Grüner See (green lake) is one of the more famous Austrian mountain lakes, during the snow melt the water rises a lot, until end of summer it mainly disappears again. In 2014, it was elected in a ORF TV show the most beautiful hidden place in Austria, from this year on more and more tourists are coming and swimming and diving in the lake was prohibited. In addition to the lake, there are also several nice hikes around, from which we chose a rather relaxing 4h tour to Meßnerin. The combination is perfect for a nice day trip, a bit of hiking with great landscape and 1000 m. Afterwards relaxing at the lake, lying around and then back with the bus. The hike took place in July 2022.
View on the way up to Meßnerin, in the valley there is Grüner See.
Mapy.cz: from the bus station (Start) to Meßnerin (3), back and forth around 4h, half an hour to the ponds Kreuzteich (5) and Grüner See (4). Bus back from Ziel.
By car, it is easy, just via Bruck/Mur to this parking lot, Hallenbadweg, Oberort for the Meßnerin, and to this (6 € per day) for Grüner See. There are many street signs for Grüner See, therefore impossible to miss.
It is also quite well accessible by train and bus. It lies in the north of Styria and easy to reach from Graz but as well possible from Vienna in a day trip. The connection is not too frequent but fast: from Vienna close to 3h, Railjet to Bruck and then with the regional bus 175 to Tragöß. From Graz, it's less than 1.5h, fast train to Bruck and then same bus 175.
For the Meßnerin it is bus stop Tragöß Oberort Ort, for Grüner See it's the last stop Tragöß Oberort Grüner See.
Many options when to arrive, the 9:26 departure option should be sufficient for Meßnerin and Grüner See, when you keep breaks shorter.
The best way to organize your day, is to start with the hike and then walk the half an hour back to the lake. From the lake there is also the bus returning and as the distances are short around it, it's easy to reach. They just go every 2-3h, therefore nicer when it's less stress and hustle to catch it. From the lake it's 10 min walking, so easy to arrange. Last bus back from Grüner See is at 17:11 to Bruck (and then either Graz or Vienna or anywhere else). For a family trip just Grüner See also works very well with train and bus, leaving around lunchtime from Graz, there are then 3h to spend around the lakes for walking and tolling around or just sitting in the restaurants.
Parking lot with Meßnerin in the background.
Hike to Meßnerin
From the bus stop or parking lot just walking into the Haringgraben. It is always well-marked, you just follow the yellow and white signs to the Meßnerin, the estimation given to the top is 3h. It took us less than 2 with short breaks and decent, but not exaggerating speed.
Especially after reaching the tree level the views to Hochschwab mountain, until Gesäuse, is breathtaking, huge jagged mountains in the distance and meadows with blossoming flowers around you is very much appreciated.
The hike never gets difficult and should be doable for everyone able to cover 1000 m in a decent time. The peak is a nice plateau with plenty of space for all groups to find their peaceful spot and looked also tempting as a bivouac spot.
The way down is the same as up, took us with fast walking 1.5 h.
First we were unsure if better catching an earlier train or still visiting Grüner See, but going there was the right choice. Either by car following the street just more to the back or when you have arrived by bus just walking the 30 min back. In case a bus is arriving at the very moment you can also take this but with that time schedule just walking seems a more reliable choice.
There are several lakes around, first we walked around Kreuzteich (assuming that this was Grüner See, as it was very green. Later we figured out that there are more green lakes and the real and bigger one was just the next.)
Many families were hanging around the Grüner See there, having picnic, walking around the lakes or having lunch and beers in one of the restaurants are all decent options for an afternoon and to wait for the bus back. What makes the lake truly special is the extreme change of water level, in spring during snowmelt it is up to 12 m deep, till the end of the summer it loses most of the water again.