The second happy place I wanted to tell you about is an actual place. The green lake (“Grüner See”) in Tragöß, Austria.
It’s a place that I keep going back to because it’s so fascinating. Even the drive there is beautiful.
A windy, small road leads you towards the massive mountains in the distance and you just drive down it until you finally end up in Tragöß where the road ends. That’s what makes the place feel kind of secret and hidden – you can’t just drive past it and think “oh, I think I’ll stop here”. You have to know where it is and choose to go there.
I’ve discovered it about three years ago now and I’ve been there a couple of times since. It looked completely different every time because there’s something very special about it:
The green lake only exists for a couple of months a year.
The melting snow from the mountains fills it in spring and early summer and then the water slowly disappears until it’s almost completely gone in late autumn. When I went to see it the first time in August 2014 there wasn’t much of a lake to see to be honest. Still, it was fascinating to walk along paths that had been completely submerged just a few months before. The ground beneath the little bridge on one side of the lake was completely dry. Then, when I went there again the following spring, I almost couldn’t believe what I saw –the gravel I had walked on, the benches I had sat on, everything was gone and replaced by a massive body of bright turquoise, super clear water. It was stunning.
People used to dive and swim in the lake (despite the frosty temperatures of 5-6°C) because it has an amazing visibility and the submerged trees and benches make for pretty cool photos. They recently banned all activities in the water though because there was some concern about the environmental impact of people constantly stirring up the sand and gravel on the bottom of the lake.
I also recently discovered that they now tell you the current water level on their website so you can check how “full” the lake is before you go. Before, it was always a bit of a guessing game.
The last time I went there we went on a little hiking adventure and found a nice trail that led up towards the surrounding mountains and to a small ravine. The round trip took us about 2.5 hours – there are a few other hikes that you can do but most of them are quite demanding. You can find one of them here.
- magical, gives me strength