Diving in and around Austria
This compilation shows all dive sites in Austria and the close vicinity, I visited up to now. The list is sorted in the menu by date, latest on top. Although I visited some sites more than once (they are all worth more than one visit!), the sites are usually listed first time only.
Sites marked with an asterisk * have never been dived before.
Planned dives for this year: Diving mountain lakes in August, as well as a few rivers and ponds. Heavy testing of a new dive computer in cold environments.
W******, Carinthia, Austria (altitude 2450m). I had the unique chance to dive a rarely dived lake in Austria. The owner asked to withhold name and location. The lake is a typical hight altitude lake. Bolders along the shoreline are overgrown with fluffy green algae in the shallow. This place is ideal for a hardcore test of a new dive computer.
Gumpe an der Hochbrücke*, Malta Valley, Carinthia, Austria (altitude 1130m). There’s a dam for an electric power station far up the valley. A small river flows down from this artificial lake, building small and medium sized ponds and waterfalls along its way. Some of these ponds are several meters deep. In contrast to others in this area, the pond in questions may be reached with light diving gear over a narrow footpath. A 5mm wetsuit and a 3 litre 300 bar tank is all it takes to have half an hour of fun in this jewel. A temperature of 10°C, a depth of 7.5m, crystal clear water and fish that seem to have never seen a diver before are a great surrounding for spectacular pictures.
Antholzer See, Southern Tyrol, Italy (altitude 1642m). The lake lies close to the Austrian border. Along the northern shore, lots of trees can be found at about 5 to 7m depth. They provide a spooky atmosphere. Visibility may change but is most often about 5m.
Gleinkersee, Upper Austria, Austria (altitude 801m). The lake is surrounded by mountains and slopes on three sides, opening towards north. There’s the easiest way to enter the water. The most promising section lies along the western shore. Fallen trees and branches provide shelter fo fish. Due to season and weather, the visibillity was poor.
Lunzer See, Lower Austria, Austria (altitude 610m). Unfortunately, the visibillity was poor due to swimmers and algae blooming. Visibillity will improve in late autumn.
H****, Upper Austria, Austria (altitude 1850m). I had the unique chance to dive in a lake that is used to store water for artificial snow machines. The permit was given once and the ower doesn’t want the name and location to be published. Publication of pictures is also forbidden. The lake is about 8.1m deep and has a flat bottom covered with green algae. Tubing criss-crosses the ground,causing a spooky atmosphere.
Neufeldersee, Burgenland, Austria (altitude 222m). While the southern shore of the lake is quite busy, the ADA-Beach at the north end of the lake is quiet most of the time. Especially, if you dive at the 6th of January at 2°C water temperature and -6°C air temperature with strong wind. I explored the site during the 50th anniversary of the ADA “Christmas tree drowning”.
Salza, Styria, Austria (altitude 670m). There are several smaller ponds in the Salza river. One is rather easily accessible from the Enns Valley. Two small waterfalls are feeding the pond. During the later morning, the sun reaches the pond. The ground is covered with rocks and tree branches. A nice spot for taking pictures.
Anonymous*, Styria, Austria (altitude 1800m). The lake is located in the mountains surrounding the Enns valley. The owner doesn’t want the name to be published. The north and west shore drops down to about 15m quickly, while the east part is rather shallow at about 3m. The steeper parts are covered with rocks of all sizes and trees in between. The lake is only accessible by helicopter. A special permit is needed to dive it.
Weißensee, Styria, Austria (altitude 2230m). Diving with special permit only (not to be confused with the Weißensee in Carinthia). After diving this lake first time in 2008, we did another research dive this year. Although it was raining a few days before the dive, the water was quite clear. Insect larvae and small shrimps are the only inhabitants of this lake. The sun creates beautiful glittering reflections on the rocks. There wer remains of an avalanche still present in the water. Therefore, the water temperature was 3°C only.
Badesee Süßenbrunn, Vienna, Austria (altitude 157m). Same procedure as every year. The Seastar Dive Club follows the old custom of submerging a Christmastree on Epiphany. Due to cold weather, the lake was covered by a 2 cm thick layer of ice.
Ottensteiner Stausee (Restaurant), Lower Austria, Austria (altitude 490m). The artificial lake features narrow fjords. The water is dark brown colored and blocks daylight below 7m. The ground is covered with rocks and tree roots. You will find old barrels (remainders of a floating platform) in front of the restaurant.
