Together with the lakes Starnberger See, Pilsensee, Wörthsee and Weßlinger See, the Ammersee forms the "Starnberg Ammersee Cultural Landscape" near Munich. It is not only one of the largest lakes in Bavaria, but also a popular destination for those seeking peace and tranquillity.
With an area of around 47 square kilometres and a depth of around 80 metres, Ammersee near Munich is the third largest lake in Bavaria after the Chiemsee and Starnberger See. Together with Starnberger See, Pilsensee, Wörthsee and Weßlinger See, it forms the Starnberg Ammersee Cultural Landscape – with numerous nature reserves and moorland landscapes that evolved during the Ice Age, as well as the annual Fünf Seen Filmfestival (Five Lakes Film Festival).
Popular excursion destinations around the Ammersee are Dießen with its Marienmünster monastery and pottery market, or Utting with the beach with the same name and the famous ten-metre diving tower. Many guests also travel to Herrsching, a suburban railway stop and central shipping point on the Ammersee, because this is where the popular Kurpark (spa park) with the mermaid statue, the rose pavilion and a Kurparkschlösschen (spa park castle) are located. Of course, a trip to Kloster Andechs (monastery) is also one of the highlights of the region.
Andechs monastery is a popular excursion destination for two reasons: Firstly, “Heiliger Berg” (holy mountain) is the second largest pilgrimage destination in Bavaria, and secondly, Andechs is one of the last authentic monastery breweries in Germany. The beer brewed on site is served at the beer garden with its magnificent view or in the inn. The monastery inn was first mentioned in a document in 1438, the pilgrimage church next door was built between 1423 and 1427, but rebuilt again in the 18th century. Today, the church can be visited daily from 8 am to 6 pm.
A visit to Andechs is often combined with a hike: Simply get off or park your car at the Herrsching suburban railway station and hike through the Kienbach valley to the monastery. The tour is well signposted and easy to walk due to the low gradient and therefore also suitable for families. You should allow about one and a half hours for the easy route. After the visit, you can either walk back or take the bus – this way you are back at Herrsching station in just ten minutes.
Ammersee is a lovely place to visit at any time of the year: In spring and autumn, the area is ideal for hiking, cycling or walking. When it snows, the region offers winter sports activities such as cross-country skiing and curling – or you can explore the Ammersee during a romantic ride in a horse-drawn sleigh. In rainy weather, a visit to the Jexhof farm museum is worthwhile. And in summer, the beaches and beer gardens attract many people – or you can SUP or go boating on the lake. Because of the favourable wind conditions, the Ammersee is very popular with sailing and surfing fans.
In general, Ammersee is a little quieter than Starnberger See (lake), and there are more public swimming spots. Almost the entire eastern shore is open to the public – and since the suburban rail connection stops here, the area between Herrsching and Breitbrunn is always well frequented in summer. The beaches in Utting, Riederau and Sankt Alban near Dießen are also very popular, as are the Seewinkel beach in Herrsching and the Forster beach in Schondorf. There are also numerous bays, parks and bathing spots on the Ammersee.
If you want to go hiking or cycling at the Ammersee, you will find numerous excellent opportunities: For example, you can comfortably embark on a bicycle tour from Herrsching. The lake has a circumference of about 46 kilometres; the route around it leads almost exclusively along the water and is well signposted. If you want to take breaks and enjoy a leisurely ride, you should plan a whole day for a tour around the Ammersee. If you don’t want to loop the entire lake, you can also cycle from Herrsching to Dießen (around 30 kilometres) or explore one of the surrounding lakes, such as the Pilsensee. More great cycling tours are available at komoot.de, for example.
In addition to Andechs Monastery, hiking fans also love the St. Rasso Pilgrimage Trail: It leads around the Ammersee and can be hiked in stages of 20 kilometres each – the final destination is the church of St. Rasso near Grafrath. There are plenty of circular trails around the Ammersee for sporty hikers, for example to the European Chapel, into the Windachtal (valley) or to the Wörthsee (lake). If you prefer a more leisurely pace, it is an hours’ walk from Herrsching to the Rausch, from where you can enjoy a great view of the lake.
From Munich, you can reach the Ammersee by car, suburban rail, train or bicycle. The distance varies between 40 to 60 kilometres, depending on your destination. By car, you should schedule about an hour for the route from Munich to Giessen (60 km), while Inning in the north (40 km) only takes about 40 minutes and Herrsching 50 minutes. But the lake is also very easy to reach by public transport and you don't have to look for a parking space on site – a big advantage, especially in summer. A ride on the S8 train from Munich's main station to Herrsching takes 50 minutes. If you want to get to the western side, for example to Dießen, take the regional train and change either in Weilheim or Geltendorf.