Eibsee is a mountain lake at the foot of Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain, in the Wetterstein Mountains of Upper Bavaria. It’s especially scenic because it’s backed by jagged limestone peaks, encircled by thick forest, and studded with eight tiny islands. 

Bavaria’s most arresting lake is located in the municipality of Grainau, 13 km southwest of Garmisch-Partenkirchen (15 minute drive) and 100 km from Munich (1:30 hour drive), in the south of Germany. It’s easy to reach, and thus exceedingly popular. 

Is Eibsee really worth visiting? Yes, absolutely! Crystal-clear, emerald-colored Lake Eibsee is a dream destination in the Bavarian Alps for walking, swimming, stand-up-paddling, and photography. Visit early, or late in the day for the most enjoyable experience. 


How to Visit Lake Eibsee in the Bavarian Alps

Lake Eibsee Rock Viewpoint, Bavaria, Germany
  • Region: Upper Bavaria
  • Surface Area: 177.4 hectares / 438 acres 
  • Maximum Depth: 35.4 meters / 116 feet 
  • Surface Elevation: 973.28 meters / 3,193.2 feet 
  • Swimming: Allowed 
  • Dogs: Allowed 
  • Cycling: Allowed 
  • Boating: SUPs and pedal boats can be rented at the lake. 
  • Camping: Wild camping and car camping are strictly prohibited at Lake Eibsee. If you want to stay at the lake, stay at the Eibsee Hotel
  • Drones: Forbidden
  • Campfires/Grills: Forbidden 
  • Fishing: Only Lake Eibsee Hotel Guests are allowed to fish between May 1st and October 1st. 
  • Where to Stay in Grainau: St. Anton (budget), or Hotel Längenfelder Hof (midrange-luxury)
  • Where to Stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Olympiahaus (budget), Quartier – Lodges Biohotel (midrange-luxury), or Werdenfelserei (luxury)

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Lake Eibsee Map


Lake Eibsee Photo Spots

The best Eibsee photography spots are concentrated along the north shore.  We’ve marked the best Lake Eibsee photo spots on the map. To find out how to get to them, read the Eibsee circuit trail description below.

  • The Sasseninsel Island bay viewpoint 
  • The Rock viewpoint
  • The Maximilianinsel island viewpoint 
  • Wankle viewpoint

How to Get to Eibsee

Lake Eibsee Sunrise, Bavaria, Germany

By Car 

Eibsee is a 15-minute drive from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and a 1:30 hour drive from Munich. 

Type in “Eibsee Parkplatz” or “Eibsee Hotel” into your GPS. 

Use this exact location to navigate to the Eibsee car parks, which are located 100 meters from the lakeshore. 

We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals in Germany. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.


Parking at Eibsee

Paid Parking 

There are two pay on exit car parks (P1 and P2) at Eibsee, 100 meters from the lakeshore. 

The Eibsee car parks are open to the public between 5 am and 10 pm. Overnight parking is strictly forbidden and subject to a violation fee of 50 EUR. 

Pricing:

  • Earlybird Morning Fee (5 am – 9:30 am): 2.50 EUR
  • Up to 4 Hours: 8 EUR
  • Every Additional Hour: 1 EUR

Payment Method:

  • Pay for your parking at the “Kasse” after your visit. 
  • The parking machines accept both credit cards and cash. 

Important Considerations:

  • The last possible entry is 9:30 pm. 
  • You must exit the car park by 10:15 pm. 
  • The Eibsee car parks are also located near the Seilbahn Zugspitze cableway valley station. You can combine a visit to Eibsee with a cableway ascent to Zugspitze in one day, or even half-a-day. 

Free Parking

Alternatively, you can park for free along Eibseestrasse, the road leading to Eibsee. There are two small car parks. In Google Maps, they are called “Wanderparkplatz,” which means hiking car park. 

