MOST BEAUTIFUL LAKES IN BAVARIA, GERMANY
3 of the most beautiful lakes you cannot miss in Bavaria: Eibsee, Walchensee and Kochel am See
Eibsee Lake, Bavaria
Kochel am See, Bavaria
Bavaria is one of the most beautiful and widely visited federal states in Germany. It is home to some of the most well-known German Unesco heritage sites, such as the fairytale Neuschwanstein castle, as well as breathtaking picturesque villages taken from Heidi & Milka scenaries, as well as stunning lakes.
It is a region that offers a wide variety of landscapes: from the Alps mountains to beautiful lakes and hikes in forests. If you are more into cultural tourism, you will have plenty of palaces and castles to choose from, as well as some of the most iconic Unesco heritage cities such as Munich, Bamberg or Regensburg.
In fact, did you know that the Deutsche Alpenstrasse or German Alpine Road is one of the most picturesque and the oldest tourist roads in Germany? Some of its references go back to 1879! Overall it is 484 km long from Bodensee to Königsee and you could easily spend 2 weeks or more roadtripping it! It is a non-toll road and any type of vehice is allowed to circulate (from car to motorbikes and even motorhomes). This stunning Alpine Road that you see below will be your access to some of the lakes I will feature in this article, such as Walchensee and Kochel am See.
Deutsche Alpenstrasse / German Alpine Road
What to consider when planning to visit lakes in Bavaria?
Bavaria is quite an extensive federal state with a total area of 70.553 km². So, choosing the best lakes to visit will depend where your departure point is, how many days you want to spend and how far you want to drive.
In this itinerary I will provide a suggestion for a weekend roadtrip that allows you to visit 3 of the most beautiful lakes in Bavaria: Eibsee, Walchensee and Kochel am See.
Where to depart from and how to reach the lakes in Bavaria?
Usually, most flights will land in Munich and it is an ideal starting point, as the lakes featured here are only 1,5 h by car from Munich.
Other relative close-by airports would be Innsbruck in Austria.
Definitely renting a car is the most flexible option for you, since it will allow you to visit hidden gems and picturesque places without relying on any public transport. Furthermore, for the most remote areas or the tiniest villages transport means can be quite limited. This is even more important if you are travelling during Winter, where some roads might be closed. When I was in Walchensee and wanted to drive to Kochel am See, a 10 km distance turned into 70 km, so I was very glad to have a car on my own allowing me to drive along a scenic route.
You can rent your car here with Sixt.
Lake itinerary in Bavaria for a weekend:
Day 1: Eibsee
- Starting in Munich and driving until Garmisch-Partenkirchen (150 km/h)
- Visiting and hiking Eibsee (overall 5 km)
If you are coming from Munich, it takes you around 1,5h to reach Eibsee.
There is a hotel in front of the lake Eibsee Hotel , however during low season and Winter months it is closed. If you travelling during Winter, the alternative (like I did) is to stay at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, located at the base of the highest mountain in Germany – Zugspitze -.It offers you absolutely marvelous alpine views. During winter, you can ski there.
Zugspitze in Bavaria
Hotel Recommendation in Garmisch-Partenkirchen: 4* Rheinischer Hof
Beautiful hotel in a wooden alpine style with beautiful views of Zugspitze.
Breakfast is quite varied, there is private parking and you can also store your ski equipment.
Average price with breakfast: €80/night
Restaurant Recommendation in Garmisch-Partenkirchen: 4 Eck Restaurant & Bar
Great views, cozy atmosphere and beautiful gastronomic choices
Average price: €30-€35/person
Directly at Eibsee, you have a restaurant overlooking the lake, but it is closed during the Winter months: Seerestaurant Eibsee Pavillon
Parking at Eibsee
You have a parking place directly at Eibsee. Standard Price €7
Insider Tip: if you go there before 09:30 am, the price will only be €2,50.
The payment machine accepts cards, so do not worry if you do not have any cash with you.
What time is best to visit Eibsee?
In the morning ideally until 09:30 to avoid crowds, especially during weekends.
When I was there at 10/10:30, it was very calm however it was a weekday. I would recommend the earlier, the better!
