Eibsee Complete Guide: Visit Lake Eibsee in Bavaria, Germany

March 21, 2024

Eibsee is a picturesque alpine lake located in the heart of the Bavarian Alps, near the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in southern Germany. With its crystal-clear waters, surrounded by towering peaks such as Zugspitze and lush forests, Eibsee offers a tranquil retreat for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

The name “Eibsee” is derived from the old German word “Eibe,” which means yew tree, reflecting the dense forests that once covered the area.

Furthermore, the word “see” means “lake” in German, so we sometimes omit the “Lake” designation.

Today, Eibsee is renowned for its stunning beauty and recreational opportunities, making it a popular destination for visitors seeking relaxation and adventure in the great outdoors.

Since Eibsee is undoubtedly one of, if not the most famous lake in Germany, we have dedicated a separate article to it, showcasing the lake, the surrounding attractions, the hiking trails around the lake, accommodation and dining options, and overall, how to best visit Eibsee and everything you need to know about visiting it.

So let’s see what to know about beautiful Lake Eibsee.

Things to know about a visit to Eibsee

Where is Lake Eibsee located

As mentioned earlier, Eibsee is located in southern Germany, in the Bavarian Alps, near the Austrian border. The nearest towns are Grainau and the popular Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which is a famous destination for hikers in the summer and a renowned skiing paradise in the winter.


The lake sits at the foot of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, making both the lake and the Zugspitze popular destinations for hikers. Cable cars ascend to the Zugspitze from both the German and Austrian sides, as the Austrian border is very close by.

Is it worth visiting Eibsee?

During a trip to Germany, we believe it would be a shame to miss out on the Eibsee lake. Personally, the Bavarian Alps are our favorite place in all of Germany, and we return almost every year, so we must say, it’s absolutely worth it!

Eibsee offers a relatively easy and enjoyable excursion in the stunning Bavarian Alps. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing hike or outdoor sports, the Eibsee area has it all. Moreover, everything is set in a developed, pleasant environment.

How to get to Eibsee

By car from Munich

Getting to Eibsee by car is really easy.

Eibsee is about 95 km (59 mi) from Munich city centre by car, which is about 1 hour and 15 minutes in travel time. Most of the way, you can take the good quality highway 95, then the main road 2, all the way to the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. German motorways are free to use, so you don’t have to pay any tolls.

After Garmisch, take road 23 to Grainau, where Loisachstrasse and then Eibseestrasse will take you to the lake.

By car from Austria

Eibsee is a popular destination from Austria as well. You can reach the lake from Ehrwald via the 187 road. The continuation of this road leads to road 23, which takes you to Grainau. From Grainau, there is only one paved road leading to Eibsee, the above mentioned Eibseestrasse.

Parking around Lake Eibsee

The only road leading to Eibsee takes you to the eastern side of the lake, where several parking lots are available. All of these parking lots are paid.

The large parking lots on the left side of the road are the best choice when heading to the Zugspitze cable car.

At the end of the road, the P1 parking lot on the left is one of the best options. On the right side, you’ll find the P2 parking lot, which is shadier and quieter during the summer.

While there are plenty of parking spaces, it’s primarily the number of people that determines where you can park.

Getting to Eibsee by public transport

By bus

FlixBus runs from Munich and Innsbruck to Garmisch Partenkirchen. From there, however, there is still the question of how to get to the lake.

Eibsee bus

Until the end of 2023, you could also reach Eibsee by bus from Garmisch or Grainau. Buses with blue markings departed approximately every hour and went directly to the lake. We didn’t try this option ourselves, but many people complained on Google Maps that the buses were not punctual and too crowded.

However, the bus service was discontinued at the end of 2023, so we are looking forward to the 2024 season to see how they will solve the transportation of tourists. Hopefully, they will manage to improve the service.

By train

You can also reach Eibsee by train. There is are trains from Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where you can transfer to another train, the so-called Zugspitzbahn, which takes you to the lake. This train, in fact, continues on to Zugspitze as well.

Another option for reaching the lake is to leave your car in Garmisch (or either take a bus or train there), then rent a bike in the town. With an electric bike, you can easily reach the lake, and you can also make use of the bike around the lake.

Best time to visit Eibsee Lake

Undoubtedly, the best time to visit Eibsee is during the summer hiking season, which typically runs from May to the end of September. During this time, you can expect the most beautiful landscapes and enjoy all the opportunities the lake has to offer, as everything is open. Outside the season, we only recommend visiting if there are no better options available.

Eibsee in winter

During winter, many people visit Eibsee, especially if they are on a skiing holiday in the area. It’s still worth visiting the lake during this time, but you should be aware of the limited facilities. The winter wonderland scenery can be breathtaking, but the hiking trails may be snowy and slippery, and many amenities are closed. For these reasons, we suggest visiting Eibsee less during the winter.

How much time does it take to visit Lake Eibsee?

It largely depends on how many activities you plan at the lake. Essentially, an afternoon might be enough for a short hike or boating, but if you want a real getaway, plan a full day at Eibsee.

Where to stay near Lake Eibsee

Eibsee Hotel

Close to Eibsee, there is a hotel called Eibsee Hotel, which is a four-star hotel with good ratings, so we primarily recommend this option. However, the price is higher than nearby accommodations.

If you’re looking for other accommodation, you might want to consider the following options in Garmisch-Partenkirchen:

The best things to do at Lake Eibsee

The Eibsee Lake with its crystal-clear waters, well-maintained forests surrounding it, and the nearby mountains not only offers amazing views but also allows for various outdoor activities at the lake, especially in the summer.

The most popular things to do at Eibsee are:

Hiking around Eibsee

Hiking around the lake is without doubt the most popular activity at Eibsee.

The Eibsee Lake is surrounded by numerous hiking trails. Among these, the most popular are the routes leading towards the Zugspitze and the trail encircling the lake. We particularly recommend the latter, as one of the highlights of Eibsee is the opportunity for a leisurely stroll around its shores.

The hiking trail around Eibsee, known as Eibsee Rundweg in German, is approximately 7.2 km (4.5 mi) long and offers gentle elevation changes (about 200–300 meters in total, although sources vary). The entire loop trail is easily walkable, mostly consisting of gravel paths and wide trails. Along the way, there are numerous opportunities to admire the emerald-green waters of the lake and even descend to its shore. Plus, you can enjoy breathtaking mountain views from many angles.

The lake’s shoreline is an Instagram-worthy place, especially in its northern sections, where you’ll find excellent Instagrammable photo spots.

On the southern shores, you’ll also come across another lake, the small Frillensee. We recommend taking a break at Frillensee as well, as this lake also offers beautiful views worth stopping for.

Boating on the lake

At Lake Eibsee there are various boating opportunities.

One option is to pay for an electric boat tour, which takes you around the lake, showcasing its beauty and sharing its history.

Another popular activity at Eibsee is renting rowboats, pedal boats, and SUPs. Near the parking areas, you can find the rental place under the name “Tretboot- und Standup Board-Verleih.” Although Google Maps reviews sometimes mention that the staff may not always be at their best, don’t let this discourage you from exploring the lake on the water.

Swimming in the lake

Eibsee is also a well-known swimming spot. Its clear water can be inviting, although the water temperature is only around 20°C even in the warmest times, so it’s quite cool.

You can find several suitable spots for swimming along the lake shore, with the easier-to-reach ones located in the southeastern part of the lake.

Taking the cable car up to the Zugspitze

You can ascend to the Zugspitze in various ways, but the quickest option is the Eibseeseilbahn mountain cable car. The cable car takes you to Germany’s highest mountain in just 10 minutes, offering a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding hundreds of peaks. The view is truly stunning, so if you can handle the most intimidating mountain cable cars, don’t miss out when visiting Lake Eibsee.

You can find operating hours and prices on its official website.

Tasting the Bavarian dishes

Compared to the big crowd of tourists, there aren’t too many restaurants at Lake Eibsee. If you have time and feel like it, you can sit down for a local meal by the lake.

A recommended place for this is the Seerestaurant Eibsee Pavillon, which is on the east side of the lake, near the parking lots, and they mainly serve traditional Bavarian food.

Another option is the restaurant at Eibsee Hotel, and also the Eibsee Alm near the valley station of the Zugspitze cable car.

In addition, on the Zugspitze, there are a few other restaurants, such as the top-rated Panorama Lounge 2962, where you can enjoy fine dining with first-class mountain views.

To sum up, Lake Eibsee in the Bavarian Alps is an amazing destination that invites travelers to explore its natural beauty. Whether you enjoy hiking, boating, simply go for a swim or admiring the scenery, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at this picturesque lake. So make sure to include Lake Eibsee on your itinerary when visiting southern Germany.

Other attractions near Eibsee

The Eibsee is located in the Bavarian Alps, near the border with Tyrol, so you can find many other natural attractions in the area. The best places among these are:


Geroldsee (or Wagenbrüchsee) is one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in Bavaria. The lake is surrounded by picturesque hills, pine forests and meadows with small wooden chalets offering a stunning alpine view. The lake and the surrounding mountains offer excellent photographic opportunities, as the lake water often reflects the colors of the mountains and the sky.

Geroldsee is a place where you can enjoy the tranquility and beauty of nature, ideal for both relaxation and photography.

Partnach Gorge

The Partnach Gorge (or Partnachklamm) is a stunning canyon in the Bavarian Alps, carved out by the Partnach River over time. It features high limestone cliffs and deep ravines, offering breathtaking views. Pathways through the gorge allow visitors to get up close and personal with the natural formations. The Partnach Gorge offers adventurous hikes and breathtaking natural experiences for those looking to explore the beauty of the Bavarian Alps.

Seebensee and Drachensee

Seebensee and Drachensee are famous alpine lakes in the Tyrolean Alps in Austria, which also offer breathtaking scenery and peaceful surroundings. The high altitude lakes attract nature lovers and hikers alike with their beautiful waters and majestic mountain views. Accessible from Ehrwald, the hike to the two lakes takes half a day or even a full day. If you have more time in the Eibsee area and like hiking, don’t miss these two lakes either, as they are the most beautiful in the area.

Other places to visit in the Bavarian Alps

Neuschwanstein Castle

A famous castle in Germany, known for its fairy tale-like appearance. It’s located in Bavaria, near the town of Füssen. Many people visit Neuschwanstein because it looks like a castle from a storybook. It was built by King Ludwig II in the 19th century. The castle is surrounded by mountains and forests, making it a popular tourist attraction.


A waterfall in Germany, near the town of Füssen. The Lech River flows over rocks and creates the waterfall. It’s a beautiful sight, especially when the water is flowing strongly. Visitors can walk along paths near the waterfall and enjoy the views of the rushing water and surrounding nature. Lechfall is a popular spot for photography and outdoor enthusiasts.

Königssee and Obersee

Königssee and Obersee are two popular lakes in Germany, located in the Berchtesgaden National Park. Königssee is a large, deep lake known for its stunning mountain scenery. Obersee is a smaller lake nearby, known for its tranquil atmosphere and beautiful reflections of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can take boat trips on Königssee to explore the lake and visit the famous St. Bartholomew’s Church. The two lakes are ideal if you want to spend a little more time in the area.

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