The underwater worlds of Green Lake Austria have always had a bit of mystery behind them. Exploring deep waters to uncover their mysteries is one of the reasons scuba divers venture into seas and lakes. Scuba divers love Green Lake because it is one of those magical places people from over the world want to travel to see. Chances are that if you love scuba, you've heard of the site.
Since my only experience with scuba involved the Carribean and an instructor named Elvis, I hadn't heard of Green Lake. Even if I wanted to dive into the green wonderland which only exists for less than a month out of the entire year, I couldn't. Diving in the lake and all other water sports were prohibited in 2016 to preserve Green Lake's wonder. Too many people traveled to dive, and the local government was afraid all the activity would disturb the delicate ecosystem.
What is Green Lake Austria?
Nestled near the Hochschwab Mountains in the small village of Tragöß in Styria, Austria, is Green Lake Austria. Known by the locals as Grüner See, Green Lake is a tiny three feet-deep body of water surrounded by a popular park.
Similar to other parks around the world, Green Lake Austria offers a peaceful atmosphere with beautiful trees and stone walkways throughout the area. Visitors love to stand the bridges and enjoy the scenic mountain view or to sit on the benches to rest and watch the wildlife.
The lake in the center of the park is full of life and adds a nice element to the atmosphere. The park itself is a peaceful green with lovely grass and surrounding trees, making it the perfect spot to have a picnic or an afternoon with family.
But In the spring, the small lake grows over 30 feet during three weeks in May and June. The mountain run-off covers the surrounding park and everything in it, giving the lake inhabitants a lot more room to roam.
How was Green Lake Austria formed?
The Hochschwab Alps, which are a part of the Northern Limestone Alps, include the highest peak in the range. Hochschwab Mountain climbs high into the sky, at 2277 meters (about 7470 feet) above the Adriatic. On this peak is where the snow falls to cover its tops every year. Starting in the spring, the snow in the mountains begins to melt, running down the mountain to fill the lake. Subsequently, the water travels to the park down below. This forms Green Lake Austria.
Since there are green trees and plenty of grass surrounding the small lake, the color of the water appears a brilliant emerald green. The melted snowcap water is so pure and bright; Green Lake Austria becomes as clear as any diving waters you would find in the Carribean Islands. Lucky for us, before the ban on diving in Green Lake, people had the opportunity to dive with cameras. Plenty of scuba divers fortunate enough to venture in took video for us all to enjoy.
The Melting of Mountains
In the winter, the Hochschwab Alps attract skiers who speed down the mountains in the powdery snow. All the pretty snow the skiers love in the wintertime begins to melt as the temperature rises on the highest peak. The crystal-clear water runs down the mountainside into the park down below.
Over two months, the lake levels slowly begin to rise, as the peaceful green park submerges under the growing waters. Even though you can't dive into the waters to visit the trout and the crabs who have their run of Green Lake Austria, the pure water allows you to see what lies underneath.
Behind the magical green color
When you think of a green lake, images may come to mind of algae and grime. That's not true of Green Lake Austria. Its green color comes from the leafy trees and the green grass under the water. The clear water allows the lush greenery to shine through and give Green Lake Austria its name.
Usually, you would only find such clear water in the Carribean Islands, where scuba diving is popular. Some would say the waters in Grüner See rival any waters in the Carribean. Green Lake Austria is sometimes referred to as the Carribean of the Alps, thanks to the mountain run-off quality.
Visiting Green Lake Austria
You can visit Green Lake Austria all year long. But if you want to see the lake at its best, you need to travel to Austria in May and June. This time in the spring is when the water levels peak and the lake takes on its green hue. Before planning your trip, you should check the water levels so that you can hit the small village at the perfect time.
Even though the area prohibits diving in the lake, the clear waters give you the opportunity to see the brilliance from above. To get the full view and some stunning photos, travel up the mountain range and peer down below. It's still a sight to behold. And if you have to dive somewhere, there's a lake close by where you can get your diving fix. The lake is called Lake Zenz, and it's only a ten-minute drive from Green Lake.
Not only can you see the rare treasure of Green Lake Austria, but you can still enjoy diving!
When is the best time to visit
As mentioned, the best time to visit Green Lake Austria is in May and June, if you want to see the lake at its peak. Other times of the year, you can visit the park and climb the mountains that hold the snow for the rest of the year. Hikers enjoy Green Lake in the off-season. You can also explore the nearby small villages where locals have stories to tell.
If you want to see the lake in all its glory, travel to Tragöß in the spring. Think about how you want to experience Green Lake Austria from the surface. Plan a few things to do in the towns and mountains to round out your trip to Green Lake.
Your trip in the summertime can include hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and camping. If you decide to visit in the winter, you won't see the lake at its fullest. But other attractions will surely keep you busy. Wintertime at Green Lake Austria provides travelers with an excellent opportunity for skiing, ice skating, and snowshoe tours.
How you can explore Green Lake's beauty
You have a few options if you want to appreciate the beauty of Green Lake, Austria. You can hike or bike around the grown lake, stopping at its edges to view the life teeming just under the water's surface. The clear water makes it possible to see what was once on dry land.
You can also view the lake from the mountains surrounding the park. Looking down, you can see the entire lake and the spectacular green color, giving the lake its name. While you're on the mountain, you might want to consider paragliding over Green Lake.
You don't have to be a daredevil, though, to take in the sights. Just standing at the water's edge provides you a simple way to feel the magic of this temporary phenomenon.
Leave Your S.C.U.B.A. Gear at Home
The council in the village of Tragöß decided Green Lake was too popular. They felt the need to preserve the pristine waters of the lake and enacted a ban. They prohibited all water sports, open fires, and camping around Green Lake Austria to protect the delicate ecosystem. Stopping the diving also keeps the waters clear so that everyone can take in the area. Even after the council enacted the ban in 2016, tourism is still booming. People travel from all over the world during the spring to view the lake in its prime.
If you're quiet, you may hear the locals yodeling in the mountains that surround you as you watch the crabs and trout take full advantage of their expanded environment. That and the beauty of the area are enough to make the trip to Green Lake Austria worth your time.