For many people, the ocean is generally considered to be the planet’s last true final frontier. More than just a repository for sunken ships, hidden treasure, and sharp-toothed leviathans, the ocean’s depths are still mostly unexplored by man—and thus all the more mysterious.

But it’d be a huge mistake to ignore the mysteries that lie beneath the surface of more familiar—and shallow—bodies of water. In fact, lakes all over the globe have secrets of their own. You just have to know where to look!

In Austria and China, for instance, there are two lakes that are so unusual that they draw tourists all year round. When you see what they have to offer, you just might book your next flight!

Near the Austrian town of Tragoess there lies a beautiful park called Gruner See. During the winter, hikers and picnickers enjoy the park’s tranquil grasslands and a lake that’s only three to six feet deep. Upon first glance, it seems like a beautiful and scenic spot.
Gr¸ner See (Green Lake), Tragˆfl, Styria, Austria

The park’s name translates in English to “Green Lake,” and it’s clear that it’s a fitting moniker. The dense, lush foliage surrounding the lake reflects sparkling emerald and jade hues upon the water’s surface that would make even Claude Monet jealous. But the unparalleled scenery’s not the only reason for this park’s appeal…
Gr¸ner See (Green Lake), Tragˆfl, Styria, Austria

As the snow and ice melt and drain into the lake each spring, the water levels rise dramatically—and all of that beautiful greenery is covered in deep water! The popular bench that provides respite to tired hikers and visitors is completely submerged later in the year!

By summer, the entire park is an underwater paradise. Green Lake itself transforms from a shallow body of water into a lake that’s about 40 feet deep. It’s almost as if it becomes Austria’s very own seasonal Atlantis!

When it floods this way, the park’s visiting hikers scramble to higher ground in order to make way for adventurous water explorers. By June, Green Lake is essentially a playground for scuba divers—that is, until the water begins to recede once more in late July. Talk about a multi-purpose park!

If the idea of scuba diving in a flooded Austrian lake appeals to you, you’ll want to pay attention to this next body of water halfway across the planet. It’s called Qiandao Lake, and it’s situated in China’s Zhejiang Province…2

Believe it or not, there is an entire forgotten city 85 feet beneath the surface of this manmade lake! Scuba divers in search of a truly unique experience flock to Lion City, where Qiandao Lake had been deliberately flooded.Submerged-Cities-Lion-City-2

In 2001, divers in the region discovered 266 perfectly preserved arches from the Eastern Han Dynasty, which existed around 30 CE, in the depths of this lake. Historians weren’t sure why such a beautiful piece of China’s history was deliberately hidden in this way.Submerged-Cities-Lion-City-1 copy

Those who find underwater expeditions thrilling will undoubtedly delight in the expansive ruins of the sunken Lion City of China. Even visitors who prefer dry land can still enjoy this amazing underwater city; there’s talk of building a tunnel in the lake for tourists!Submerged-Cities-Lion-City-1

From the natural flooding of Austria’s Green Lake to the manmade submergence of China’s Lion City, both of these dives offer truly unexpected experiences that just might rival the deep sea!

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