An Amazing 2D1N Stopover at Lake Starnberg
May 31, 2017
If you’re visiting Munich for a long period of time, why not spend a weekend relaxing at Lake Starnberg? Lake Starnberg is a popular recreation area since 1976. The drive from Munich to the city of Starnberg is just around 30 minutes. Starnberg is also situated on the Munich S-Bahn line S6, and there are frequent trains to and from Munich.
Lake Starnberg, also known as Lake Würm and Fürstensee, is Germany’s fifth largest freshwater lake in terms of area. It was named Fürstensee (Prince’s Lake) because of its associations with the Wittelsbach royal family. The lake was created by ice age glaciers from the Alps, and has a single small island, the Roseninsel (Rose Island), and a single outlet, the Würm river. The lake’s water is of superb quality due to the introduction of a circular sewerage system in the 1960s which collects wastewater from the settlements around the lake and transports it to a treatment plant below the lake’s outlet at Starnberg.
Besides visiting Roseninsel, you can take a ferry ride around the lake, have a go at driving your own speedboat, hike or cycle around the lake using a path of approximately 49 kilometres long, and pop by neighbouring small towns such as Berg, which is famous as the site where King Ludwig II of Bavaria was found dead in the lake in 1886. Here’s what I’ve done over the weekend in Lake Starnberg.
Saturday Morning : Roseninsel
We caught a boat from Glockensteg in the Lennépark to cross to the Roseninsel. Archaeological excavations in the last two centuries suggest that this island was already populated around 2000 to 800 BC and served as a cult site. In the 12th century, a Romanesque stone church was built on the island. But today, only the west wall and the foundations exist. Until the middle of the 19th century, the island was used by fishermen and farmers.
In 1850, King Maximilian II of Bavaria bought the island from the fishing family, Kugelmüller, for the price of 3000 florins. This included land on the opposite western bank. King Maximilian II of Bavaria saw a quiet summer reflection when he transformed the only island in Lake Starnberg to the Roseninsel. He commissioned the royal villa to his son, Ludwig II of Bavaria. Ludwig II of Bavaria was particularly attached to this place, and made frequent renovations and remodelling of the small garden and the villa, which is called casino. This casino, named Schlöschen, stands in the middle of a park, with an oval rose garden, and a five-meter-high blue-white glass column in its centre. You can visit the casino from Tuesdays to Sundays between 12pm to 6pm.
The other place of interest is the gardener’s house – the only permanent inhabitant of the island, the gardener. Today, the two-storey gardener’s house is home to a museum where very expensive group tours are offered. It is difficult to visit without guidance. Do note that there are no food sold on this island, and no accommodation offered. Camping is forbidden, and you are not allowed to bring dogs on the island. Check out http://www.roseninsel.org/ for more information on the pricing and operating hours.
Saturday Afternoon/Evening : Ferry Ride around Lake Starnberg
The best way to familiarise yourselves with the sights at Lake Starnberg is a boat trip on the lake. I can’t remember how long the boat trip lasted, but we took a round boat trip which include the stations Starnberg, Berg, Possenhofen, Tutzing, Bernried, and Seeshaupt. The ticket allows you to get out at any station and continue the ride with one the next ships. You should take a look at the timetable, and plan your trip well, in order to get the best out of your boat ride.
Our boat ride started from Starnberg. Located at the first stop, Berg, Schloss Berg was the summer seat of King Ludwig II. It was here that he spent the final days of his life. A short walk through the royal park takes you to a memorial chapel, and the cross in the lake, where Ludwig II drowned in mysterious circumstances. Next, the boat will bring you to Possenhofen. It’s worth seeing Schloss Possenhofen, the castle where Sissi, the future empress Elisabeth of Austria, grew up at.
The boat will move on to Tutzing, where you can alight and visit the Guggerhof, built in the 16th century, as well as, the Baroque-style church St. Joseph. When you reach the jetty of Bernried, you’ll be able to see the Museum of Phantasy which houses a world famous collection of expressionist works, especially from the art association “Brücke”. You can savour a delectable dinner at a recommended restaurant, Lido, with a pleasant beer garden at the final stop, Seeshaupt, before catching the ferry back to Starnberg.
We slept in and felt really relaxed on this weekend trip. We spent the lazy morning strolling along the promenade at the lake, and checking out Maximillianstrasse with its interesting shops. We even tried driving a speedboat for an hour, and had so much fun!
Before heading back to Munich, we stopped by Dechant Fischladen & Restaurant, a popular fish and seafood restaurant in Starnberg. Do remember to make reservations to avoid disappointments as their fresh fish and seafood are always sold out, and they are always fully packed with satisfied diners. Visit their website for more information.
I would like to thank my German friend, Lena, for planning the itinerary, and showing me around Bavaria. I wouldn’t have known where to visit, or where to eat and stay at, in smaller towns where there’s not much information online. It’s an entirely different experience when you’re part of a tour group, and when you’re seeing things from a native German’s perspective. Thanks so much for making my trip so enjoyable!