New Year’s Eve swim at Lake Achensee

Bonkers, yet a tradition. One thing is clear to the spectators of the New Year’s Eve swim: Anyone who takes part needs to bring a big amount of craziness with them  to leap into the ice-cold Lake Achensee with a water temperature of four degrees Celsius and then swim a distance of 50 metres. 

For many people New Year’s Day is not just highlighted in the calendar to mark the turn of the year. No, it’s also the date of the New Year’s Eve swim at Lake Achensee which attracts curious onlookers and daredevil swimmers every year. They all follow the maxim ‘feel the frost!’ and take this challenge literally.

Scantily dressed participants leap from the three metre high jetty into Lake Achensee, which at this time of year might even be frozen over in a few places. To get in the right mood before the jump, participants will have a bucket of cold water thrown at them. The swimmers then jump into the freezing water, swim the 25 metres to the iceberg, scale it, ring the New Year’s Eve bell and swim back to the jetty.

Whoever is closest to the median finishing time can look forward to winning the prize money. The total prize money for the three first-placed athletes in the sports category is EUR 1,000.

The swimmers’ wellbeing is of course also looked after. To bring their body temperatures back to a normal level, participants get to recover in the sauna in the Hotel Post am See after their adventure.

The entertainment value at the New Year’s Eve swim is hard to top. Between 2,500 and 3,000 spectators line the banks of Lake Achensee every year and cheer on the courageous swimmers. The fun factor involved, where everything from grandma’s nightdress to grandpa‘s underpants can be worn, means spectators get lots of laughs every year. The New Year’s Eve swim is organized by the diving club Blackdivers Tirol.