What on Earth is Fuschlsee?!
Fuschlsee is a pristine lake surrounded by forested hills and scenic walking trails. Located just outside the Austrian city of Salzburg, Lake Fuschl is a popular day-tripping destination for tourists and locals alike.
This guide aims to provide you with the necessary information to enjoy a stress free day and help make the most of your time around the lake.
Walking around the lake
One of the easiest ways to appreciate the beauty of Lake Fuschl is by walking around it’s scenic shores. A complete circumnavigation is roughly 12km; depending on your pace it would take 3-4 hours.
Overall, the walk is varied and extremely enjoyable – parts of the route take you down close to the water’s edge whilst other sections lead you through hilly meadows. Some parts are steep, some are nice and flat. There are times when you’re shaded by the forest and other times when you’re out in the sunlight. The one thing that remains consistent throughout the walk is the stunning green colour of Fuschlsee’s water – read on to find out the best spots for swimming!
Despite being quite long, the route is signposted and very easy to follow. It might also be useful to use a maps app to keep track of your location and prevent yourself from getting lost. On this occasion, MapsMe (Maps.me) would be a great choice as it shows all walking trails.
Where to swim
A popular activity – and the one I recommend most – is to go swimming in the lake. The water is fresh, clean, clear and calm; could it sound more inviting?
Side note: this is very much a summer-only activity – in the winter temperatures can plummet to below freezing and the lake occasionally ices over!
So, if you visit during the summer months, here are some options for swimming in the lake (your favourite may vary depending on what attributes you value most):
Free & quiet
On the lake’s southern shore are some beautiful natural coves and pebble beaches – perfect for escaping the crowds and taking a peaceful swim. Just go explore, find a spot you like then enjoy the welcoming water and wonderful views.
There are 3 main areas at Lake Fuschl where you can pay to enter a “bathing park”. These are: Strandbad Wesenauer, Badeplatz Stöllinger and Hofer Naturbadestrand. Entrance averages €4.5 (£4/US$5.1) for an adult.
Paying for a bathing spot is a common thing in Austria and I believe Central Europe in general. It may seem like a waste of money but in actual fact you’re getting access to some of the best swimming locations and use of changing, shower and toilet facilities. Some people would value these amenities extremely highly whilst others would prefer to relax somewhere secluded and natural.
If you’re after a combination of good location and free bathing, check out Fuschl public beach. It’s situated right next to town so is within walking distance of most facilities. Being a public beach it’s free for all, so is probably a good choice during the week but might get crowded at weekends.
Nudist & others
Along the lake’s northern shore are a number of pebbly areas with easy access for swimming. However, beware that some of these are nudist beaches.
Walking from Fuschl am See town, about a third of the way along the northern shore is a grassy bank with some benches and trees; here it is also possible to reach the water for a swim.
Where to get the best views
Despite getting some great photos on my walk around the lake, I didn’t quite achieve the perspective that I was after.
So, I embarked on a mini adventure to scope out a decent viewpoint over the lake; I was hoping for panoramic views from an elevated position, ideally showing the whole lake in one frame. Because I didn’t have time to climb the highest peak (Schober), I settled on checking out a hill called Bambichl, located behind the official Red Bull headquarters building.
You can watch my adventure in this video on my Facebook page.
As the video and this picture shows, you can get some pretty nice views from Bambichl hill. However, if you’re after some truly epic views, I would actually recommend climbing Schober peak to the north of Fuschl am See town. There are 2 reasons for this:
1. A simpler climb
It’s very easy to get lost on Bambichl hill – the forest is dense and the only path runs around the bottom of the hill. Therefore, once you start ascending, there’s no track to follow and suddenly everything looks the same. On the other hand, there are a number of defined paths to choose from while climbing Schober. This makes it more of a ‘follow the trail’ activity rather than ‘wandering aimlessly and hoping for the best’.
2. Better views
At 450 metres taller than Bambichl, Schober has the necessary extra height to look down on the surrounding landscape – it is in fact the highest peak overlooking Lake Fuschl. The top of Schober is also better suited to panoramas than Bambichl; rocky outcrops and no trees provide largely uninterrupted views of the entire lake.
