Lakes of Salzburg
Salzburg is known for its many lakes and the associated opportunities for sailing, swimming and other water sports. Two regions of the state are particularly famous for them: The Salzburger Seenland, the area in the northern outskirts of the Flachgau region; and the Salzkammergut, which Salzburg shares with Upper Austria and Styria. In fact, the smallest section of the Salzkammergut belongs to Salzburg.
There are four main lakes in the Salzburger Seenland: Lake Wallersee (the biggest one) and the three lakes of the "Trumer Seen" (Obertrumersee, Mattsee and Grabensee). Geographically similar lakes can be found in the neighbouring parts of Bavaria and Upper Austria. In the Salzkammergut, the province has three main lakes: Fuschlsee (Lake Fuschl), Lake Wolfgang (Wolfgangsee) and Hintersee. Many more lakes of varying size can be found in the rest of the Salzkammergut.
All these lakes formed about 10,000 years ago. Back then, the last Ice Age ended and Alpine glaciers withdrew and left large layers of clay, sand and pebbles. The melting water often formed lakes in this newly crafted landscape. If you want to learn more about the "shaping" effects of the Ice Age, we recommend you to do the "Eiszeitweg" ("Ice Age Path"), a theme hiking route in Henndorf am Wallersee.
Further south, similar effects occurred; however, due to the steepness of the mountains, the number of large lakes is rather limited. Note Lake Zeller (Zellersee), the biggest one in the Pinzgau region. Others are at least partly artificial, such as those of the reservoirs in Kaprun. Another artificial lake is the one of the power plant of Hintermuhr (in the Lungau community of Muhr), which is also a great hiking destination.
Note also the many small lakes - there are dozens of them, some private, some public - spread all over the state. In our article on small lakes in Salzburg, we considered only a selection of important ones. For further details, ask a local tourist information centre for further information.
Information on sailing, gear, boats and vacations
More on the Salzburger Seenland Lake District
Information on the Salzkammergut