Imagine the scene: You're sitting on a park bench in the Hochschwab Mountains, surrounded by snowcapped peaks and the smell of pine trees, at the edge of a crystal clear, green lake. Now, the water in the lake begins to rise, slowly enveloping you, the park bench, and the trees around you. The park becomes a lake whose bottom is crisscrossed by worn footpaths and dotted with wooden benches. You wait, and the water recedes, leaving you once again at the water's edge, sitting peacefully on the park bench. It sounds like something out of a peculiar dream, but if you sat on the shores of the GrŘner See in Trag÷▀, Austria, as the year strode through the seasons, that is exactly the scene you would encounter.
The GrŘner See, or "Green Lake," is only a few feet deep throughout most of the year. The lake is surrounded by a tranquil park that's a great spot to stroll, hike, and take in the area's natural beauty. But come spring, the snow in the Hochschwab Mountains begins to melt, trickling down into the basin of land below. By mid-May, the GrŘner See--now about 40 feet deep--has swallowed the park around its borders and turned the entire area, filled with unusual green water and marked by remnants of human activity, into a cross between a shipwreck and the drowned city of Atlantis.
A Unique Outdoor Experience in Austria
The window to explore the submerged park is short, just a two-month period from mid-May to mid-July, but lucky visitors can scuba dive in the pure mountain water. Certified divers can choose to explore the lake alone or join a guided tour, but if you want to take the plunge, come prepared. The runoff from the surrounding mountains is what makes the water so crystal clear, but it also makes the water incredibly cold, with temperatures in the lake usually hovering around 40║ to 45║ Fahrenheit. However, the dive is well worth braving the cold water. In the magical albeit temporary world, you can swim over bridges and footpaths that were walked on just months or weeks before, brush your hand over surprised alpine flowers that are still in bloom, or cavort with the local trout that have suddenly found themselves with a lot more room to spread their fins. If you want to do more than swim, register in advance for a class in underwater photography or underwater biology.
To easily get to Trag÷▀, pick up your rental car in Graz and take a short, scenic drive to the lake. But make your plans now before the waters recede and dry land once again dominates the scenery. Call Auto Europe today if this one-of-a-kind spring vacation sounds right for you. We make finding a great rental car in Austria a walk in the park so that you can go for a swim in the park before this amazing opportunity disappears--at least until next year!