The lakeside town of Millstatt in Austria is the ultimate scenic destination, particularly for those that are after an activity-filled trip, as here it's all about the water. Located on the northern shore of 12-kilometre-long Lake Millstatt (Millstätter See), it is a great base for a spot of sailing, kayaking, or swimming (thankfully the water can get up to 26 degrees Celsius in the summer), as well as hiking or mountain biking in the surrounding hills.
The town is, of course, also a great refuge for the more relaxed holiday-maker, with plenty of picturesque picnic spots, romantic rowing boat trips, a state of the art Bathhouse Wellness Centre (think massages and a pool overlooking the lake) and incredible stargazing opportunities. There is also a beautiful Benedictine Monastery and loads of great restaurants, rounding off this small but perfectly-formed Austrian town.
Water-skiing, wake-boarding, sailing, stand up paddle-boarding, kayaking, parasailing, rowing... you name it, you can do it on Lake Millstatt. Considered by some the most peaceful lake in Austria to enjoy these kinds of sports, it's a great way to get to know the area and see Millstatt from a different perspective as you cruise past its shores.
There are a number of places to rent water sports equipment all around the lake, but a good place to note in Millstatt town itself is Surf- und Segelschule Millstatt which caters for windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, and paddle-boarding with rental prices ranging from €5 to €20.
This stunning facility located right on the lake in front of Millstatt town is a great way to enjoy the water from the shore, particularly handy when the weather starts to get a bit chilly for water sports.
The amenities on offer include a sauna with herb-infused steam, an outdoor infinity pool, 'lake wellness' spa treatments, and a restaurant selling delicious local food.
A day pass costs €27 with money deducted if you stay less than four hours, or entry after 4pm costs €23 and after 6pm €19 - great value for such a restorative place!
The closest international airport to Millstatt is in Klagenfurt around 75km away, which you can fly to from various destinations, particularly in Europe. Buses are a good way to get you the rest of the way to Millstatt and are pretty inexpensive.
By car, it's relatively easy to reach Millstatt from a number of places, including Salzburg and Graz, as well as Munich if you don't mind a slightly longer drive.
There is also a train station (Spittal-Millstätter See Bahnhof) on the western side of the lake with connections to Vienna, Salzburg, and Munich.