Girls on SUPs – A trip to Austria’s Salzkammergut

There are so many beautiful lakes around Salzburg and choosing one is a difficult task.

Words: Julia Kaffka & Anja Mörk
Pics: Fanatic SUP

For more than two years now, Anja and Julia, have been travelling together as ‘Girls on SUPs’ in Bavaria and around the globe with a following of over 28,000 people on Instagram. Whenever they can, the inflatable boards are packed in the car and they head for mountain lakes but not only in Bavaria are there breathtakingly beautiful lakes – all around Austria offers stunning scenery!

There are so many beautiful lakes around Salzburg and choosing one is a difficult task. We weren’t travelling together in Austria this time, as we usually do. Julia and her boyfriend were travelling the lakes together – Anja’s board partner-in-crime was her boyfriend Christoph. We decided that each of us would show you the one Salzkammergut hot spot that we enjoyed most.

Julia and her boyfriend Rob: Mondsee
It was not an easy decision, but in the end I chose Mondsee. Awe-inspiring mountains, the vivid colours of nature all around and the blue-green water make this lake the absolutely perfect spot for SUP. The best thing was our camp site directly on the lake, we had front row seats and could hop on our SUPs any time of the day or night for those three days – and that is exactly what we did.

We have really fallen in love with this outdoor life, so close to nature in our camping van – parking directly on the water or in the mountains. Mondsee lies in upper Austria at the foot of the Drachenwand Mountains, which are amazingly impressive with their raw, steep, beautiful cliffs, especially if you enjoy the perfect view of the over 1,100 metres high mountaintop from out on the lake.

We were lucky to have great weather that first evening, it was really warm and the gorgeous sunset lured us out onto the water. The occasional strong wind blew from the south and therefore we decided to explore the south side of the lake and it was more than worth it! The experience of paddling in the soft evening sunlight with the view of the Drachenwand and its neighbour, the Schafberg, was absolutely priceless – and we had it almost completely to ourselves.

Even on other days, we only ever saw few other paddlers. It is most likely more crowded in the summer vacation months, however no matter how crowded the camping site or the beach bars get, one can always find peace and quiet out on the lake. We didn’t have as much luck with the weather the next two days, where Mother Nature decided to show us everything from sunshine, clouds and rain, to wind, thunderstorms and hail but that is the great thing about life in the van, parked directly on the waterfront.

Surf leggings and sweatshirts
With a constant eye on our weather apps, we took advantage of every small break in the rain to get out on the water, in surf leggings and sweatshirts instead of bikinis and shorts. The last two days we paddled north, straight to a town called Mondsee, along a small wooden bridge that belonged to a golf course, past lily pads, log cabins and tall reeds that lightly danced back and forth in the wind.

It is exactly this closeness to nature and the never ending exploration of new terrain, that excites me so much about paddle boarding. Even after paddling the same lake many times, one can always find new and exciting hidden corners.

Mondsee is definitely more than it seems when driving by on the express way from Munich to Vienna and definitely worth it to take the exit and make a stop. Those who have a SUP board with them will certainly love it and most definitely return.

Anja and her boyfriend Christoph: Traunsee
“What a cool place!“ I do have to admit that I find myself saying this quite often when I visit new spots with my SUP, but I couldn’t stop myself from being over-excited when I got to Traunsee. However, it wasn’t the colour of the water that inspired us on Traunsee, this lake was just what our adventurer souls needed.

We were also travelling in our van and we camped at a gathering place for all sorts of water sport athletes. Kitesurfer, windsurfers and stand up paddlers, all sat together on the shore in the evenings. Even a few hikers and climbers joined in, with every one of them hoping for perfect weather conditions on the next day.

A glass of wine combined with a view over the entire length of the 12km lake – made everything just perfect. Then it was time for bed in the van, because our mission was: sunrise! That meant getting up at shortly after 04.00 the next morning: Why does the sun always have to rise so damn early? Oh well, that’s the way it is.

We found a perfect parking space, pumped up the boards and there they were: the first warm sun rays carefully streaming over the huge Traunstein Mountain. The almost 1,700-metre high rock face, falls almost vertically into the water directly before us. From down there, we could only imagine what good climbers those guys from last night must be if this rough giant was their goal for that day. We thankfully thought to ourselves, “Good that it is them and not us!“ As we glided onto the mirror-like surface of the lake.

The magic of sunrises
We gained access to the lake over a stairway that led us through a gate made of trees and branches that couldn’t have been painted more beautifully. There was nobody there besides us – that is the true magic of sunrises. We glided along, sometimes not speaking for minutes at a time, because it was so quiet. We paddled south in the direction of a peninsula near Traunkirchen, that seems to have been taken directly out of a fairy tale.

The Maria Krönung Church sits peacefully high atop the steep cliffs and some meters above it is the Johannesberg chapel. Beautiful! The perfect post card picture. Making sure we stay fit, a strong headwind blew against our faces as we paddled the way back. We reached the comfort and safety of our van and then it is the windsurfer’s turn to explore the beautiful lake. Traunsee – the lake of your dreams!

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