Grundlsee, Styria, Austria

Lake Locations:

Austria - Styria -

Also known as:  Lake Grundlsee, Lake Grundl, Grundl, Styrian Sea, das Steirische Meer

Grundlsee (see = lake) is one of a small cluster of lakes surrounding the peaceful Austrian community of Bad Aussee. Located in upper Styria Province (also known as Steiermark), Bad Aussee lies at the geographic center of Austria. Being part of the Salzkammergut Lake District, Grundlsee is surrounded by breathtaking alpine mountains and lush forested valleys, but it is the people’s culture and history that attracts visitors to Grundlsee, sometimes called the Styrian Sea.

Formed during the last ice age, this glacial lake is the largest lake in Styria and one of three lakes lying in a chain along a short stretch of River Traun. Locally called das Steirische Meer, Lake Grundl lies two miles northeast of Bad Aussee and has five villages lining its eight-mile shoreline. Picturesque Brauhof, Gossl, Archkogel, Untertressen and Grundlsee make up the municipality of Grundlsee.

The quiet simplicity and beauty of Grundlsee make this 1,023-acre lake a popular family retreat. Fed by mountain streams and snowmelt, the clear cold water is an invitation to swimmers, divers, windsurfers, sailors and paddlers. A long beach and hidden bays attract swimmers on a summer day with beach bonfires warming friends and family in the evening. Only electric motors are permitted on the water, helping to maintain the tranquility of lake life. Boat rentals, sailing and windsurfing lessons are readily available. During winter months portions of the lake are reserved for ice skating, and for the brave, ice diving into the 209-foot depths begins in January.

Fly fishermen will be thrilled with easy access from Grundlsee to River Traun, one of the best stretches of trout water in Europe. At Lake Grundl, fishery records date back to 1280 A.D. The lake’s quality Arctic char were in such demand that they were served at the emperor’s court in Vienna, 240 miles away. Prized for over 700 years, disaster struck the species in 2005 with an outbreak of Triaenophorus crassus, a fresh water parasite. Believed to have been introduced with the stocking of whitefish, pike or perch, this became the world’s first recorded epidemic in Arctic char. With some restrictions, anglers continue to enjoy fishing Grundlsee while efforts are underway to restore Arctic char populations.

While at Grundlsee, continue up the River Traun for the “Three Lakes Tour.” Lake Toplitzsee is the second lake, approximately one mile northeast of Grundlsee. Toplitzsee is a mile long with a depth of 338 feet. Fresh water covers the first 65 feet, and then becomes saline as salt leaches into the depths from the adjacent Hasel Mountains.

It isn’t the water that makes Toplitzsee unique; it is the local history. A marker appears along the shore of Lake Toplitz identifying the area where Austria’s Archduke Johann met and fell in love with a local peasant girl, Anna Plochl. They married in 1829 and continued their close ties to Bad Aussee and Styria. The prestige brought to Styria by the couple remains a source of local pride.

Not all of Toplitzsee’s history is as romantic as the story of Archduke Johann and Anna. During the years following Hitler’s 1938 invasion of Austria, Toplitzsee and surrounding mountainsides became a test site for German weapons and explosives. In 1945, during the last days of the Third Reich, Germany’s SS guard dropped evidence of the testing along with documents and equipment into the depths of Toplitz. Several dives have taken place since the war uncovering a torpedo, ammunition, laboratory equipment, a printing press, counterfeit British money and secret military documents. While underwater salvaging is said to be complete, treasure hunters still find occasional bits of history abandoned by the SS.

The third lake on the tour is the tiny and breathtakingly beautiful Kammersee. Reached only by boat and a short hike, the only evidence of human activity is a channel carved out of a massive stone outcrop in the 16th century. In this deep green fairytale setting, Kammersee becomes the source of River Traun.

Pride in local tradition and history are at the heart of Grundlsee and Bad Aussee. Walk the streets of the towns and villages, and you will see residents dressed in traditional lederhosen and dirndl. Worn as everyday dress, not as costume, the garments are a local statement of cultural pride.

After a long winter, traditional festivals fill the spring days of the residents of Grundlsee. For over 50 years the blooming of fragrant white daffodils signals the beginning of Narzissenfest, one of Austria’s largest flower festivals. This folk festival includes daffodil-decorated sculptures, parades, traditional costume, and local folk music.

Residents of Grundlsee share in Fasching, a pre-lenten spring festival celebrated in Bad Aussee. Reminiscent of Austrian peasant culture and masked balls of late-medieval and early Renaissance festivals, Fasching is filled with carnivals, masked costumes, masked parades, music and dancing.

Long winters don’t stop the revelry at Grundlsee. In January, much in the tradition of America’s Halloween “trick or treat,” children go door to door gathering baked treats, fruits and nuts in a custom called Glockler und Berigeln. That evening, with faces covered and costumes on, adults open their homes to refreshments and entertainment while attempting to guess the identities of friends and neighbors.

Local traditions, mountain scenery, summer fun and winter sports make Grundlsee a unique destination among the lakes of the Salzkammergut Lake District. Area vacation rentals include holiday homes, guest houses, inns and hotels. Select your accommodation and hike between deeply chiseled mountain peaks, ski across alpine meadows or downhill slopes, sunbathe on the lakeshore, or dance in local parades. Pick your season or pick your festival and explore the legends, lore and attractions of Grundlsee.

Things to do at Grundlsee

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Hunting

Fish species found at Grundlsee

  • Char
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

Grundlsee Photo Gallery

Grundlsee Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 1,023 acres

Shoreline Length: 9 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,326 feet

Average Depth: 105 feet

Maximum Depth: 209 feet

Water Volume: 137,821 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 1 year

Lake Area-Population: 1,294

Drainage Area: 48 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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