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Gosausee Lake, one of Austria’s prettiest!
Gosausee is a stunning alpine lake located in the Salzkammergut region of Austria (Österreich), surrounded by lush forests and the towering Dachstein mountains. The lake has crystal-clear emerald green water reflecting the surrounding majestic mountain ranges. The breathtaking scenery makes it a popular tourist destination.
I contend that picturesque Lake Gosau, with its soaring mountain peaks, is one of the prettiest places on earth. Don’t take my word for it though. Scroll through the photos of this little hidden gem and see for yourself…then come back and find out how to plan the perfect trip to the prettiest place on earth!
The entire Hallstatt-Dachstein / Salzkammergut area has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site based on its natural beauty.
Gosausee is one of Austria’s most famous landmarks, I’ve got 49 more to fill your travel itinerary!
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Gosau is a municipality in Upper Austria. Scenic Gosau Lake is just one of 4 small lakes in the Gosau area.
Lake 1: As you approach Gosausee Lake (If you come in on Gosausee Bezirksstraße) you will pass the first small lake, Gosaub. There’s a place to pull over and take photos.
These three are what are officially known as the Gosau Lakes (Gosauseen):
Lake 2: Gosausee is the front lake (Vorderer Gosausee.) It’s the stunner that you’ll see in the photos in this article.
Lake 3: Gosaulacke is the tiniest of the 4 lakes. You’ll find it between Gosausee and Hinterer Gosausee.
Lake 4: Hinterer Gosausee is the lake at the rear (hinterer!) also called the upper lake.
Top things for visitors to do at Gosausee Lake
Gosausee Lake is a must-visit place for nature lovers and adventure seekers, and honestly those who just enjoy stunning scenery.
What are some of the top things to do at Gosau Lake? (We’ll cover free-time activities in greater detail later.)
- simply relaxing by the serene lake
- biking, waterfalls
- mountain lifts
- adventure sports
Let’s get started with the fun stuff! Here are the Top things to do at Gosausee Lake:
hiking trails (Gosauseen Wanderung)
Visitors can explore the area around Lake Gosausee on foot. There are many trails in the area in addition to the picturesque trail around the lake.
*Pets are allowed on the trails.
The trail that circles Gosausee (Gosausee Rundweg)
In my opinion, the trail that circles Gosausee Lake is the main attraction! The views on this circular route second to none! The trail is approximately 2.7 miles long and can be done in a couple of hours. (a little over an hour if you’re hoofing it, longer if you stop and linger, and you should!) The trail is relatively flat, is paved with gravel/asphalt, and is considered an easy hike. Suitable for a baby pram or carriage.
As you enter the lake area look to your left and follow the trail past the mountain huts:
Stop at points along the way for a drink of water. The crystal-clear water of the lake and in these troughs is drinking water quality.
Alpine lakes are known for their stunning emerald green and turquoise water lakes. The colors of the water surface in this mesmerizing Alpine lake seem to change from green to turquoise. It’s hard to pin down a color, but even harder to get a good picture of how stunning the colors of this lake are!
Map of Gosausee Trail
(looking for a map of the other lake trails? Follow this link to an interactive map of the Gosausee Lake Trails from Komoot)
As you head down the path you’ll be treated to a spectacular view of the Dachstein Mountain.
It is worth noting that there are portions of the trail open to automobiles so take caution. This is a memorial to the 3 people who died in an accident when their vehicle ended up in the lake in 1971.
Gosausee to Hinterer Gosausee hike
This hike is a little more challenging; the 200-metre difference in altitude requires more exertion. Total walking time from the parking area, 1.5 hours. (Gosausee Lake level altitude: 2,516′ above sea level)
other area hikes
Get a complete overview of the most beautiful hikes in the Gosau area from the official Salzkammergut website.
biking around Gosau
See the area by bike! There are numerous cycling routes available at Lake Gosau for mountain bikes, e-bikes or racing bikes. Find your perfect trail in this article from Komoot, 14 cycling routes around Gosau.
Bike rental (mostly ebikes) near Gosausee Lake:
- Checkpoint Sport, Dachsteinkönig – Familux Resort (6 km)
- Nemo Point (8 km) (also offer guided tours)
- Sport Jirka (website isn’t very useful, stop by at 4 km it’s your closest option. Gosauseestraße 7, Gosau)
Boat rental at Lake Gosau
There’s no better way to explore lake Gosau than by boat! In the summer months take a little boat trip in one of the electric boats available for rent right on the lake.
Gosausee Boote boat rental can be found just as you reach the lake from the parking lot. Hours vary late June through mid-September, closed in bad weather.
They also rent pedal boats, and stand-up-paddle boats for those who want to give stand-up paddling a go. They even offer e-boats with a slide! Walk-up rentals, first come first serve.
Fishing is another fun activity for visitors. Local fish include trout (season lasts from May to October), rainbow trout, perch, pike, arctic char, and eel rod. For details on fishing Gosau Lake see here (including how to get tickets) or here.
Yes! You can swim in Gosausee Lake! There is no formal beach area so just pick a spot and jump in for a little water time! Alpine lakes are known for being really refreshing…really cold actually! Speaking of cold, they also allow ice swimming and ice diving, for you maybe but not this girl!
Be sure to schedule some time just to relax, unwind, and take in the breathtaking scenery. There are benches all around the lake for doing just that! Sit a while, recharge, and breathe in that fresh mountain air.
There’s a small waterfall at Gosaulacke
head up the mountain for panoramic views
You’ll find the Gosaukamm Cable Car between the parking area and Lake Gosau. It takes you up to the Zwieselalm for panoramic views. If you’re really looking for a workout you can hike up on the path from the Lake Gosau to the Zwieselalm.
