Ice-skating on frozen Weißensee

Do you feel like ice skating? You want to do something for your body? You like winter wonderland? Or may be do you want to play hockey on almost unlimited ice surface? What about cycling on frozen lake? All of those things are possible on Austrian lake, called Weissensee (white lake).

Katarina's typical pose
Rok is speeding :)
Weissensee is located about 60km west from Villach and about 150km from Ljubljana, so, quite close to us :)

But the best thing about the lake is is shape: very long and narrow, squeezed between the mountains at an elevation of 930m ... and it freezes every winter. And every winter the ice is carefully cleaned and well maintained, so it's perfect for ice skating! Past January was especially cold and this resulted in the whole lake being deep frozen, so one can ice skate the whole length of it, which is 12km one way! So going there and back again, you will end up ice skating the whole 24km! And for those who prefer to play hockey there are very nicely prepared rinks of all sizes in the middle of the lake.

Perfect place for ice skating
As smooth as glass ... the ice on Weissensee
We wouldn't be us, if we didn't choose the hardest option :) So we ice-skated the whole length of the lake and back, so all 24km! But it wasn't our original plan. First we just said to ourselves to do just the small circle. But the it was like this: Rok: "Should we go back?" Katarina: "Why don't we go just a bit further?" And this is how we ended on the other side of the lake. Then we had to go back as well ... luckily we had our sandwiched and some hot tea with us, since we spent about 3 hours for the whole trip. We have to admit, it wasn't easy to skate that distance! We always thought that ice skating is rather easy sport, you can chat and make a few circles in the rink and that's it ... but not this time! Making the same moves with your legs for so long takes its toll on the muscles and then in the afternoon the ice started melting a bit so the icy surface wasn't as smooth anymore, so ice skating became more energy consuming, since the resistance of half melted ice was higher ... but this was also the time, when the ice started cracking all around and pumped some adrenaline through our systems. Anyways, the ice is still thick enough and there is no reason to fear, cracking just makes some nice patterns in the frozen lake.

Small cracks in the ice
Piece of ice
Rok was recording the cracking voices with his phone ...
A few advises for visiting Weissensee
  • Temperatures in the last days have been above 0°C, so plan your visit as soon as possible, untill the lake is still frozen.
  • When you arrive in Praditz village near Weissensee, look for a free parking - there is only one, the rest of them are private and they will charge you.
  • From the parking lot you have to walk for a minute or so and you will reach the lake
  • Make sure you will use "Umziehhütt'l" - changing huts, where you can change into ice-skates and also leave your shoes on the shelves.
  • Daily ice-skating fee is 5€ per adult person and you get a paper wristband as a ticket 
Changing hut - very practical thing!

Wristband as a ticket

  • Go ice skating early morning, when ice is the best!
  • For those who do not ice-skate there are many other things to do: you can just go for a walk on the lake, you can rent a carriage with horses to take you around or you can rent a bike and cycle on the lake.
Cyclist on the lake
In any case: enjoy the ice on Weissensee!

View over the frozen lake



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