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Lake Achensee Travel and Hiking Guide, Tyrol, Austria

Lake Achensee (930 m), or Lake Achen, is the largest lake in Tyrol, Austria. Wedged between the mighty Karwendel mountains and the Brandenberg Alps, the fjord-shaped Lake Achen is 9 km long, 1.3 km wide, and 133 meters deep. 

Achen Lake is the ultimate base for hiking, biking, and swimming in summer. But if you relish quiet trails and fall foliage, autumn is an ideal time to visit. In fact, we’ve visited Achensee twice in September and twice in October. In winter, Achensee attracts cross-country skiers. 

We love this Alps holiday destination, because most of the lakeshore is pristine and undeveloped and the hiking opportunities are numerous. Unlike most Austrian Lakes, which are largely privatized, Lake Achen offers greater accessibility to the public. But, even so, there are access limitations, due to the road and geography of the lake. 

If you want private lake access, we recommend staying in Seehotel Einwaller, Entners am See, Travel Charme Fürstenhaus am Achensee, or Seehotel St. Hubertus.

The L-shaped lake is a 45-minute drive away from Innsbruck and a 1:30-hour drive away from Munich. For trip planning inspiration, check out our 10-Day Bavaria and Tyrol Road Trip and our 2-Week Austria Road Trip itineraries. Achensee is also accessible by public transit. The villages are linked by public buses, making it easy to get around without a car. 

Use this Achensee travel guide to find out where to hike, where to stay (best village and accommodations), and where to eat.

Bärenkopf summit view of Lake Achen, Tyrol, Austria

Lake Achensee Map


7 Top Lake Achensee Hiking Trails

The hiking season in Lake Achensee stretches from June until the end of October, depending on snow conditions. 


1. Bärenkopf Peak

Bärenkopf peak, viewpoint of fjord-shaped Lake Achensee, Tyrol, Austria

Bärenkopf (1991 m) is a prominent mountain that stands to the south of Lake Achensee. Its summit affords picture-perfect views of Lake Achensee. Indeed, it’s the only place where you can see the entire fjord-shaped lake. 

The hike to Bärenkopf starts at Zwölferkopf, accessible with the Karwendel-Bergbahn cableway in Pertisau. 

From the cableway mountain station, it’s a 581 meter ascent to the summit. A wide track leads to Bärenbadalm and then ascends more steeply after the mountain pasture. 

We recommend hiking to Bärenkopf in the morning, as cloud inversions are quite common, especially in September and October. 

Trail Stats

Trailhead | Karwendel-Bahn mountain station, Pertisau

Distance | 7.8 km lollipop-circuit

Time Needed | 4 hours

Elevation Gain/Loss | 581 meters

Difficulty | Moderate

Minimum Elevation |1450 meters

Maximum Elevation | 1991 meters

Learn More: Bärenkopf Hike 


2. Lamsenjochhütte – Hahnenkampl – Gramai-Hochleger Circuit Trail

Lamsenjochhütte - Hahnenkampl - Gramai-Hochleger Circuit Trail

A scenic hiking trail links Gramai Alm in Falzthurntal Valley with Lamsenjochhütte and the Hahnenkampl ridge.

This route gives hikers a fantastic impression of the Karwendel mountains, as views extend across Grosser Ahornboden to Gamsjoch and the mighty Hinterautal-Vomper-Kette chain. 

This Achensee hike is suitable for surefooted hikers. Most of the route is moderate, but there is a single airy passage, secured with a cable, along the ridge. Also, the initial descent from Hahnenkampl in the direction of Binssattel is rugged (scree and loose rocks).  

Trail Stats

Distance | 11.1 km circuit

Time Needed | 4:45 hours

Elevation Gain/Loss | 869 meters

Difficulty | Moderately Difficult 

Minimum Elevation | 1262 meters

Maximum Elevation | 2080 meters

Learn More: Lamsenjochhütte – Hahnenkampl Hike


3. Hochiss Peak

Trail 413, Rofan Mountains, Austria

Hochiss (2299 m) is the highest peak in the Rofan Mountains, which make up the western part of the greater Brandenberg Alps. 

A varied hiking trail leads from Erfurter Hütte, accessible by cableway from Maurach, to Hochiss and then down to the charming Dalfaz Alm. 

The managed Dalfaz Alm is blessed with heart-expanding views of Lake Achensee. Enjoy a leisurely lunch on their sunny terrace, before either completing the circuit to Erfurter Hütte, or hiking all the way down to Maurach. 

Most of this trail is moderate. However, there is a single secured passage along the route, which requires a head for heights and comfort with secured scrambling. No special equipment is needed. 

