As most of you know, I live in Munich which turned out to be the perfect location for day-trips of hiking. Both Austria and the mountains of Bavaria are quite close and the choice of hiking destinations is huge. Therefore many of my hikes this year were in Bavaria instead of Austria, as it is a bit closer. Mainly in the area of Garmisch-Patenkirchen. In this blog post, I want to show you my personal best hikes in Bavaria which I’ve done this year. Of course, this is a very subjective perspective as there are so many places to go to.
Therefore I’ll give you a little insight in how I select my hikes. It is basically very easy and there are mostly two criteria. Number one and the most important one is the view from the top. The view is my motivation and greatest driver to do an exhausting hike. Therefore the view must be extraordinary. And the second criteria is the distance: the longer the drive the shorter the night of sleep. Therefore I prefer destinations which are close to Munich.
Overview of the best hikes of Bavaria:
- Easy trek at lake Eibsee
- Easy hike to Mount Wank
- Hike to spectacular located Tegernseer Hütte
- 2-days hike to the highest mountain of Germany: Zugspitze
- Difficult hike to impressive Schrecksee
- My personal FAVOURITE: Difficult hike to Soiernseen
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1. Best hikes in Bavaria: Lake Eibsee
Lake Eibsee is my favourite lake in the world. Therefore it must be on my list of the best hikes in Bavaria. This is not a big hike, but more a round tour around the lake. But I promise it is so worth it, every time of the year.
The special thing about this lake are the little islands in the lake, and the super clear turquoise water. In summer you can swim and in winter it is a huge winter wonderland.
Some impressions from summer:
And some from winter:
Summary of the hike:
Distance: approx. 7 kilometres
Difference in Altitude: approx. 50 meters; very easy
Duration: 2 hours
Parking: Am Eibsee 1, D-82491 Grainau
Description of the hike at lake Eibsee:
From the parking, you can go either on the right or the left around the lake. Whatever your preference is. You can read my article about the best picture spots at Eibsee, in order to choose your direction in case you are not planning do walk around the whole lake. If you don’t want to do the whole walk, I recommend to go from the parking to the right and follow the path in the North direction. After leaving the parking, you pass the Hotel Eibsee and the actual path which leads around the lake will start. On this side of the lake are most of the islands.
How to get to Lake Eibsee:
The only way to get there is by car. Drive to Hotel Eibsee and use the public parking (Am Eibsee 1, D-82491 Grainau).
Where to stay at Lake Eibsee:
The only hotel which is located directly at the lake is Hotel Eibsee. This hotel is not very modern but still very comfortable and has just a prime location directly at the lake with a huge lake-view terrace and a decent spa offer.
For those who prefer a great outdoor experience over a fancy hotel, staying overnight in a camper van might be the option to go for. I can recommend the van rental of CamperBoys that rent almost new VW California vans with great equipment.
2. Best hikes in Bavaria: Mount Wank
HAHAHA yeah, we all laughed about the name of this mountain. Well, the truth is, in German the word Wank is an old Bavarian word for „hillside“, so nothing kinky at all 😉
Mount Wank is a very typical hike in the area of Garmisch-Patenkirchen and the first hike of my list of the best hikes in Bavaria without a lake 😉 But this view at the town Garmisch-Patenkrichen and the Wetternstein mountains really deserves being on the list, right?
The hike was actually quite exhausting for us. Because it is quite steep and in summer really hot because there is no shadow during most of the hike. What I especially like about this hike is the mountain pasture area on top. It is spacious, there is some sun deck, some sun loungers, two restaurants to choose from. But don’t get me wrong it is not super busy up there (at least not when we were there).
And for the lazy ones: a cable car to go down.
Summary of the hike:
Distance: approx. 7 kilometres
Difference in Altitude: 950 meters
Duration: 6 hours
Parking: Wankbahnstraße, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Description of the hike to Mount Wank:
From the parking, you have to pass the high ropes course and then turn right and always follow the signs „Wank“. Always follow this path which is partly quite steep till you reach the sign „Sonnaweg“. Follow this path all the way to the top.
If you do the hike in summer, make sure to bring a lot of water and a cover for your head because the whole way is quite sunny. When arriving at the top you can choose between two restaurants, Sonnenalm or Wankhaus. We ate at Sonnenalm which I can recommend.
And if you are lucky and it is a clear day you can even see the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany. The peak area invites to chill in the sun loungers and enjoy the view, so bring some time to stay up there. It is very pleasant and not too windy and the perfect reward for an exhausting hike.
For the way down you can take the cable car or take another (easier) walk down. Always follow the signs to „Esterbergalm“ on the other side of the peak. At one point the sign changes and you have to follow „Partenkirchen über Estermahd, Esterbergalm“. And you will arrive back at your car.
How to get to Mount Wank:
The easiest way to get to the starting point of this hike is by car. However, it is possible by public transportation: You can take the regional train to Garmisch-Patenkirchen. From there it is 2.7 kilometres to the starting point of the hike – a good warm-up 😉
Further information and a detailed description of the hike:
See my more detailed blog post about the whole hike: https://ready-steady-travel.com/hike-to-mount-wank/
Or get some description of the route here: https://www.bergtour-online.de/bergtouren/bergwanderungen/leicht/wanderung-wank/ (German)
Where to stay close to Mount Wank?
The best place to stay is the lovely town of Garmisch-Patenkirchen. I can totally recommend Zugspitz Apartments *which fit up to 5 people, are modernly furnished, dispose of my own kitchen and some even of a balcony or terrace. You’ll have more space than in a hotel and it is great for small groups or families from my point of view.
3. Best hikes in Bavaria: Tegernseer Hütte
The location of this hut is unique and very spectacular. And therefore this hike made it to my personal best hikes in Bavaria. This hike is the closest to Munich and can easily be reached by public transportation. The hike itself is diversified and your eyes won’t get bored. And I didn’t even mention the view from the top. The hut which you saw on the picture above is located on a ridge between the two peaks of Roßstein (1698m) and Buchstein (1701m).
Summary of the hike:
Difference in Altitude: 800 meters
Duration: 5 hours
Parking: Bayerwald 8, 83708 Kreuth
Description of the hike to Tegernseer Hütte:
In the back of the parking lot starts the path next to a little stream, always follow the signs to „Tegernseer Hütte“ and „Roßstein“. The path leads through a forest at first and then directly goes steeply up. After around 1.5 hours you can already see the spectacular hut and you can decide if you take the climbing option, then stick to the right, or the easier option on a normal path, then stick to the left. If you choose the climibing option, it is recommended to use a via ferrata (even if many hikers don’t do, but thisis dangerous!). We chose option 2 (stick to the left), which represents a gently inclined way and leads a bit around the peak and doesn’t require any climbing.
At the peak, you should, of course, have at least a drink at the hut and enjoy its excellent location. After you can go further to the summit cross and you will be rewarded with another amazing view of the mountains.
How to get to Tegernseer Hütte:
The easiest way is driving by car directly to the parking lot where we started the hike: Bayerwald 8, 83708 Kreuth
But public transportation is an option. Take the regional train to Kreuth, Bayerwald and start your hike from there. The starting point it just 300 meters further down the street.
Further information and detailed description of the hike to Tegernseer Hütte:
Where to stay close to Tegernseer Hütte?
You can stay at any town at lake Tegernsee or even in Munich. Whatever suits you best. The prime hotel at Tegernsee is located in the town of Tegernsee and called “Das Tegernsee”.* This hotel is absolutely amazing, modern, directly located at the lake and has a huge spa area. You can even book a day pass for the spa there.
If you prefer staying very close to the beginning of your hike, you might consider renting a camper van. A VW California rental I’ve made a great experience with is CamperBoys.
4. Best hikes in Bavaria: Zugspitze
Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany (2962 meters) and it is not an extraordinary beautiful hike, but a very challenging one, and very diversified. I especially liked this hike because it was my first hike of more days and felt kind of like a big adventure, to carry all the stuff you need for the night and so on. What I especially loved was the view from the top. Because you can see my favourite lake of the world, Lake Eibsee, from above, which is breathtaking.
Summary of the hike:
Distance: 21 kilometres
Difference in Altitude: 2270 meters
Duration: 13 hours in 2 – 3 days
Parking: Karl-und Martin-Neuner-Platz, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Description of the hike:
Find a detailed description of the hike to Zugspitze in my full guide: https://ready-steady-travel.com/hike-zugspitze-all-you-need-to-know/
And some first impressions here:
Look at these views, the 2 days of sweating were totally worth it:
I would say it deserves a spot on the list of my personal best hikes in Bavaria, what do you say?
How to get there
Start of the tour is at the Olympic Ski Jump stadium in Garmisch-Patenkirchen (address: Karl-und Martin-Neuner-Platz, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen). The best way is to come here by car. But public transportation is an option if you don’t have a car (see my blog post about it).
