Bavaria is home to some of the most amazing lakes in Germany set against ravishingly beautiful landscapes. After cooling down in the refreshing waters of the region, art and culture can happily be combined with a stay at a lake hotel in Bavaria. Sit back, relax and have a cool drink by the lakeside before heading to story-book castles or taking a walk through flower-filled meadows. Bavaria is a haven for vacationers looking to escape and unwind in an exceptional lake hotel.
Bliss in Bavaria: Our top picks for idyllic lake hotels
Chiemsee: Pristine water & Natural beauty in the Bavarian Sea
Originating from the primeval Thetis Sea which once covered almost half of Europe, the Chiemsee is so big that it is often called the Bavarian Sea. The freshwater lake is the biggest in Bavaria, not counting Lake Constance which is only partially situated in the province. Chiemgau, the region around the lake, is a famous recreation area attracting nature lovers, watersports enthusiasts and city dwellers hoping to de-stress in the warm summer months. There are three main islands on the lake, the two largest of which are certainly worth a visit. Herreninsel (Gentleman’s island) is where King Ludwig II had a palace built in the 1800s that was meant to be a replica of the Palace of Versailles. It was never completed but the rooms are open to tourists and tours of the palace as well as its extensive grounds can be taken throughout the summer. Frauenchiemsee houses a small village and a Benedictine nunnery where you can sample cloister liquor and marzipan made by the nuns. Nearby Prien am Chiemsee is a great base for exploring the lake. Those in the mood to get a taste of lake hotels in Austria don’t have far to go, with Salzburg just around the corner.
Fünfseenland & Forggensee: Water sports & Fairytale castles
Belonging to the alpine foothills, the Fünfseenland (land of five lakes) was once a royal retreat and is still a popular escape from the urban rush of Munich. The two largest glacial lakes are Ammersee and Lake Starnberg, along with Wörthsee, the Pilsensee and Weßlinger See, but there are countless smaller lakes in the district offering secluded charm. The serene Ammersee lends itself perfectly to a leisurely vacation or an active break. Windsurfers, kayakers and sailors can get their adrenaline rushes here, while the less athletic will enjoy watching the action from the shoreline. Promising a picture-postcard vista of boat houses hugging blue waters, this lake is just as gorgeous in summer as it is in winter. Located southwest of Munich, Lake Starnberg (Starnberger See) is a sparkling gem straight out of a picture book. No wonder it was where King Ludwig II chose to build his summer residence. Immortalized in TS Eliot’s poem The Waste Land, cyclists and hikers will enjoy circumnavigating the lake along a 49km cycling path. Or you can spend the day taking in the beauty of the lake on a boat cruise, stopping at picturesque towns like Bernried, Seeshaupt, Tutzing and Berg, famous as the site where the “mad king” Ludwig II’s body was found. Created in 1954 to reduce the risk of flooding when snow melts in the spring, Forggensee is a man-made lake providing ideal conditions for surfing, sailing, fishing and boating as well as providing access to the most famous castle in Germany, Neuschwanstein, and the sun-yellow Schloss Hohenschwangau where King Ludwig II grew up. A lake hotel in this region, at the foot of the Bavarian Alps guarantees fresh mountain air and fairy-tale panoramas in emerald green landscapes.
Lake Constance & Lindau: Entrancing scenery & Cultural highlights
Straddling three countries, Lake Constance’s novelty is that you can have breakfast in Germany, pop over to Switzerland for lunch and make it to Austria in time to catch the sun setting behind the Alps. It is also one of the most child-friendly destinations in the region. Sharing 270km of shoreline between three countries, with most of it in Germany, this beautiful corner of central Europe boasts a range of cultural attractions from Bronze Age dwellings, Roman forts and medieval castles to Benedictine abbeys, baroque churches and contemporary museums alongside diverse natural landscapes. Lake Constance’s coast provides access to lively beaches, historic towns, family-friendly activities and plenty of lovely lake hotels. The lake-front cafés are where you can take in clear-day Alpine views and make the most of the warm weather in summer. Hiking and walking trails along the foothills of the Alps will lead you past orchards, vineyards, beaches and wetlands and on to dazzling vantage points. A little further south is the historic town of Lindau, which is actually an island full of medieval and half-timbered buildings. Here visitors can enjoy culinary highlights at lakeside restaurants with views of Austria and Switzerland, pick up souvenirs at the market or take a cruise to the neighboring harbor towns of Friedrichshafen and Konstanz, or Berganz in Austria.