Chiemsee Day Trip

By Vicky · Published Jan. 12th, 2024 · Updated Jan. 28th, 2024

A visit to Chiemsee is a great day trip. You can take a boat ride, visit the Fairytale King’s palace and have glorious views over the lake.

How to Reach Chiemsee

Chiemsee from Munich

To visit the island in Chiemsee you need to take a boat. There are several places you can catch them from but the easiest, and closest to Munich is Prien am Chiemsee, on the western edge of the Lake.

Chiemsee from Munich via Car

If you’re driving, it takes just over an hour to Prien am Chiemsee. There’s a large car park right by the boat ticket office and pier where they leave from. It’s €6.50 for a day ticket, make sure you have cash as the machines don’t accept cards.

Chiemsee from Munich via Train

There’s a direct train from Munich to Prien am Chiemsee that takes a little over an hour and is covered by the €49 ticket. From the train station, it’s a simple 25-minute walk to where the boats depart from. Alternatively, in the summer there’s a little train line running between the main station and the boat jetty (€4.50/2.20 return per adult/child).

Chiemsee Day Trip Map

Activities on a Day Trip to Chiemsee

You’ll need an entire day to visit the two islands of Herreninsel and Fraueninsel on Lake Chiemsee. The former contains Herrenchiemsee Palace and is much larger, while the latter only takes about 30 minutes to walk around. You could spend an entire weekend at Chiemsee if you want to do more activities such as swimming in the lake, walking along the lakeshore or even cycling around the entire lake.

1. Take a Boat Tour on Lake Chiemsee

Take a Boat Tour on Lake Chiemsee

Key Information: Boats leave as early as 06:40am from Prien am Chiemsee, departing every 30 minutes to 1 hour. At busy periods they run continuously, leaving when they are full. Tickets cost €12.60-18.60 depending on which boat ticket type you select, children are half-price. Check the official website for the detailed boat schedule and prices.

You can’t go on a day trip to Chiemsee without taking the boat ride on the lake. It can take you to both islands, and even across the opposite side of the lake if you choose that option. There are great views from the boat, of both the lake itself, the islands and the towering Alps in the distance.

Views of an island on a boat trip on Lake Chiemsee on a day trip from Munich

There are three boat ticket types: Inseltour West (€12.60), Inseltour East (€13.40) and the Große Chiemseetour (€18.60). The first two allow you to visit both islands, Herreninseld and Fraueninsel, leaving from the west and east sides of the lake respectively. Alternatively, the Große Chiemseetour allows you to visit both islands plus the opposite side of the lake from where you got on, i.e. you can go everywhere that the boat goes. Note that you can take dogs (€3) and bikes (€6) though you are not allowed to cycle on the islands.

If you’re coming from Munich on a day trip to Chiemsee, then Prien am Chiemsee is the most convenient departure point for the boats, and the Inseltour West ticket is the most popular option. You can buy tickets at the ticket office near the boats.

2. Visit Neues Schloss Herrenchiemsee on Herreninsel

Visit Neues Schloss Herrenchiemsee on Herreninsel

Key Information: Open April to late October 9am-6pm, late October to March 10am-4:45pm. You can buy tickets from the visitor’s centre near the boat landing jetty on the island. To visit Schloss Herrenchiemsee you have to buy the ‘combination ticket’, which also includes entry to the King Ludwig II Museum and Augustinian Monastery. Tickets cost €11, under 18’s are free.

Herreninsel is about 20 minutes on the boat from Prien am Chiemsee. To then reach Herrenchiemsee Palace, it’s an easy 20-minute walk through fields, woodland and gardens. Alternatively, in summer (mid-April to end-October) you can take a horse carriage. The ride takes about 15 minutes and costs €5/2 each way for adults/children. There’s no schedule, the carriages just leave when they’re full.

Herrenchiemsee Schloss was built by King Ludwig II, also known as the Fairytale King. Although less famous than Neuschwanstein Castle, the palace here is the most extravagant and by far the most expensive building project that King Ludwig undertook. Started in 1878, it was actually never fully finished, with several more grand wings planned. The King only ever spent about 10 days here and died before it could be completed.