Note: I haven’t actually completed the climb of Schober so I can’t say for sure if it’s the best hill for those epic views. However, through the use of MapsMe and Google Images, I can confirm that Schober is a far better choice than Bambichl hill. If you’re physically able to tackle that extra height, I wouldn’t hesitate to go and check it out! For those who do, please feedback and send me a picture of the view – I’d be interested to know how it looks from up there.
Why didn’t I climb Schober?
Apart from not having sufficient time, I was also suffering from a knee injury which prevented me from attempting anything too strenuous. In fact, even after climbing Bambichl, my knee started playing up and I was only just able to complete my walk around the lake.
You can read more about my methods of coping with injuries in the following article: How To Overcome Problems Whilst Travelling.
Where to eat
In the main town of Fuschl am See there are some cafes with great views of the lake. They serve everything from snacks and soft drinks to full meals, wine and spirits. The main 2 are: Gastgarten Seehotel Schlick and Edenbergers Cafe am See.
I didn’t actually test either of those cafes out – they were both full when I arrived at 1pm and I couldn’t afford to wait for a table – but the fact that they were busy suggests they’re worth dining at. One place I can recommend though is Schloss Fuschl Fischerei:
Schloss Fuschl Fischerei
This attractive bistro adopts a basic yet unique concept. As opposed to having a complicated menu, these guys specialise in smoked fish – and that’s all they serve. Choose from 5 different types of fish, pay per weight (€23/£20/US$26 per kg, €8/£7/US$9 for an average sized fish) then add bread (€0.9/£0.8/US$1 per piece) and sauces to complete your delicious plate of food. Also be sure to try one of their fantastic beers in classic swing-top bottles (€3.2/£2.8/US$3.6 for a small bottle).
The fish is truly delicious; perfectly cooked and delicately smoked to give it such a unique flavour. The scenery while eating your lunch is also unbeatable – views over the former castle in one direction and the lake with mountainous backdrop in the other.
Located at the west end of the lake, the area surrounding the Fischerei is noticeably less crowded than the eastern shore, which I particularly liked. Despite the restaurant being quite busy, you didn’t have to wait for a table either – and even if you did, it would be worth it!
Read more: Top 10 Places to Eat & Drink in Salzburg.
How to get to Fuschlsee
Here are the the details on how to travel between Salzburg city centre and Lake Fuschlsee by public bus. Of course, you could also use a less popular method of transport such as a hire car, bicycle, taxi or even hiking the route.
You’ll need to use bus number 150 in the direction of Bad Ischl. You can catch it from many different stops across Salzburg, but I would recommend getting on at one of the earlier stops as it can quickly fill up and you won’t get a seat (or it may not even stop). A return ticket costs €11.2 (£9.9/US$13).
Two of the best and easiest places to catch it from are Salzburg Hauptbahnhof and Salzburg Mirabellplatz stations. Hauptbahnhof is the origin point of the route so just ask for direction if you can’t see the number 150 bus. From Mirabellplatz station you should wait for the number 150 at bus stand G (on the same side of the road as the Mirabell Palace, directly opposite the church).
Approaching your destination, the bus will drive alongside the water’s edge and make its main stop in the town of Fuschl am See on the lake’s eastern shore. (From here the bus continues on to other lakes so be ready to get off; the driver will announce the location of Fuschl am See when you arrive.) However, if you fancy going against the norm and avoiding crowds, consider getting off the bus one or two stops earlier and begin your exploring away from the town centre (this is what I did, recommended).
Where to go next
If you enjoyed visiting Fuschlsee – or just like the sound of it (but haven’t actually been) – then consider making a trip to Klagenfurt.
Klagenfurt is a small town that sits on the shores of another pristine body of water; Lake Wörthersee. Here you can find all the same activities that can be experienced at Fuschlsee, plus many more.
Located in southern Austria, close to the Slovenian border, Klagenfurt is well connected to nearby cities. Salzburg is less than 4 hours away by car, whilst Graz, Maribor and Ljubljana are even closer.
To make the most of your trip, feel free to check out my Klagenfurt Guide here.