Are you looking for a destination in Germany which offers a beautiful landscape, lovely villages, mountains for hiking and refreshing lakes to go swimming? Or are you looking for the pleasures of a winter wonderland? The Chiemsee – a large fresh water lake also known as the Bavarian sea – and the surrounding area offers it all.
I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike
A 57km bicycle route goes around the Chiemsee, mostly flat, thus, not too difficult and easy to do with kids. Stop for a swim in between or enjoy a typical Bavarian Brotzeit in one of the many beer gardens along the route. Beer gardens are the perfect place to eat when you are on holiday with toddlers in Bavaria. It has a picnic feel to it, you can eat outside and sometime you may even bring your own food. Kids can play in the shade of the chestnut trees (typical of the local area) or enter the playgrounds which you find next to beer gardens quite often. For the adults, nothing beats a Mass beer on a warm summer day in Bavaria.
Fun in the water
It is warm, the sky is blue and the sun is shining. Go swimming in the Chiemsee. You’ll find plenty of great beaches around the lake. For example in Bernau-Felden, an ideal place for families with water slides into the lake, a playground and no entrance fee. If you prefer a swimming pool spend a day at the Prienavera, a leisure centre located in Prien. A sauna, a nursery pool with a mini waterfall and small slide together ensure a day of fun. Either go down the adventures slides or relax in one of the wellness pools, no matter what, do not miss the breathtaking view of the moutains and the Chiemsee just in front of you.
Explore the mountains
Although you are surrounded by really high mountains, there are also easy walking tours for families with kids available to check out in the Bavarian alps. Not only child-friendly but even stroller-friendly tours are available e.g. to the Röthelmoos-Almen, Frasdorfer Hütte or Käseralm to name a few.
Boats, ferries and a fairy tale castle
Rent an electrial, row, paddle or sailing boat or a kayak and discover the Chiemsee from the water. Or you can take an individual trip to the Fraueninsel, an idyllic and romantic island with a monastery. For the kids you will find a playground in the middle of the island. If you get hungry there are cafés with delicious cakes and treats.
To visit the biggest Chiemsee island, Herrenchiemsee, you need to take the ferry. After the island was purchased by King Ludwig II of Bavaria the former Herrenchiemsee monastery was converted into a royal residence known as the Old Palace (Altes Schloss), while the king built Herrenchiemsee Palace also known as the New Palace (Neues Schloss). This fairy tale castle was built as a tribute to Versailles and will delight the whole family. The grounds, gardens and fountains are equally impressive. There is also a small compound where children may feed the “royal” deer.
Chiemsee Summer Festival
If your children are older than 6 you could spend a day or two at one the greatest summer festivals in the area. Chiemsee Summer is a multi-genre music festival. Enjoy the music, relax and have a good time together.
Bavaria is known for its traditional costumes, Dirndl for the girls and Lederhosen for the boys. you will see them worn in beer gardens or at folk festivals. In the past only tourists and the elderly were wearing the traditional costumes, but nowadays a lot of young Bavarians and even kids have one in their closet. Particularly at Bavarian weddings they have become more popular again. Next to the Chiemsee you will find a pituresque little village called Übersee am Chiemsee where they create the original costumes. Chiemseer Dirndl und Tracht are one of the manufacturers where you can buy for your children their own Dirndl or Lederhosen.
Snowflake, snowflake, little snowflake
You have a good chance to find some snow here in winter. If it’s your first time on skies the best place to go is Kraimoos in Bernau am Chiemsee. If you are a more experienced skier, the ski area Kampenwand is the place to go, with a beautiful view over the Chiemsee as you go down the white hills to the valley. Bring a sleigh or rent one on site, it might get a bit exhausting to walk up one of the hills, but sleighing down together with your family is so much fun. And you can finish the day with a snowball fight!
A little bit more comfortable – book a tour with a horse sleigh – an unforgettable experience. Covered with a warm blanket you should bring some Punsch or Glühwein as well. No noise besides the breath and the hoofbeat of the horses, sounds quite romantic doesn’t it? Maybe you have the chance for a little parents-alone-time 😉
Where to stay?
Choose a room or appartment on one of the family-friendly hotels or farms close by. Your kids will love accommodation where you can visit cows in the stable, play with dogs and cats on the farm and pet rabbits, sheep or horses. Sometimes children are allowed to help or take a ride with the farmer on a tractor. Additionally, there are a couple of campgrounds next to the lake.
No matter if summer or winter the Chiemsee area has so much to offer!
Julia, a native of Bavaria, is founder of the travel blog Travelingkinder