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If you were to spend a weekend in Munich, you might notice an eerie calm resting over the city. You might even feel as if you were missing out on something. Well, truth be told you are missing out on something. One of our amazing ideas for a day trip from Munich, to be precise. Most locals get out of the city for the weekend to explore the beautiful surrounding areas. Part of the allure of living in or visiting Munich is enjoying the surrounding area nature of Bavaria, the lakes, and the towering Alps. What better way enjoy all this than to get out of the city with an active day trip from Munich to Lake Starnberger, one of Germany’s largest and best lakes?
Starnberger See or Lake Starnberg is Germany’s 5th largest lake and a popular day trip from Munich for the locals, and now you! The lake offers many water-related activities such as windsurfing and sailing or you can just sit back and relax with a nice swim and a cool beer. The best way to get there, in my opinion, is by bike. Biking is ideal because once you’re at the lake you can ride around and find the perfect spot to set up camp and even venture off to see where the famous King Ludwig II mysteriously “drown.” The trek will take an intermediate biker about 2 hours and 15 minutes one way. If spending 4 hours on a bike isn’t you’re thing the S6 will take you to the outskirts of the lake, or you can bike there, enjoy a nice swim and bring your bike back to Munich on the S6. Please reference the map at the end of this post to follow the same path this guide references, as there are several less scenic routes.
Trip Stats for Munich Starnberger See
Length of Time: 4-7 hour day. About 2-4 hours of riding (depending on if you do a one way or RT) and about 2-3 hours to enjoy the lake and grab some food. Skill Level: 40 HP, which is a beginner to intermediate! The trail is mostly flat, with 190m elevation gain and 112m loss. Options and Cost: The cost of a Sbahn ticket, less than 5euros, and bike rental. I suggest renting bikes from Radius Tours. A day rental will set you back anywhere from 14-39 Euros depending on your bike. I recommend the Sport Bike for this trip. Bring some cash for lunch and beer! Packing List:
Bicycle, I recommend a sport bike with a basket and a helmet.
A day bag with swim attire, towel, sunscreen and any inflatables you want.
Water bottle of Camelback.
Good shoes for biking.
Map, or pre-downloaded google maps.
Water shoes or flip flops, if you want to swim.
A good book or other activity, if you want to relax by the lake a read.
Make sure you budget enough time to deal with the bike rental. You may want to rent the bikes the day before, so you’re ready to go in the morning. You can also rent the bikes day of, it only takes a few minutes- plus transportation to the central station- to rent bikes. I recommend a semi-early start, but you don’t need to be up at the crack of dawn. Take enough time in the morning to get ready, eat breakfast and check your bike tires..etc. If you’re on the road by 10 or 11 am you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and arrive around lunchtime.
My favorite thing about this trip is the variety of scenery you take in, in just over 2 hours. Starting with city riding, the trip continues through farms, dense forests, shaded trails and a path alongside the autobahn. I really can’t think of any other trip quite like this.
Riding in Munich is very easy. The cars are usually always aware of you and the bike lanes and paths are clearly marked. Just ride with confidence in the same direction as traffic, follow all lights and signs and you’ll be just fine. As soon as you get to the Isar you’ll enjoy a nice scenic flat bike trail along the river. Trails are divided for pedestrians and cyclists, so make sure you’re on the right trail! Take a minute to scope out some of the best picnic and swimming areas for a return afternoon or evening by the Isar. Eventually, your paved path will fade as you take a right and cross a major bridge (Reference the map.) After the bridge, take a left and turn onto a dirt path leading into golden farmland.
**Photo Cred goes to my awesome sister, Cat Kelly!
Riding Through Munich’s Farms
As you leave the city behind you enter a sea of golden wheat fields! The path from here is mostly unpaved, but packed down and manageable. In Bayern, farms are everywhere, so it’s natural to have daily paths that cross and intertwine with them. Be mindful of the farms and working farmers. Not long after you cross the golden fields you enter a grand German forest.
Riding Through the Munich’s Forests
This next section is my favorite! Not very many people take this route, but it rides through the dense forests. The trees surrounding Munich tower over the paths winding in and out of them. On a sunny day, just enough light seeps through the branches to light the moss covered ground in a neon glow. There are lots of smaller trails designed for Fire Engines in a case of emergency, stick to the bigger trails and the map if you can. This is probably the most off-roading you will do. Be especially careful if it recently rained, as these paths can get a bit muddy. After the forest, you turn onto another dirt road that stretches out in front of you for a few Kms before it meets up with the less scenic bike route. From here on out you basically follow the bike trail along the autobahn without turning and you’ll soon reach Starnberger See.
Activities at Lake Starnber
Once you’re near the Lake, you’ll know by all the cars parking and people carrying floaties, turn down one of the side paths toward the lake. You’ll join up with another bike and pedestrian trail where you can ride around until you find a place that looks suitable to set up your picnic blanket. You may also want to find a place for lunch. I recommend peddling to Hotel Am See, which has an open-air deck/beer garden overlooking the lake. Change into your swimsuit here and get ready to jump into the lake to cool off. You can also stop by a kiosk for beers to bring down to the lake with you!
Past Hotel Am See the trail continues on a shared road. Follow the signs for Ludwig’s memorial. This trail gets a little steep and takes a sharp right on a narrow and rocky path. It’s not long though and you’ll soon sport a church overlooking the lake. If you look out into the lake you’ll see a cross where King Ludwig II (the same guys who built Neuschwanstein) died mysteriously in the lake. He death is historically recorded as an accidental drowning, but more than enough proof exists to show he was shot and killed by those who wanted to dethrone him.
After you have fully enjoyed your time at the Lake you have two options to get home: hop on the S-Bahn, (remember to buy a ticket for your bike as well) or ride the same way back.
What is your favorite day trip from Munich? Let me know in your comments! If you have any questions about this day trip from Munich to Starnberger See, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m always happy to help you plan and customize your trip.
Susanna grew up in small-town Alaska where the changing climate was always on her mind. Through traveling, she gained an interest in the power of sustainable and regenerative travel. She now attends a Master's program for environmental sustainability and bridges sustainable travel with environmental science.