The Chiemsee is the largest lake in Bavaria and is located in a picturesque foothills of the Alps. Its appeal is not only due to the natural beauty of the landscape, but also to the wide range of leisure activities that make it one of the most important sights in Germany.
Vacation at the Chiemsee means: Take a boat, rowboat or pedal boat across the Chiemsee, sail or surf on the lake and or swim in the Chiemsee. The famous Chiemsee cycle path and the Chiemsee circular path for pedestrians lead around the lake, while many other cycle and hiking trails lead along the lake.
Why is Chiemsee soo popular with tourists?
The Chiemgau, the landscape in southeast Bavaria, is one of the most popular holiday areas in Germany. Lakes and mountains invite you to active leisure time fun, beer gardens and baroque churches offer pleasure and enjoyment. The gentle foothills of the Alps allow a variety of activities: from swimming to sailing, from quiet hikes to mountaineering, from horse riding to paragliding, from snowshoeing to ski tours.
The Chiemsee is the largest lake in the Chiemgau. Its banks are accompanied by a 65 km long circular path, which is ideal for walking and hiking. The famous Chiemsee cycle path also opens up the lake landscape. The possibilities for beach holidays and water sports are numerous. Whether with a sailboat, rowboat, pedal boat, SUP or surfboard, everyone can do sports in their own way.
The Chiemsee-Schifffahrt *, which has been connecting the towns of the Chiemsee with the Herreninsel and Fraueninsel since 1845, offers further opportunities for relaxation and exploration. All year round, the liners sail from the ports of Prien / Stock and Gstadt to the Fraueninsel with its monastery and to the Herreninsel with Ludwig II’s castle. In summer, the towns of Seebruck, Chieming, Übersee / Feldwies and Bernau / Felden are also served.
There is more bathing weather in August than in July. Mountain hiking without snow is usually possible from May to September. The ski lifts are in operation from the end of December to the beginning of March.
The 10 popular sights around Chiemsee
1. Chiemsee, Prien
In the 8th century the lake fascinated the Benedictines, who occupied its islands with monasteries, and in the 19th century painters who left their narrow studios and looked for their motifs in nature.
The picture that presents itself from the observation tower on the Ratzinger Höhe near Rimsting is of perfect harmony: the silhouette of the Fraueninsel in the middle of the peacefully calm water surface in front of the mountain peaks watching in the background.
The ›Bavarian Sea‹ is a legacy of the Chiemsee and the smaller Prien glaciers, which retreated 15,000 years ago. The Chiemsee measures 80 square kilometers and is – after Lake Constance and Müritz – Germany’s third largest body of water. With a maximum depth of 72.7 m, it is relatively flat and silting up more and more. Because its main tributary, the Tiroler Ache, carries large amounts of gravel and suspended matter into the lake every year – in 7000 years, according to the prognosis, the Chiemsee will have disappeared.
Pedestrians and cyclists enjoy the Chiemsee on the 65 km long circular route, water sports enthusiasts on the lake with sailing, rowing, pedal boats or surfboards and the passengers of the Chiemsee-Schifffahrt Ludwig Feßler, which has been connecting the shoreline with Herren- and Fraueninsel since 1845. The small herb island in between can only be reached by boat. These three islands form Chiemsee, the smallest municipality in Bavaria in terms of inhabitants.
Seebruck spreads out at the northern outflow of the Chiemsee, the Alz. 2000 years ago the Roman Bedaium was located here on the Salzburg-Augsburg road. The foundation walls of the parish church of St. Thomas and Stefan consist partly of stones from the Roman fort. Excavation finds are clearly presented in the Bedaium Roman Museum.
In the beautiful lido of the climatic health resort you have a magnificent view of the mountains. With one of the largest marinas on the Chiemsee, Seebruck is a center for sailing.
Offer for children: dinghy rides on the Alz, covered wagon tours, lido.
3. Maria Eck, Siegsdorf
The Maria Eck monastery (5 km south of Siegsdorf) with its baroque church is a pilgrimage destination. An inn with a wonderful view of the mountains and the Chiemsee goes well with this.
