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 (Lake Starnberg).
Bavaria's second largest lake is one of Munich's favourite destinations. Cyclists and hikers get their money's worth on the 46-kilometre-long circular route off the main roads or the numerous hiking trails. If you are on a bike, you can not only cycle around the lake on a tour, but also easily discover the other beauties in the Fünf-Seen-Land. Our author cycled from Wörthsee to Weßlinger See and discovered plenty of places to stop for refreshments - like the Bräustüberl in Schloss Seefeld (castle).
For those who prefer to walk and enjoy hiking, the Maisinger Schlucht and the Ilkahöhe in Tutzing are highly recommended! Walkers also like the many paths along the shore. The villages around the lake are among the most exclusive residential areas in the Munich area, which means there is a lot to discover here. Expensive villas and lavishly renovated castles stand on lakeside properties with old trees.
With the impressive panorama of the Alps as a backdrop, the restaurants, beer gardens and cafés along the lakeside promenades are a wonderful place to relax. The Fischmeister in Ambach, the Wirtshaus im Tutzinger Hof and the kiosk-beer garden Steg 1 in Possenhofen are certainly among the best known. But many recreational athletes also use Lake Starnberg for swimming, sailing or rowing - and stay overnight at one of the beautiful campsites or in a hotel with a lake view.
Between spring and autumn, visitors can also explore the lake by boat: Bayerische Seenschiffahrt takes visitors on its fleet of boats through the areas of Starnberg, Possenhofen, Tutzing, Bernried, Seeshaupt, Ambach, Ammerland, Leoni and Berg. Its packages include various round trips and themed tours, such as a tour of the area’s stately homes, culinary explorations and romantic moonlit tours. Our author spent a day on the lake with his wife and daughter. Read what they experienced here.
If you prefer to explore Lake Starnberg on your own, you can also hire a boat. Most boat rentals are located directly in Starnberg, which is especially exciting for visitors who come by S-Bahn. If you are travelling by car, you will find a boat rental in every direction on the shore of the lake. Of course, each provider has a different offer: from electric boats for the leisurely to stand-up paddles for the sporty, everything is available.
Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sisi) spent a large part of her childhood at Possenhofen Castle. Lake Starnberg has also become famous beyond Bavaria for the tragic death of King Ludwig II, who drowned under mysterious circumstances near the village of Berg in 1886. Today, a votive chapel and a wooden cross in the lake near the site of the accident commemorate the event.
King Ludwig II was also very fond of the romantically situated Rose Island in the middle of Lake Starnberg: the fairytale king received famous guests here, including Empress Elisabeth and Richard Wagner. The island is about 2.5 hectares in size and boasts beautiful parks and gardens. If you want to visit the Rose Island, you have to take a boat. Here you will also meet wedding couples again and again who get married on the island at the Feldafing registry office.
The quickest way to reach the lake is on the A95 road or S-Bahn train line 6 via Starnberg to Tutzing. Beaches on the lake are within easy reach of the train stations and car parks in Tutzing, Possenhofen and Feldafing.