Eibsee lake is one of the most popular lakes in Bayern and with good reason! Imagine crystal clear water in different shades of blue and green throughout its surface and the impressive Zugspitze glimmering in the background.
In the early morning the lake is covered by a mysterious sea of clouds that slowly rise up so you can see the first sunlight touch the mountain peaks. Once the sun is high in the sky the water reflects a thousand colours and becomes the perfect place to go for a swim.
So far I have visited this place 3 times already and every single time under completely different circumstances. I consider it to be one of the most beautiful places in Germany!
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Eibsee Lake In Bayern, Germany
Eibsee lake is a jewel in the Werdenfels region in Bayern at a height of 1000 meter above sealevel. It has a depth of 32,5 meter depending on the water level and has 8 small islands dotted throughout its northern side.
It was created by an enormous rock fall when the Isar Loisach glacier withdrew and left a depression that filled with water. It’s because of this rock fall that the Eibsee valley has its unique morphological shape. With its clear, turquoise waters, it is considered one of the most beautiful and purest lakes in the Bavarian Alps.
How to reach Eibsee Lake
Eibsee is located around 13km southwest of the centre of Garmisch-Patenkirchen and roughly 100km southwest of Munich. It belongs to the municipality of Grainau and is private property of the Eibsee hotel.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
You can take the Flixbus 486 from Munich Central Bus Station to Garmisch Partenkirchen which leaves every day at 15.20 and takes 1h10. After that you can take the EIBSEE bus which commutes between Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Grainau and Eibsee and stops 100 meter from the lake.
I only recommend this option if you’re planning on staying at least 1 night in either Garmisch Partenkirchen or Grainau. Otherwise you’ll arrive too late in the day to truly enjoy it.
A better option is to take the train from Munich Central Station to Garmisch Partenkirchen where you’ll then transfer to a train which drops you off 5 minutes walking from Eibsee lake. The total travel time is 2h40m and there’s a train leaving from Munich every hour.
FROM GARMISCH PARTENKIRCHEN
You can take the Zugspitze train which drops you off 5 minutes walking from Eibsee lake. Total travel time is 48 minutes and there’s a train every hour.
Or you can also take the EIBSEE bus which drops you off 100 meters from the lake.
There are 2 main parking lots at Eibsee lake: one for the Zugspitze cable car and one at the Eibsee hotel. Both are the same price and accessible from 5am to 10pm so it doesn’t really matter which one you choose.
The automat only takes cash and doesn’t accept payment by card!
The parking lot at the Eibsee hotel (on the right) is closest to the start of the hiking trail around Eibsee lake.
|Earlybird parking from 5:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
|Parking up to 4 hours (exit after 9:30 a.m.)
|Every additional hour up to 10:00 p.m. at the latest
|Parking after 10:00 p.m. is prohibited, surcharge for infringement
|Coach parking lot
It’s 1h13 driving to reach Eibsee lake in Grainau.
FROM GARMISCH PARTENKIRCHEN
It’s approximately 13 minutes driving to the lake but make sure to arrive on time cause during the Summer months both parking lots fill up fast.
Where to stay near Eibsee Lake
- Romantik Alpenhotel Waxenstein – So far I’ve stayed at this hotel twice and absolutely love it. It’s in authentic German style and offers an incredible view over the Zugspitze.
- Werdenfelserei – The Werdenfelserei is an extraordinary mixture where tradition mixes with modern alpine style.
- Hotel Maximilian – This privately owned Alpine-style design hotel is located in the center of Oberammergau and offers design rooms and a spa area.
- Hotel Atlas Sport – A modern hotel in Garmisch Partenkirchen and only 1km from the ski lift.
- Golden GaPa Family Apartment 23 – An entire appartement in true Bavarian style which also offers bbq options.
- Hotel Klosterhotel Ludwig der Bayer – This hotel in the Ettal monastery is a cozy base for active and relaxing holidays in the heart of the Ammergau Alps.
When is the best time to visit Eibsee Lake
To be honest Eibsee is incredible to visit during every season it just depends on the other activities that you’re interested in.
During the Summer months it’s high season so you can expect a lot of locals and tourists sunbathing and swimming. There are also several boat rentals where you can grab a kayak or pedalo.
If you wish to avoid the big crowds then either Spring or Autumn are your best choices. The water is too cold then to swim but all of the hiking trails are still accessible. And during Autumn the trees around the lake have different shades of orange which only makes the scene more magical.
But Eibsee is also spectacular in the Winter months! During this time you can also go skiing in the Zugspitze area and the hiking trail around the lake is also still accessible.
