Lake Chiemsee with the Bavarian Alps in the background.

Chiemsee

The Bavarian Sea

The Chiemsee is one of the most popular excursion destinations in the Munich region. And that's no wonder, because at Bavaria's largest lake, you can not only do water sports, relax at the beach or take a bike tour, but also experience a lot of culture from Seeon Monastery to Schloss Herrenchiemsee.

The Chiemsee at a glance: Sights & things to know

The Chiemsee is one of the most popular destinations in the Munich region. With an area of about 80 km² and a depth of 73 meters, it is not only the largest lake in Bavaria and the third largest in Germany, but also one of the cleanest swimming lakes. The lake was created about 10,000 years ago, towards the end of the Ice Age. Originating from the earlier glaciers, there are still many smaller lakes, rivers and moors in the area, especially in the southern and northern part of the Chiemsee – such as near Eggstätt-Hemhofer lake plain, one of the oldest nature reserves in Bavaria, or Kendlmühlfilze high moor.

The majority of the Chiemsee shoreline is natural, but there are also numerous lidos, bathing spots and villages. The most famous are Prien am Chiemsee, Seeon, Bernau, Übersee and Chieming. Water sports enthusiasts also like to gather at the beautiful lake in the Chiemgau Alps, as they can go sailing, rent stand-up paddles, do kayaking or canoeing, kiteboarding, surfing, or even rafting on the Tiroler Ache (river). Ashore, too, there is a lot to be explored – the lake has a circumference of 64 kilometres and can easily be circumnavigated by bike or on foot.

What makes the Chiemsee so special: In addition to beautiful nature and a variety of water sports, the popular destination boasts a wide cultural offering. Herrenchiemsee Palace, also known as "little Versailles”, is located on Herreninsel, one of two islands on the lake that can be visited year-round. In its immediate neighbourhood is the smaller Fraueninsel with the Frauenwörth Monastery. Both destinations can be conveniently reached by boat. In winter, when the ice on the lake is thick enough, you can even walk to the islands.

 

Swimming at the Chiemsee: Beaches & swimming spots

And in summer, the lake is a magnet for swimming fans – after all, it's not called "the Bavarian Sea" for nothing. For one thing, the water here is of consistently high quality, and for another, the Chiemsee is pleasantly warm: Between June and September, the lake has an average temperature of between 20 and 23 degrees, while, in the hot season, the water temperature can rise to 26 degrees. Not least because of its good water quality, the lake has been under nature protection since 1954, as many endangered bird species breed here. Swimming is allowed at the designated bathing areas and beaches – such as the beach at Chieming, Bernau, Breitbrunn, Seebruck, Gollenshausen, the Beach Bar in Übersee or the numerous public bathing spots.

Herrenchiemsee Palace, Fraueninsel & Seeon Monastery

If you go to the Chiemsee, you definitely should not miss Herrenchiemsee Palace: The magnificent building was commissioned by King Ludwig II and modelled on Versailles – as was the palace garden, which was planned by the court garden director Carl von Effner. Regrettably, the Bavarian "Kini" only resided here for about ten days, before he died in an accident at Starnberger See (lake) in the summer of 1886. Today, visitors can admire the magnificent interiors on a guided tour. Highlights in the castle include the Hall of Mirrors, the marble staircase and "Tischlein deck dich," a retractable dining table. Herreninsel is the largest island on the Chiemsee and can only be reached by ship or boat. These run regularly and with direct connections from Prien am Chiemsee (15 minutes) and Bernau (23 minutes).

If you feel like visiting Fraueninsel afterwards, you can ferry across in just ten minutes. The small neighbouring island has its very unique charm: One of the main attractions on the car- and bike-free island is the pilgrimage site Kloster Frauenwörth, the oldest nunnery in Germany. Here, you can sit comfortably in the beautiful beer garden, explore the island on a walk or visit the Christkindlmarkt in winter.

Another very famous site is monastery Seeon a few kilometres north of the Chiemsee. The former Benedictine abbey is now used as a cultural and educational centre of the district of Upper Bavaria and a conference hotel. Furthermore, it regularly hosts cultural events such as concerts, exhibitions and readings. On a guided tour, you can gain an insight into the Benedictine monastery at your leisure.

