At the highest lake in Austria, breathtaking mountain landscapes, sunny meadows and an excellent infrastructure thanks to the Rifflsee cable cars await nature lovers, hikers and winter sports enthusiasts.
The idyllic Rifflsee is the highest mountain lake in Austria and, together with the Pitztal Glacier, Tyrol's highest glacier, is often referred to as the "roof of Tyrol". The 2,232m high glacial lake is the largest lake in the Ötztal Alps with an area of almost 30 hectares and fills the valley between the rugged peaks of the Kaunergrat, among which the stone peaks of Seekogel and Rostizkogel are particularly striking. It is on our list of the top 10 sights in the Imst-Pitztal-Kaunertal Glacier Park.
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PICTURES: Rifflsee in Tyrol
Hiking at the Rifflsee
The best starting point for hikes to the Rifflsee is Mandarfen at 1682m in the rear Pitztal valley, where there are also large car parks. The approximately two-hour hiking trail to the Rifflsee leads through the Hirschtal valley and is easy to manage even for inexperienced hikers with only slight ascents.
Tip: If you don't want to tackle a hike to the Rifflsee on foot, you can also get on the Rifflseebahn in Mandarfen.
Lake Rifflsee is also the starting point for numerous hiking trails in the Ötztal Alps. The tours range from easy to moderately difficult and are also easily accessible via the Rifflsee cable cars.
Rafting and skiing at Lake Rifflsee
Since the 1970s, prepared slopes have been attracting skiers and snowboarders to winter holidays on the mountains around Rifflsee. The lift facilities of the Rifflsee Bergbahnen are constantly being modernised and expanded to open up new peaks. The lift ticket is also valid for the neighbouring ski area on the Pitztal Glacier, the highest and one of the most challenging ski areas in Austria.
Summer also offers a new attraction at Rifflsee. Since 2017, Austria's highest raft trip for up to 60 people has been organised several times a week. From the electric raft, the one-and-a-half-hour trip opens up completely new perspectives on the natural beauty of the Pitztal glacier region. A tiny island in the Rifflsee can even be reached on foot via a sandbank.
Dining on the roof of Tyrol
At the mountain station at 2,300m above sea level, the Sunna Alm restaurant takes care of the physical well-being - by the way, a passive house that is powered by solar energy and geothermal energy. From June to September, the Sunna Alm spoils its guests with an exclusive breakfast overlooking Austria's highest mountain lake.
Tip: Next to the mountain station of the Rifflsee cable cars, a ticket for Austria's highest raft trip can also be booked at the Sunna Alm restaurant.
Café 3.440 - Austria's highest coffee house
Café 3.440 is also worth a visit, among other things for the highest breakfast in Austria or the highest wedding ceremony in the highest registry office in the country.
In addition to the spectacular panoramic view of the Tyrolean mountains, Austria's highest café offers coffee specialities and sweet treats from the in-house pastry shop. From the terrace and the panoramic seats behind sweeping glass fronts, the view includes the Wildspitze, Tyrol's highest mountain.