Obstansersee*, Eastern Tyrol, Austria (altitude 2300m). This lake is one of the most southern mountain lakes in Austria. It lies very close to the Italian border. Ther were a few myths about it s depth and about currents, caused by water draining into an ice cave a few hundred meters below. Actually, the lake is about 7.5m deep and the ground is covered in fine silt. There is no visible sign of water draining through the ground. There are rocks along the shore line, some of them covered in white, drop shaped algae. As for most of the lakes in this list, it is reachable by helicopter only. You need a special permit to dive there.
Medelzlacke*, Salzburg, Austria (altitude 2580m). Together with my brother, we did a couple of apnea dives in this small pond. Remaining ice and snow in and around the water created a great atmosphere. These dives were probably the highest altitude apnea dives performed in Austria up to now.
Alpsee*, Carinthia, Austria (altitude 2150m). This lake is rechable by special permit and helicopter only. Structures along the shore extend into the water. Slopes of boulders reach down to the flat, silt covered ground. Maximal depth is 5.7m. Although located above the tree-line, you may find pieces of wood in the lake. The lake is shallow (1–2m) towards the east. Towards the west, deph increases. The visibility is typical for a lake in this kind of environment. The water temperature is about 8°C.
Presseggersee, Carinthia, Austria (altitude 560m). This lake is well known for swimming and fishing. Towards the east there is a dense area of reed. In the shelter of the plants you find schools of small fish, but also pikes and carps.
Unterwasserwald, Attersee, Upper-Austria, Austria (altitude 459m). Lake Attersee is one of the popular sites in Austria. The dive site Unterwasserwald is one of the best sites in the lake. A landslide in the early fifties moved thick tree trunks to a depth of 10 to 20m. Within this underwater wood, you may find fish hiding between the tree trunks.
Mirchtlbach, Salzburg, Austria (altitude 561m). Looking at lake Wiestalstausee, you wouldn’t expect such a hidden beauty. After a swim of about 300m across a shallow and brownish bay, you reach the dive site. A basin, about 10m in depth, filled with clear water and lots of fish. The waterfall carved this beautiful place into the white limestone, shaped like a spiral staircase.
Ambach, Salzburg, Austria (altitude 600m). The river is a typical mountain river. It runs through a deep and narrow canyon. Deep carved rock formations and lots of fish make the place worth a visit.
Schwarzsee*, East-Tyrol, Austria (altitude 2450m). The lake is situated above the tree line, close to the Italian border. You’ll find rocks and huge boulders along the shore line (down to about 15m). Although remote, hikers left a lot of rubbish in the lake. You need a special permit to dive this lake.
Laserzsee, East-Tyrol, Austria (altitude 2260m). I’ve been waiting to dive this lake since the year 2000. The crisp clear water allows visibility exceeding 20m. Huge rocks cover the ground. There are strange lines at the bottom. No idea, how they got there. You need a special permit to dive there.
Tiefenbachsee*, Salzburg, Austria (altitude 1840m). The lake lies close to the tree line. There are huge rocks along the shore down to a depth of 5m. Deeper parts of the lake are covered in fine silt. Maximum depth is 7.2m. You need a special permit to dive this lake.
Kircheralmsee, Salzburg, Austria (altitude 1480m). The fish-ponds are up to 2m deep. The crystal clear water causes nice reflections. In the rear part you find huge, picturesque roots. There are lots of trouts swimming in the clear water. You need a special permit to dive there.
Neufeldersee, Burgenland, Austria (altitude 222m). The lake is an old and flooded coal mine. While heavily used by dive-schools throughout the year, there is a special event in December. A Christmas tree is put on a training platform to remember those who lost their life in the water.
Wirpitschsee*, Salzburg, Austria (altitude 1699m). The lake lies below the tree line. During winter, avalanches carry trees down the slope to the west of the lake. The ground is covered with thick logs. A maximum depth of 7.3m allow the water temperature to reach 12°C during summer. A special permit is needed to dive this lake.
Turracher Höhe, Styria, Austria (altitude 1760m). The lake lies partly in Styria, partly in Carinthia. Heavily overgrown, the visibility is pretty low. It causes a spooky atmosphere.
Twenger Almsee*, Salzburg, Austria (altitude 2120m). The lake lies on a ridge opening westwards. With heavy gear, it may only be reached by helicopter. Since it is located above the tree line, the significant features are mostly rocks along the shore. Part of the lake was still covered in ice. This prevented us from doing an in-depth exploration. Where the hiking path gets close to the lake, you’ll find artefacts like bottles, cans, fruit pips and stones. So much for hiking as an environmentally friendly form of tourism. A special permit is needed to dive this lake.
Alte Donau, Vienna, Austria. The visibility in the old, cut off arms of the river Danube are in winter far better than in summer. The wooden platforms at the entry “Lange Allee” have been replaced. The water temperature of 3°C is usually higher than the average ambient temperature in January.