Wanderparkplatz 1: 

  • Exact Location: 47.46624, 11.00606
  • This small car park is located on the right side of the Eibseestrasse road as you’re driving towards Eibsee. 
  • From here, you can follow a 2.1 km forest trail to the lake. 

Wanderparkplatz 2:

  • Exact Location: 47.460438, 11.000376
  • This car park is located on the left side of the road as you’re driving towards Eibsee. 
  • From here, you can walk along the road for 1.1 km to the lake. 

By Transit 

From Munich 

You can travel to Garmisch-Partenkirchen by train, or by bus. 

There are 4 Flixbus departures daily (7:30 am, 12 pm, 4 pm, 8 pm). Rates start at 5.99 EUR one-way. 

From Garmisch-Partenkirchen 

All year round, the Eibsee Bus connects Garmisch with Eibsee in 40 minutes. See bus timetable


Things to Do at Lake Eibsee


Hike the Eibsee Circuit Trail

Lake Eibsee Circuit Hike, Germany
  • Distance: 7.6 km circuit  
  • Time needed: 1:30 – 2:00 hours
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 75 meters
  • Minimum Elevation: 974 m
  • Maximum Elevation: 1020 m
  • Which Direction to Hike: We hiked the circuit trail clockwise, leaving the best part – the north shore – for last. If you have limited time and can only hike part of the trail, start counter-clockwise instead. 

The Eibsee Circuit Trail (Eibsee Rundweg) follows a wide gravel path around the lake. 

From the Eibsee Car Park, follow signs to Eibsee-Rundweg (Lake Loop Trail), Seerestaurant & Café Eibsee-Pavilion (Lakeside Restaurant and Eibsee Pavillon), Biergarten am See (Beer Garden by the Lake), and Eisdiele (Ice Cream Parlor). 

The trail leads left along the southeast shore, initially along a paved path. Pass the Eibsee Pavillon and boat rental area. 

When the trail splits, continue right along the lakeshore. 

Soon, you’ll reach the spruce-fringed Frillensee Lake, located on the left side of the trail. 

As you continue, you’ll pass by pebbly beaches, which are popular bathing areas in summer. 

Looking across the lake, the Ammergau Alps dominate the landscape. 

The path ascends through forest gently away from the shore. 

After reaching the highest point along the trail (1020 meters), the trail comfortably descends back to the shore across the steep slopes of Schwarze Wand and Blaue Wand. 

The tiny forested islands of Ludwiginsel, Scheibeinsel, and Alpenbühl come into view. 

There’s an opportunity to detour to the water, where you’ll find a lovely beach and a wooden dock. The views of the Wetterstein mountains are fantastic. 

Back on the main trail, you’ll soon reach the westernmost end of Lake Eibsee. 

Now on the north shore, the views get increasingly more interesting. Soon you’ll come to the “Wankle” viewpoint, with an unparalleled vantage point of the islands and the  Zugspitze, Riffelwandspitzen, Riffelspitzen, and Waxensteine peaks.

Lake Eibsee, Zugspitze, Germany

Continue for 750 meters. There’s an unmarked/unsigned yet well trodden path leading down to the lake. This path is located between a bench and a set of cycling signs. Take this trail to access various viewpoints along the north shore including:

  • The Maximilianinsel (the island with the tiny hut) Viewpoint
  • Braxeninsel Viewpoint
  • The “Eibsee Rock” Viewpoint 

We recommend returning back to the main trail along the same route. 

Continue on the main trail. The Eibsee circuit trail leads between the Steinringpriel lake and a narrow bay, which perfectly frames the Sasseninsel island. This is a very popular photo motif. 

Before completing the circuit, the trail crosses Untersee over a bridge. Untersee is a “lake tongue” of Eibsee. 

The trail wraps around Eibsee Hotel and leads back to the car park. 


Swim in Lake Eibsee 

Lake Eibsee, Bavarian Alps, Germany

With its crystal-clear waters, Lake Eibsee is the ultimate mountain lake for swimming in Bavaria. In Summer, water temperatures reach a warm 22°C (71.6°F). 

