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There is no better time of year than fall to go crunching around lakeside hikes in Tirol. The trees turn a golden shade of russet, the air is fresh and cleansing for your lungs and the views are incredibly picture perfect.
We’ve been heading to the mountains of Tirol every year since 2012, and have a few trusted favourite spots we continually return to to hike and unwind.
These are 6 of the most picture perfect lakes you have to visit in Fall in Tyrol, to make the most of the spectacular views and perfect time of year.
1 – Berglesteiner See
My absolute favourite of all the lakes we hike around in October, I’m frankly surprised this lake isn’t already overrun with Instagrammers on the daily because it is stunning. (Dear lord please don’t let them find it – let’s all agree to be respectful of the local environment and residents when visiting here, shall we? Thanks.)
Berglesteiner See comes with its very own fairytale too, making it a double whammy for beautiful and mythical!
It’s said that the daughter of a Baron from nearby Castle Guckenbühl once fell in love with a poor, local forester. Though they were both desperately in love, the Baron forbid their union and chased the forester away from the castle with hounds in the dark of night. As he fled the castle grounds in pitch dark, the forester tripped over a rock, and into the depths of Berglesteiner See lake, to his death.
His beloved was heartbroken, and weeks later, in a frenzy of grief, while walking the shores of the lake, saw her lovers reflection in the water and flung herself to the bottom of the lake to be with him eternally. Because their bodies were never found, its said the two rocks beside each other coming out from the lake are the petrified lovers, together eternally in the lake.
Aside from the romantic myth, the Berglsteiner see itself has a nice flat lovely walking trail around it, and a gorgeous little hut upon the lake that very, very occasionally opens up. In my many visits, I’ve only ever seen it open once, so you do have to be lucky it seems!
Regardless, its great for an easy walk – or if you want a challenge you can park at the bottom of the hill and hike up, with the lake view as your reward.
Berglesteiner See in Breitbach is by far one of my favourite lakes to visit in Fall in Tirol. With colours like this, its not hard to see why!
# 2 – Reintaler See
Very close to Berglsteiner See is the more expansive Reintaler See with slightly longer hiking paths, and lovely little restaurants and huts surrounding it that you can stop into to warm up when its colder.
In summertime Reintaler See is a popular family camping place so there is a lot of space for campervans and activities in good weather. You can hire boats and float out into the lake, or feed the ducks in cooler weather.
They’ve upgraded the kids playgrounds and public toilets around here recently too, so its a great option for a shorter hike, in lush setting.
Reintaler See also holds its own in Fall, when the colours are bright, the walking paths easy and the leaves plentiful for frolicking in. The hillsides turn multi-hued shades of brown, red and gold so the view from beside the lake up to the mountain are as breathtaking as the view from within the walking trails.
The reward of course, is always waiting for you at the end of your easy hike – kaffee und kuchen – homemade cake and coffee from the small restaurant with a waterside lookout point.
I’m yet to hear a good creepy fairytale or myth about Reintaler see but am all ears if anyone knows some good stories about the lake!
#3 Stimmer See
This is our summer favourite – feels like a hidden oasis in a little nook of the mountains near Kufstein.
Recently we hopped on our bikes to get up here (so very Austrian!) which was a bit of a workout towards the end to climb to the top of the hill, but well worth it for the calm and lovely view of the lake.
The entrance point to Stimmersee opens out onto a lovely wide rolling meadow and activities area with a makeshift beach volleyball court, normally some (balance strong tightropes) a kids playground and a small hut selling snacks.
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Seven years together…💕 . . . We got married for a visa 7 years ago, after knowing each other a total of 8 months. We’d spent maybe two weeks total face to face in that time, the rest was long distance as I waited out my 90 day schengen banishment.Everyone talks about ‘the wedding’ or getting married as if it’s the end of the story, ride off into the sunset. But marriage…it’s almost an unsexy word right? But we don’t talk like ‘old marrieds’ we just…build our lives together. And it’s not all goopy pictures and date nights – it’s hard work, and fighting over how to cook potatoes, negotiating money and how we can still have holidays between visiting international family, and battling mental health together and changing jobs and knowing how you like your tea and sucking at chopping apple slices in *just* the right way. It’s knowing each others weaknesses so you can be their strength. It’s doing life together. I’m still so grateful to do it with this guy, even if he hates selfies and photos. Here’s to 70 years more of wedding anniversaries 😊💕 **psst checkout my story highlights for ‘our story’ to get the full rundown on getting married to an Austrian** 📸 thanks to @camilla.steiner
Its very simple, I would say rustic, and ideal for setting up a little picnic and chillout camp for the day, to just pop back and forth into the water and sunbathing in the shade of the trees. The lake itself is quite cold and does get quite deep. There is a hotel on the other side of the lake too – so if you are as ambitious as Stefan you can swim right across to their bathing area and back.