Trail Stats

Trailhead | Rofan Seilbahn Mountain Station

Distance | 9.8 km circuit with cableway ascent

Time Needed | 4:15 hours

Elevation Gain | 480 meters

Elevation Loss | 1334 meters

Difficulty | Moderately Difficult

Minimum Elevation | 976 meters

Maximum Elevation | 2297 meters


4. Seekarspitze and Seebergspitze Ridge Hike

Seebergspitze ridge trail above Achensee, Austria

Seekarspitze and Seebergspitze are the mountains that bound Lake Achensee to the west, across from the Rofan mountains. 

One of the best ways to experience Lake Achensee is from the high trail that connects the Seekarspitze (2053 m) and Seebergspitze (2085 m) peaks. 

This is a strenuous point-to-point hike that requires stamina. 

Read our Seekarspitze-Seebergspitze trail guide for a complete description. 

Trail Stats 

Starting Point | Achenkirch (Bus Stop: Achenkirch Abzw Achensee)

Ending Point | Pertisau (Bus Stop: Pertisau Bootshaus)

Distance | 12.4 km point-to point

Time Needed | 6:30 hours

Elevation Gain/Loss | 1300 meters

Difficulty | Difficult

Minimum Elevation | 930 meters

Maximum Elevation | 2085 meters


5. Achensee Lake Trail: Pertisau to Gasthaus Gaisalm

Achensee Lake Trail: Pertisau to Gasthaus Gaisalm

Gasthaus Gaisalm is a mountain pasture and restaurant on the western shore of Lake Achensee.

A mostly level path follows the untouched and rugged western bank of Lake Achen from Pertisau to Gaisalm. This lake path is especially popular among families with children. 

Though the hike is easy and involves very little elevation gain, or loss, there are some secured ledges along the way. 

To find the trailhead, follow the Pertisau promenade north. Turn right at Hotel Christina (great place for lunch) and continue in the direction of the Pertisau Strandbad beach area. The trail starts at the lake, just north of the Pertisau beach. 

Trail Stats 

Trailhead | Pertisau

Distance | 9.7 km out-and-back

Time Needed | 3 hours

Elevation Gain/Loss | 76 meters

Difficulty | Easy

Minimum Elevation | 929 meters

Maximum Elevation | 968 meters


6. Falzthurntal Valley Walk: Pertisau to Gramai Alm 

Falzthurntal Valley Walk: Pertisau to Gramai Alm 

The village of Pertisau is the gateway to three valleys that run into Karwendel Nature Park.

You can drive (toll fee applies), bike, or walk the length of Falzthurntal Valley, one of the three Karwendel valleys. 

If you’re in the mood for a gentle stroll, follow the walking path, which doubles as a biking path, from Pertisau to the atmospheric Sennhütte Falzthurn and onwards to Gramai Alm. 

Gramai Alm is the guesthouse and restaurant at the end of the Falzthurntal toll road, which is also the starting point of the Lamsenjochhütte – Hahnenkampl circuit trail.

We walked this trail out-and-back, the morning of the Gramai Alm Almabtrieb

This is a great walk to do on arrival days, when you want to stretch your legs and acclimate. 

Trail Stats

Trailhead | Pertisau

Distance | 17.2 km out-and-back

Time Needed | 4:20 hours

Elevation Gain/Loss | 328 meters

Difficulty | Easy

Minimum Elevation | 929 meters

Maximum Elevation | 1257 meters


7. Hochunnütz – Vorderunnütz Circuit Trail

Hochunnütz - Vorderunnütz Circuit Trail, Lake Achensee, Austria

The Hochunnütz – Vorderunnütz circuit trail, starting in Achenkirch, is a long, strenuous day hike.

This trail didn’t quite captivate us like the other Achensee hikes listed. We’re including it, simply so that you can decide which hikes to prioritize during your visit. 

Starting at the Wander-Parkplatz Achenkirch am Bioenergie-Kraftwerk (paid car park / bring cash), the trail leads to Zöhreralm (1:15 hours). 

The ascent continues steeply for two hours to the first summit on the Unnütz ridge, marked with a Edelweiss Gipfelkreuz. An undulating path follows the ridge to Hochunnütz. The path continues, more rugged than before, across karst slopes and scree to Vorderunnütz. 

The trail descends across grassy slopes with nice views of Lake Achensee, before dropping below the forest line. 

Follow signs to Köglalm and Achenkirch. The trail follows forest paths and forest roads, including the “Panoramaweg” all the way back to Achenkirch.

Trail Stats

Trailhead | Wander-Parkplatz Achenkirch am Bioenergie-Kraftwerk

Distance | 13.7 km circuit

Time Needed | 6:30 hours

Elevation Gain/Loss | 1292 m

Difficulty | Difficult

Minimum Elevation | 926 m

Maximum Elevation | 2078 m


Lake Achensee Restaurants

Entners Wirtshaus am See, Pertisau, Lake Achensee, Austria

Fischerwirt am See is a traditional Tyrolean restaurant in Achenkirch. The dining area extends across several cozy Stuben. The walls are decked in plaques, photos, and mounts. The food is very satisfying and the service is swift and welcoming. 

