The Grüner See (Green Lake, or Green Sea) in Styria has been declared the most beautiful place in Austria. It got its fame due to its beautiful greenish colour. The exoticism of the "moving" lake is that by autumn, most of the lake dries up, and its proud size disappears.

In its place, the field remains with a small lake in the middle with benches and trees already known from photos. The lake does not fully regain its shape until the next spring snowmelt, when it is once again adorned in its full glory.

You would think that the fairy-tale world, located just 2 hours from Vienna, is now a "chewed bone", but it is still one of Europe's most popular weekend excursion destinations.

Overview

Grüner See Details
Hiking trail 4 km | Easy | 1.5 hours
Average depth 12 m
Average temperature 6 °C
Country Styria, Austria
Location Hochschwab mountain, Alps
Distance from Graz 1 hour / 80 km
Distance from Vienna 2 hours / 180 km
Parking Paid parking lot nearby (5 euros)
Entrance fee Free
Season Jan - Dec, every day 0-24
Can you swim in the lake? No
Kid-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly trail? Yes
Barrier-free? No

Photos

The lake reaches 12 meters in summer, while it recedes and covers the landscape only 1-2 meters in winter. Since its water originates from the local karst mountains, the temperature of the water from the melted snow is about 6-7 °C.

Grüner See, Austria's No 1 lake

Map - Where is Grüner See?

The lake belongs to the town of Tragöess, which is a small settlement in the Styria region, Austria. The seat of the province - Graz; is only 1 hour away. You will walk among the peaks of the Hochschwab mountains and the Alps.

  • Address: Grüner See, 8612, Austria
  • GPS: 47° 33′ 22.94856″, 15° 2′ 11.62824″
  • Distance from Graz: 1 hour / 80 km
  • Distance from Vienna: 2 hours / 180 km
Grüner See map - Vienna distance

Parking

You can park in a paid parking lot next to the lake. From here, you can reach the lake in 15 minutes. There is also a tourist information office at the parking lot.  

  • Day ticket: 5 euros
  • The parking machines only accept coins, and you cannot pay by card!
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Tip: If you don't have the exact amount, you can find a currency exchange machine at the information office.

More about the lake

You might be surprised, but diving in the lake has been banned since 2016. Even today, the lake is famous for its videos where divers explore the enchanted water world.

The water's ecosystem is extremely fragile; the lake and its surroundings are strictly protected. Camping is also prohibited on the shore.

Attention! Along with diving, swimming in the lake has been discontinued, so you can no longer take a dip in Grüner See.

The lake lies below the Hochschwab mountain range. To the north of the limestone range, you can see the mountain Pribitz (1579 m) and to the northeast, the peak of Messnerin (1835 m).

You can even see the surrounding mountains clearly in the water, which has a colour scale ranging from emerald green to turquoise blue. In addition to Green Lake, you can explore two other lakes close, the Kreuzteich and the Pfarrerteich. These are much less known than the crowded Green lake.

The lake's water is almost completely free of pollution, which is why it has a crystal clear colour. It gets its fresh shade from the fresh undergrowth.

Child-friendly?

Yes, Grüner See is also an ideal excursion destination for families. You will find many easy walking paths around the lake.

Hiking route

From the large parking lot, the shore of the lake is 1 km away. From the upper end of the parking lot, you must follow a comfortable footpath marked with a sign. Follow the Grüner See signs, and you'll come out to the north side of the lake.

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There will be no toilet on the way, so use the toilet at the cafe next to the parking lot, or later the toilet of the Gasthof on the way.

#1 Easy route from the parking lot

The area was originally a small park where you would find benches, a bridge and several gravel hiking trails. On easy, straight terrain, you can walk around the lake in about 30 minutes. If you have more time, go around the other two lakes as well, as it will take less than 2 hours to finish.

  • The length of the tour: 4.2 km
  • Duration: 1.5 hours (with breaks)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Level difference: ~ 50 meters (down and up)

Expect an easy walk on comfortable walking paths. If the water level is high (in June), it may flood the footpaths closer to the lake. In such cases, choose the upper path, which also takes you around the lake.

  • You can walk around the irregularly shaped lake at an altitude of 775 meters above sea level in one hour, returning to the Seehof inn.
  • Leaving the inn, stay on the asphalt road leading to the parking lot, and a few meters later, continue to the right towards Kreuzteich (there will be signs indicating where you should go).
  • From here, you will bypass and walk around the other two lakes.
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Tip: The Green Lake is also perfect for the older age group. The area's fresh air and easy routes can also be a good choice for those who have knee pain or cannot take a longer hike.

#2 Medium route

Another option for more enthusiastic hikers is this more difficult tour from the Komoot site. The tour goes as far as the Jassingalmsee lake and returns from there on the same road.

  • Distance: 11 km
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Elevation: 800 m (down and up)
  • You can find a downloadable GPX file here

Barrier-free?

Unfortunately, the route around the lake is not barrier-free, so it is not possible to go around with a stroller or wheelchair from only one side.

When is it worth travelling to Grüner See?

The Grüner See is at its most beautiful when it is decorated in all its splendour, and its depth reaches 12 meters. This period lasts from mid-May to the end of June. From July, the lake begins to reduce.

July and August are the most visited periods at Grüner See. The reason for this is the school holidays.

Grüner See in winter

Although a small part of the lake remains in winter, the amount of water cannot be compared to the most beautiful shape of the lake.

Grüner See in winter

Biking

From Bruck an der Mur, the perfectly marked and comfortable R14 cycle path Lamingtal starts, which leads directly to the Grüner See.

  • Length: 16 kilometres
  • Duration: 3-4 hours

Difficult bike route

Another cycling option is the 56 km cycling route with a 1,000 m elevation gain. Find the route on this bikemap page.

Read more: Lakes in Austria

Video

Grüner See video
Grüner See - winter video

Restaurants

#1 Hoamat Cafe

You will find the Hoamat cafe near the parking lot, which is open every day except Wednesday. A coffee costs about 3-4 euros. Don't forget to use the toilet, as there will be no other chance during your hike.

  • Opening hours: 8:30 - 19:00
  • Closed: Wednesdays
  • Address: Tragöss-Oberort 45, 8612 Oberort, Austria

#2 Seehof, Gerald Wenninger

The often crowded restaurant, which also offers local specialties, awaits its guests every day from May to October.

  • Address: Oberort 46, 8612 Tragöß, Austria

Attractions nearby

In less than one hour's drive, you can find not one but several famous attractions. The Bärenschützklamm gorge, the Ezberg mine and the Grüblsee Alpenaquarium are all within comfortable reach. Even Graz is worth the time to visit.

  • Barenschutzklamm gorge: 40 km
  • Ezberg mine: 45 km
  • Grüblsee Alpenaquarium: 40 km
  • Graz: 80 km

Barenschutzklamm gorge 

The Bärenschützklamm is an adventurous, romantic gorge that deserves a place on your bucket list. If the gorge fever that has been circulating for years has reached you too, then the Bear Gorge in Austria promises the perfect weekend for you.

Read more

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