 

Circumnavigating the Chiemsee: By bike or bus

Sporty cyclists or e-bike fans choose the almost 60-kilometre Chiemsee cycle path, which leads along unpaved roads, asphalt cycle tracks and side roads. The path not only follows part of the shoreline, but is also one of the most beautiful cycle paths in Bavaria with great viewpoints overlooking the Herreninsel and Fraueninsel islands or the mountains. If that's not enough, you can also take a multi-day tour around the region or opt for a road bike route. The Chiemsee circular route, a cycle path running directly along the water, requires a more leisurely pace, as this tour is shared with pedestrians at times. Chiemseeringlinie, a bus that circles the lake several times a day, offers barrier-free travel.

Travelling to the Chiemsee: Coming from Munich

If you want to travel to the Chiemsee by car, take the A8 highway in the direction of Salzburg. It usually takes about an hour to get to Prien. The road that passes close to the southern Chiemsee is particularly beautiful. A more sustainable and convenient alternative is to travel by train with Deutsche Bahn or Meridian: This way, you can reach Prien in less than an hour and then continue by boat, bus, bike, the Chiemsee train or on foot. For a day trip with a maximum of five people, the Bayern Ticket or the Guten Tag Ticket are worthwhile.

 

 

Text: Anja Schauberger; Photos: Dominik Morbitzer, Frank Stolle

Covid-19: current regulations

Hotels and accommodation establishments, shops, indoor and outdoor catering, and also clubs and discos are open. However, restrictions apply. All other important information on the coronavirus and your stay in Munich can be found here.

Tegernsee lake in wintertime

Eight great winter excursions

From snow-covered Neuschwanstein Castle to the icy Partnachklamm gorge: eight excursion ideas that are particularly beautiful in winter.

From snow-covered Neuschwanstein Castle to the icy Partnachklamm gorge: eight excursion ideas that are particularly beautiful in winter.

Two skiers skiing down in deep snow in front of a mountain panorama.

Under your own steam

From Munich, you can experience the combination of climbing under your own steam and descending through untouched snow within a weekend.

From Munich, you can experience the combination of climbing under your own steam and descending through untouched snow within a weekend.

View from above of a snow-covered winter landscape with a monastery in the outskirts of Munich.

Into the snow!

Whether in the city centre, along the banks of the Isar river or up a mountain in advance of tobogganing back down into the valley, Munich offers a wide selection of winter hikes to enjoy.

Whether in the city centre, along the banks of the Isar river or up a mountain in advance of tobogganing back down into the valley, Munich offers a wide selection of winter hikes to enjoy.

Neuschwanstein Castle in the surrounding region of Munich.

Royal wanderlust

Herrenchiemsee, Linderhof, Schachenhaus and Neuschwanstein: Bavaria’s castles and palaces are among the most beautiful in the world.

Herrenchiemsee, Linderhof, Schachenhaus and Neuschwanstein: Bavaria’s castles and palaces are among the most beautiful in the world.

Landscape near Kochel am See

The home of ”Der Blaue Reiter“

Our author goes on a hike in search of the places where Franz Marc found his inspiration.

Our author goes on a hike in search of the places where Franz Marc found his inspiration – and finds a magical place.

Two hiker are on a mountain ridge near Munich.

After-work hiking

Getting out into nature quickly: no problem in Munich, even in the afternoon. Five hiking tours for late risers and after-work athletes.

Getting out into nature quickly: no problem in Munich, even in the afternoon. Five hiking tours for late risers and after-work athletes.

View of an alpine hut in front of a mountain panorama in Munich.

Hiking in wonderland

Barren rocks, wild mountain forests – and a fairy-tale castle.     

Barren rocks, wild mountain forests and a fairy-tale castle: The perfect tour for a lonely weekend in Munich’s landmark mountains.

A woman with the Tegernseer chalet in the background at the Bavarian foothills of the Alps in the surrounding region of Munich.

10 mins from the main station

In Munich you can reach mountain tops, Alpine views and creature comforts in no time. Here are a few suggestions.

In Munich you can reach mountain tops, Alpine views and creature comforts in no time. Here are a few suggestions.

Two women with a bicycle on a pier by a lake in Bavaria.

Bathe, banter, bike

Whether „Hopfen and Bier-Schleife“, „Salz-Schleife“ or „Kunst- and Kulturschleife“, Munich is the hub for all routes of the water cycle paths.

