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The 10 best mountain lakes in the Alps for diving

Mountain lake lodge for altitude diving.

The 10 best mountain lakes in the Alps for diving

Everyone has heard of the famous Alps mountain range in Europe and it is widely known for outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, and skiing.

What many might not know is that they are also one of the best – if not THE best – diving destinations for alitude diving in the world.

Nowhere else will you find this many mountain lakes for freshwater altitude diving as here.

Best mountain lakes in the Alps for scuba diving

Without further ado, here are the 10 best mountain lakes in the Alps for scuba diving, in no particular order.

Grüner See (Green Lake), Austria

Scuba diver in the Green Lake in Austria.
The Green Lake before it was closed to the public.

Surrounded by trees and mountains, the Green Lake in Austria is arguably the most iconic mountain lake in the Alps among divers, although it cannot be dived in any longer.

The karst lake is located in the municipality of Tragöß-Sankt Katharein in the district of Oberort in Austria and used to be a must-see for any freshwater diver.

During the annual glacier melt, the lake floods the shore area, leading to great dive spots that are actually above water most of the time. You quite literally dive over hiking trails, road signs, benches, bridges, sunken trees, and anything else that gets flooded by meltwater.

Unsurprisingly, the Green Lake gets its name from its color and the water is as crystal clear as it gets. Visibilities of 50m/150ft and more are possible.

It’s almost surreal diving through the emerald green water above the limestone bottom while diving over a wooden bridge you could walk on only weeks before.

The lake used to be frequented by divers for many years, and social media exposure and other publications led to its rising popularity among tourists.

In 2016, the municipality decided to ban all diving, swimming, and boats in the lake to protect the environment.

While it doesn’t look like this will change any time soon, the Green Lake still makes this list of the best mountain lakes in the Alps for scuba divers simply due to its uniqueness.

CountryAustria
Elevation870 m ü.n.N.
Diving SeasonClosed for diving
Difficulty
What to seeScenic dive, flooded hiking trails, bridges, etc.
Maximum Depth5-12m/15-38ft
Water Temperature6-8°C
EntryShore
Cost
Diving facts Green Lake, Austria

Blindsee, Austria

Blindsee in Austria
The Blindsee hidden behind trees in Austria.

The Blindsee is one of the most popular diving destinations in Austria and definitely one of the best mountain lakes in the Alps for scuba divers.

The lake is hidden from sight behind a forest at the bottom of a small valley and draws in thousands of divers every year.

Located at an elevation of above 1,000m/3,300ft, this private lake can only be dived in after purchasing a day pass from the hotel that owns it.

However, the price is well worth it and rewards visitors with stunning scenery above and underwater.

You start the dive from the boathouse in the main bay and follow one of two paths in a circle around the lake.

Great visibility, beautiful underwater plants, and plenty of fish make the first part of the dive a real pleasure. Unlike other mountain lakes, the Blindsee gets comparatively warm in the summer with up to 20°C at the surface.

The highlight of the dive then awaits once you reach the sunken forest on the other side of the lake. Diving through and underneath tree trunks makes one feel like entering an underwater labyrinth and you should definitely possess good buoyancy.

We love the Blindsee for its beginner-friendliness and accessibility, which is why it is our go-to location for altitude diving courses.

CountryAustria
Elevation1093 m ü.n.N.
Diving SeasonYear-round
DifficultyBeginner
What to seeSunken forest, schools of fish
Maximum Depth26m/85ft
Water Temperature4-18°C
EntryShore
Cost€20 per/person
Diving facts Blind Lake, Austria

Walchensee (Lake Walchen), Germany

Walchensee in Germany.
Walchensee in Germany.

The only German lake on this list, Lake Walchen is one of the best deep diving spots in the world. With a maximum depth of 190m/600ft, it offers diving challenges for both advanced recreational and technical divers.

The most famous dive spot is the “Gallery” where you can find one of several sunken car wrecks at 35m/ 110ft depth. The dive continues down to more than 40m/120ft and eventually leads to the steep, vertical “Kirchelgrund” drop off down to the bottom of the lake at 190m/600ft.

While there is a beginner-friendly shore diving spot, the Walchensee should really only be dived once you have your Advanced Open Water Diver certification and overall solid diving skills.

A cool feature are the live webcams from different parts of the lake which you should check out!

There are no fees, however, it is suggested to dive with a dive guide since the dive spots can be hard to find.

In addition, the ladder entries around the lake can be difficult, especially with heavy gear.

