Achensee, Tyrol, Austria

Lake Locations:

Austria - Tyrol -

Also known as:  Lake Achensee, Lake Achen, Tyrolean Fjord

Often called the Tyrolean Fjord, Achensee is the largest lake in Austria’s western Tyrol province. Lake Achensee lies 30 miles northeast of Innsbruck and approximately 15 miles south of the German border. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, lush green forests and alpine meadows, the lake extends for six miles down the scenic Achen valley. Include charming lakeside communities and an endless selection of outdoor recreation, and you have found the ideal destination for an unforgettable holiday.

As early as the 12th century Lake Achensee was in the possession of a Benedictine abbey while occasionally serving as a summertime retreat for European kings and archdukes. The isolation of this spectacular and unspoiled land came to an end in 1889 when a steam-cog railway was built to connect Achensee with the community of Jenbach, four miles to the south. Transportation brought tourism and the development of Lake Achen into a popular all-season vacation destination. Carved by the Inn Glacier, this natural lake has served as a reservoir for TIWAG-Tiroler Hydropower Inc. since 1927. The original outflow of Achensee has been diverted from the Isar River at the north end of the lake and directed toward the southern Inn Valley where the water falls 1,250 feet on its way to the hydropower plant near the community of Jenbach. TIWAG-Tiroler Hydropower AG manages the lake level, lowering the depth as much as 33 feet during the winter knowing it will be replenished by mountain streams and snowmelt in the spring.

Three lakeside communities sit in the lush green valley fed by the mountain snow. Lovingly preserved and unforgettably beautiful, Achenkirch sits at the north end of Lake Achensee’s 13-mile shoreline. The alpine mountain scenery has served as inspiration to artists and authors while continuing to provide a fun-filled family-friendly destination for holiday travelers. Achenkirch’s lakeside beach and sunbathing lawn are a good place to begin your summer vacation. A swimming area, playground and restrooms are found near the campground at the northern end of the lake. With a maximum depth of 436 feet and average depth of 67 feet, swimming in snow-fed Lake Achensee’s sparkling water is a chilling experience. Swimming pools in lakeside resorts offer popular, and much warmer, alternatives. Other sporting activities found at Achenkirch include a summer toboggan run, tennis, squash, horseback riding, inline skating, jogging, and Nordic walking. While you are walking through this community of 2,100 people, take in more leisurely activities like a summer concert, a stroll past the 1748 parish church, or a tour of the local history museum.

Maurach sits along the eastern shore of Lake Achensee. While visiting this charming village of 2,000 people, take the time to stroll past their beautiful Baroque church, wander through appealing little shops, and stop to enjoy a selection of mouth-watering Austrian cuisine. Maurach rests on some of the lakeshore’s limited flat terrain, but the snow-capped peaks of the Rofan Mountain Range tower overhead, making this a popular destination for winter skiers.

At the western shore of Lake Achensee the small village of Pertisau is said to have been the favorite hunting ground of emperor Maximilian. It is also home to Austria’s oldest golf course. Sitting near Tirol’s largest nature park, Alpenpark Karwendel, this community of 600 people is a hiker’s paradise. At 281 square miles, Karwendel is Austria’s largest preserve offering trails for hikers, mountain bikers and cross-country skiers to explore the alpine back country. For the more energetic, there is not a better place for mountaineering and rock climbing than Karwendel. For an entertaining midday pursuit, Pertisau visitors can take a cable car into the park and photograph spectacular views of Lake Achensee.

Good sailing winds funnel between the Karwendel Mountains west of Achensee and the Rofan and Sonnwend Mountains to the east. The consistent winds make sailing and windsurfing a popular pastime on Lake Achensee. If you don’t have a boat of your own, rentals are available from marinas and resorts. If you are new to the sport, several sailing and windsurfing schools are found among lakeside villages.

Despite the cold temperatures, the clear depths attract a number of scuba divers and snorkelers. Diving is permitted from the first of May to the end of October and is restricted to designated depths along the eastern shore. A diving permit is required, and diving suits are recommended to stave off the cold.

If you prefer to catch fish rather than swim with them, Lake Achensee is known to hold generous populations of perch, pike, brook trout, “Erlitze”, “Koppen”, rainbow trout, vendace, roach, tench, brown trout and char. Fly-fishermen will enjoy the pursuit of trout in any of the numerous mountain streams flowing down the mountain toward Lake Achensee. A fishing permit is required and readily available within each community.

Once the playground of European royalty, Lake Achensee now welcomes visitors and families from around the world. Whether you choose to swim at the beach in Achenkirch, ski the slopes near Maurch, or hike into the park near Pertisau, you will be surrounded by Austrian hospitality and spectacular scenery. Take a 50-mile drive from Munich or 70-minute drive from Salzburg and escape to the charm of Lake Achen. Choose from all-inclusive hotels, family-owned inns, private holiday homes perched on the mountainside, or lakeside guest houses and real estate properties and begin creating your perfect Austrian vacation at Achensee.

Things to do at Achensee

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Swimming Pool
  • Beach
  • Snorkeling
  • Scuba Diving
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Tobogganing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Waterfall
  • Museum
  • Playground

Fish species found at Achensee

  • Brook Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Char
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Roach
  • Tench
  • Trout
  • Vendace

Achensee Photo Gallery

Achensee Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: TIWAG-Tiroler Hydropower AG

Surface Area: 1,680 acres

Shoreline Length: 13 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 3,051 feet

Average Depth: 67 feet

Maximum Depth: 436 feet

Water Volume: 389,953 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 2 years

Lake Area-Population: 4,700

Drainage Area: 84 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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