Schönalmsee*, Salzburg, Austria (altitude 2120m). The lake is situated above the tree line. You’ll find rocks and huge boulders along the shore, the most beautiful formations are in the north of the lake. The ground in the center part of the lake is covered with fine silt. Maximum depth is 19m. A special permit is needed to dive this lake.
Großsee, Styria, Austria (altitude 1600m). The lake lies in a Karst region, where surface water is rare. Visibility is poor, but the reed along the shore is beautiful. You need a special permit to dive this lake.
Silberkarsee* (Hölltalsee), Styria, Austria (altitude 1805m). This lake lies like a precious emerald embedded in gray limestone. It is so beautiful, that one name simply isn’t enough. Clear water at about 7°C lures you into the lake. The lake measures about 200m in length, 90m in width and 9m in depth. Well overgrown slopes turn into fine silt at about 4m depth. Beautiful rock formations and pieces of wood cover the ground. A large number of newts live in the lake. This lake is the most beautiful discovery I experienced during the last few years. A hike of 3 to 4 hours will take you to the lake, but you need a helicopter to get the diving gear up the mountain. Needless to say, you need a special permit to dive there.
Altausseer See, Styria, Austria (altitude 712m). From a depth around the jetty of 1.5m a slope leads down to about 55m. In a range of 4-6m you’ll find a selection of pots and kitchen utensils. Trees, branches and water plants are home to fish like trout, charr and burbot. The sun may draw nice patterns on the ground in shallow areas. The boat sheds towards the river exit are home of juvenile fish seeking shelter between the poles and plants.
Lower Klaftersee*, Styria, Austria (altitude 1884m). Diving is allowed with a special permit. Reachable by helicopter only, the lake lies close to the Weissensee and Ahornsee. You’ll find rocks, logs and branches along the east shore line. Fine silt reduces the visibility to about 4-5m. The ground is smoothly falling down to a plain at about 10.2m. Around the small rocky island in the north of the lake, the depth is less than 2m. Parts of the shore line are covered with reed where you may find fish. Water temperature is about 7°C.
Lower Landawirsee, Salzburg, Austria (altitude 1995m). The lake lies a bit above the Landawirsee bothy. It may be reached easily by foot, even with diving equipment. To get the equipment to the bothy you need a special permit and a good 4×4 vehicle. The lake has a depth of 5 to 6m. Along the southern edge you may find plants and fish. The bottom is covered by fine silt and some rocks.
Upper Landawirsee*, Salzburg, Austria (altitude 2047m). The lake lies about 150m higher than the bothy. A steep ridge prevents access with vehicles, so the only way to get the diving equipment to the lake is by helicopter. The bottom is covered with silt and rocks. Maximum depth lies around 12m.
Steirersee, Styria, Austria (altitude 1445m). The lake lies only 100m off a mountain bothy. Vertically. Descending and ascending carrying all your gear ensures you won’t forget this dive. Green plants, dead trees and branches and lots of small fish make this lake worth a visit.
Grafenbergsee*, Styria, Austria (altitude 1639m). Located north of the village of Weißenbach, the lake may only be reached by helicopter. A special permit for diving is mandatory. You’ll see rock formations, trees and branches and also some fish. We even found jaw bones of a stag and 12 ended antlers buried in the silt.
Grübelsee, Styria, Austria (altitude 1160m). What could you expect from a foil covered pond that is mainly used as water storage for artificial snow? Fish soup! There are statues, figures and a buoyancy playground, but the main attraction is a school of hand fed trouts. They get so close that you have to shoo them away if you want to see your buddy.
Etrachsee*, Styria, Austria (altitude 1374m). Diving with permit only. The lake may be reached by car on a small but well kept road. Located below the tree line the lake contains trees, branches and water plants as well. The far end is overgrown by reed. You may find lots of small fish there. The ground is covered by fine silt and is overgrown by plants. The lake is quite shallow (approx. 2.5m) but the sun draws beautiful webs on the ground.
Mittlerer Kaltenbachsee*, Styria, Austria (altitude 1912m). Diving with special permit only. You need a helicopter to get there (as to most of the lakes in that region). The bottom is flat and covered with fine silt. Along the north west shore you will find large rocks. Maximum depth about 9m, water temperature in summer about 7–8°C.
Steirischer Bodensee, Styria, Austria (altitude1157m). Diving with permit only. The far end of the lake is covered by reed. Along the shore next to the hiking trail, broken trees cover the ground. Char and trout are found in high numbers. There is a fish food dispenser at the shore. As soon as somebody throws a few grains of food into the water, the water seems to boil. You can easily watch the fish close-up while feeding.