4. Fraueninsel, Prien
Despite the many day-trippers, the small Fraueninsel is an idyll. Especially out of season, it unfolds its intimate charm. Just 50 small houses, often inhabited by artists, three inns and the Frauenwörth Abbey make up this little world.
Duke Tassilo III. founded the monastery around 750 – the octagonal tower and the Carolingian gate hall, one of the oldest buildings in Bavaria, date from this period. The nuns offer seminars and brew delicious herbal liqueurs.
5. Eggstätt-Hemhofer-Seenplatte, Eggstätt
The nature reserve of the Eggstätt-Hemhofer Lake District with 17 unusually deep lakes is an ice-crumbling landscape. The Inn and Chiemsee glaciers once collided here and pushed huge chunks of ice deep into the earth.
When the glaciers melted, these depressions remained as lakes, with bogs formed in between with threatened flora and fauna. Marked hiking trails open up parts of the lake district. There is an information board at the large parking lot at Hartsee north of Eggstätt.
As early as 744 there was the Place of Chiemmi, which gave the whole area its name. Chieming is one of the quieter, rural places on the lake, despite the 6 km long beach. Traditional festivals, music and cabaret events as well as sports such as surfing, horse riding and golf ensure variety.
Offer for children: bathing beach, horse-drawn carriage trips, handicraft programs.
7. Kendlmühlfilzen, Bernau am Chiemsee
In the Kendlmühlfilzen peat was extracted until 1988. Now the most important high moor in the Chiemgau is under nature protection. The original fauna and flora are settling again.
The best way to explore the Kendlmühlfilzen is from Rottau, where the Bavarian Moor and Peat Museum shows tools and a replica of an Upper Bavarian moor corpse. The former peat railway station, built in 1920, is also part of the museum. In the summer, visitors can ride on the open wagons of the historic train.
8. Herreninsel, Prien
The monastery, from which the Herreninsel takes its name, was founded in the 8th century and partially demolished after the secularization in 1803. When the wooded island was to be cleared, King Ludwig II bought it in 1873 and had Herrenchiemsee Palace built there five years later. His image of the Versailles Palace should be a memorial for the French Sun King Louis XIV.
In 1886 the work was stopped due to lack of money. Only the central axis of the park with the water features was completed. Today the castle is a tourist magnet with around 380,000 visitors annually. They admire the high-quality parade rooms, an excellent porcelain collection and the hall of mirrors.
In the south wing, the King Ludwig II Museum traces the life of the Bavarian fairytale king and focuses on Richard Wagner’s music, the royal palaces and other building projects. You can see handicrafts, models, documents, portraits, busts, photographs and sumptuous robes.
In the summer of 1948 envoys from the three western zones of Germany met in the former baroque monastery as a ›constitutional convention for the preparation of the Basic Law‹ and created the basis for the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Today the Museum Augustiner-Chorherrenstift documents this event. It also explains the history of the monastery and shows the living quarters of King Ludwig II.
In addition, the ›Galerie Maler am Chiemsee‹ with 50 master paintings from the 19th to the mid-20th century in the east wing and the ›Galerie Julius Exter‹ with 150 works by the expressionist Chiemsee painter (1863-1939) in the north wing.
Offer for children: Children’s tours in the new castle (suitable for children aged 5 to 12) are offered all year round at 11:05 a.m., 1:05 p.m. and 3:05 p.m.
9. Chiemsee Railway, Aschau
The oldest narrow-gauge steam train in Bavaria has been snorting from the train station in Prien am Chiemsee down to the port in Stock since 1887 and transports travelers there onto one of the ships of Ludwig Fessler’s private Chiemsee fleet.
From 1546 until the 19th century the iron hammers rang in the valley of the Prien; the gentlemen at Hohenaschau Castle made a good living from it.
In 1875 the industrialist von Cramer-Klett bought the castle and factories, restored the castle and built the Prien – Aschau railway line. To this day, it tumbles through the valley as the Chiemgau Railway. Hohenaschau Castle is a federal holiday home and can only be visited on guided tours.
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