Attersee, Austria

Lake Locations:

Austria - Salzburg - Styria - Upper Austria -

Also known as:  Lake Attersee, Kammersee, Lake Kammersee

For centuries the beauty of Austria’s Attersee (see = lake) has been an inspiration to musicians, artists, poets, and authors. Nestled in the foothills of the Alps, Lake Attersee is Austria’s largest inland lake, only a 30 minute drive east of Salzburg. Lake Attersee’s crystal clear water runs for 12 miles spanning the boundaries of Upper Austria, Styria, and Salzburg Provinces. If you enjoy the outdoors, beautiful water, historic villages and scenic mountains, Attersee provides all the ingredients for your perfect family vacation.

Attersee, Wolfgangsee (or Abersee), Traunsee (or Gmundnersee), Mondsee and Halstattersee are only a sampling of the lakes carved into the Salzkammergut Lake District during Austria’s last ice age. Lying near the southeastern end of Lake Attersee, Lake Mondsee is the source of Attersee’s water. Water enthusiasts can start their outings here. Connecting the two lakes, two-mile long Seeache River provides class A and B rafting. The 276-foot average depth and 561-foot maximum depth keeps Lake Attersee water very cold, but it also rarely freezes. Moving along the depths and past scenic historic villages and hamlets, Attersee drains into the Ager River at the north end of the lake.

The Salzkammergut Lake District has an ancient history all due to salt. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Halstattersee community of Hallstatt is the site of the world’s first known salt mine. Archeological evidence indicates that salt was mined by the Celts as early as 1000 BC with the region’s first settlements built during the Iron Age (800-to-400 BC). Salt became such a prized commodity, that much of the area came under control of the government and was closed to visitors until the early 19th century.

Money to be made from salt brought wealth to Attersee and the Salzkammergut Lake District. Today, beautiful castles, chalets and country estates line the lake shores making a grand assortment of accommodations for visitors and residents. The alpine setting has been an inspiration to many. Austrian composer and conductor Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) worked on his symphonies within his “composing huts” at Attersee and surrounding lakes. Artist Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) captured countless lake scenes during his summer stays at Attersee. Today, visitors can follow the Artist Trail and view places and scenes Klimt captured on canvas. Born Christian Ludwig, contemporary pop artist Chrisitan Ludwig Attersee (1940- ) spent a good part of his youth sailing the waters of Attersee. He so loved the location that he added Attersee as a pseudonym to his name. Today Attersee’s vacation rentals and real estate properties include charming Austrian holiday homes and villas, quaint guest houses, luxury hotels and beautifully landscaped hillside inns.

It is not just the scenery but the water that draws spring, summer and fall visitors to Lake Attersee. The surrounding mountains funnel a consistent breeze down the length of the lake, making Attersee one of Austria’s best sailing lakes. Called the “Rosenwind” by locals, the winds once carried the scent of roses from the rose gardens of Kammer Palace at the north end of the lake. With or without the scent of roses, sailors gather at Attersee every May until September for the Austrian regattas.

If you are not on Lake Attersee to sail, then cast your line into the water for rainbow trout, brown trout, red trout, esox, lake char, carp, whitefish, burbot, European eel and cichlid. Fishing season runs from May 15 to November 20 and requires a fishing license easily purchased in the communities and quaint hamlets lining Attersee’s 31-mile shore.

Topping off Attersee’s water sports are windsurfing, scuba diving, waterskiing and swimming. The clear blue-green water is inviting but cold, so swimmers will find a selection of heated pools within lakeside communities and resorts.

When you are ready to get out of the water, don’t forget to place Attersee sightseeing excursions at the top of your “don’t miss list.” For an enjoyable day trip, hike through Lake Attersee’s historic communities and poke down intriguing little allies and side streets. An irresistible assortment of gift shops and fabulous Austrian cuisine makes each community a new adventure. The more ambitious visitor may leave the lake and begin to climb Hollengebirge Mountain’s stark limestone cliffs for a magnificent view of Attersee and the Salzkammergut Lake District. If cruising sounds more your pace, several small cruise lines offer daytime, evening, children’s and adventure tours of Attersee. Last, but certainly not least, are the 30 miles of bike paths circling Attersee’s shores and countryside. Bicycle rentals are readily available, and if you are of a competitive nature, consider joining the annual Attersee Mountain Bike Trophy competition that takes mountain bikers to an elevation of 4,823 feet.

If your vision of Austria comes from the spectacular scenery in “The Sound of Music,” then make the pleasant drive west of Attersee and tour the city of Salzburg where many of the scenes were shot. The arts have long been at the center of life in Salzburg. Its most famous native son is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) whose museum and family homes attract thousands of visitors each year. Since 1920 the Salzburg Festival draws some of the world’s eminent musicians to concert halls through the city. The selection of exhibitions, galleries, theatre and dance performances make Salzburg the perfect place to immerse yourself in the culture of Austria.

Attersee is a popular destination for residents of Salzburg, Linz and Vienna but has a growing number of world visitors. At Attersee you can rise to the majesty of alpine mountains, sail the sparkling water, and escape to lakeside castles that capture the essence of Austria. The memory of a well spent vacation is forever, and it begins at Lake Attersee.

Things to do at Attersee

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Water Skiing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Museum

Fish species found at Attersee

  • Brown Trout
  • Burbot
  • Carp
  • Char
  • Eel
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

Attersee Photo Gallery

Attersee Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 11,367 acres

Shoreline Length: 31 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,539 feet

Average Depth: 276 feet

Maximum Depth: 561 feet

Water Volume: 3,198,264 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 7 years

Drainage Area: 179 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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