Whether „Hopfen and Bier-Schleife“, „Salz-Schleife“ or „Kunst- and Kulturschleife“, Munich is the hub for all routes of the water cycle paths.

Entrance of the Hündeleskopfhütte, the first vegetarian hut in the Alps near Munich.

Alpine huts around Munich

 With this selection of alpine hut restaurants, everyone will find their ideal destination.

Families, mountaineers, connoisseurs: With this selection of alpine hut restaurants, everyone will find their ideal destination.

Kehlsteinhaus Berchtesgaden including a panoramic view of the valley in the surroundings of Munich.

Hitler’s tea room

A historical lookout high above Berchtesgaden, offering a stunning panoramic view.

The Kehlsteinhaus has been retained in its original form as a historical monument from the Third Reich, and is among the most popular destinations for trips in Germany.

Nymphenburg Palace in Munich at sunset.

Castles and palaces in and around Munich

The magnificent castles and palaces in and around Munich are world famous. An overview.

Residenz, Nymphenburg, Herrenchiemsee, Neuschwanstein: The castles and palaces in and around Munich are world famous. An overview. 

Munich Card & City Pass

Discover Munich in a relaxed and uncomplicated way: discounts for the diverse range of art, culture and leisure activities with our guest cards.

Public transport is included

Many discounts with the Card, many things for free with the Pass.

Online or at the tourist information offices

Mountains & Lakes in the surrounding area of Munich
Boat trip at the Königssee with panoramic view of the Alps in the surroundings of Munich.

Königssee

Emerald-green water at the foot of the legendary Watzmann.

Emerald-green water at the foot of the Watzmann – taking a trip to Königssee lake is to enjoy a singular natural experience.

Lake Chiemsee with the Bavarian Alps in the background.

Chiemsee

At Bavaria's largest lake, you can not only do water sports or go on a bike tour, you can also experience many cultural attractions.

At Bavaria’s largest lake, you can not only do water sports or a bike tour, you can also experience a lot of culture at the Herrenchiemsee Palace.

A man is standing on rocks at the shore of Eibsee nearby Garmisch in the surrounding region of Munich.

Zugspitze

The Zugspitze is only 90 kilometres away from the Bavarian state capital.

While Zugspitze in the Wetterstein Mountains may not be one of Munich’s local mountains, it is a mere 90 kilometres away from the Bavarian state capital.

Watzmann in the Berchtesgadener Land in the surrounding of Munich.

Watzmann

The Watzmann has long fascinated mountain climbers from all over the world.

A truly extraordinary shape and the legendary east face: The Watzmann has long fascinated mountain climbers from all over the world.

Boats in Starnberger See in the Five Lake Region nearby Munich with the Alps in the background.

Starnberger See

Anyone who fancies a swim, bike ride, leisurely stroll or boat trip won’t be disappointed on a trip to Starnberger See.

Around just 20 kilometres to the south-west of the city, you will find “Munich’s summer swimming pool”. Anyone who fancies a swim, bike ride, leisurely stroll or boat trip won’t be disappointed on a trip to Starnberger See.

The Tegernsee in the evening light with cloud reflection on the lake surface near Munich.

Tegernsee

Lake Tegernsee lies nestled between hillsides of dark-green forestation, is a wonder of nature whose origins date back to the last ice age.

Lake Tegernsee lies nestled between hillsides of dark-green forestation. Its banks are lined with reeds and old oak trees. Beyond, the masts of sailing boats sway in the wind.

Windsurfer on the Walchensee in the hinterland of Munich.

Walchensee (lake)

Walchensee is not only the perfect destination for swimming, but also for windsurfing and hiking. Tips and information for a day trip from Munich.

Walchensee is not only the perfect destination for swimming, but also for windsurfing and hiking. Tips and information for a day trip from Munich.

Evening atmosphere with sunset at Ammersee near Munich

Ammersee

It is not only one of the largest lakes in Bavaria, but also a popular destination for those seeking peace and tranquillity.

It is not only one of the largest lakes in Bavaria, but also a popular destination for those seeking peace and tranquillity.

View of the Salzach river and the castle in Salzburg.

Salzburg and the Lake District

Visit the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and relax on the journey to beautiful Lake Wolfgang.

Book now from 59 €!

Visit the birthplace of composer extraordinaire Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, stroll through the Baroque old town and then relax on the journey to beautiful Lake Wolfgang.