You can swim absolutely anywhere, wherever the lakeshore is easily accessible. There are pebbly beaches around the whole lake. 

Our favorite swimming spot is located along the north shore, just beyond the Untersee bridge. 


Rent a Boat at Lake Eibsee

Lake Eibsee Morning, Bavaria, Germany

You can rent SUPs and row boats directly at Lake Eibsee from 10 am until 3:45/4 pm. 

Additionally, visitors can tour the lake on the “Reserl” excursion boat. The 20-minute scenic boat ride costs 7.50 EUR for adults and 2.50 EUR for children. 

SUP pricing:

  • 1 hour: 15 EUR
  • 2 hours: 25 EUR
  • 3 hours: 35 EUR
  • 4 hours: 45 EUR
  • Each additional hour: 10 EUR

Rowing boat (4 people max) pricing:

  • 30 minutes: 8.50 EUR
  • 1 hour: 12 EUR

Pedal boat (5 people max) pricing:

  • 30 minutes: 10.50 EUR
  • 1 hour: 15 EUR

Slide boat (4 people max) pricing:

  • 30 minutes: 11.50 EUR
  • 1 hour: 16 EUR

Important:

  • You cannot dock at the islands.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the boats. 

Lake Eibsee Restaurants

All the eateries and facilities are concentrated along the eastern shore of Lake Eibsee. 

Seerestaurant & Café Eibsee-Pavillon is a full-service lakeside restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating situated at the east-end of the lake, very close to the car parks. The restaurant is open from 10 am until 5:30 pm. 

Biergarten am See is a self-service lakeside beer garden, directly next to the Seerestaurant & Café. The outdoor-only beer garden is open from 12 pm until 7 pm in nice weather. The kitchen closes at 6:30 pm. 

Eisdiele is an ice cream parlor next to the souvenir shop, across from the boat rental area.

Eibsee Alm is an alpine pasture hut located just beyond the Seilbahn Zugspitze cableway valley station.


When to Visit Eibsee Lake


Best Season to Visit Lake Eibsee 

Lake Eibsee Sunrise, Upper Bavaria, Germany
Sunrise in late-July

It’s possible to visit Lake Eibsee all-year-round. 

The best time of year to visit Lake Eibsee for recreational activities is summer (mid/late June – mid-September), when the water temperature is 17- 22° C. The current water temperature is updated here

However, it’s advisable to visit early, or late in the day to secure parking, escape the crowds, and avoid the punishing midday sun.  In high season (July – August), it’s possible that the car park fills up by 9 am. 

For walking and photography, Fall (late-September – late October) is also a great time to visit.  

In winter, Lake Eibsee is also accessible, but the lake may be frozen. 


Best Time of Day to Visit Eibsee 

Lake Eibsee Sunset, Bavaria, Germany
Sunset in mid-July

The best time of day to visit Eibsee Lake is early in the morning or in the evening. 

In high summer, days are very long in the Bavarian Alps. The sun rises around 5:40 am and sets around 9 pm. 

On sunny days, it can get very hot (31°C / 87.8°F) in the afternoon. If you’re sensitive to the heat or otherwise want to avoid the midday crowds, plan on visiting before 9 am or after 6 pm. 

During our first visit to the lake in mid-July, we arrived at 7 pm, walked the circuit trail clockwise, and watched the sunset along the north shore. The trail was blissfully quiet. On our second visit in late-July, we visited at 5:30 am and enjoyed the sunrise with only a few other photographers. 


Sunset at Lake Eibsee 

From the north shore of Lake Eibsee, visitors have an unparalleled view of Zugspitze and the Wetterstein mountains. 

On clear evenings, the limestone peaks light up in vibrant pink and coral hues. It’s one of the best places to experience alpenglow in Bavaria.