Alternatively, you could stay at Gasthof Stimmersee and have these views all to yourself in the early morning. Check their pricing here – they are open in winter too and only a short distance from Kufstein if you are looking for a picturesque retreat for apartment stay or simple rooms.
# 4 – Hechtsee
This lake and the hiking trails surrounding it are STUNNING. If you manage to time your visit during peak Fall season when everything is blazing in warm orange, reds and yellow then you are in for a treat!
Our most recent wandern here was with the lovely Helene, and we tramped the trails for just over an hour to soak up every angle of the lakeside views. The shades and colours changed with the light, and though there were plenty of fellow hikers, it never felt too crowded or busy.
You could still find a quiet place to relax and plenty of picturesque lookout spots.
Of course, because we are in Tirol, there’s a mythical legend to go along with this lake too!
It’s said that there is a nixe – a kind of shapeshifting water spirit, similar to a mermaid but more malevolent- that lives in the lake, named Hechta. The story goes that every so often she takes human form and strolls along the lakeside. Of course, Hechta is beautiful and alluring as a young woman – and long ago, a young hunter by the name of Freidl met Hechta on the lakeside, where they immediately fell in love.
Hechta told Friedl that the one condition of their romance, was that he must never know her name, in order for their love to survive. Friedl loved her, but he was also a bit too nosy, and was soon asking around the nearby village of Kefersfelden about a water spirit in the Hechtsee. A village old timer revealed her name to be Hechta. Satisfied, Fiedl returned to his love and they lay blissfully entwined in each others arms, by the lakeside. In his happy reverie, Fiedl forgot the one golden rule of their love and whispered Hechta’s name into her ear – immediately the lake rose up in a tidal wave, swallowing Hechta and Friedl to its watery depths. Hechta lost her love, and Friedl, his life.
As always in Germanic folklore, the endings are a bit grim, but the settings are gorgeous – so checkout Lake Hechtsee for yourself to see if you can spot the spirit in the lake!
In all seriousness, Hechtsee is great in summer for swimming and sunbathing, as they have a dedicated schwimmbad area, complete with kids playground, volleyball courts, table tennis and boat rentals. Being so close to Kufstein its an easy way to while away a summer afternoon – there’s even a shuttle bus in the summer months to get you there.
In the cooler months, there are trails, huts and live fish to watch as Hechtsee is actually ‘pike lake’ so quite popular with fishermen – though fishing is quite regulated in Austria. You can hike the lake year-round, and there are trails that connect it to surrounding lakes, including Stimmersee, if you’re really keen for a day long hike.
Of course, there is also a cafe & restaurant at the end of your trail. We found the food was only so-so, but after a long walk in the chilled crisp air of the mountains, you’ll be happy for the views and the warm coffee.
Luckily enough, I’m writing this article for you guys as I sit in the glorious village beside Walchsee.
This little gem is popular among German camping fans and hikers, as its nestled in a valley by the Wilder Kaiser and has wide open views across the lake, all surrounded by picture perfect Tirolian farmhouses.
Walchsee is simple and uncomplicated – a small village beside a big lake. There’s a waterside promenade that gives way to a pleasant lakeside walking path, and plenty of places to stop for a swim or to gaze across the mountain landscape. As the lake is more open, you won’t get quite the same effect of colourful trees lining the lakeside, but the expansive vistas of Tirolian mountains as a backdrop more than make up for it.
The golden light of Autumn shines down upon the lake from between the peaks of two surrounding mountains, and you can find a free bench to gaze upon it, or attempt to be as fit as the locals who run laps of the lake for fun and fitness.
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WER WAGT NOCH EINEN SPRUNG?! 🏊♀️👙💦 Noch ist der Walchsee schön warm für Badenixen 🧜♀️ ⠀ ⠀ —⠀ #kaiserwinkl_tirol #kaiserwinkl #tirol #lovetirol #visittirol #austria #walchsee #badenimsee #badenixen #bergeundsee #natur #naturliebe #badespaß #letztesommertage #naturgenießen
Personally, I’d reccommend a lively stroll around the lake, ending in one of the adorable lakeside restaurants or cafes, where the balconies are bedecked with flowers, and the cakes are all supersize. Their ice cream is made fresh daily too – so definitely plenty of rewards to enjoy for your hiking efforts.
These are just some of our favourite lakes to hike in Tyrol – of course they are all from a very small, select area of the region around Kufstein. There are plenty more to discover, but these are our favourite lakes to hike in Tyrol in fall while the light is golden and the days are crisp. Would you be up for an Autumn hike around these lakes? Let me know in the comments!
Where to Find the Picture Perfect Lakes in Tyrol