Großer Scheibelsee, Styria, Austria (altitude 1741m). Diving with permit only. You reach the lake by foot about 30 minutes walk off the mountain bothy “Edelraute-Hütte”. Lying below the tree line, the lake is filled with lots of fallen trees and roots. There are plenty of fish in the lake too.
Ahornsee*, Styria, Austria (altitude 2069m). Diving with special permit only. You need a helicopter to get there. The visibility is quite good. Rocks or soft sand along the shore. The bottom is covered in thick gray silt. Depth about 6–7m . Water temperature up to 7°C.
Riesachsee, Styria, Austria (altitude 1338m). Diving with special permit only. The lake lies in a valley above the village of Schladming. It is fed by icy water and has a maximum depth of 19m. Fallen trees all over the bottom create a ferry-tale like scene. The shallow river feeding the lake is very clear (and cold).
Duisitzkarsee, Styria, Austria (altitude 1648m). Diving with special permit only. Located close to a mountain hut, the lake lies in a scenic valley. Lots of fallen trees, small fish and even trouts make it a dive to remember. The “high” water temperature of about 8°C even so.
Weißensee*, Styria, Austria (altitude 2230m). Diving with special permit only. Reachable only by helicopter, this lake excels with clear water and a great scenic view when surfacing. Boulders lying along the shore, the bottom covered with fine silt this lake is a true gem in my dive site’s collection. Most of the lake shows an average depth of 9–10m but there’s a crater going down to 41m in the NW-corner.
Hohensee*, Styria, Austria (altitude 1560m). Diving with special permit only. Access by helicopter. Fine brown silt covers the bottom. Fallen trees and upright trunks are spread across the lake. Spooky fans of green algae and fine net-like patterns drawn by the sun create the special atmosphere of this lake.
Alte Donau, Vienna, Austria (N48° 14.449’, E16° 25.544’, altitude 156.56m). Marina Hofbauer. This place is historic ground. Hans Hass did some of his first scaphander dives here. I performed archaeological trainings with “triton”.
Wörthersee, Carinthia, Austria (altitude 440m). Prischitzer bay. Archaeological excarvation, salvage of a dugout boat (not dated yet). The boat measures 7m in length and is the largest finding of its kind in Austria. It was brought to Vienna University for research and conservation.
Zugersee, Switzerland (altitude 414m). Two dives with the Uwatec development team. and a couple of dive computer prototypes. Dammed cold, low visibility, lots of high-tech devices.
Oberseitsee*, East-Tyrol, Austria (altitude 2580m). Diving with special permit only. Located above the tree-line this lake has a great panoramic view. Boulders of different sizes cover the bottom. Very good visibility. Accessible only by helicopter.
Geigensee*, East-Tyrol, Austria (altitude 2410m). Diving with special permit only. Fine silt on the bottom requires good buoyancy. lying above the tree-line, this lake is also accessible by helicopter only.
Obersee, East-Tyrol, Austria (altitude 2016m). This rarely visited lake is located at the Austrian-Italian border. Lots of trees, roots and trunks cover the bottom. One of the “top” lakes in this country that may be accessed by car on a public road. In 2000 archaeologists found a medieval dugout boat in this lake.
Giglachsee, Styria, Austria (altitude 1980m). Diving with special permit only. The lake lies in a mountain valley and is about 14m deep. Along the long stretched western shore there are several sites worth a dive. the southern part is pretty shallow.
Moaralmsee*, Styria, Austria (altitude 1800m). Diving with special permit only. You need a helicopter to get there. Very sensitive silt requires perfect buoyancy. Good visibility and a great panoramic view.
Mondsee, Upper Austria, Austria (altitude 481m). The site is close to the jetty*. Normally, diving there is strictly forbidden because of the steam boats approaching the jetty. I was diving there during an archaeological event with a special permit.
Grundlsee, Styria, Austria (altitude 708m). Site: “Glocke” (the bell) (N47° 38,430’ E13° 53,862’), keeping left at about 10m after entering the water, you will reach a huge rock. On top there’s a plastic tank fixed with chains. You may enter the tank and have a sit on a small bench, breathing more or less fresh air. There are also notes written by former visitors.
Weissensee, Carinthia, Austria (altitude 929m). “west part”. West of the bridge crossing the lake, the average depth is about 5m (towards the east down to 99m). An up to 10m thick layer of gray silt covers the ground in this area. There are plants with clear patches in between. The ground wobbles like a pudding when you approach it with your hand.
