Pertisau is a picturesque village on the shores of Lake Achen popular even in the Middle Ages. The Tyrolean counts used to head here with hunting parties and eventually built their own fleet of boats and a hunting lodge on the lakeshore.
The settlement, served by a road from Maurach, is at 950m altitude on the south-western lakeshore.
A permanent population of under 700 makes it by some way the smallest of the three settlements but visitors attracted by its lovely position at the end of three alpine valleys boost the numbers. (There is no direct car access on the western side of the lake between Pertisau and Achenkirch.)
The name Pertisau refers to the flat open space at the bottom of mountains (in geological terms, the moraine which remained as the glaciers retreated in the Ice Ages). 'Au' means meadow, while the first part of the word Pertisau may originate from a name. It refer to St Rupert, founder of the city of Salzburg and the diocese associated with Pertisau.
The Counts of the Tyrol used Pertisau as a centre for their fishing and hunting expeditions in the Middle Ages, building a hunting lodge (the 'Fischerhaus') in the 15th century. They also made a fleet of fishing boats, racing vessels and even a galley to amuse themselves. The forerunner of the current Fürstenhaus hotel, built in the 16th century, was a summer house and stables.
The Tyrolean ruling families could not keep their hideaway to themselves forever. The completion of the railway and ferry connections at the end of the 19th century helped tourism to expand across all levels of society.
Surprisingly the ferry came first. The steamship St Josef, transported to the lake by road in 1887 and restored in the 1950s, is still in use today. The first cog-railway steam train from Jenbach arrived at the lake two years later.
Although the train doesn't reach Pertisau, the last stop at Seespitz leaves a pleasant scenic walk along the lakeshore. Visitors can then sample an ice cream in a lakeside hotel before the ferry back Maurach.
Nowadays the main summer attraction is the walking in the three valleys which lead into the Karwendel Alpine Park.
More information about the walking in the area
The Karwendel lift on the southern side of the village offers a limited ski area and some high-level walking trails.
More information about skiing on the Zwölferkopf