If you want to explore this incredible mountain lake, dive with us at Social Diving!

CountryGermany
Elevation929 m ü.n.N.
Diving SeasonYear-round (with exceptions)
DifficultyIntermediate – Advanced
What to seeWrecks, fish, underwater walls
Maximum Depth190m / 600 ft
Water Temperature4-18°C
EntryShore, Ladder, Boat
CostFree
Diving facts Lake Walchen, Germany

Fernstein & Samaranger See, Austria

Two hidden gems in the Alps, the Fernstein and Sameranger See in Austria are some of the best-kept altitude diving secrets.

Crystal clear water, incredibly mountain panorama all around, and breathtaking scenery underwater make these two lakes some of the best altitude diving destinations in the world and definitely some of the best mountain lakes in the Alps to dive in.

The water is so clear that it is not uncommon to be able to look from one end of the lake to the other.

Freshwater fish and sunken trees and algae can be found in both lakes, out of which the Sameranger lake is even better than the Fernstein lake.

Diving here comes at a cost, however, since both lakes are private property and only guests of the adjacent hotel are granted access.

To dive here, you will need to book at least two nights which isn’t so bad, considering you’ll be staying in a castle hotel and get to dive as much as you like in two of the best altitude diving spots in the world.

You can book your stay directly through us, so message us when you are ready to dive in!

CountryAustria
Elevation1000 m ü.n.N.
Diving SeasonSummer season only
DifficultyAdvanced
What to seeScenic dive, sunken trees
Maximum Depth17m/56ft
Water Temperature4-7°C
EntryShore
CostFree, but requires 2 overnight stays at hotel
Diving facts Fersteinsee & Sameranger See, Austria

Thunersee (Lake Thun), Switzerland

Thunsersee in Switzerland at night.

Lake Thun is one of the most popular diving lakes in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland.

A majestic mountain range surrounds the lake and the lake itself features impressive cliffs with chimneys and overhangs which are home to burbots.

In the southwest of the lake, there are sulfur springs that rise up from the bottom of the lake like lava pots.

Divers can find sculptures around these springs that were placed here to make for great underwater photo opportunities.

Training platforms can be found in the Western part of the lake, in addition to smaller wrecks and shallow water zones with lots of juvenile fish, making the Thunersee an ideal mountain lake for beginners.

However, diving along the steep walls should only be done with an experienced dive buddy.

Keep in mind that you need to make reservations with the local dive base before diving in Lake Thun.

We can arrange your travel for you so you don’t have to worry about it.

CountrySwitzerland
Elevation708m ü.n.N.
Diving SeasonYear-round
DifficultyBeginner – Intermediate
What to seeFish, wrecks, night
Maximum Depth64m / 192ft
Water Temperature4-20°C
EntryShore
CostFree but reservation with local dive base needed
Diving facts Lake Thuner, Switzerland

Plansee (Lake Plan), Austria

Plansee in Austria in the winter.
The Plansee panorama during winter.

The Plansee in Austria is close to the aforementioned Blindsee and another great diving destination in the Alps.

What makes this one stand out is the scuba diving-friendly infrastructure that includes several dive bases and filling stations nearby, as well as easy shore entries.

Diving at Plansee is possible from May – October when the surface reaches temperatures of up to 21°C and the water is still very clear.

You’ll find a lot of fish here, as well as sunken objects and “wrecks”. It is also an ideal dive spot for night diving.

Great for beginners and advanced divers alike, the Plansee with its surrounding environment are definitely one of the prettiest mountain lakes in the Alps and perfect for scuba diving.

CountryAustria
Elevation976 m ü.n.N.
Diving SeasonMay – October
DifficultyBeginner
What to seeWrecks, fish, great for night diving
Maximum Depth84m / 277ft
Water Temperature4-21°C
EntryShore
CostDay Ticket from €10, Season pass from €60
Diving facts Lake Plan, Germany

Weissensee, Austria

Weissensee in Austria.
The Weissensee in Austria.

The Weissensee in Austria is one of the best ice diving destinations in the world and if you get the chance, come here in winter.

There are dozens of dive spots and you will find anything from underwater walls, fish, trees, and more underwater.

For non-divers, the surrounding area is perfect for hiking, relaxing and other activities.

Like any other mountain lake in the Alps, the surrounding landscape and scenery is beautiful so be sure to take your time here.

From December to as long as March you will find the best possible ice diving conditions and a thick, frozen surface layer.

