Bad Aussee Lakeside. Lake Grundlsee, Lake Toplitz, Lake Altaussee

Last Updated on 01/08/2023

Bad Aussee lies as if in a hollow – such a feeling is created when you go down from the federal road. It would seem that from Hallstatt – a stone’s throw, but the roads are so exhausting that it’s the same as beyond the ridge. This is a completely independent resort town with a large number of tourists, despite the fact that the local two lakes are barely visible on the map compared even with relatively small Lake Hallstatt. True, depending on what to compare – in Styria, the Grundlsee lake is the largest.

At least one trip from Hallstatt region to Bad Aussee Lakeside (especially Lake Grundlsee and Lake Toplitz) is worth making – this is a very pleasant, calm trip with beautiful views, which will take you at least half a day and can easily turn into a full day.

Hallstatt old town – history and natural jewel
Hallstatt Museum, observation deck and Salt Mines
Hallstatt. 3. Echerntal trail and waterfalls, glacial garden
Hallstatt Ostuferweg. Around the lake
Dachstein attractions. Dachstein Krippenstein cable car
Gosau lake hike
Salzkammergut Lakes
Sounds of music filming locations in Salzburg and Salzkammergut
Tennengau, Pongau, Dachstein attractions map
Salzkammergut best places to visit map

How to get to Bad Aussee Lakeside

By car, it is best to go along the B145. See the page “Around Lake Hallstatt” for the lookout point.

What’s wrong with the road to Obertraun? It only looks on most maps as a straight and harmless road along the river. Traun river gorge doesn’t leave much room for a road there. It quickly becomes narrow from the side of Bad Aussee, then makes sharp turns, and at the end it almost jumps down with a slope of 23%. The reflex to press on the floor on the brake works even for passengers. The passage is called Koppenpass, although it would seem that we do not cross any mountain here. In ancient times, the road was very important for the transportation of salt.
At the end of Koppenpass is the third Obertraun cave – Koppenbrüllerhöhle and the corresponding train station.

Dachstein caves. Three different caves for every taste

As for those who are on their own two feet. The train quite conveniently takes you to Bad Aussee along the Traun river gorge.
Next you need a bus to Grundlsee lake (bus 956) or Altaussee (bus 955).

There is a cycling and walking path along the Traun river gorge. For those who save energy on a bike – choose the direction from Bad Aussee.

Bad Aussee

So, we went around the mountain that separates Lake Hallstatt from Bad Aussee on the right or left and ended up in the valley of two rivers that merge here – two Trauns sources – Altausseer Traun and Grundlseer Traun. This is already Styria. The second Traun river is considered the main source. We are going to the source now.

The mountains around are called Dead Mountains – Totes Gebirge. Limestone – little vegetation – many caves. At their other end, these mountains go to the Traunsee.

Read more about Traunsee

The region is known for its narcissus fields. The Narcissus Festival is dedicated to daffodils with a procession on boats and figures decorated with daffodils.

Bad Aussee Lakeside map
enlarge Map data ©OpenStreetMap, ©OpenTopoMap

Bad Aussee

Bad Aussee is a spa town. Its isolated from both Hallstatt and Styria. And in fact, until the 15th century, it belonged directly to the Kaisers, like the entire Salzkammergut. But after the conflict over salt, Bad Aussee was given to Styria.

Bad Aussee and Altaussee were very popular among artists and writers.

We did not have time to see the city itself, since the Grundlsee lake took a lot of time, but we managed to see that there are many villas here. True, Austrian-style villas are harsh and solid. After all, the Hofburg palace in Vienna is hardly distinguishable from an ordinary rich house. The city itself has little space and narrow streets, so it is actively built up along the federal road at the top and along the rivere towards the Altaussee.

The historical museum in the city called Kammerhofmuseum is housed in a 14th century building. This is a typical museum of the region with a collection of archeology, traditions, etc. Such museums, however, can be very interesting, and this one is considered quite good (if you find time for it).

Another museum in the city is a private collection of Lotus cars.

Above the federal road (that is, not at all in the city) – a thermal pool and a little further from the city – a small botanical garden. Point 3 on the map.

The pool is not bad, but also not good if there are many people (rain day) or there are restrictions (Corona) – this can be said for most thermal pools in Austria. They are small by German standards.

The botanical garden is very small. The price does not correspond to the size. At the end of the season, the garden does not even bother to have a person at the checkout – the money must be thrown into the box.

“Three lakes” trip

Along a very narrow and winding street along Traun we go to the Grundlsee lake.

The “Three lakes” trip for the whole day:
by boat across the Grundlsee lake (or by car/bus to the far end of the lake),
then on foot to Lake Toplitz,
then by boat to the opposite shore and a short walk to the small Kammersee lake, from where the Traun river begins.

