Mountains or lakes? Do both! With many lakeside huts at elevations above 2,000 meters to choose from in Tirol, you can mix hiking with a dip in a lake. Here are ten of the most beautiful Alpinist Association Huts that are located on the shores of a lake.
1. Erlanger Hut on the Shores of Wettersee Lake
It’s quite a tough climb to reach the shelter operated by Hut Keeper Christian Rimml – but it’s so worth it! Erlanger Hut lies on the shores of gorgeous Wettersee Lake at an elevation of 2,541 meters above sea level in the Ötztal Alps. Despite its remote location, the shelter provides all modern conveniences, power supply and hearty Tirol comfort food made with fresh, local ingredients. Erlanger Hut can be reached by a walk of about 4.5 hours from Umhausen in Ötztal Valley past Vordere Leierstalalm Alpine Pasture Hut. From Tumpen, it’s a 5-hour walk via Gehsteigalm Alpine Pasture Hut. Moreover, the hut makes a perfect base for exploring the wonderful Ötztal Trek.
2. Coburger Hut on the Shores of Drachensee Lake
A dragon? Perhaps. Local legend has it that a dragon guards over a sunken village on the bottom of the lake, giving the lake its name (“Drache” is the German word for ‘dragon’ and “See” is the German word for ‘lake’). More likely gorgeous views of towering peaks and summits reflecting in deep sparkling water of the deepest turquoise are what you’ll find. At an elevation of 1,910 meters, little Drachensee Lake sits in a rugged bowl on foot of Coburger Hütte, under the reign of majestic Mieming Mountain Range. An awesome sight indeed. Behind the mountain hut, a path (“Grünsteinscharte”) winds down to the shimmering lake. Those who are not afraid of dragons can find their mountain equilibrium with a dip in this aquatic gem. En route from Ehrwald, hikers will pass by pristine Seebensee Lake, another aquatic jewel. This one is not guarded by a dragon but by mighty Zugspitze Mountain instead. To cut down hiking time, you can take Ehrwalder Almbahn Gondola to its top or ride your mountain bike for a few sections of the climb.
3. Karlsbader Hut on the Shores of Laserzsee Lake
A sea of mountains: Karlsbader Hut has a picture-postcard setting wrapped along rugged summits and peaks overlooking a breathtakingly glassy tarn. Situated at the heart of the Lienz Dolomites at an elevation of 2,260 meters above sea level, Laserzsee See is nearly encircled by an amphitheater of gray rock, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. This gorgeous place is reached within a two-hour walk from Dolomiten Hut. Mountain bikers can ride along a gravel trail right to Karlsbader Hut. The water is crystal clear and refreshing—but chilly! After you’ve had a quick dip in the lake and your fill at the quaint mountain shelter, you can tackle the 2,612-meter summit of Laserzwand Mountain.
4. Landsberger Hut on the Shores of Lache Lake
Jagged summits, emerald carpets laden with dazzling bouquets of wildflowers and pretty tarns and lakes with shimmering waters in all shades of blue – this is where you will find quaint and rustic Landsberger Hut, located in the beautiful postcard-worthy scenery of Tannheimer Tal Valley. Laid out beneath the hut are the icy waters of a beautiful Alpine lake named Lache. Nearby you will find two more glassy mountain lakes, Traualpsee and Vilsapsee. These three aquatic gems are best explored within the wonderful Three Lakes Walk, which has its trailhead in Tannheim.
5. Wildseeloderhaus Lodge on the Shores of Wildsee Lake
Tucked under the iconic peak of Wildseeloder Mountain, the mountain in the backyard of Fieberbrunn in the Kitzbühel Alps, you can snuggle up in a bed at Wildseeloderhaus Lodge, located on the shores of tiny Wildsee Lake at an elevation of 1,854 meters above sea level. This refreshing tarn is a gem and truly epitomizes the beauty of Tirol’s mountains. The lodge offers creature comforts, serves fine food and even finer views of the stunning surroundings, making it a popular base for hikers and climbers. Wildseeloderhaus Lodge can be accessed within a 3.5-hour walk along AV Trail 711 from Fieberbrunn.
6. Neue Reichenberger Hut on the Shores of Bödensee Lake
At an elevation of 2,586 meters above sea level, Neue Reichenberger Hut possesses an idyllic location above Bödensee Lake, surrounded by the mighty peaks and summits of East Tirol’s Venediger Range. As if the lake alone wasn’t enough of a draw, the hut is also a gateway to Lasörling Mountain Range. It is reached within a 4-hour walk from St. Jakob in Defereggen or from Hinterbichl im Virgental Valley.
7. Friesenberghaus Lodge on the Shores of Friesenbergsee Lake
The Berlin High Trail is a popular hut-to-hut route in the Zillertal Alps—and Friesenberghaus Lodge is the first stop along the way. It sits at an elevation of 2,498 meters on the shores of Friesenbergsee Lake, sparkling in luminous, turquoise hues and ringed by lofty peaks named Hoher Riffler, Petersköpfl and Olperer. A walk to nearby Olperer Hut is strongly recommended. Apart from being a perfect base for trekkers, Friesenberghaus Lodge has a very interesting if somewhat tragic history of resistance. Twelve special wooden chairs commemorate the Donauland (“Danube Land”) section that built the lodge and was founded in 1921 to protest against the expulsion of Jewish climbers from the German and Austrian Alpinist Associations.
8. Memminger Hut on the Shores of Lower Seewisee Lake
Memminger Hut, the most popular lodge of the Lechtal Alps is flanked by a necklace of three sparkling Alpine tarns: Lower, Middle and Upper Seewisee Lakes. The hut is located on the shores of the Lower Seewisee Lake, which is perfect for a quick plunge after a long day of hiking on a hot summer’s day. Memminger Hut serves as perfect base for summiting the three Seeköpfe Peaks. At an elevation of 2,242 meters, the hut provides a true high-altitude experience and is a popular overnight base for long distance hikers as it is located on the Lechtal High Trail, on the Eagle Walk and on the E5 European Long-Distance Hiking Trail. The Alm Taxi takes walkers from the village square of Bach to the car park of the hut’s telpher line, from where it’s a two-hour walk to get to Memminger Hut. The walk from Bach takes about 5.5 hours to complete.
9. Obstansersee Hut on the Shores of Obstansersee Lake
At an elevation of 2,300 meters, Obstansersee Hut lies in the East Tirol Part of the Carnic Alps, close to the Austrian-Italian border and on the northern shore of the lake of the same name. The hut is a particularly fine base for trekkers along the Carnic High Elevation Trail. Frozen over during eight months of the year, the lake is so refreshing, it’ll give you a full-body ice cream headache when you jump in. With an average summer temperature of 10°C, it’s going to be a quick plunge, but if you are up for the thrill, you’ll earn the chill! If you want to get out on the water without the chill, you can rent a pedal boat and explore the lake that way. If you are not following the Carnic High Elevation Trail, Obstansersee Hut is best reached from Kartitsch across Winklertal Valley, which takes about three hours to complete.
10. Winnebachsee Hut on the Shores of Winnebachsee Lake
Named after the Alpine tarn of Winnebachsee, charming Winnebachsee Hut lies at an elevation of 2,362 meters in the Stubai Alps. The ample and sundrenched outdoor deck is just the right place to enjoy a meal of excellent home-cooked food while listening to the sound of Winnebach Waterfall. This amazing natural gem in Sulztal Valley is about a 1.5 to two-hour hike from the village of Winnebach near Gries, passing through scenic Winnebachtal Valley along the way.