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Jagdhausalmen Alpine Pastures, Defereggen, East Tirol, Austria, Europe

Five Lakes to Discover

Updated on 06.02.2023 in Recommendations, Photos: Patrick Bonato

Tirol’s lakes are, of course, a great place to splash and swim in summer – but they are also well worth a visit in winter. Many freeze over all winter and can be used for ice skating, winter walking or even a bit of cross-country skiing. Don’t forget to take a woolly hat and a pair of warm gloves as well as warm walking boots and clothing for a fun and enjoyable experience on the ice.

Pillersee, © Kitzbüheler Alpen Pillerseetal © Kitzbüheler Alpen Pillerseetal


St. Ulrich

The Pillertal Valley was hit by a huge landslide 15,000 that blocked the flow of a river and created a natural dam eventually forming the Pillersee lake. This lake still exists today and is just seven metres deep – one reason why it often freezes over in winter. There are walking paths throughout the valley, including up to the lake, which are kept in excellent condition during the winter months. Little wonder that the 2023 European Winter Walking Days are to be held here in the Pillertal Valley.

Piburger See, © Tirol Werbung / Roman Haindl © Tirol Werbung / Roman Haindl

Piburger See 


The Piburger See is famous in Tirol for its beautifully clean water in summer and its huge ice-skating area in winter. Those who prefer to keep their feet on solid ground can walk to the lake from the village of Oetz on a path cleared of snow in winter. Or why not simply do both? Definitely one of the most spectacular ice rinks in Austria if not the world.

Moserer See


Winter walking is a great outdoor activity – and a good way to burn calories in the fresh mountain air. We recommend a walk to the Wildmoosalm hut, a guesthouse near Seefeld where the menu is full of regional delicacies such as apple strudel and homemade schnapps. The walk to the hut through the Möserer See nature reserve takes around 3.5 hours.

Hintersteiner See, © Discover Austria/  Thomas Hennerbichler © Discover Austria/ Thomas Hennerbichler

Hintersteiner See


The Hintersteiner See lake near Scheffau is a great place to get away from it all. There is a walking path around the lake that takes around two hours to complete – the perfect afternoon activity on a sunny winter day. The lake normally freezes over for several months of the year but loses none of the charm its turquoise waters offer bathers in summer. And if you should end up with wet feet by venturing into the snow on the south shore of the lake, we recommend the Hintersteiner Seestüberl hut as a place to warm up again afterwards.

Vilsalpsee and Haldensee

Tannheimer Tal

Why content yourself with one lake when you can have two? The village of Tannheim is an excellent starting point for cross-country skiers heading east and explore the area around the Haldensee lake. There is a cross-country trail around the shore – and even one on the lake itself when the ice is thick enough. Back in Tannheim there is also a second route for cross-country skiers leading out to another beautiful lake, the Vilsalpsee.


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