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Our Four Favourite Lakes in Munich’s Mountainscapes

We reveal a shortlist of our all-time favourite lakes and bodies of water around Munich—one for each cardinal direction.

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1 NORTH

Heiglweiher

Munich city centre 33 km
Car <45 min
PT <75 min

take Me To The Lakes Münchenguide Sueden Geroldsee Heiglweiher 6

Nestled between Haimhausen and Amperpettenbach, Heiglweiher is a real insider’s tip. Nature lovers feel right at home amidst these rolling fields and the majestic oak forest. A large lawn for sunbathing welcomes visitors to relax on the lake’s northern shore. If at any point during the day you need a break from the sun’s sweltering rays, simply move your towel into the shaded area over by the line of large trees. Dive headfirst into the water from the wooden pier or slowly let yourself into the lake’s embrace via the little ladder. You’ll also find a bathing spota narrow grassy area and sandy beach at a slight inclineon the southern side of Heiglweiher’s western shore. If you’re looking for a place that’s a little quieter, we recommend heading to the wooden pier on the lake’s southern shore. With a little bit of luck, you might even be able to spot great white egrets building their nests between the water lilies.

München Edition
p. 24

Directions Heiglweiher Parking Lot

2 EAST

Steinsee

Munich city centre 30 km
Car <60 min
PT <90 min

take Me To The Lakes München Edition Osten Steinsee Neu

Steinsee, a relic from the last glacial period, is a sought-after destination amongst bathing enthusiasts. Thanks to its idyllic location in Ebersberg County, this lake also attracts city dwellers for scenic Sunday strolls. The family-friendly public beach on the lake’s northern shore is equipped with a series of large, partially shaded lawns, a designated shallow area for children, and a fun playground. Bear in mind that it can get a bit packed here on weekends and during high season. If you want to avoid the crowds, you’ll find a shaded bathing spot with a small pier and swing tucked away in the forest on Steinsee’s eastern shore.

München Edition
S. 82

Directions Steinsee Parking Lot

3 SOUTH

Walchensee

Munich city centre 80 km
Car <90 min
PT <120 min

take Me To The Lakes Munchen Edition Seen Guide Sueden Walchensee 8

Walchensee is one of Germany’s largest and deepest lakes in the Alps. Its unique panorama is characterised by glistening turquoise-green waters and the Bavarian Alps’ enchanting foothills. Visibility in this pristine mountain lake reaches up to 10 metres. Though the temperature of the water rarely surpasses 22 degrees Celsius, it’s hard to resist the temptation to go for a swim. With diving, sailing, fishing, and surfing all on the agenda, Walchensee’s waters attract active holiday-goers. You’ll find an especially lovely lawn and boat rental over in Einsiedl, a little village on the southern part of the lake’s western shore. Kitesurfers set out onto the water from a designated beach nearby. If you set out to explore the lake’s southern shore, you’ll come across a series of pristine bathing spots, which are only accessible via a private road for a small fee. Walchensee’s eastern shore features bathing spots that also serve as starting points for windsurfers and kitesurfers. For the best views of the lake, we recommend hiking up Jochberg (ca. 3.5 hours) or Herzogstand (ca. 4 hours). The latter’s peak is also accessible via the mountain train.

München Edition
p. 172

Directions Walchensee

4 WEST

Pilsensee

Munich city centre 41 km
Car <45 min
PT <90 min

take Me To The Lakes Munchen Edition Seen Guide Westen Pilsensee 7

Large sections of Pilsensee are inaccessible to the public due to the high number of protected nature conservation areas and private properties. Nevertheless, if you know where to go, you’ll still find a series of public bathing spots around this former branch of Ammersee’s shorelines. At the public beach on the lake’s western shore you can relax on the lawn and enter the water via a pier. The campsite on the lake’s eastern shore leads you to a restaurant, called Seehaus, where you’ll come across a large lawn with a series of wooden piers. Thanks to Pilsensee’s thriving fish population, it is an especially popular destination amongst anglers. Surfing or SUP courses are also great ways to explore more of these waters. Further south, you’ll find two smaller but cosier sunbathing lawns. It’s easy to get back to Munich from here via Seefeld-Hechendorf S-Bahn station.

München Edition
p. 204

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 lakesone for each cardinal directionthat 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.

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