Chiemsee, Ammersee, Lake Starnberg and Lake Tegernsee are some of the region’s largest and most renowned lakes. Their names are familiar to people far beyond Bavaria’s borders. As Berliners, we are always a little jealous of Münchners for their proximity to an abundance of high-altitude basins; we pine to hike their panoramic mountain scenery. We spent an entire summer scouting the region’s sandy beaches, gravel beds, grassy lawns, and public piers. Plunging into one beautiful body of water after the next, more often than not we’d only turn in from a day of swimming, hiking and exploring after sunset. Nowhere in Southern Germany are the landscapes as diverse as those in the regions surrounding Munich. A vibrant mix of fields, forests and mountains characterises the lands that lie between Isar River and Inn River, that stretch from the city’s outskirts to the peaks of the Alps. Ambitious architecture, bustling beer gardens, down-to-earth attitudes, and awareness for nature go hand-in-hand in Bavaria, Germany. Setting out from the centre of Munich, we selected four lakes—one for each cardinal direction—that draw us out of the city and into the countryside whenever we’re in town. Pack your sun hat and swimmers, and discover our top recommendations below.
If you’re looking for more recommendations, you’ll find our 50 favourite lakes in Bavaria alongside 200+ bathing spots north, south, east, and west of Munich in our Take Me to the Lakes – München Edition. This one-of-a-kind travel guide features a mix of more renowned Bavarian lakes, such as Chiemsee, Ammersee, Lake Starnberg and Lake Tegernsee, alongside a selection of lesser-known lakes and bathing spots. We chose the lakes in this book based on a list of criteria, including water quality, location, and natural surroundings. For vacations at the water’s edge, explore our unique collection of accommodation recommendations, such as das Tegernsee, in our Take Me to The Lakes – Weekender Edition München.
Please note that our München Edition is currently only available in German.