Although most of my trips abroad are associated with strenuous climbing of mountain peaks and enjoying various views with my head in the clouds, this year I decided to experience Austria from a slightly different perspective and explore the alpine lowlands right from the middle of Lake Mondsee. And I can really recommend going for a paddleboard holiday!
If you want to admire Alpine massifs and enjoy the green grassy slopes, dotted with herds of cows whose bells ring merrily, but you don't dare to brave the challenging hike up the mountains, or, like in my case, your health condition doesn't really allow the exhausting walk uphill and enduring high altitudes, I have an easy solution for you. Spend a few pleasant days at Lake Mondsee, the surroundings of which I set out to explore on a paddleboard, which is a board similar to a surf longboard, on which one moves standing up by the means of a long paddle. There is no reason to be afraid of this water sport, even though it may look particularly demanding at first glance, mainly because of the balance that one has to keep in the waves. You'll be just fine, even if you happen to meet a guy sailing on a kite or a motorboat, which can cause ripples on the surface quite like those on the sea. And if you do lose stability, the worst thing that can happen is that you'll have a swim, which, at least in the Mondsee, is more of a reward. It's one of the warmest lakes in Austria - the water temperature reaches an incredible 27 °C in high season.
Mondsee is located near Salzburg in the Austrian region of Salzkammergut. Its turquoise surface is already visible from the highway, and as I found out during the five hours of paddling, it's much larger than it looks like. The dominant Dragon Rock (Drachenwand), which rises in close proximity to the lake and gives the landscape a magical atmosphere, immediately captured my attention. The impressive Schafberg mountain is another eye-catcher. Both peaks are popular destinations for climbers.
If you like privacy and aren't afraid to take a little risk, pack some snack in closable waterproof bags and take them along with you. You know, having a picnic in the middle of a lake with a view of the Alpine giants, while soaking your feet in crystal clear water, is actually pretty great. What's more, you'll get a nice tan, snap some original photos and experience movie-style romance. I've got to tell you that this experience is really worth it.
What, you're still somewhat afraid to travel abroad because of the current situation? Trust me, there's no need. The coronavirus cannot swim and they say it doesn't even like walks in the nature. And there are so few guests in the accommodation facilities that if you're lucky and choose well, it's quite possible you'll have the place all for yourselves. So why not go on an adventure? After all, is there a better time than right now? Travel well!