How to go to Eibsee?
Going by car is the most flexible option (10 min away from Garmisch-Partenkirchen; 1,5 hours from Munich). But there are also buses departing from Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
What to do in Eibsee?
You can stroll around the lake (5 km) for spectacular views as well as hiking (there are indications for a panoramic spot, which you will reach after 30 minutes and has impressive views). The lake has amazing reflections, so if you are fond of landscape photography, you will love it.
During the Summer months, you can also swim in the lake, rent a paddle boat or row boat.
Eibsee Lake in Bavaria
Small lake inside Eibsee
Day 2: Walchensee and Kochel am See
- Driving until Walchensee along the scenic German Alpine Road (make a few stops for pictures)
- Going to Kochel am See and staying at Seehotel Grauer Baer at a lakeview room.
On your second day, you can drive for about 1 hour until one of the wonders of the Bavarian lakes: Walchensee
You will drive along the scenic German Alpine Road , which will resemble a Heidi and Milka scenery. Check the picture above.
I guarantee: you will want to stop everywhere along this route, because it is just magnificent! Gladly enough, you will be able to make some stops along this route!
Hotel Karwendelblick offers you the most beautiful panoramic view of Walchensee. On a sunny day, have lunch in their terrace to contemplate the views.
The restaurant offers you homemade German typical cuisine, I tried a trout fish specialty and potato soup and can definitely recommend it.
The hotel has a parking place, which is something quite rare in Walchensee (almost all public parking available is paid).
Average restaurant price: €20
Lunch at Hotel Karwendelblick in Walchensee
Parking at Walchensee
Very few places and almost everything paid.
What time is best to visit Eibsee?
The earlier, the better! In the morning, you will see the best reflection, which is ideal for photography.
How to go to Walchensee?
Going by car is the best and most flexible option, in order not to be dependent on public transport.
What to do in Walchensee?
Strolling around the scenic lake.
Walchensee is quite large. In order to explore the other side of it, you need to follow another route in direction Leggries.
This one, as opposed to the German Alpine Road, is a toll one. €5, valid for the whole day.
You can make as many stops as you want and it is an absolutely beautiful scenario.
Scenic Route along Walchensee
One side of Walchensee, Bavaria
The other side of Walchensee, Bavaria
From Walchensee it is only 10 km away until Kochel am See. At the time I was there due to the a storm, the main road was closed. So, I had to drive along a very scenic route which proved to be an incredible experience.
Hotel and Restaurant Recommendation in Kochel am See: 3* Seehotel Grauer Baer
It has the perfect location: right in front of the lake and you will fall in love with its view in case you order a lakeview room.
It is a traditional, spatious hotel with beautiful views and amenities. They also have a great restaurant, which serves local specialities. As I was there during Winter, I tried wildboar and was beautifully seasoned.
My favorite dessert was pumpkin seed oil icecream, but you do also have the traditional Appel strudel and alike. Breakfast will be served on the same place of the restaurant and has a wide variety to choose from.
Average price: €80/night for rooms with lakeview and breakfast included. But expect more during high season, so ideally book ahead if you plan going there during holidays or weekends.
Lakeview room at Seehotel Grauer Baer in Kochel am See
Parking at Kochel am See
Many free places available, even close to the hotel mentioned if you are not a guest.
What time is best to visit Kochel am See?
Like in other lakes, the earlier the better. In my case I also experienced its sunset, so I would also recommend it.
Sunset at Kochel am See
How to go to Kochel am See?
Going by car will always be the most flexible option. Since Walchensee is only 10 km away, there are also buses operating between the 2 places.
What to do in Kochel am See?
Strolling around the lake and contemplating its views. If you like hiking, there are some trails you can explore around.
These are my lake suggestions that I explored on a weekend and definitely recommend it for you!
Let me know what you think of this itinerary in the comments.
Travel Insurance with Covid-19 coverage:
You can book one of the packages (I recommend the Star one) of the IATI seguros, which are so far the best travel insurances in the world with the most comprehensive COVID-19 coverage.
Renting a Car with Sixt:
You can rent a car with here with Sixt.