If you’re visiting Eibsee lake as a photographer make sure to visit during sunrise or sunset.
What to do at Eibsee Lake
There’s a beautiful hiking trail which goes all the way around the lake and has several paths to go of the official trail to get to a more scenic viewpoint.
The hike is 7,1km in total and takes 1h40 minutes to complete at an average pace.
At some point it’s also possible to walk right alongside the lake but this mostly depends on the water level. Always be cautious if doing so! At some parts there will be a little pathway that leads you straight to the shoreline but often you’ll have to climb down a couple of rocks.
The hiking trail is accessible to everyone and easy to complete with only a little elevation gain. But it will still be enough to get a beautiful overview of the lake in some places.
It’s a hike for every age and it’s handicapped accessible.
TIP – Start your hike counterclockwise (the trail is behind the Eibsee hotel parking lot) to get to the best views first. Most people go in the other direction so this means there will be less people when you start on the hiking trail.
If you start hiking counterclockwise you’ll pass by the most beautiful viewpoint after 15 to 20 minutes. You’ll recognise it cause one of the small islets is right in the middle. However when I was last there they had put up a swimming dock in that area as well.
But not to worry there’s honestly no bad viewpoint if you have the Zugspitze in the background.
One of the most photographed viewpoints at Eibsee lake is the one at that triangle rock. It’s a little tricky to find and it took me a long time but I’ll try to explain as good as possible for you!
How to reach the most famous viewpoint at Eibsee Lake
After walking counterclockwise for about 20 minutes you’ll reach the before mentioned viewpoint. Keep on following the path until you see a bench and just after that you’ll a small trail veering off towards the lake that goes through the woods.
All you have to do is follow the trail and you’ll end up at the rock!
Drone photography at Eibsee Lake
Eibsee Lake is a real dream come true for drone photography due to all of the different islets and the colour changes in the lake.
Here are some tips if you’re flying your drone here for the first time.
- Make sure to fully charge your drone and phone and bring spare batteries.
- Don’t fly when it’s crowded cause you might bring others in danger. Eibsee lake is also a popular spot to go walking with kids and dogs so be careful!
- Find a safe place to take off and fly high enough so you don’t hit any of the trees surrounding the lake.
- The best time to fly is either at sunrise or before sunset. Flying in the middle of the day when there’s direct sunlight might cause bad reflections on your photos.
- Turn on the brightness on your phone. This will also drain its battery a little faster but when you’re flying you have to be able to properly see what you’re doing!
VISIT THE TOP OF THE ZUGSPITZE
The Zugspitze cable car, only a few steps from the Eibsee, is not only the most modern cable car in the Alps, it also holds 3 world records and allows you to admire the Eibsee lake from a bird’s eye view.
When boarding the cable car, make sure to stand on the side facing the Eibsee, so that you can enjoy the magnificent view of the Eibsee from the large, glass-enclosed cabins.
Once at the summit, an impressive 360 ° panorama opens up. The ultimate feeling of freedom at the Zugspitze summit is simply indescribable. In fair weather, views extend over a sea of 400 peaks in Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.
The cable car up to the Zugspitze is in operation all year round.
- September – June – 08.30 am – 4.45pm
- July – August – 8am – 5.45pm
- Runs at least every 30 min.
- Journey time 10 min.
- Last ascent 30 min. prior end of service.
Of course you can also challenge yourself and go for one of the many different climbing and hiking trails. In total there are 5 different hiking trails leading up to the Zugspitze and most take 8 to 10 hours to complete (one way). These hikes are because of that often combined with an overnight stay in one of the alpine huts on the mountain.
BOAT RENTAL & SUP
Enjoy the most wonderful landscape from the middle of Eibsee Lake. There are all different kinds of boats to rent out: kayaks, pedal boats and you can even go stand up paddling.
If the weather allows it the boat rental facilities should open up again on May 2021.
IF YOU WANT TO DISCOVER THIS BEAUTIFUL AREA EVEN MORE MAKE SURE TO READ MY FULL GUIDE INCLUDING MANY MORE PHOTOS AND STUNNING HIKING TRAILS – 7 Best Things To Do In The Tiroler Zugspitz Arena
IF YOU LIKE THESE IMAGES YOU CAN FIND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ONES IN MY PRINT SHOP!
Charlotte Lint is the founder of Charlies Wanderings.
Charlotte has traveled all over the world and is based in Belgium where she also owns her very own dental practice.
She is an expert on writing efficient travel guides and finding unique places to stay.
Every month she helps over 134.000 people discover the most beautiful places in the world through her detailed travel guides.