To visit the inside of Schloss Herrenchiemsee you have to go on a tour. There are German tours all the time, while English tours happen twice a day in summer and once a day in winter. Tours last approximately 40 minutes and you are not allowed to take photos inside.

King Ludwig II Museum in Herrenchiemsee

Key Information: Open April to late October 9am-6pm, late October to March 10am-4:45pm. Entrance is included with the ticket to the Schloss.

There’s a small museum in Herrenchiemsee Schloss with exhibits mostly about King Ludwig II. You can visit this anytime, without a guide, though you still need a ticket. The museum is only of moderate interest unless you’re obsessed with the Fairytale King, though there are a few interesting displays that are worth taking a look at.

Herrenchiemsee Palace Park

Herrenchiemsee Palace Park

It’s definitely worth strolling around the formal gardens in front of the palace. They’re designed to look like the gardens at Versaille, but like the palace were never completed. There are some impressive statue-fountains, nicely mown lawns and immaculate flower beds, all symmetrical and aligned on a central axis.

3. Admire the Augustinian Monastery

Augustinian Monastery

Key Information: Open April to late October 9am-6pm, late October to March 10am-4:45pm. Entrance is included with the ticket to the Schloss.

The old Augustinian monastery is close to the boat landing stage. It’s not super interesting inside, but you already have the ticket and it’s worth a quick wander around. Parts of the monastery date to 1125, though several wings were added in the 17th and 18th centuries. A couple of grand rooms have been preserved, and these are a highlight of a visit here, including some rooms where King Ludwig II stayed when he came to oversee the building of his grand palace.

4. Walk around Herreninsel

Walking around Herreninsel
Walking around Herreninsel on Lake Chiemsee, Bavaria, Germany

There’s a lovely, easy walk around Herreninsel with great views over the lake and mountains beyond. In a walk of just over 8 km you can see everything on the island, including the main palace, the monastery, and the path around the outside of the island. In places, there are great views over the Alps, and the route will also take you to a cute little church.

5. Head over to Fraueninsel

Walking around Fraueninsel in Chiemsee on a day trip from Munich
Boats on fraueninsel

The ferry from Herreninsel to Fraueninsel takes just 10 minutes. There are no cars on this little island, and even no bikes are allowed. You can walk around the entire island in less than half an hour, though allow more time if you want to visit the monastery and have a drink or something to eat.

On the walk around Fraueninsel, you’ll see many cute little houses, most of which used to be lived in by fishermen. There are also cozy restaurants and Biergartens with great views. As you might imagine, smoked fish is very popular on the island, and is served in most restaurants alongside craft beer.

The main sight on the island is the old Frauenwörth Monastery (open daily May-October, 11am-5pm, free admission). It was founded in 782 and is the oldest nunnery in Germany. If you’re here in the month leading up to Christmas, the island has a famous Christmas market called the Fraueninsel Christkindlmarkt.

6. Go Swimming in the Lake

Swimming in Chiemsee

You can go swimming, or rent kayaks or paddle boards from several places around the lake. In summer, from June to September, the temperature of the water varies from around 20 to a balmy 26 degrees. Near Prien am Chiemsee there’s one private beach and two public beaches.

PRIENAVERA Strandbad is a private beach area right in the middle of Prien. There are warm showers, toilets, changing rooms, table tennis, a children’s play area and more. It’s open May-September and entrance is €2.70 per person.

Badeplatz Schraml is a nearby public beach, backed by grassy fields. Here you can rent rowing boats, paddle boats, sailboats or even electric boats. It’s just a few hundred metres walk from the large car park at Prien, or the beach has its own car park for €4 per day.

Strandbad Schöllkopf is a lovely public beach for swimming, about 10 minutes drive south of Prien. The beach itself is slightly pebbly and there are large grassy fields for having a picnic or sunbathing. Parking is €5 and there’s also a restaurant just behind the beach.

