Carinthia is the southernmost state in Austria and is located in the Eastern Alps. It’s here that you can dive into mystical and magical underwater worlds, because there are almost 1300 lakes in the area. The largest lakes are the Wörthersee, the Millstätter See, the Ossiacher See and the Weissensee. These four lakes cover an area of approximately 50 square kilometers (19 square miles).
In summer, the Carinthian lakes are very popular destinations for countless water sports enthusiasts and for families. In particular, the mountain lakes are fascinating diving destinations for divers. The landscape is fascinating both above and below the water.
The color spectrum of the lakes ranges from aquamarine to emerald green, and the visibility is superb. Even in winter, the lakes attract many hardy divers, who dare to venture under the thick layer of ice in the freezing cold and discover the Carinthian lakes in a completely different light.
Let’s take a look at some of the best Carinthian lakes for scuba diving.
The Wörthersee is a very clean and quite warm bathing lake in Carinthia, which also has great diving spots. The water temperature in the summer reaches approximately 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit), which definitely makes it a little easier to get started diving in the lake. There are great opportunities for beginners, professionals and also tec divers.
In the middle of the lake, divers can explore sloping walls and rocky landscapes as well as admire many fish in the vegetation.
More experienced divers should not miss the legendary thermocline of the Wörthersee, which leads into a mystical darkness and silence in the depths of the lake after a long descent. Arriving in the dark, following the beam of the dive light feels like walking on the moon.
The Millstätter See in Carinthia has many attractive diving sites that are freely accessible. They boast varied underwater landscapes and good visibility. With a depth of 141m (463 feet), this is the deepest and most water-rich lake in Carinthia. Therefore, many dive sites show off the lake’s steep cliffs, some of which drop off practically vertically. Perch, pike and catfish are just a few of the many species of fish that can be found here. There are also crabs in the shallow water.
The motorboat Die Möwe sank in the lake in the summer of 1972 after a collision with another ship and has been lying at a depth of almost 40m (130 feet) near a steep slope ever since. Even at this depth, there is still enough daylight to see the wreck. However, a dive light is recommended. Die Möwe is a popular dive site, and depending on your diving experience, it is also possible to explore the interior of the wreck.
The Ossiacher See is a great diving destination in Carinthia for both beginners and professionals. You can dive with a wide variety of fish, such as pike, eel, zander and catfish, and you will find some remains in the muddy bottom, from old tires and flower pots to old war relics from the Second World War (these are not souvenirs and salvaging is strictly prohibited). Night and ice diving are popular past times at the Ossiacher See.
The Weissensee is also called the Caribbean of the Alps, and it owes this to its radiantly clear, turquoise water and its super visibility. In addition, the water temperature in the lake can actually rise up to 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer. This Carinthian lake is the highest bathing lake in Austria and is surrounded by a great landscape of mountains and forests. Both in the summer and in the winter, this is one of the most popular diving destinations in Austria. Schools of young trout, perch and pike can be found at many different dive sites in the Weissensee. On the southern shore, for example, scuba divers can descend into a sunken forest to see the magic of the play of light between the branches, roots and the reeds underwater.
The Weissensee is known for ice diving and freediving. Divers from all over the world travel to experience this special adventure under 40cm (16 inches) of ice.
Ready to dive into the lakes of Carinthia and to discover some of the best scuba diving and freediving Austria has to offer? Click the button below to connect with a PADI Dive Shop in the area.