Sunrise at Lake Eibsee

Sunrise is the most popular time to photograph Lake Eibsee. Like sunset, the best views are from the north shore. The Wetterstein mountains light up in pastel pinks before fading into soft whites. Slowly, the forest above the south shore illuminates.


Where to Stay


Lake Eibsee

Luxury | Eibsee Hotel is a 4-star hotel located on the shores of Lake Eibsee, at the foot of Zugspitze. Stay here for the idyllic location, lake and mountain views, and wellness facilities (indoor swimming pool, multiple saunas, sun deck, garden, hotel-guest-only beach). Welcome extras include free use of kayaks, canoes, and SUPs, the Guest Card Grainau, and free on-site parking (including day of departure). Breakfast is included and half board is available. 

In winter, guests have access to a free ski shuttle, Snowshoes, ice skates and toboggans, and a 20% discount off ski equipment. 


Grainau 

Grainau is a village within the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, located at the foot of the Zugspitze massif. Though quieter and more secluded than neighboring Garmisch, Grainau is perfectly positioned for exploring Lake Eibsee, Höllentalklamm gorge and Höllental valley, and the high summits of the Wettersteingebirge, including Alpspitze

Budget | St. Anton is a top-rated guesthouse with Lüftlmalerei (art murals) and traditional furnishings. Set in a wooded area with mountain views, this charming accommodation looks like a scene from Hansel and Gretel. Double rooms and apartments are available. 

Midrange-Luxury | Hotel Längenfelder Hof is a lovely, family-run hotel surrounded by meadows and facing the Wetterstein Mountains in Grainau. This idyllic 4-star hotel features spacious chalet-chic rooms, a wellness area, an indoor swimming pool, rich breakfast buffets, and complimentary afternoon tea and cake. 

More options: Hotel Garni Zum Franziskaner (budget) and Hotel am Badersee (luxury).

Look for accommodation in Grainau.


Garmisch-Partenkirchen 

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the best-known resort in the Bavarian Alps. Lying on the confluence of the Loisach and Partnach valleys, this all-year-round destination offers the most in terms of dining and shopping. During your stay, stroll along the famous Ludwigstraße in Partenkirchen, dine at Zum Wildschütz in Garmisch, and explore the natural wonder of Partnach Gorge.

We also recommend taking a day trip to Oberammergau and nearby Linderhof palace. 

Budget | Olympiahaus is a traditional Bavarian guesthouse located at the historical Olympic stadium (where the ski jump is) and at the Partnach Gorge trailhead. The Olympiahaus features an on-site restaurant, breakfast buffet (optional), and free on-site parking. 

Midrange-Luxury | Quartier – Lodges Biohotel is a modern hotel with nature-inspired minimalist interiors. Suites feature untreated stone pine paneling, natural bed linen, and metal-free beds. Breakfast is included. The hotel restaurant serves contemporary regional specialities, Tuesday to Saturday, 2 pm – 9:30 pm. 

Luxury | Werdenfelserei is a standout boutique hotel which artfully combines traditional and modern alpine design. Highlights of staying here include the Zugspitze-facing rooftop pool, on-site restaurant, spa and wellness area, breakfast (included), and creative architecture. 

More options: Hotel Schatten (budget), Central Garden-Mountain Apartment (midrange), aja Garmisch-Partenkirchen (midrange-luxury), Obermühle 4*S Boutique Resort (luxury), Private Spa & Garden Alpi (luxury). 

Look for accommodation in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.



Bavarian Alps Travel Essentials


Bavarian Alps Road Trip

The best place to start a Bavarian Alps road trip is in Munich, where there’s an international airport. Here’s our recommended Bavarian Alps & Austrian Alps itinerary.

We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals in Germany. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.

Tip: If you can only drive automatic transmission cars, as opposed to manual transmission cars (stick shift), book your can rental as early as possible.

Check car rental rates here


Guided Adventures in Bavaria


Self-Guided Multi-Day Adventures in Bavaria


Bavaria Guidebooks


Photography Gear


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