Mattsee (Lake Matt) in Northern Salzburg

The Mattsee or Lake Matt is a shallow lake in the very north of the state of Salzburg. It is one of three lakes that are very close to each other and collectively referred to as "Trumer See" (Trum Lakes). An older name of the Mattsee is "Niedertrumer See" (Lower Trum Lake), referring to the Obertrumersee (Upper Trum Lake). The third lake in the ensemble is the smallest one, the Grabensee. All three are derived from one, very large lake that formed at the end of the last ice age. Accordingly, the area is a typical example for an ice age landscape with hills, forests, lakes and lots of swamps.

Like most lakes in the northern part of Salzburg, the Mattsee is mainly popular with locals and less so with tourists. This was different in the 1920ies until the outbreak of WWII. In this period, much of the social life around the then new Salzburg Festival was focussed in this area. Only after WWII, it shifted to the Salzkammergut. The Mattsee still has a very nice public lido from the 1920ies, which will give you a good impression of the holiday culture of this period.

The Mattsee is 4.2 kilometres long and up to 1.5 kilometres wide. Motorboats are banned from the lake for environmental reasons. The base of Lake Mattsee is mud and clay, which is why it will not strike you as particularly clean (as compared to, for example, the crystal-clear and turquoise Fuschlsee). This impression, however, is misleading, as the water quality is in fact rather high. Sailing is allowed and there is a small boat for cruises that links the Mattsee with the Obertrumersee. The Mattsee is also rather deep, up to 42 metres, to be precise.

Many aeroplanes that land in Salzburg approach the city from the north. Therefore, chances are high that you will get a see the tree lakes including the Mattsee in good detail. If you get really close, you might even get to see a peculiar thing: A bright line going through the lake at its narrowest part of the northern bay. This is an ancient Roman road that is now flooded. In antiquity, the water level of Lake Mattsee was a little bit lower and it was possible to build this road; later, it was used as a ford. Today, there are some summers were the water level falls to an extent that some sections of the Roman road are only a few centimetres under the water surface.

If you don′t get to fly that close, no worries: The underwater road is also clearly visible in the satellite mode of Google Maps (which in fact uses aerial photography at higher resolutions). For sightseeing information on the area, please read our article on the municipality of Mattsee. There is nice little collegiate monastery and an old castle on a cliff worth noting.


Lakes in Austria
Wikipedia on Lake Mattsee
Information on sailing, gear, boats and vacations
More on the Salzburger Seenland Lake District
Information on the Salzkammergut

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