Before having gone to visit the small alpine town of Pertisau bordering Lake Achen in Austria, I’d never even heard of it before. What I discovered upon arrival is one of Austria’s best-kept secret destinations and (not exaggerating) one of the most beautiful places I’d ever seen. This spot has become so precious to me that I was hesitant to even share this hidden paradise for fear of it being overrun by tourists. With its clear teal lake host to naturally-filtered mountain water surrounded by lush green mountains and quaint Austrian houses with flower-covered balconies, it’s a wonder this place is yet to really be discovered. I mean, just take a look at the photo below and you’ll see what you’ve been missing.
The small town of Pertisau, found in Austria’s western region in Tyrol, has a little to offer for just about anyone. If you love outdoor sports, you’ll find an abundance of exciting things to do here: kite-surfing, hiking, cycling, rafting, paragliding, and more. You can also come here to ski and snowboard in the winter–the one time of year this town basically doubles in size.
While in the Rofan Mountains, go to Dalfazer Waterfall (as seen in the collage below) and climb in to cool off and refill your water bottle with fresh mountain water. And on the way down, don’t forget to stop at Erfurter Hütte (Rofan 3, 6212 Maurach, Austria) for hearty Austrian food, strong beer, and schnapps that’ll make the hike down a cinch. There are lots of tables outside the restaurant with a view overlooking the lake and around the corner you’ll see cute mountain pigs like these, wanting to come close and be your friend (or maybe they just wanted the food in my hand).
If you’re not interested in and/or able to be very active, however, there’s still plenty to do here. Check in to beautiful hotels (my recommendation is Travel Charme Fuerstenhaus am Achensee found at Pertisau 63, 6213 Pertisau am Achensee, Austria) and spend a day relaxing in the pool and luxury spa. At this hotel, they have balconies and a hot tub overlooking gorgeous Lake Achen. If you still want to explore nature, you can easily get higher in the mountains by taking a cable car for unparalleled views of the lake and the mountains. Here’s what you’ll see from the cable car alone.
There are also several things to do in the town of Pertisau. Go to Vitalberg Museum of the Tirolean Stone Oil to learn about the area’s rock oil industry and how it shap
ed Pertisau and surrounding villages. Walk around and you’ll find shops where you can buy traditional Austrian garments like a dirndl and lederhosen–remember that even if you don’t buy one, they sure are fun to try on! Head to one of Pertisau’s many upscale hotels, like Hotel Garni Central (Pertisau 45, 6213 Pertisau am Achensee, Austria), in the evening for drinks in a classy yet comfortable environment.
As far as food goes, I think everything is great. But, aside from Erfurter Hütte in the mountains, I do have two other recommendations. Go to Fischer Wirt Am Achensee (Achenkirch 15, 6215 Achenkirch, Austria) for a warm rustic interior and traditional Tirolean dishes like wiener schnitzel, beef goulash soup, and Apfelstrudel cake. If you’re tired of Austrian food, my other recommendation is Pizzeria Venezia (Maurach 79, 6212 Maurach, Austria), which has traditional thin-crusted Italian pizza, among other popular and tasty Italian foods.
In my past three trips to Europe, I’ve gone to Pertisau every time and am already anxiously awaiting another visit. If you want to get a taste for small-town Austrian charm while being surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty and a myriad of outdoor activities, this is the place for you!