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Explore Lake Eibsee in Bavaria: Travel Guide to Germany’s Most Beautiful Lake

Explore Lake Eibsee in Bavaria: Travel Guide to Germany’s Most Beautiful Lake

What to expect from visiting gorgeous Eibsee in the Bavarian Alps
Alexander & VictoriaHi! We're Alex & Victoria - a digital nomad couple from Copenhagen escaping 9-5 to chase adventures in our beautiful world. Learn more about us here.
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Germany’s most beautiful lake

There’s no way around it: Eibsee is absolutely stunning.

With crystal clear waters and unparalleled views to Germany’s tallest mountain, Zugspitze (2,962 metres), Eibsee is a sight for sore eyes.

We visited the German lake in early October on a blissful evening and returned on a misty morning that turned sunny.

In this guide, we’ll help you get the most out of your visit including what to do at Eibsee, the best photo spots, how to get there and more. Enjoy!

Where to stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Search for the best value accommodation in Garmisch-Partenkirchen here.

Eibsee's natural beauty
We were mesmerized by Eibsee’s natural beauty.
Late afternoon light at Eibsee
As always, visiting in the early morning or late afternoon gives the best light and fewest tourists.
Misty Eibsee
We got very lucky with this particular morning.
Eibsee and Zugspitze
Germany’s highest mountain and *this* lake at the same time? Perfection.
Victoria at the lake jumping from stone to stone
Follow your curiosity; the lake is one big playground for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers.

What to expect at Eibsee

Located just 10 kilometres (~ 15 minutes of driving) from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Eibsee is easily reached by either your own wheels, public transport or (if you’re fit) by hiking.

The temperature drops a little bit up here as the lake is situated at an elevation of 973 metres compared to Garmisch-Partenkirchen at just over 700 metres, but it’s not too bad.

Arriving at Eibsee, the first thing you’ll notice is how incredibly beautiful this area is. We’ll let the photos do the talking.

Eibsee in the early morning mist
Eibsee in the early morning mist.
Island at Eibsee
The islands on the lake look unreal.
Water at Eibsee
And that’s without mentioning that water!

Hiking around the lake

Follow the shops to start hiking around the lake’s southern part or walk across the parking lot to your right (when you arrive) to start hiking north towards the Eibsee-Brücke (Eibsee bridge) where the trail leads west around the northern part of the lake.

Walking all the way around the lake on the Eibsee Circular Route is about a 1,5-2 hour hike at 8 kilometres of length, but if you’re anything like us, you’ll take a lot longer as there are simply so many gorgeous vantage points to take photos from.

Zugspitze is located south of the lake, so the best views of the mountain are from the northern shores. Not that looking towards the north isn’t pretty, too.

We recommend walking all the way around Eibsee if you have the time.

The Eibsee-Brücke
The Eibsee-Brücke is a fantastic viewpoint of Eibsee and Zugspitze.
The path running around the lake
The path running around the lake is easily walkable-
Paths leading into the woods
There are also paths leading into the woods.
View towards the north (facing away from Zugspitze)
View towards the north (facing away from Zugspitze).

Map

Lake Eibsee is located roughly 10 kilometres southwest of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and 100 kilometres southwest of Munich, the Bavarian capital.

Map showing the mountain tops with names and heights
Map showing the mountain tops with names and heights.
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Morning at Lake Eibsee
Alex at Eibsee alone
While it’s a pretty popular spot, there are plenty of places along the shores that you can get all to yourself.

Opening times

Entrance to the lake itself is open 24/7/365 (as far as we can tell), but parking is restricted to between 05:00 and 22:00.

Eibsee rules drone camping swimming
You’re free to have fun at Eibsee, but there are a few restrictions. For example, flying a drone is not allowed.
Eibsee swimming
You can jump into the lake if you want, but it might be a cold experience!
Alex & Victoria by the lake
On warm days, it would definitely be refreshing.

Price

Entrance to Eibsee is free.

Victoria at Eibsee
Visiting Eibsee doesn’t cost a thing.

Parking

It’s possible to park just 100 metres from shore near the Eibsee-Hotel.

The parking lot is open from 05:00-22:00. In other words, no overnight parking. There’s a height limit of 2,10 metres.

There are possibly options for free parking on the road leading up to the lake.

Parking timesPrices
Earlybird parking from 5:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.2.00 euros
Parking up to 4 hours (exit after 9:30 a.m.)6.00 euros
Every additional hour up to max. 22:00.1.00 euros
Parking after 10:00 p.m. is prohibited, surcharge for infringement.50.00 euros

(Taken from Eibsee.de on October 11, 2020)

The parking lot at Lake Eibsee
The parking lot at Lake Eibsee.
Eibsee in fall
Lake Eibsee is a place you can visit again and again.
Amazing colours at Eibsee
How could you grow tired of views like this?

How to get to Eibsee with public transport

Eibsee is easily reached by public transport.

You can take the Eibsee bus from Garmisch-Partenkirchen directly to Eibsee in about 40 minutes.

The last return during summer is at about 20:00. From October to mid-June, the last bus returns to town at 19:10.

From July to September, there’s a bus called the Eibsee-Express-Bus with the trip taking just 20 minutes.

In addition to the busses, there’s a rack railway from Garmisch-Partenkirchen that takes visitors about 300 metres from the lakeshore.

LinksBus timetable & train timetable.

The rack railway
The rack railway takes people from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Eibsee (and all the way up to Zugspitze!)
Eibsee morning mist in October
Reflections in Eibsee
When the lake is still, the reflections are amazing.

When to visit Eibsee

As with most places, the light is (usually) at its most spectacular around sunrise and sunset.

At these times, you also have the added bonus of fewer visitors in general.

We visited Eibsee in October and got lucky with clear skies and beautiful autumn foliage colours surrounding the lake.

In summer, it’s possible to bathe in the lake. It’s actually possible all year-round, but be prepared for a cold shock if you decide to jump in during winter!

Visiting Lake Eibsee in autumn
Visiting Lake Eibsee in autumn is easily recommended. We’re sure that the rest of the year is wonderful, too.
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What to bring to Eibsee

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Eibsee couple
What a place.

Minimise your impact

To minimise your impact during your visit at Lake Eibsee, follow these guidelines:

  • Bring your own drinking water in a refillable bottle.
  • Avoid single-use plastics, including straws.
  • Dispose of waste properly. While putting your trash in a nearby trashcan is convenient, wrappers and other small items are prone to get taken by the wind and end up in the lake.
  • Check your sunscreen if you intend to swim. Many brands contain oxybenzone and other chemicals that are harmful.
  • Take only photos, leave only footprints. Let everything stay in its natural place. No stone-throwing.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.
  • Respect wildlife.
Lake Eibsee dusk
Lake Eibsee is a place to be cherished and protected.
Victoria happy at Eibsee
Treat nature well and it will do the same to you!
Thanks for reading

Thanks for reading our travel guide to Lake Eibsee in Germany. We hope it has been useful!

What do you think about Eibsee? Is it the most beautiful lake in Germany?

If you’ve been to Eibsee, it would be awesome to hear your best tips in the comments.

If you haven’t been yet, please don’t hesitate to ask us anything. We’re happy to help you with your travels.

Eibsee travel guide
We hope you enjoyed our travel guide to Eibsee!
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