The Achensee Ferry Service
The commercial lake ferry service on the Achensee is one of Europe’s oldest.
The monks of St Georgenberg-Fiecht Abbey started it as a way to profit from the increased visitor numbers attracted to the Tyrol by better rail connections.
They ordered the original vessel, the St Josef, from a Linz shipyard. Horses helped transport the vessel parts to Pertisau before assembly. The ship started in 1887.
The monks' ferries were far from the first boats used for pleasure or commerce on the Achensee. Horses had pulled rafts of heavy goods along the lakeside track between Achenkirch and Maurach. And in the Middle Ages the Tyrolean ruling family also built a fleet of ships for their own amusement, including a galley, a boat housing the wine cellar and competitive racing skiffs.
Two years after the first boat took to the lake, the railway opened (also backed by the monks) and the increased tourist traffic meant a second ship, the St Benedikt, was soon required.
Nowadays the Achenseeschiff fleet consists of five vessels, although with some only used for charters.
The ferry service, now run by the Tyrolean hydroelectric power company TIWAG, runs in the summer months with a restricted service in early May and late October and early November. Evening cruises - with music, dancing and illuminations – take place every Friday.
The Achensee Erlebniscard includes unlimited use of the Achenseebahn train, the lake ferry, the Rofan cable car and the Karwendel gondola. This is a special ticket available only to guests staying in the lakeside villages.
Achensee Ferry Service: www.tirol-schiffahrt.at