfront. This calls for a revisit sometime when it is really warm outside, right?!

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Despite only spending one morning there back in February when the lake was still partially frozen and the day was rather dark and gloomy, it was beautiful and very calming. I have managed to go to the lake during spring, summer and now winter, to see the lake during different times from different angles. Admittedly, the lake does not have the purest, bluest water possible, it is rather dark and dirty, but personally, I think you don’t need that in every lake. There are no mountains nearby, the lake has such an ‘endless’ feeling to it. I loved it there and will for sure go there once again in the future.