Lake Eibsee Hike

Lake Eibsee Viewpoint
Lake Eibsee Viewpoint

By Vicky · Published Apr. 24th, 2024

The hike around Lake Eibsee at the foot of the Bavarian Alps is easy, yet has spectacular views of the mountains towering above.

How to Get to Lake Eibsee

Lake Eibsee is 15 minutes drive from Garmisch-Partenkirche or roughly 1hr30 from Munich. On sunny summer weekends, if the lakeside car parks are full, the last section of the road between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Lake Eibsee turns into a stationary queue. The public bus also gets stuck in this queue. Arrive as early as possible (before 9am) to avoid this, or walk the last few kilometres.

Parking at Lake Eibsee

There are several large car parks near the lake shore. Both car parks here charge the same price (€8 for up to 4 hours, then €1 per hour after that) and you pay when you leave. The car parks are open from 5am to 10pm. If you’re up early, there’s a discounted rate of €2.50 if you leave BEFORE 9:30am. Note there’s a height limit of 2.10 metres and a large fine for staying overnight.

On weekends and especially in summer, the car parks at Lake Eibsee can fill up. There can also be a very long queue of cars along the road from Grainau to the lake, and you may never even reach the lake after an hour of queuing. Try and arrive as early as possible to avoid any queues and enjoy the peace and quiet of the lake.

Walking around Lake EIbsee with mountain views in Bavaria, Germany
Walking around Lake EIbsee with mountain views in Bavaria, Germany

Free Parking at Lake Eibsee

If you’re willing to walk an extra couple of kilometres, there are two small free car parks along the road leading to Lake Eibsee. One is directly by the side of the road and is about 1 km from the lake. The other is a small gravel lot by the road and is 2 km from the lake. These car parks do fill up quite quickly. From both, there are nice hiking trails through the woods to the lake.

How to get to Lake Eibsee on Public Transport

To get to Lake Eibsee on public transport, it’s easiest to take a train to Garmisch-Partenkirche train station. It’s about 1hr20 on a direct train from Munich, or slightly quicker on the Flixbus. From the train station, it’s most convenient to take the Eibsee bus (timetable here). This leaves every couple of hours and takes 30-40 minutes to reach the lake. Alternatively, you can take the cogwheel train from Garmisch-Partenkirche to Grainau and then walk 4 km to the lake.

Lake Eibsee Hiking Map

Get the route by downloading the .gpx or .kml file below. For navigation with on your mobile phone, simply download the .kml file and open to add it to the bookmarks.


  • Start early in the day. You’ll avoid the crowds on the road, in the park and around the lake. You’ll also see the mountains with the best lighting. The car park opens at 5am, and if you leave before 9:30am parking is €2.50 instead of €8!
  • You’ll find refreshments on the lakeshore near the main car parks. Here you’ll also find options to rent a boat – rowing boat, paddle boat or stand-up-board.
  • You can swim in the Eibsee, though it remains cool even in midsummer. Most of the lakeshore is rocky with some small coves and gravelly beaches. There’s one larger, sandy swimming beach, but it can become very crowded.
  • There are toilets in the car parks and near the swimming beach. Some are only open in summer, though there are some in the cablecar building that are open year-round.
  • You can walk this route with a pram, though it’s mostly a gravel track so an ‘offroad’ pram is recommended.
  • There’s another lovely though much smaller and more peaceful lake nearby that you can explore on the short Badersee & Grainau Panorama Walk. For a more exciting family-friendly walk nearby, check out the Partnachklamm Gorge Hike. Alternatively, find other great hikes on our Germany Hiking Page.

Lake Eibsee Hiking Route

Views of Zugspitze, a rocky mountain, from Lake Eibsee
The hiking trail around Lake EIbsee with mountain and lake views

From the main car parks, instead of walking down to the lake, head right through the car park and onto a trail leading into the woodland. This is the start of the Lake Eibsee circular walking route. Since the entrance to the trail here is a bit hidden, most people end up hiking around the Lake in the opposite direction (clockwise). However, hiking anticlockwise means you experience the best views first and then end near the swimming beach.

Just inside the woodland, you’ll meet a large trail. Turn left here through the trees and you’ll soon be on your way walking around Lake Eibsee. You can already glimpse views of the lake through the trees, but much better viewpoints come up later.

