Up until about two years ago, I’ve never heard about the Grüner See (Green Lake) in Styria. But then there was this article about it in the news papers and it got nominated to be one of Austria’s most beautiful spots. I started wondering why neither I nor anyone I know has ever been there, since it’s pretty close to home and honestly… hence the size of Austria, pretty close to about every corner of good old Austria! 😉
Two friends and I had the idea of doing a little more homeland exploring whenever we have some time to spare and when the idea of going to Grüner See came up, we were instantly hooked.
Before I tell you about how amazing our trip to the lake was and how much I fell in love with the crystal clear water and the surreal colors of the lake, I’m going to tell you some useful facts about the Grüner See – Just in case you want to put it on your bucket list! 😉
- It’s not an ordinary lake
When planning a trip to the Green Lake, make sure to plan it during late spring or the early summer month. Its water comes from the snowmelt from the karst mountains surrounding it. Therefore the time after the snowmelt or during it is the time where the basin that becomes the lake will be filled up the highest and it is also the time of the year when people used to do spectacular diving and underwater photo-shootings. The lake reaches its maximum height usually between May and June.
- It was a divers paradise
During the month when the water is at its highest, the Green Lake was a paradise for divers. Diving through the green meadows, along hiking trails and tree trunks or floating by a bridge and benches isn’t something you experience every day.
Hence to the massive increase of tourists going there though, it is apparently prohibited to dive there since January 1st of 2016. Maybe the hype about it will fade eventually (although I don’t think so! :P) and I’ll have the chance to dive there too.
- It’s a tourist attraction
Since the articles I mentioned above, the Green Lake has become quite a tourist attraction. During its peak season and especially on weekends it is definitely a good idea to get up early and be there before ALL the OTHER PEOPLE are.
My friends and I got up at 4.30 in the morning to get there before the rest did and it certainly paid off. We had the lake all for ourselves (besides the ducks and ravens) and the chance to take in all its magical and peaceful glory.
- Pack some plan B breakfast
If you want to see the Green Lake without a bunch of people blocking your view and you decide to get up early and be there during the early morning hours, make sure to pack some plan B breakfast. Although there is a restaurant quite close to the lake, it probably won’t serve food in the early morning hours on a weekday! 😉
- Don’t litter and respect the area
Although I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t cross your mind anyway I simply have to mention it here: Don’t leave any trash or food leftovers in the Green Lake area! There is a bunch of trash bins along the way around the lake, so it’s not much of an effort to put everything you want to get rid of in there. Camping and open fires are also prohibited. It is a strictly protected nature conservation area and once you’ve seen the beauty of it with your own eyes, you’ll realize why the rules to protect it are strict like that.
- Bring a drone
If you own one or know somebody owning one, bring a drone.
The lake by itself is breathtaking, but seeing it from above is something you’ll never forget. My friends and I had the chance to borrow a drone and I’m still in awe with the pictures we got from it.
As I mentioned already, we got to the Green Lake in the early morning around 7 a.m. We were the only people there and approaching the lake after a short walk through the woods left me speechless. I knew the lake was famous for its amazing turquoise color, but the intensity of it still surprised me. The water is crystal clear and you can see all the way down to the lakes stony ground.
Heather flowers surrounded the whole lake and the grey karst mountains in the background perfected the whole setting. Since the three of us are mad about taking photos we stopped about every meter for new shots and it took as ages to circle the lake. A few ducks were following us all the way, probably waiting for us to feed them with something, and from time to time you could see the reflection of a raven flying over the lake mirrored on the surface of the water.
Since we got there so early and the sun didn’t break through the misty clouds yet, it was a bit chilly at the lake, but nevertheless we stayed there for about 2.5 hours. There was simply too much beauty to discover to even think about leaving earlier.
Even on our way back to the car, we didn’t come across any other people and back at the parking lot we realized how lucky we were. Around 10 in the morning the cars started to flock in and I’m pretty sure, being surrounded by a lot of other people would have totally ruined this magical Green Lake experience for me.