I MEAN this in the nicest possible way… take out the equation walking, hiking, paragliding or water sports, and nothing much else happens in Pertisau.

2015-07-14 16.25.21As I relax in the scenic village, taking in a cold beer and people watching at the Strand Bar by the waterfront, the sun streams down, encouraging boats to reflect their bows off the mirror-like Lake Achensee. This could well be nirvana. For if you are seeking relaxation… pampering… a place to de-stress… then here we have it. And I love it.

2015-07-14 08.29.40Lying at 930 metres, and stretching over ten kilometres, the water is pure enough to drink. With its accessible shoreline, the largest bathing lake in Austria’s Tirol is affectionately known as the ‘Sea of Tirol’.

2015-07-14 16.55.59There is little wonder that people laze about by the edge of the lake or take a dip, for the water can reach temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius during the summer months. The bright limestone rock causes the surface water to shimmer in colour, changing from stunning turquoise to aquamarine.

2015-07-14 16.31.27In Pertisau, which is located on the southern shore of the lake, two large wooden swimming piers and a viewing platform are popular with visitors. Others take the opportunity to relax on wooden jetties which reach out into the water, the only mild disturbance being the occasional wake of the steamers which cruise these parts, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy a circular tour of the lake, and to hop and off at will, at designated stops.

2015-07-14 09.03.19Many, like myself, take the opportunity to head to the town of Jenbach and catch a 50-minute ride on Europe’s oldest steam cog railway to Maurach, where you can catch a steamer operated by Achensee Shipping Company back to Pertisau or onwards to other stop-offs.

2015-07-14 10.24.56Coordinated timetables allow the opportunity to time your journey as you wish. In fact, the company offers a variety of cruises throughout the summer, including a mystery dinner aboard the MS Tirol.

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I hop off at the mountain hut Gaisalm, where I enjoy a salad lunch before walking back to Pertisau along the attractive trail which runs alongside the lake.
With over 500 kilometres of designated hiking trails criss-crossing the landscape around the lake, you can either enjoy a relaxing walk through the valley or head up one of the many peaks.

The 2,457-metre Sonnjoch in the Karwendel mountains is the highest surrounding the ‘Tirolean sea’, with spectacular views.

2015-07-14 16.10.02You could opt for a tandem flight with a paraglider pilot and soar like a bird. Or you might prefer a free guided walk, available throughout the summer until the end of October.

2015-07-14 16.16.40Once back in Pertisau, there is always time for a massage and sauna. For we are in the heart of wellbeing, and Tyrolean shale oil territory. For over a century, shale oil has been extracted from oil shale located 1,500 metres above Lake Achensee, and processed in skincare products.

2015-07-14 12.18.29Visitors can take a guided hike to the shale oil mine in Bachental, or opt to visit the Vitalberg visitor centre in Pertisau, which is open year-round, and see exhibits depicting the history of the Tyrollean shale oil distillery (www.steinoel.at). Various health spas in the hotels offer a chance to try the products.

2015-07-14 08.28.28I indulge myself at the 4-star Post am See. Half-an-hour later, I endeavour to convince myself that I feel re-juvenated. Christina certainly worked her way into my knotted back muscles.

2015-07-14 15.58.21The Nature Park Karwendel has its boundary on the western shore of Lake Achensee. This is the largest contiguous nature reserve in the northern limestone Alps, comprising over 920 square kilometres and stretching across to Bavaria. The first provisions for the protection of this unique alpine landscape – the only one of its kind in Europe – were first laid down in 1928.

2015-07-14 12.03.28Today, walkers roam through unspoilt valleys with chamois, ibex, marmots, deer and hares for company, while buzzards soar overhead.

2015-07-14 12.16.29From July to October, park rangers lead nature walks, pointing out the peculiarities of the flora and fauna.

2015-07-14 15.45.37Back in Pertisau, it is time for a stroll along the waterfront, where I enjoy a refreshing ice-cream. I could, naturally, have opted for another drink, for, with naturally cloudy light or seasonal beers available, Archensee beer is brewed from the purest Karwendel water, hips, barley and wheat malt. I refrain, saving my palette for dinner later at the Stub’n at the Wirthaus am See, opposite the Strand Bar, where aperitifs are in order.

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Many visitors will come to this pretty Tyrolean village for long weekends, take in the ambience, indulge in spa treatments, walk the trails, or simply laze away the afternoons. Am I talking bliss, or what?…

  • All images © Essential Journeys/Michael Cowton


Thomson Lakes & Mountains offers a week from £778 per person at the 4* Hotel Post am See in Pertisau on Lake Achensee, including half board accommodation, flights from Gatwick to Innsbruck and resort transfers.

For more information on the Austrian Tirol, visit www.visittirol.co.uk. For Pertisau on Lake Achensee, visit www.achensee.com