The Achensee is not only the largest lake in Tyrol but also the deepest, which means there are a few things to discover beneath the surface too. Alongside local fish and plant life, the designated diving zone on the Eastern side of the lake gives you a chance to explore impressive trenches and steep faces, as well as an artificially created underwater trail with several linked stations at varying depths. This video gives you a first glimpse into the hidden beauty of the Achensee.
Hotel Post am See provides equipment for hire and a filling station for compressed air and Nitrox; diving permits are also available in the hotel. On request you can discover the underwater world of the Achensee with your host Stephan Kobinger, President of the “Black Divers Tirol” diving club, on a guided tour!
Diving in the Achensee
The Achensee is privately owned by the City of Innsbruck and is managed by Tiroler Wasserkraftwerke AG. As a result, there are diving regulations that include the following essential points:
Diving is permitted in the designated zone. This stretches from the Hechenberg to the northern end of the tunnel on the main road and is clearly marked with diving signs. Diving permits, which are only issued to certified divers, are available from the boat shop in Pertisau, the Hotel Post am See in Pertisau, and from the Schwarzenau campsite. The Hotel Post am See in Pertisau and the Schwarzenau campsite have compressed air filling points. Nitrox is only available from the Hotel Post am See in Pertisau. Diving is also permitted in front of the Hotel Post am See in Pertisau. (no parking fee but you are kindly requested to buy refreshments)
In general: Because there is little vegetation in the Achensee, fish are not particularly numerous. However, stocks are increasing again at the moment, giving hope for the future. The water quality is outstanding. As the lake is lowered in the winter months, some deterioration does occur when the level rises again in the spring, and the length of time this persists may vary. There may sometimes be a murky layer between 15 and 30 m, but good conditions can be found above and below this layer.
Interesting dive sites:
Swim north between Maurach and Achenkirch, continuing after the tunnel for approx. 150 m and then turning 180° to the left. After the very easy entry divers will find an artificial trail with several stations at different depths. Most of the objects lie between 12 and 30 m and are connected by multiple lines. There are, for example, dive platforms, a large crucifix, a payphone, letter box, cable car, treasure chest... To be sure of finding everything it is a good idea to book a guided dive at the Hotel Post am See.
You will see a buoy in the water before the tunnel, which marks the entrance to the Pusa underwater station. This is locked and reserved for divers from “Austria Sub”. If there is someone there, however, you can ask if you may use the entrance. The station is also operated by arrangement. In addition to the impressive underwater station, you can also one of the most splendid steep faces in the lake towards the north. There are a few nicely arranged little things here as you leave, because the rubbish divers have no access here.
The Dodge is actually an Opel Blitz and is the diving emblem of the Achensee. Because Uferstrasse is closed to cars it is a little laborious to get to. There is some hope though from discussions with the local authorities that vehicle access to the dive site may be permitted at least at certain times in the future. Currently you can either access the site on foot from the public car park above Uferstrasse from the northern end, or preferably with a small hand cart, which you can grab approx. 300 m from the entrance. To find the car park, travel north from Maurach for approx. 1.5 km to the ENI petrol station and the Hotel Buchau. Then continue north for as long as possible. The path along the shore leads to the only notable elevation, the Hechenberg after approx. 300 m. The entrance is right at the foot of the rise. It is marked with a sign to show the limitation of the diving zone. You dive to approx. 3 m shortly after swimming north along the gravel. As soon as you see a cliff you are over a trench, which leads down into the depths to approx. 22/23 m, where there is a tree trunk against the cliff and beneath it a Madonna statue. Then follow the trench and at 40 m you will find the “Dodge”. The load compartment cover is a little deeper. You then dive at the same depth to the north, where there are some massive tree trunks leaning against the cliff. This dive is not suitable for beginners because of the depth.
The Beetles are also difficult to get to because of the ban on cars on Uferstrasse. The best option at the moment is either on foot from the Schwarzenau campsite or by golf buggy, which you can hire there to get to the entrance. The verge widens on the lakeside approx. 30 m before a wayside cross (Marterl) and in the centre there is a trench (descent). This is the entrance to the Beetles. Ideally, you should swim southwards on the surface for approx. 3 minutes until the first rock projection. Dive to approx. 8 m and continue swimming south just past a tree, beneath which you will find the first of three VW wrecks lying on its roof. A little further on you will find the 2nd Beetle and then to the right and further down the 3rd one. The dive is suitable for beginners and also as a second or third dive of a day. You could also continue to the south and dive along the steep faces. This is a bit more challenging. You can perform your safety stop easily on the way back to the exit sign, ideally positioned at 3 m.
A very attractive place to dive has been developed here over the last few years by the new tenant, who also dives (albeit slowly). There's plenty of parking and it is an easy entry point to the lake. In addition, a few things have been found or installed under the water to quicken divers' hearts. But don't worry – there is a signpost (22 m down). Enter the water on the even shingle beach and dive down straightaway, ideally turning to the south (left) at approx. 22 m. There are still a few attractions, even though the self-appointed ECO monitors have removed many of the smaller sights. There is a collection box right at the start though, as you can take things out and return them.
Post am See reef summer and winter
Entry right in front of the Hotel Post am See is ideal for beginners or as a 2nd/3rddive of a day. Whether with a courageous jump from the swimming jetty or using the convenient slip ramp, entry is no problem whatever your choice. There are a couple things you have to find, and most lie between 8 and 18 m. You can observe the fish with a bottle of Gurktaler Alpenkräuter and the fishermen, who have been trying to catch them for a really, really long time. The dive spot is also ideal for winter diving in the Achensee, as the access to the lake is also cleared and, therefore, it is easy to enter even when the water level is low.
Of course there are also other dive sites; the most popular are listed above. Please do not hesitate to ask Stephan Kobinger for more information on the individual sites, bottle refills, equipment hire, and guided dives. A guided dive is included for hotel guests.