Tirol, Austria Has the Cutest Town You Need to See
Before having visited the small alpine town of Pertisau bordering Lake Achen in Tirol, Austria, I’d never even heard of it before. What I discovered once I got there is one of Austria’s best-kept secret destinations and (not exaggerating) one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
This spot has become so precious to me that I now make a visit every time I’m in Europe. I was even a little hesitant to tell you about it because I want to keep it hidden and all to myself! With its clear teal lake filled with naturally-filtered mountain water surrounded by incredible mountains and quaint Austrian houses with flower-covered balconies, it’s a wonder this place is yet to really be discovered.
I mean seriously, just take a look at the photo below and you’ll see what you’ve been missing.
What you may not know about pertisau:
Pertisau is located in Tirol, Austria, which is a state in the alps. The state is known for its gorgeous mountains and ski resorts.
Lake Achen in Pertisau (the lake in the picture above) is also known as the “Fjord of the Alps” and is the largest lake in all of Tirol.
Since it is in the Alps, Pertisau is already somewhat known as a ski destination. The town actually doubles in size in the winter and there are plenty of ski resorts to accommodate them.
However, tourists who visit in the summer will have this town entirely to themselves. And although it’s obviously a great place for winter sports, it’s truly magical in the summer.
If you like outdoor activities, this is the place to do everything from kite-surfing to hiking to paragliding, and more. And don’t worry if you’re not really into the whole physical activity thing. This is still a great place to relax in a pool bordering the clear blue lake with a beautiful mountain view surrounding you.
Luckily for me, a cousin of mine lives in Jenbach, another town bordering Lake Achen. It’s because of him that I found this hidden gem in the first place and now I’m going to share his advice with you.
Here’s a list of the top things to do on a summer day in Tirol, Austria:
1) Go Paragliding
This one is still on my bucket list but it looks like a blast. The view from the sky over beautiful Lake Achen has to be incredible. If you’re also in Pertisau over the summer, there’ll be lots of places to try paragliding and you’ll be joining plenty of others doing it every day.
(Currently wishing I were the person under that red paragliding shoot).
2) Try on a Traditional Austrian Dirndl
Sorry for the crappy photo (it’s a photo of a photo) but I just loved this whole experience. Though traditional outfits like this one come with a steep price, you shouldn’t let that stop you from trying one on! And if you’re a guy, you should try on traditional lederhosen as well. It’s not something you have the opportunity to do every day so I recommend taking advantage of it while you’re there.
To try on a dirndl, check out one of the shops in town. The town of Pertisau is so small that you won’t have any trouble stumbling upon a shop like I did. This one is called “Edelheiss Pertisau” and is right next to the lake.
3) Have a spa day with views like this
Head to one of Pertisau’s many upscale hotels and spoil yourself with a spa day. Personally, I spent an afternoon at Travel Charme Fuerstenhaus am Achensee (Pertisau 63, 6213 Pertisau am Achensee) where there are a variety of saunas, hot tubs, and both indoor and outdoor pools. Inside they have lounging chairs in front of floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the lake and surrounding mountains. They make for a great spot to lay down with a great book.
4) Get a drink of fresh mountain water from Dalfazer Waterfall
If you take a hike up the Rofan Mountain, you’ll see signs pointing toward Dalfazer Waterfall. Follow them to make it to this gorgeous waterfall and don’t be afraid to jump in when you get there. It’s the perfect place to fill up your water bottle with fresh water coming directly from the mountains. You’ll never taste water as clear and delicious as it is there!
5) Go on a boat ride on lake achen
Since you’re right next to the largest lake in Tirol, Austria, take advantage of it either by going for a boat ride or enjoying water sports. There are even ferries in some locations that’ll take you back to town after a hike. You can find more information about it here.
I have to recommend hiking just because the views along the way are so breathtaking. You’ll feel like you’ve been dropped right into the mountains where they filmed in The Sound of Music. But if you’re unable to hike, the views from the cable car are pretty incredible too. Here’s a photo from one of my rides on the cable cars.
You really can’t go wrong here and will be able to enjoy more amazing views from the top of the mountain. My favorite thing to do next is to get some food and drinks once you’ve reached the top. Which leads me into my next suggestion…
7) reward yourself post-hike with good schnitzel and beer
There are plenty of cute restaurants scattered around the mountains with traditional Austrian food. If you do it the Austrian way, then schnapps should also be included! My cousin who lives on Lake Achen took me to a mountain-top restaurant where a friend of his works, and she gifted several shots of homemade schnapps. And let me tell you, it made the strenuous hike back down the mountain feel a whole lot easier!
There’s actually an Austrian tradition that you end each meal with a shot of Schnapps for “Verdauung,” meaning digestion. They then take another to get one leg to work, and then a third for the other leg so they can walk evenly. If you’re really feeling frisky, you can even take two more to get each of your arms moving. 😉 Now that is a tradition I can get behind.
8) Take it all in
I know I keep talking about the views here over and over, but they really are unparalleled. I’ve brought a few friends with me to Pertisau now, and they’ve all said that it ended up being one of their absolute favorite places throughout their entire European adventure. So once you’ve made it to Lake Achen, don’t forget to give yourself some time to just take it all in.
If you’re looking for undiscovered off-the-beaten path gems, Pertisau is the place for you. Comment below if you’ve been there before (or anywhere in Tirol, Austria) and let me know what you thought!
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Did you like this post? If so, you can find similar guides here. I always share the best advice that the locals give me!