7. Walk from Prien am Chiemsee to Gstadt

A walk from Prien am Chiemsee to Gstadt, a great activity for a day trip to Prien am Chiemsee

There’s a lovely 15 km walk from Prien to Chiemsee, mainly following paths along the lakeshore. It’s easy walking and navigation is easy, you simply keep as close as possible to the water. To get back, the easiest way is to take the boat (included in the Inseltour West ticket). Alternatively, in summer you can get the bus between Prien and Gstadt.

8. Cycle around Lake Chiemsee

There’s a cycle path the entire way around Lake Chiemsee, though sometimes it overlaps with the road. It’s about 55 km long and quite flat. You’ll pass by small towns, beaches, lovely shorelines and plenty of places to stop for a break. There are great viewpoints of the Alps plus the lake islands along the way.

Houses on Fraueninsel on a day trip to Lake Chiemsee

There are actually two routes to choose from to cycle around Lake Chiemsee. The ‘Chiemsee Radweg’ and the ‘Chiemsee Rundweg’. The former follows cycle paths and minor roads and allows for fast cycling. The latter follows the lakeshore more closely and is shared with pedestrians in places, so you have to cycle more slowly and watch out for others. They’re both roughly the same length (almost 55 km) and share the route for large sections.

9. Take a Bus around the Lake

In summer (mid-May to early October) there’s a bus, the Chiemseering Line, which encircles the lake several times a day. It’s designed for both walkers and cyclists, with a large trailer for bikes. The bus allows for lovely one-way walks or cycles, and allows you to easily explore the lakeshore. Buses normally leave 3 times per day, one setting off from Prien and one from Chieming (on the other side of the lake) in opposite directions. Times are roughly 9am, 1pm and 4pm, but check the schedule for the up-to-date timetable.

Chiemsee Day Trip Itinerary

Views over Lake Chiemsee to the Bavarian Alps, Germany

Head out early to be able to catch one of the first boats to the islands. If you’re coming from Munich, take the train just after 7 am to be in time for the boat at 9 am. Below is an example itinerary of how to spend you time on a day trip to Chiemsee.

  • 9:00 am: Take the boat to Herreninsel
  • 9:20 am: Arrive on Herreninsel, buy a ticket & walk to the Schloss
  • 10:00 am: Go on a guided tour of Schloss Herreninsel
  • 10:30 am: Grab a coffee at the Schloss Cafe
  • 11:00 am: Walk through the palace grounds and around the lakeshore of Herreninsel
  • 12:30 pm: Have lunch at Schlosswirtschaft Herrenchiemsee restaurant by the monastery
  • 1:30 pm: Visit the Augustinian Monastery
  • 2:15 pm: Catch a boat to Fraueninsel
  • 2:30 pm: Explore Fraueninsel
  • 3:30 pm: Catch the boat back to Prien am Chiemsee
  • 4:00 pm: Arrive back at Prien am Chiemsee and finish your day by walking along the lakeshore or going for a swim
  • If you’re visiting Chiemsee for the weekend, the following day you can walk from Prien to Gstadt, cycle around the lake, or take the Chiemseering Line Bus to explore the lakeshore further.

Guidebooks to explore more of Germany

I hope you enjoyed this Day Trip to Chiemsee Guide. For more guides, walking tours and hikes in Germany, see our Germany hiking page.

FAQS for a Day Trip to Chiemsee

Can you swim in Lake Chiemsee?

Yes, you can swim in Lake Chiemsee from both public beaches that are open all year round, and in private beaches with more facilities that are only open in summer. In the warmer months the lake temperature varies between 20 and 26 degrees.

Is Lake Chiemsee worth visiting?

Chiemsee is the largest lake in Bavaria, and also one of the cleanest. There are many things to do in and around Lake Cheimsee including visiting the famous Herrenchiemsee Palace on one of the islands, walking around the cute island of Fraueninsel, going swimming in the lake, and taking longer strolls or cycles around the lakeshore.

How do you get to Chiemsee Island?

To get to the islands in Lake Chiemsee you have to take a boat. The most popular place to take the boat is from Prien am Chiemsee at the western edge of the lake, closest to Munich. There are also several other boat stops around the lakeshore.

What is the meaning of Herreninsel and Fraueninsel?

Herreninsel means Gentlemen’s Island, while Fraueninsel means Women’s Island.

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