Walking around Lake Eibsee with a reflection of mountains in the water
Islands in a picturesque lake in the Bavarian Alps, Germany
A green lake in Bavaria with rokcy mountains in the background

Turn left at the path junction to cross over the bridge. This is a popular spot to take photos and for swimming from the shores. Continue onwards and now the views become more frequent as you glimpse through the trees over the lake to the rocky mountains on the other side.

You’ll soon reach a small pond on your right, with mirror-like reflections. Opposite this is a lovely bay on the lakeshore, with ample opportunities for taking photos. Walking onwards, the path heads away from the lake shore and slightly uphill. At the top, there’s a bench and a junction. An unsigned path leads to your left. If you follow this detour, after roughly 400 metres you’ll reach the lakeshore. There’s a great viewpoint from here, and it’s also a lovely place for swimming.

Reaching the Far End of the Lake

Walking onwards on the circular loop around Lake Eibsee, you begin to approach the far end of the lake. You’ll reach a fantastic viewpoint of the lake, its islands and the rocky peaks beyond. There’s a sheltered bench here to take a rest if needed.

A short distance further on is the little Kotbach Waterfall and another shady bench. This is the far end of the walk, and from here the route continues around the southern edge of the lake. This side is fairly wooded, and you don’t often walk that close to the shoreline. Along the southern edge, you can now see the lower, yet still impressive mountains to the north.

Walking around Lake Eibsee with views of Lake, and mountains
On a hike around Lake Eibsee

About 1 km before returning to the car park, you’ll reach the main Lake Eibsee Beach. Here there’s a fairly long stretch of sand where you can sunbathe and take a dip into the water. It can get very crowded on sunny summer weekends. There’s a public toilet here, and a couple more between here and the car park.

Hiking onwards, enjoy the final views of the lake and its crystal clear turquoise waters before you come to the boat rental, restaurants, ice cream shop and finally the car park. This is the end of the circular hike around Lake Eibsee.

Other Things to do at Lake Eibsee

Boat rental at Lake Eibsee in the Bavarian Alps, Germany

Apart from a hike around Lake Eibsee, the most popular activities are swimming, renting a boat, and visiting one of the restaurants. There are spots for swimming all around the shore, though there’s only one large sandy beach area. The other nice areas for swimming include the rockier shores and sandier coves on the north side of the lake. Most of the best places are nearer the car park, though there’s also a lovely spot at the very far end of the lake.

Boat rentals and restaurants can be found on the shore closest to the car park. You can rent various types of boats – rowing boats, paddle boats and stand-up paddle boards. Boat rental is only open in summer. The restaurants can get busy, especially around lunchtime on the weekends. It’s best to head there early for lunch, or later in the afternoon. There’s also an ice cream shop nearby.

Best Places to Stay near Lake Eibsee

Comfort: St. Anton Guesthouse* is a fairytale guesthouse in a peaceful spot near the centre of Grainau town. It’s a lovely place to stay with characterful rooms and a cosy ambiance.

Comfort: Hotel Garni Post* is the oldest hotel in Grainau, located near the centre of town. There’s free parking and bike rentals can be organised.

Luxury: Eibsee Hotel* is a luxury 4-star hotel on the edge of the lake, perfect for a stay in both winter and summer.

Luxury: Hotel am Badersee* is a lovely, elegant hotel overlooking the peaceful Badersee Lake and surrounded by forest. A beautiful, relaxing place to stay in Grainau.

Guidebooks for Hiking in the Alps

There’s another lovely, though much smaller and more peaceful lake nearby that you can explore on the short Badersee & Grainau Panorama Walk. For a more exciting family-friendly walk nearby, check out the Partnachklamm Gorge Hike. Alternatively, find other great hikes on our Germany Hiking Page.


What’s the best time of year to visit Lake Eibsee?

Lake Eibsee is open all year round, and each season is beautiful in its own way. The water’s warmest in summer (though it’s never very warm) and you’re most likely to have good weather, though it’s also when the lake is most crowded. In spring there are wildflowers and the light is lovely, while in autumn you can see the gorgeous changing colours of the trees. In winter the circular walk around Lake Eibsee is cleared of snow and it can be a magical time to visit.

What time of day is best to visit Lake Eibsee?

The best time of day to visit Lake Eibsee is the early morning. The light hits the mountains, there are few people, the car park isn’t crowded and as a bonus, if you leave before 9:30 am the parking fee is much cheaper. Later in the afternoon can also be a lovely time.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *