Germany is blessed with a sprinkle of dreamy lakes, with crystal-clear waters, panoramic views and picture-postcard towns clinging to their shores. A break in one of these towns is sure to rejuvenate your body and mind like nothing else – here’s our choice of the most decadent lakeside hamlets in Germany for your next holiday.
Lindau is a stunning island in the mirror-like expanse of Lake Constance. Lindau’s historic squares, romantic lanes and ancient buildings are steeped in charm and atmosphere. It looks out to the snowcapped Alps on the horizon and boasts one of the liveliest harbours in the country. Lindau, with its hiking trails, abundant culture, entertainment options and magical Christmas market, is a perfect destination for any time of year.
To enjoy Germany’s iconic Black Forest in all its signature glory, book a stay at the climatic therapy resort of Titisee-Neustadt. Its selling points are sweeping vistas across the most spectacular lake in Black Forest – Titisee Lake – a multitude of water and winter sports, spas and a beautiful promenade. It also has a lively, albeit touristy, centre with great shopping and gastronomic options.
The town of Starnberg is a jewel of the ‘Five Lakes Country’ in Bavaria, and perches on the north edge of the magnificent Starnberg Lake. Other than being a great starting point for boat cruises across the lake, the town of Starnberg also promises idyllic walking trails, beer gardens and even a castle. Starnberg is an affluent and upmarket town, with beautiful villas, manicured gardens and super-clean roads.
Prien am Chiemsee
The little health resort of Prien am Chiemsee with only around 10,000 inhabitants has become immensely popular among vacationers with its dreamy location in the gorgeous Lake Chiemsee, pure air and unbeatable views of the imposing Bavarian Alps. The most famous attraction of this region is the Herrenchiemsee Castle constructed by eccentric King Ludwig II. As an added bonus, visitors get to feast their eyes on intricate frescoes adorning the shops and houses of this town.
Schönau am Königsee
The town of Schönau sits in the lap of the majestic Berchtesgaden Alps, and hugs the shore of Lake Königsee, arguably the most beautiful lake in Germany. If you manage to tear your eyes from the surreal views that this town offers, you have the option of indulging in a huge number of winter and water sports. Understandably, a trip to Schönau is never complete without a leisurely boat cruise and a stop at the pilgrimage church of St. Bartholomew.
Schwerin is the big, bustling capital and the oldest city of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. This town is surrounded by a number of lakes, the most spectacular of which is the Schweriner See. The highlight of this lake is the jaw-dropping Schwerin Castle sitting proud on its own island, built in 1845-1857 and considered to be one of the finest examples of romantic historicism in Europe. Additionally, Schwerin boasts several fine sights, including an ancient cathedral, town hall and old garden.
Füssen is the southern end-point of Germany’s famous Romantic Road and a popular base for exploring the nearby castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. It nestles by the River Lech, which runs through the town on its way to the nearby man-made Lake Forggensee. The quintessential German town wins hearts with its cobbled streets, steep-sloped roofs, quaint cafes, hiking trails and unforgettable views of the Bavarian Alps.
The town of Herrsching, Upper Bavaria, is lapped by the crystal waters of Lake Ammersee. In Summer, tourists flock to this quaint town to indulge in water sports, enjoy boat cruises and bask in the sun at the longest lake-front promenade in Germany. Herrsching offers exciting hiking routes, appealing to more adventurous travellers. A popular excursion from this town is to Kloster Andechs, a picturesque and historic monastery nearby.
The unbelievably pretty town of Rottach Egern is hidden away deep in the Tegernsee Valley, by the Lake Tegernsee in Bavaria. It is made of several tiny hamlets or villages, and offers ample fresh air and gorgeous views to help travellers recuperate and rejuvenate. The more active visitors can try a range of winter and summer sports. This area is dotted with other smaller lakes and ringed by craggy mountain ranges, adding up to a setting befitting glossy coffee-table books.
The town of Schluchsee adorns the shore of the eponymous lake of Schluchsee in Black Forest, the largest lake in the region and the highest reservoir in Germany. The town is an excellent spot for enjoying some peace and quiet – stroll along the paved walkway around the lake, take a dip in the water or hit one of the many hiking trails around the lake.
Kochel is one of the few lakeside towns in Germany that are not overrun by tourists, so head there to enjoy some solitude before word gets out! This hamlet sits in Bad Tolz-Wolfratshausen, Bavaria, on the shores of Kochelsee. Kochel offers pristine views of the lake surrounded by rugged mountains and boat cruises.