You can find a cool ice diving video made at Weissensee here:

Overall, Weissensee is one of the best mountain lakes in the Alps for scuba diving due to the sheer diversity of things to do.

CountryAustria
Elevation929 m ü.n.N.
Diving SeasonYear-round
DifficultyBeginner
What to seeTHE ice diving destination, underwater walls, fish, trees
Maximum Depth99m / 300ft
Water Temperature4-24°C
EntryShore
CostFree
Diving facts Lake Weißen, Austria

Grüblsee (Lake Grübl), Austria

The Grüblsee in Austria is an artificial reservoir lake for snow canons in the area and only 9m/27ft deep.

Although this might not sound like much, it is also the Alps aquarium for divers. Countless fish live in the lake and can already be seen when walking toward the entry point.

Diving here is easy and just a lot of fun: Jump in and let the fish surround you.

If you are more of an explorer kind of diver, you can go on a treasure hunter underwater and try to find all the sunken objects like statues and more here.

CountryAustria
Elevation1160 m ü.n.N.
Diving SeasonYear-round (best in summer & fall)
DifficultyBeginner
What to seeFish “petting zoo”, sunken objects
Maximum Depth9m / 27ft
Water Temperature10-24°C
EntryPier
Cost€15
Diving facts Lake Grübl, Austria

Grundlsee (Lake Grundl), Austria

Grundlsee in Austria.
Grundlsee in Austria.

Enclosed by rugged rocks of the Totes Gebirge (“dead mountains“) the emerald green Grundlsee can be found.

Large steep underwater walls, gentle slopes, and shallow water zones make the Grundlsee an extremely varied mountain lake for all divers.

There are four different diving areas along the Eastern shore of the lake which can all easily be reached from the diving center there.

You’ll find lots and lots of freshwater fish, wrecks, and cool night diving opportunities.

Underwater photographers should focus on the shallow water zones that are overgrown by a number of algae.

These attract both smaller and larger fish and observing the life underwater is great here.

The Grundlsee guarantees fantastic photos even when you are just starting out with underwater photography.

Check out the best underwater cameras for beginners to be prepared!

To dive at the lake, a diving permit for diving is required, so contact us to arrange your diving!

CountryAustria
Elevation708m ü.n.N.
Diving SeasonYear-round (best in summer & fall)
DifficultyBeginner
What to seeFish, wrecks, night
Maximum Depth64m / 192ft
Water Temperature4-20°C
EntryShore
CostDive Card €18/year + reservation with local dive base needed
Diving facts Lake Grundl, Austria

Lac de Neuchâtel (Lake Neuchatel), Switzerland

Lake Neuchatel in Switzerland
The panorama at Lake Neuchatel in Switzerland.

Have you ever wanted to find a submarine while scuba diving? If so, Lake Neuchatel in Western Switzerland might be just the mountain lake you have been looking for.

Located in the French part of the country, it is also the largest lake that lays entirely in Switzerland.

Beginners and advanced divers alike will find great dive spots here, with lots of fish, crabs, and plants, as well as both lake and river diving opportunities.

Picturesque vineyards and small wine villages nestle on the slopes of the surrounding hills making for a perfect holiday idyll!

Even if your family doesn’t dive, they will find plenty of things to do like hiking, climbing, sightseeing, and eating lots of good food.

In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland with crystal clear water, although almost unknown outside of the country.

CountrySwitzerland
Elevation708m ü.n.N.
Diving SeasonYear-round
DifficultyBeginner
What to seeFish, wrecks, night
Maximum Depth64m / 192ft
Water Temperature4-20°C
EntryShore
CostFree but reservation with local dive base needed
Diving facts Lake Neuenburg, Switzerland

Conclusion

This concludes our list of the best mountain lakes in the Alps to dive in.

Each one of them, apart from the now-closed Green Lake, is a great diving destination for scuba diving.

Remember these tips while planning your dive trip:

  • Check the elevation of the dive spot
  • Ensure the lake is open for diving
  • Check if entrance tickets are needed and where to get them
  • Reserve your tickets for the lake as early as possible
  • Use proper coldwater diving scuba gear
  • Stick to good diving etiquette and follow the rules of safe diving

Last but not least, read my guide to altitude diving before you go and take an altitude diver specialty course with us.

Have you been to any of these mountain lakes or feel like an important on is missing? Share it with us in the comments!

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Always dive with friends and happy bubbles. 😃

Cheers

Julius

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