Entners Wirtshaus am See is located on the Seepromenade in Pertisau. With warm wooden interiors and Kachelofen (tile stove), this atmospheric restaurant serves heart-warming Austrian fare. 

Hotel Christina – Café Konditorei Restaurant is a casual restaurant in Pertisau that serves standard Austrian dishes. Their garden terrace is especially welcoming after a hike. Come here for an unceremonious bite to eat, when you’re hungry and tired. You won’t have to wait long. 


Achensee Special Events


Almabtrieb

Gramaialm Almabtrieb, Pertisau, Lake Achensee, Austria

In the Alps, cows, sheep, goats, and other livestock graze in the mountain pastures during the summer (June – September). At the end of the grazing season (usually mid-late September), farmers steer their cows back down their winter stables in the valley. This traditional procession is called an “Almabtrieb.” 

Cows are decked in ceremonial bells and headdresses and welcomed home. An Almabtrieb only takes place to celebrate an accident-free season. 

Almabtrieb, Achensee, Austria

Read our complete guide to the Almabtrieb cow parade to better understand the tradition.  

In Achensee, there are several cattle drives that take place in September. There’s an Almabtrieb from Gramai Alm to Pertisau. There’s another one from Falkenmoosalm in Achenkirch to Maurach. 

Almabtrieb from Gramaialm, Achensee, Tyrol, Austria

Consult the Achensee Event Calendar to find out the exact dates of the upcoming Almabtriebe. 


Where to Stay in Lake Achensee

Seehotel Einwaller Panoramic Rooftop Spa, Pertisau, Achensee, Austria
Seehotel Einwaller

We recommend staying a minimum of 3 nights in Lake Achensee to experience the many trails in Karwendel Nature Park and the Brandenberg Alps. With more time (4-5 nights), you could also add day trips to Grosser Ahornboden and Wolfsklamm Gorge

There are three villages around Lake Achen: Pertisau, Maurach, and Achenkirch. 

If you’re looking for a budget stay, check out nearby Camping Inntal and Gästehaus Waldrand Garni in Wiesing.


Pertisau

Pertisau, Lake Achen, Tyrol, Austria

Pertisau is our favorite village, because of its lakeside location and its proximity to the Karwendel valleys: Falzthurntal, Tristenautal, and Gerntal. It boasts a beach, lakeside promenade, golf club, and the Karwendel-Bergbahn cableway. 

Compared to Maurach and Achnkirch, the village is more concentrated, which contributes to the nice holiday atmosphere. 

Midrange | Seehotel St. Hubertus is a top-rated hotel with a private beach, on-site restaurant, and wellness area. 

Midrange | Hotel Bergland is a traditional Tyrolean hotel with an on-site restaurant. All rooms have balconies. Guests love the location, the friendly staff, and the food. 

Adults-only Luxury | The 4-star Hotel Auszeit pampers guests with its relaxing spa facilities (4 modern saunas, outdoor pool, sun garden), scenic setting, and excellent breakfast. Read our Hotel Auszeit Hotel Review.

Adults-only Luxury | Seehotel Einwaller – adults only impresses with its stylish rooms, lake-facing wellness area, à la carte restaurant, and scenic lakeside location. In summer, guests can enjoy the hotel’s private pier, furnished with comfortable sunbeds and umbrellas. Expect an excellent breakfast.  Read our Seehotel Einwaller Hotel Review.

Luxury | NOVA Moments Boutique Hotel is a 4-star hotel with 34 air-conditioned rooms and suites, all tastefully furnished in an elegant, alpine-modern style. The hotel is set in a quiet location, 900 meters away from the lakeshore. Hotel facilities include an outdoor natural pool (open in summer), infinity whirlpool (open all-year-round), sauna, steam-bath, wellness relaxation room, garage parking with electric car charging stations, and fitness room. 

Family-friendly Luxury | Hotel Wagnerhof is a half board (breakfast and dinner included) hotel with traditional Tyrolean-style rooms as well as plush, modern suites. Surrounded by meadows, this lovely accommodation boasts 3 swimming pools, a spa, and fitness center. 

More accommodations in Pertisau | Das Karwendel (luxury) and Travel Charme Fürstenhaus am Achensee (lakeside luxury). 

Look for accommodation in Pertisau.


Maurach 

Maurach, Achensee, Tyrol, Austria

Maurach is the village located at the southeastern point of Lake Achen. It’s the first village you pass through, if you’re traveling from the Inn Valley. Here, you’ll find the Rofan Cableway valley station, several shops, restaurants, and hotels. 