Lake Grundlsee

The lake Grundlsee is a large recreation area. Everywhere (almost every 100 meters) along road there are parking lots. The price for parking is the same everywhere. If your destination is the source of Traun, then calmly go to the very end, and in other places stop on the way back if you have time.

You can go across the lake also by boat.

At the far end of the lake there is an eatery, a large parking lot and a small village. Point 1 on the map

Lake Toplitz

The most interesting thing here is the route to Lake Toplitz (Toplitzsee).

There are some routes:
the standard route is through the village and then along the steep left wall of the valley
along the river – a route for families with older children.
and one more route – through the forest along the right edge of the valley.

The first way is the shortest – 40 minutes, the second and third up to an hour – an hour and a half.

Passable (standard route), asphalt / gravel


Good passable

Length – about two kilometers (30-40 minutes slowly)
Pleasure – 5*
Education – 3* (several stands with information)
Age – any

We took the first route, as it is passable with a stroller.

Lake Toplitz is a mysterious lake. The water in it does not mix – up to 20 meters it is fresh, then salty, and at the bottom there is mud rich in hydrogen sulfide. And the temperature changes only at a depth of up to 20 meters, and very quickly drops to only 5 degrees.

During the war, weapons were tested here. And there is also a legend that the Nazis left their treasures here, which was not confirmed by research – they only found a box with counterfeit banknotes, with which the Nazis were going to weaken the economy of other countries. There is a documentary about this. However, diving on the lake is extremely dangerous and difficult – the trees that have fallen there do not rot. You can’t swim either.

Lake Toplitz is also a romantic lake. The 37-year-old Archduke Johann of Austria and the 15-year-old daughter of the postmaster Anna Plohl met here. After 4 years, the Archduke decided to marry. But he did not completely break off relations with his Kaiser brother – he waited six years until the marriage was resolved. This story is very loved by local tourism – and the couple, apparently, deserved it. There is a monument at the meeting place.

What else is interesting on the lake? On one side of a small wooden dam across Traun is a fish restaurant and a pier of flat rafts. Only in this way can you be on the other side of the lake Toplitz and reach third, the last and smallest Kammersee lake. There is no road along the coast – it is too dangerous. Above the Kammersee, the source of the Traun.

On the other side of the dam, there is a monument and a small path with wonderful views. The water beats here right from under the roots of trees and benches, and it is icy.

The dam itself (Seeklause) is a historical building, such were typical for the lakes of the Salzkammergut to regulate the water level. There are only two of them left – the second on Lake Hallstatt.

Lake Kammersee

Let’s go to the lake Kammersee.

Lake Altaussee

To get to Lake Altaussee, you have to go back to Bad Aussee and now drive along the second stream, from which Traun is obtained.

This is also a spa town, only in a more rustic, rather than urban style. It is also actively building up.

The descent to the water is limited here – either high banks or decking. For swimming you have to go to the beaches. The main parking lot is at the end of the road, not far from the pier. For some reason, a large meadow has been left here – apparently, for paragliders.

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Lake Altaussee seemed to me less picturesque than Grundlsee, but we did not get to the opposite end. Very attractive sandy shores with pine trees were visible there. And judging by the photographs, even Dachstein is visible from the other end of the lake. You can reach it by boot, but many people go also on foot along a pedestrian road.

A short visit here seems pointless to me, since it is more interesting to walk around the lake than just to see the piece closest to the city.

The house at the pier shows the local decoration of the houses. We have seen them in this region very often and some are real works of art.

The rocky (true, they are here all rocky) mountain Loser rises above the lake. It is difficult to make a picture of Loser from the city – it’s over your head. A panoramic paid road leads upstairs. At the top are beautiful views (rocky again). For example, a “window” in a mountain. In winter, people go skiing here. From 2022, a new cable car should operate.

Salt mine Altaussee

Right there – but not near the city, you have to drive – another salt mine in the region. We decided to visit it this time, and not Hallstatt, as it is cheaper and we wanted variety. On the one hand, they are similar, on the other hand, it cannot be said that this is a repetition. Link

Pro: cheaper, fewer people, an underground illuminated lake, a story about the looted treasures that the Nazis kept here (and some of them unclaimed at the exhibition).

inconvenient to get to, without a car – quite inconvenient (you must go on foot from Altaussee),
no archeology (as in Hallstatt)
and there is absolutely nothing around that could brighten up the expectation of an excursion (there is only a cafe at the hotel).

Other lakes of the Salzkammergut – #Salzkammergut.
Hallstatt old town – history and natural jewel
Hallstatt Museum, observation deck and Salt Mines
Hallstatt. 3. Echerntal trail and waterfalls, glacial garden
Hallstatt Ostuferweg. Around the lake
Dachstein attractions. Dachstein Krippenstein cable car

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