Further information and detailed description of the hike
Do you want to know more about our experiences during the 2 days hike to Zugspitze? I’ve also written a complete guide about the hike to Zugspitze with all the information you need to know: https://ready-steady-travel.com/hike-zugspitze-all-you-need-to-know/
5. Best hikes in Bavaria: Lake Schrecksee
Schrecksee or Lake Schreck became extremely popular during the last years. And this has a reason: the location of this stunning turquoise lake, tucked in almost surreal green hills is just fantastic and almost like in a movie like Lord of the Rings.
Summary of the hike:
Distance: approx. 17 kilometers
Difference in Altitude: approx. 1140 meters
Duration: 7 hours
Parking: Parking lot “Auf der Höh” in Hinterstein
Description of the hike to Schrecksee:
This hike is only recommended for experienced hikers. I wrote a separate blog post about everything you need to know about the hike to Lake Schrecksee. You can get there by clicking here.
Where to stay close to Schrecksee?
At Schrecksee directly is no accommodation. If you want to stay overnight close to the starting point of the hike you might consider sleeping in a camper van. That way you are as close to the hike as nobody else and can make your way up before most hikers arrive. There is a small camper parking lot in Bad Hindelang (address: Ostrachstraße 31, Bad Hindelang). A great camper van rental close to Munich is CamperBoys.
6. Best hikes of Bavaria & my personal favourite one: Hike to Soiernseen
The hike to Soiernseen is by far the most spectacular hike in Bavaria! I mean, look at these two turquoise lakes frames by amazing peaks. I didn’t want to leave anymore because this place was so beautiful from every angle. And by the way, it was also one of the favourite places of our Bavarian King Ludwig II who stayed here for some days every summer. That being said, this hike is very long – not very difficult though – but you should be an experienced hiker with a lot of endurance to do this hike.
Summary of the hike:
Distance: 20 kilometers
Difference in Altitude: 1200 meters
Duration: 8 hours
Parking: parking lot at Griesweg, 8294 Krün
Description of the hike:
From the parking lot a wide forest road leads at first along the Isar river and soon slowly up hill. Always follow this forest path for around 1.5 hours. It is also very popular among mountain bikers. Therefore be a bit careful and better walk on the side of the path. After around 2 hours you’ll have the choice among two options: a longer way that stays the wide well maintained paths that you are already used to. Or a bit shorter way, that gets very very narrow at one point – you need to be an experienced hiker and have a good head for heights, because there are some tricky parts. This second more difficult option is called ” Lakaiensteig”.
Without knowing what will expect me I chose the more difficult part and I was at my limit at some very narrow parts. A steel rope in the rocks gives some hold, however I would have wished to have a ferrata set with me or that I would have chosen the other way. I also prayed to the hiking gods that nobody will come from the other direction. Of course this didn’t help and I had to pass several people (or they had to pass me) on this super narrow path.
After having managed this very tricky part and some more serpentines you will arrive at Soiernhaus, the cabin that has been build for our Bavarian King Ludwig II and serves as restaurant today.
From there the path leads a bit downhill to the first lake Soiern. It was truly breathtaking: the color of the lake, the surrounding mountains and the sharp reflection on the still water surface – just amazing!
You can walk once around the first lake and the path with lead you to the second lake. In spring, when I did this hike, it was surrounded by a sea of yellow and pink flowers and again the surrounding mountains and the reflection on the water surface made the second lake Soiern even more breathtaking.
The way back is exactly the same and therefore gets a little bit monotonous during the last 5 kilometers. It was really a very very long hike, even if it is not difficult, don’t forget that it takes 20 kilometers in total.
How to get there:
The hike starts in a little village called Krün. The parking lot for hikers is located at this address: Griesweg, 8294 Krün. The hiking trails is signposted very well and you can’t miss it. Always follow the signs to “Soiernseen” or “Soiernhaus”
Further information and detailed description of the hike to Soiernseen:
Link to a more detailed description of the way: https://www.outdooractive.com/de/route/klettersteig/zugspitzregion/wanderung-von-kruen-zu-den-soiernseen-nahe-mittenwald/1386474/#dmdtab=oax-tab3 (It is in Germany; you can use the translation function of Google Chrome)
Where to stay close to Soiernseen?
There is no possibility to stay overnight at Soiernseen. Therefore it is also really important that only fit and experienced hikers take this trek. If you want to stay overnight before or after your hike, the most obvious place to stay is the village Krün where to hike start. It is very small but very charming as well. A traditional Bavarian place that is basic but clean is Hotel Alpenhof. If you are looking for a more fancy place with wellness facilities then Das Kranzbach close to Krün might be interesting for you.
I hope you liked my list of the best hikes in Bavaria? Don’t forget to go outside sometimes and enjoy the beauty of nature, ok?
And also don’t forget: Never stop exploring!