Via a narrow passage with high pines on both sides we walk toward the Styrian Bodensee. 1143 meters above sea level, the lake is beautifully encircled with high mountain slopes on all sides. It’s a kind of bowl; a lush green bowl of which the edges meet at the waterfall. At the waterfall, ice-cold water plunges down and feeds the lake, which is full of thousands of trout. When it’s not windy, the smooth surface of the lake reflects the trees and the waterfall. Today it’s cloudy and it’s raining a bit, but that doesn’t stop us from making a (easy) walk around the lake because the surroundings are too beautiful to leave quickly. In conclusion, this is one of those places you want to absorb slowly.
In addition to our easy walk around the lake, we also took a short climb to the waterfall where on the way back we were treated with nice views of the lake and the mountains. If you care for a more challenging hike, walk 100 minutes uphill, passed the waterfall to the “Hans-Wödl-Hütte” next to the “Hüttensee” lake. Only accessible from May to October, this place has breathtaking views of the Bodensee – for sure my kind of hike (if we had more time and the weather would have been better -).
Valley of Plunging Waters
And there is more. The valley is nicknamed the “Valley of Plunging Waters” and not without reason. The Bodensee is actually one of 3 mountain lakes where it is the lowest one. As mentioned, you can hike uphill to the 2nd lake (Hüttensee) and onwards to the picturesque Obersee at 1681 meters! All are connected through waterfalls, hence the name Valley of Plunging Waters. There are all kinds of tours that will take you on this 3-lake hiking trip (again, only from May to October).
Eat and drink at the Bodensee
Forellen means trout in German. No coincidence that the only restaurant at the lake is called The Forellenhof. It’s a real traditional Austrian place, offering (next to delicious fresh trout) a mouthwatering variety of dishes, local and international. The wooden building on the picture below is the Forellenhof – great lake and waterfall views from its terrace guaranteed! Moreover, you can rent a rowboat but mind you that swimming is not allowed in the lake.
How to get to the Bodensee
How to get to the Bodensee? To begin with, use Google maps to search for ‘Steirischer Bodensee’ and find the road towards the lake. There is only one entrance where you have to leave your car (I think parking is free of charge) and consequently i’s a 15-minute walk from the parking place to the actual lake.
The Bodensee makes a great combination with the famous Dachstein glacier (2700 meters high). Watch the video below and already see some bits and pieces of our glacier tour (next to shots from the Bodensee). More about the Dachstein glacier (Styria’s roof) on this blog very soon.
Where to stay in Schladming-Dachstein
We spent two nights at the family run Lindenhof hotel in the village of Ramsau am Dachstein, nearby Schladming. The hotel is situated beautifully with impressive valley and mountain views. Therefore, I was impressed by the panoramic location, surrounded by grassland, larches and the Ramsau mountain backdrop. The Ramsau-Dachstein area is very popular as a winter destination with 12 ski lifts and 25 kilometers of ski runs. But as you can see on the pictures and the video, the area is as beautiful in spring and summer as well when the area is perfect for hikers, climbers and mountain bikers.
Hotel Lindenhof is a starting point for all kinds of activities, during all seasons. Directly from the Lindenhof hotel you have walking trails that can be enjoyed both in summer as well as winter. On top of that, you can rent mountain bikes at the hotel and you can even book their in-house mountain guide if you want to have a real mountain experience!
The Styrian Bodensee is a 30-minute drive from the hotel where the Dachstein glacier is only a 20-minute drive away.
I loved staying at the Lindenhof because it feels as if you are part of the family, even if it’s only for a short while. The friendly staff will ask about your day, give suggestions for the next one and really want to make your stay unforgettable. Furthermore, every room has a balcony or terrace with a lovely view. The other great thing about the hotel is their “Well-being Oasis”: a Finnish sauna, steam bath, bio sauna, natural swimming pool (summer only) and an indoor pool 100m away. All you need for your body to relax after an extensive hike or ski tour! In the evenings they serve a delicious meal in the restaurant so definitely no need to go out – just stay, enjoy and relax.
City trip Graz
Two hours by car or three hours by train, the beautiful city of Graz is a perfect place to hang out for a couple of days. As the Guardian already mentioned some time ago, avant garde Graz is Vienna’s cooler little sister -) Read all about Graz in my complete city trip guide!