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Caribbean of the Alps – Grüner See

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Grüner See is one of the most beautiful lakes in Austria. It is known by its beautiful emerald-green colour and it is even nicknamed "Caribbean of the Alps". Its name “Green Lake” in German Grüner See owes it also to the green colour. The lake is located in Austrian federal province Styria around 1 hour from Graz and 2 hour from Vienna by car.

A park turned into the lake

Grüner See is nestled below the high peaks of Hochschwabgruppe at the altitude 768 m above sea level. It is a karst lake that fills with the water from the snowmelt from the surrounding mountains. Therefore the water is very clear and cold with the temperature of 5 to 6 °C. Water level fluctuates significantly and it is strongly dependent on the season. In winter the lake dries almost completely, while during the early summer it can be up to 12 metres deep. Already in autumn water level is so low that the lake bottom turns into park, with the hiking trails and entire infrastructures. There are even benches and the bridge at its bottom, which can be used from autumn, when they are above the water level. So it is also question is the Grüner See a park that fills up with the water, or lake that dries up?

Why is it so green?

There are more factors why the water is so green. First of all it is very clean; the other reasons are is its green surrounding, bright limestone at the bottom and absence of the dust. However, the most important is the fact that it lacks its own, dark muddy bottom of the permanent lakes. This all creates extraordinarily high visibility of the water m which is up to 50 meters. The lake was very popular among divers because of its clear water.

©iStock/AlexBrylov
©iStock/AlexBrylov

The Grüner See was awarded with the reward of the most beautiful hidden place in Austria by the viewers of national TV in Austria. Since then there was a spike in tourism and because of the fear of damage to this sensitive environment, all activates on the water are prohibited, such as swimming, diving or boating.

Interesting fact: Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher was enchanted by the Grüner See. He has posted, on his Facebook profile, a picture of the underwater bench, describing it as a "magic moment". This has helped the lake to catch the international attention.

The entire area around the lake is a paradise for hikers. The tourist can enjoy here in a good air, silence, endless forests, beautiful pastures, picturesque mountain meadows with colourful alpine flowers and off course unique mountain lake with fresh, crystal clear water. The closest village is Tragöss and in the summer this small community is starting point for numerous hiking trails.


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The author

Ogi Savic

Ogi Savic

I am Ogi. A journalist and economist, I live in Vienna and I am passionate about skiing, traveling, good food and drinks. I write about all these aspects (and more) of beautiful Austria.

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