Wallersee (Lake Waller):
The biggest Lake of the Flachgau
The Wallersee or Lake Waller is the biggest lake of the Flachgau region in northern Salzburg and comes with approximately 6 square kilometres of water surface. The word "Waller" means "cat-fish", which is misleading: In fact, the word comes from the mid-high German word "Walchen" which the Bavarian settlers of the 6th century used for describing the present Romano-Celtic people.
The Wallersee is a popular recreational area. Motorboats are banned from the lake for conservational reasons, but sailing, windsurfing, swimming and other water sports are very popular. There are four municipalities that have a share in Lake Wallersee: Köstendorf, Henndorf am Wallersee, Seekirchen am Wallersee and Neumarkt am Wallersee. Each of these communities has a public lido that grants access and facilities for swimming.
Water sports requiring wind are particularly popular at the Wallersee; the eastern bay at Seekirchen is fairly windy, especially in autumn and spring. There is a sailing school in Seekirchen. However, the lake is not very touristy. This has not always been the case: With the foundation of the Salzburg Festival in 1920, much of the cultural and social life that evolved around the festival happened in Henndorf. Here, the playwright Carl Zuckmayer, the singer Richard Mayer and many other artists lived and held receptions and parties.
Hotels were developed and Seekirchen as well as Neumarkt were bustling with tourism during the summer months. This changed fundamentally after WWII, when tourism moved almost completely to the Salzkammergut and the Salzburg Lake area (Salzburger Seenland) including the Wallersee became recreational regions for locals only. Today, there are almost only B&Bs, the few hotels at Lake Wallersee are generally small. Between Neumarkt and Köstendorf, there is a Natura 2000 area, the "Wenger Moor" swamps.
Lake Wallersee is about 5.7 kilometres long and 1.9 kilometres wide; in its deepest spot, it is more than 23 metres deep. It is a typical lake for an ice-age landscape and very muddy; its fairly low depth results in warm water temperatures. Between the 19th century and 1965, there were several projects to lower the water level; only in the course of developing the Natura 2000 area, these moves were reversed. There are hiking paths through the Wenger Moor and a cycling path allows you to travel all the way around the Wallersee, thereby getting an in-depth sense of the local communities. Fishing is allowed for people with relevant licences.
German Wikipedia on the Wallersee
Information on sailing, gear, boats and vacations
More on the Salzburger Seenland Lake District
Information on the Salzkammergut