The mighty Dachstein Massif also offers nearby opportunities for mountaineering and rock climbing for those seeking more adventurous pursuits. See the Laserer Alpin website for information on rock climbing, glacier training, and more!
getting to Gosausee Lake
Distance from: (approximate)
- Salzburg: 80 km (1 hour 11 min)
- Hallstatt: 20 km (30 min)
- Munich Germany: 200 km (2.5 hours)
- Berchtesgaden Germany: 77 km (1 hour 11 min)
You can drive directly to the car park, which is a short walking distance from Gosausee Lake.
Gosausee parking lot address:
(GPS coordinates, just plug them into your Google Maps or other navigation and it will take you right to it!
Parking space: 200 (Parking area for disabled) plus public restrooms
If you don’t have a car you can arrive at the lake by bus. There’s a bus stop right at the lake. For the best route options see the Rome2Rio website.
Webcam and interactive panorama
Can’t travel yet? Check out the webcam of Gosausee Lake! Gasthof Gosausee has a live webcam that’s pointed right at the lake!
The Salzkammergut official website has a ridiculously cool interactive page where you can see panoramic views of the Gosau Valley. It’s in German but the views are outstanding!!!
where to stay and where to eat
The nearby town of Gosau offers a range of accommodation options and restaurants serving local cuisine.
where to eat
Gasthof Gosausee is located just past the Gosausee Parking Lot. It sits right on the lake and has outdoor umbrella tables with amazing views, or sit indoors in their cozy dining room.
Seeklausalm is the tiny mountain hut up on the hill they serve warm and cold drinks and delicious looking snacks and light meals.
At Hintersee Gosausee:
Holzmeister Alm, located at Hintersee, has beverages, snacks like bratwurst, soups, salads open faced sandwiches like Speckbrot and Käsebrot in an idyllic pasture setting surrounded by mountains. Bonus, grazing cows!
Head on up the mountain for food and drinks at Gablonzer Hutte! (See instructions for getting up the mountain earlier in the article.)
Where to stay
Stay right on the lake at Gasthof Gosausee! They offer rooms with balconies overlooking the lake!
book it here on Booking.com!
Hintersee and beyond!
ADAMEKHÜTTE mountain hut is located high above the Gosau Lakes, surrounded by steep rock faces on the edge of a glacier. Make your way past the 3 Gosau Lakes and beyond. It’s a 4 to 5-hour hike from the parking lot at Gosausee.
Village of Gosau:
There are several hotel options in Gosau Village, which is 8 km from the lake.
Search for options here on Booking.com.
when to visit Gosausee Lake
When is the best time to visit Gosausee Lake? The seasons and time of day bring with them different benefits and challenges to visiting the lake. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that may help decide:
The summer season brings a lot of visitors to Gosau Lake. You can avoid crowds by visiting early or late in the day. and on weekdays rather than weekends.
During winter months, Gosausee Lake transforms into a winter wonderland with skiing and snowboarding opportunities at nearby ski resorts like Dachstein West. Visitors can enjoy snowshoeing, sledding or ice skating on frozen lakes.
However, the hiking trail around Gosausee is closed in winter, due to the danger of avalanches. You can still view the lake from the entry point near the Gasthaus. The Path is normally accessible from May till October.
spring and fall
You might find fewer crowds in May and October but may miss out on opportunities like boating and swimming.
Average Winter high temperature: 42° F (6° C)
Average Winter low temperature 33° F (1° C)
Average Summer high temperature: 64° F (18° C)
Average Winter Low temperature: 55° F (13° C)
(Source: NOAA (National Centers for Environmental Information)
These are weather averages for estimation purposes only. For the latest weather information. You can check the forecast at Gosau on Weather.com.)
The outstanding natural beauty of Gosausee Lake alone makes it a destination worthy of any Austrian itinerary. Add to that all the other amazing things to see and do, it’s a must-do destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Overall score, 10/10! Plan your trip now!
Here are a few of the nearby attractions:
Just down the road is the ridiculously popular and picturesque lakeside town of Hallstatt. Oh Hallstatt “my bucket list destination” so beautiful, and so CROWDED. In order to avoid crowds, I arrived early, left and went to explore Gosausee midday and then went back to Hallstatt after the crowds had dissipated. Perfect! Hallstatt is a 30-minute scenic drive from Gosau Lake. NOTE: Hallstatt is a popular tourist destination. Check out this article for things to do in Hallstatt PLUS crowd beating tips!
Make your way UP that imposing mountain that’s the backdrop for those amazing views at Gosauseen! At the top you’ll have a splendid view of the imposing Dachstein Glacier. If you need further prompting check out this video! Amazing! It’s a 75 km (1.5 hour) drive but worth it!
On tap, a panorama gondola, viewing platform with views that will STUN YOU, an ice palace, and Austria’s highest suspension bridge!
These are a bit of a drive but worth knowing about if you are planning a trip to this area.
Dachstein Giant Ice Cave, is 36 km (47 minutes) from Gosausee. subterranean glaciers with stalactites and light & sound shows.
“Werfen’s “Eisriesenwelt” [world of ice giants] is actually the world’s biggest ice cave. 62 km (1 hour) drive from Gosau.
free Austria itineraries
We visited Hallstatt and Gosausee on a 2 week trip to Austria, southern Germany, and Slovenia.
Want to hear more about my travels around Austria and the rest of our amazing planet? You may be interested in my Austria page and be sure to submit your email address to my subscriber sign up at the end of the page to be the first to know when a new blog publishes! Then head on over to my Travel Resources page for information on money saving resources!