Holidays to Wörthersee have been popular with Austria’s rich and famous since the 19th century, thanks to the lake's stunning clarity and colour.
Surrounded by mountains and hills, its lakeside scenery is pretty hard to beat. It also has quite a unique Mediterranean climate, which often means warm summer evenings - ideal for a gentle evening stroll along the shore. And the water can get pretty warm, so a dip in the lake is highly recommended.
Pörtschach's peninsular is the place to see and be seen. Luxurious villas line the coastline, while the atmosphere is traditional and relaxed. Velden meanwhile, is the cosmopolitan hub, buzzing with nightlife. Wörthersee is a great base for exploring more of the local region too - if you can tear yourself away. The Italian, Slovenia and Austrian borders all converge nearby, so you could easily see at least three countries while you’re away.
Out and about
• Lakeside path
• Lake bathing
• Boat trips
• Bike hire
• National park
• Cycle routes
• Segway tours
Places To Stay In Wörthersee View all places to stay »
Things to See and Do in Wörthersee
Wörthersee is a beautiful lake with multi-coloured emerald and turquoise waters - it’s one of the brightest jewels in Carinthia’s crown. The majority of beaches on Wörthersee are private, and usually belong to waterfront hotels.
Strandbad Klagenfurt beach is a stunning place to visit. It has a large grass area for sunbathing, slides, boats for hire, piers to jump off of and plenty of swimming opportunities. It's set among picturesque mountain scenery and is one of the most popular spots in the area in summer.
Strandbad Maiernigg beach is a smaller and slightly quieter place to spend a day by the water. Located in the eastern bay of the lake, it has an expanse of lawns with naturally shady areas, offers watersports and has a restaurant right on the water.
Downtown Klagenfurt is the site where regular markets are held. There’s a variety of markets on the schedule, from traditional farmers' produce markets to local craft fairs – perfect for bargain souvenirs. Keep an eye out for what days these markets are running.
The best place for shopping if you’re staying in Wörthersee is the city Klagenfurt. It's around 25 minutes by bus from Pörtschach to the centre of Klagenfurt, which has two central shopping centres, with nearly 200 stores to browse in total. Shop well-known brands like H&M, Esprit, Levi’s and Zara.
Klagenfurt has a handful of designer stores, from independent boutiques to luxury vintage wear.
For a quieter evening, a gentle stroll around Lake Wörthersee to explore the pretty scenery is a peaceful option.
Wörthersee is one of the livelier lake resorts, in the sense that there are more bars to choose from for a relaxing nightcap. Waterfront Jilly_Beach restaurant and bar is a popular haunt for locals and tourists in Pörtschach.
Lake Wörthersee, and Pörtschach in particular, has a range of flavours to try right on its doorstep. You could spend one lunchtime enjoying Mediterranean dishes on a lake terrace, and another savouring traditional Austrian recipes handed down through the generations. Lakefront restaurants are in abundance too, so if you want great views, tasty food and a relaxing atmosphere, you won’t be short of choice.
Food with style at Jilly_Beach
One example of a lakefront restaurant is Jilly_Beach, a stylish eatery offering beautiful views of the water alongside exquisite food, made with an extremely good eye for detail.
Be surprised at Thomas Gruber
The homely Thomas Gruber is a fairly priced restaurant with quite eccentric owners. They serve up traditional Austrian cuisine with a modern twist, and they even have a surprise menu if you’re not sure what you want.
Chestnut cream cake at Backerei Weinerroither
Ideal for breakfast, lunch or a coffee break, Backerei Weinerroither is a popular bakery making incredible breads, cakes and sandwiches – the chestnut cream cake is a favourite. The menu is extensive and well priced, meaning you’ll probably be back more than once.
The lake is pretty big but its easy enough to get around on foot. You can follow the lakeside paths and promenade to various other villages, or veer inland to explore the surrounding pine forests and green pastures.
Steamer boats ferry people between the various towns on the lakeshore. You’ll also get discount on some boat trips if your purchase a Wörthersee Card.
Trains run to two nearby cities: Klangenfurt, which takes around 15 minutes and costs approx €3; and Villach, which takes 25 minutes and costs approx €6. The trains run regularly, approx every 20 minutes.
You can catch a bus to Klagenfurt or Villach, but they’re not very frequent and are restricted in the evenings and on weekends. It’s much easier to travel by train.
Wörthersee may be known for it’s gorgeous lake, but there's still plenty of walking to be done – what better way to explore the lake, after all, than on foot? The area is a real mix of pine forests, green pastures and tiny hamlets. If you want to head further afield, the nearby Karawanken Mountains offer plenty of walking trails, and the 850km ascent to the Pyramidenkogel is well worth it for the incredible views. You can also catch a ferry to one of the other towns around the lake and stroll back along the shore.
Velden to Klagenfurt
Start from one of the landing docks along Lake Wörthersee to kick off this well-marked hiking trail. It gives you wonderful glimpses of the lake and the Karawanken Mountains, and leads through pretty meadows, forests and hilly terrain. This is an easy–moderate walk that'll take you halfway round the lake and lasts roughly half a day. Make it a full day by walking back around the other side of the lake.
Take the W1
Go a little further afield and explore a gentle loop round the W1 trail, starting from the car park at Moosburg. This walk will guide you through the beautiful landscape of Moosburg towards the Weingartenteich - a pretty pond, so make sure you bring your camera. You’ll then stroll past another pond, Damnig Teich, and take a paved path back round to the point at which you started.
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