The Bayern Local Series: Staffelsee

The weather here in Bavaria the last few weeks has been really weird! Warm sunshine and 20C one day, freezing temperatures with snow the next. We’ve been lucky to have a couple of the nicer days occur when we could take advantage of them, so hubby and I have been able to enjoy a few bike rides.

We thought a change of scenery would also be good, so one day we packed a picnic lunch, threw our bikes on the back of the car and drove to the Staffelsee, a large lake about an hour south of our home. It’s one of many lakes in the area but certainly not one of the better-known ones, and it was a new destination for both of us.

The Staffelsee shoreline is actually quite interesting. To the north and east it’s rather hilly, and it has several islands which are also hilly. To the west are wetlands and to the south is a ridge, beyond which lies the Murnauer Moos, the largest continuous wetland of its kind in central Europe. There are a few towns along the lake shore, the largest of which is called Murnau am Staffelsee. The whole area, as you can see from the photos, is very scenic.

A few other fun facts: the lake is one of the warmest in the area, so if you enjoy your swimming temperatures on the higher end of the spectrum, this is a good place to go! Spring through Autumn you can also take a boat cruise around the lake (not operating currently due to covid-19, but hopefully again soon). The whole loop takes 70 minutes, and the boat makes four rounds per day. You can also just use the boat to get from one dock to another.

The route we took for our ride (the standard Staffelsee ‘Wanderweg’) was about 22 km long and not too hilly, so it’s good for beginners or those not up for a long ride. Some of it is off-road, however, so it’s not suitable for road bikes. If you prefer walking of course you can walk this route, and if the full 22 km is too far you can walk a portion and then catch the boat back to your starting point. Just be sure to note where and when you can board and disembark, so you don’t get stuck! Finally, there’s also a longer bike route that takes in more of the surrounding area. You can read about each of the routes and more here (German only).

With basically all the restaurants and shops closed due to covid-19 restrictions we didn’t venture into the center of Murnau, but it looks like a very attractive town with a pedestrian zone and plenty of restaurants. Trains run regularly between Murnau and Munich, so you don’t need a car to get there. There are also three campgrounds around the lake, one of which is located on one of the islands, so it’s a great camping destination. If camping isn’t your thing, you’ll also find several hotels and plenty of vacation rentals.

I’m really hoping that one day very soon we’ll be able to get out for more than just a bike ride with a picnic lunch – and when we do, if you’re in Bavaria this is one place to consider visiting!

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