Maurach is located on the south side of Lake Achensee, 4.5 km away from Pertisau (8 minute drive).  Home to the Rofanbahn cableway, Maurach is the main starting point for excursions in the Rofan mountains. 

Budget-Midrange | Hotel-Café-Restaurant Klingler is a family-run hotel in the heart of Maurach village with an on-site café, fitness center, and newly renovated rooms.  

Midrange | Hotel-Pension Huber-Hochland is a traditional half board hotel. Guests have access to a small wellness area, which includes an indoor pool, steam bath, Finnish sauna, and infrared cabin. 

Luxury | The 4-star Hotel St.Georg zum See is an alpine-chic hotel with spacious rooms, modern wellness facilities, and a gourmet half-board offering (rich breakfast buffet and 5-course dinner). 

More options | Arthur’s Hotel und Apartments am Achensee (Midrange) and Frühstückshotel Margret (Midrange).

Look for accommodation in Maurach.


Achenkirch 

Achenkirch, Lake Achen, Tyrol, Austria

Achenkirch is the sprawling village on the northern shore of the lake. There’s no real “nucleus.” Nonetheless, Achenkirch is home to some fine hotels and Fischerwirt am See, our favorite Achensee restaurant. 

Top places to stay in Achenkirch: Appartements Waldruh (budget), Das Kronthaler – Adults only (luxury), or Natur- und Aktivresort Reiterhof (luxury).


Lake Achensee and Tyrol Guides

Pertisau, Achensee, Austria

Lake Achensee:

Tyrol:



Austria Trip Planning Essentials

Use our Austria Travel Guide and Austria blog archive to plan a unique and memorable trip to Austria. 


When to Visit Austria 

We recommend visiting Austria between June and October for hiking and between December and March for skiing and winter adventuring.

Summer Travel | Summer in Austria

Autumn Travel | Autumn in Austria

Winter Travel | Winter in Austria, Salzburg in December, Vienna in December, Vienna in January, Skiing in Schladming


Getting around Austria

Austria has an excellent public transit system. We’ve used it extensively to travel throughout the country. We highly recommend using transit if you’re visiting cities (Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, etc…), and/or doing hut-to-hut hikes. 

Some areas like Mayrhofen, Schladming and Lech am Arlberg have wonderful seasonal transit systems in place (e.g. summer hiking buses). However, if you’re not visiting during the high season, bus frequencies are significantly reduced and it’s far easier to get around with your own vehicle. 

If you’re planning on visiting multiple destinations across Austria, we recommend renting a car. 

Use these road trip itineraries for trip planning inspiration:

Start in Vienna | 2 Week Austria Road Trip

Start in Salzburg, or Munich | 1 Week Austria Road Trip

Start in Munich | 10-Day Bavarian Alps & Tyrolean Alps Road Trip  

Car Rental 

We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.

Check car rental rates here

If you’re driving into Austria from a neighboring country, don’t forget to purchase a vignette at/near the border. 


Hiking in Austria

Where to Hike in Austria

Read Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations for an overview of where to hike in Austria, with tips on specific trails and where to stay. Also check out Best Day Hikes in Austria and these region-specific hiking guides:

Tyrol | Innsbruck Hikes

Salzburg | Salzburg Hikes, Filzmoos Hikes

Styria | Schladming Hikes

Vorarlberg | Vorarlberg Hikes, Lech am Arlberg Hikes

Lower Austria | Vienna Mountains Hikes

Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria 

Austria is a premier hut-to-hut and long-distance hiking destination. The quality of the mountain huts are superb. We particularly love the high-alpine trails, which are called Höhenwege in German. We’ve summarized our favorite multi-day hikes in Trekking Austria. If you’re new to hut hiking, read this in-depth guide to Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria.


What to See & Do in Austria

1. Visit a gorge like the Liechtenstein Gorge in Salzburg, or Wolfsklamm Gorge in Tyrol.

2. Bathe in the thermal pools of an Austrian Therme like Aqua Dome in Tyrol

3. Stay in a thermal spa hotel like Rogner Bad Blumau in Styria, EurothermenResort Bad Ischl in Upper Austria, or the Aqua Dome Hotel in Tyrol.

4. Hike to a mountain lake like Lake Tappenkarsee in Salzburg or Lake Drachensee in Tyrol.

5. Go Wine Tasting in South Styria.

6. Marvel at the culture, music, and architecture of Vienna.

7. Eat heartwarming mountain food in an Almhütte at Grosser Ahornboden in Tyrol, or Ursprungalm in Styria. 

8. Drive the Grossglockner High Alpine Road in Hohe Tauern National Park. 

9. Visit the castles, monasteries, and wine taverns of the Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

10. Watch a Krampus Run: Krampus Parade in December.


Austrian Hotels


Lake Achensee Travel and Hiking Guide, Tyrol, Austria

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Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails,

Sabrina & Kati

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