Vienna: We finished an archaeological survey in an old well*. I wasn’t in there because my job was the backup diver. There wasn’t room for two so I had to wait on top (in the bright sun) as hot stand-by. The well is a long and narrow tube (2m diameter at 34m total depth, the water line at 10m below ground). There’s no room left for claustrophobia. The well was first referred to in the 13th century but completely renewed in the 19th century. Due to this fact we didn’t find anything older than late 19th century but learned a lot about diving wells and working under extreme conditions.
Weissensee, Carinthia, Austria (altitude 929m). Site “Strandbad” (Dive Center EasyDive). A great spot for beginners or for testing new equipment. A maximum of 15m and usually good visibility make this spot a nice and easy dive. This place is also great for a night dive. Other nice spots in the east part of the lake are “Laka Wand” and “Große Steinwand”. Both spots are covered with rocks and fallen trees. Lots of fish (even large pikes) hide underneath branches and roots. The east-west orientation of the lake and the narrow valley are causing a special temperature distribution. A top layer of about 8m is stirred up and gets warm during summer. This layer may reach up to 22 or even 24°C in hot periods but at about 8m the temperature drops immediately to 8°C and goes down to 4°C by one degree per meter.
Puckinger See, Upper Austria, Austria (N48° 11.681’, E14° 11.862’, altitude 280m). Lots of fun at a maximum of 6m. Most of the visitors will only make it down to 2 or 3m. Heavily overgrown, nearly unreachable. You have to find the secret entrance to the tunnels below the plants to get to the actual bottom. No matter how many buddies you take with you, you’ll loose them immediately. Every now and then, one of them will pass your view, dragging algae and parts of plants behind. You’ll get the true “Dr. Livingstone”-feeling within a few minutes. Huge fish (carp, pike) and small fish move easily between the thicken.
Fernsteinsee, Tyrol, Austria (Garten II, N47° 20.857’, E10° 49.518’ altitude 934m). Samerangersee, Tyrol, Austria (N47° 20.985’ E10° 49.551’, altitude 939m). Both lakes are on private owned land. You have to book a room at the hotel or stay at the camp site to get a dive permit. There’s no rental equipment available (not even tanks or weight) but a shed with a self service compressor provides fresh mountain air. A minimum of 60 logged dives is required to get a permit..
Plansee, Tyrol, Austria (Hotel Forelle, N47° 29.113’, E10° 50.216’, altitude 976, Plansee Camp, N47° 29.185, E10° 50.580’, altitude 976). Dive permits are issued at the hotel. Great visibility, low temperatures. Although the lake is about 100m deep, you’d better stay above 10m. The ground is nicely overgrown and you find fish and fresh water crabs.
Galerie, Walchensee, Bavaria, Germany (N47° 36.323’ E11° 20.098’, altitude 800m). Visibility varies from great to horrible, depending on the amount of water coming down through power station pipelines from another lake above.
Klopeinersee, Carinthia, Austria (N46° 36.003’, E14° 34.962’, altitude 446m). There were two findings of dugouts reported in 2001. One of them has been dated about 300 BC. I took part in the survey and excarvation of the boat.
Grüner See, near Tragöß, Styria, Austria (N47° 32.461’ E15° 03.335’, altitude 776m). This lake is seasonal. The water rises in spring and falls during summer. At a mere 3m depth throughout the year, the level may rise up to 12m in late spring. Since the water feeding this lake is recently molten snow, the maximum temperature seldom exceeds 7°C. You may have a rest at a bench, swim over a bridge or follow marked hiking routes.
Weissensee, Carinthia, Austria (altitude 929m). “Kleine Steinwand” (N46° 42.264’ E13° 22.423’), a great drop-off with green algae dangling down. Fallen trees create a great landscape. Lots of fish and even large pikes. You get there by steam boat. Just get off at the jetty and jump in after the boat left. Be careful when surfacing and look out for the boat.
Millstättersee, Carinthia, Austria (N46° 46.282’ E13° 38.631’, altitude 588m). Depending on season, visibility may vary. At Döbriach (NE-corner) there’s a drop-off along the road. You’ll find lots of wreckage and used parts.
Traun: Dive Center Atlantis Qualidive, Upper Austria, Austria (N48° 00.812’ E13° 47.730’). There’s a speciality: get washed down by the river with mask, fins and snorkel. See loads of fish as you drift by.
Erlaufsee, Styria, Austria (N47° 47.414’ E15° 16.425’, altitude 835m). Nicely overgrown landscape. Lots of fish.
Hallstättersee, Dive Center Gosauzwang, Upper Austria, Austria (N47° 35.349’ E13° 39.408’, altitude 530m). A nice spot and great staff. The lake reaches a maximum of 18°C in a hot summer.