A board, a paddle, a lake: that's all you need for stand-up paddling (SUP). The fastest and easiest water sport to learn is an adventure, nature experience and full-body workout at the same time. And that's why it's all the rage. We present the most beautiful SUP tours on Bavaria's lakes.
Lake Eibsee has what no other lake has in Germany has to offer: The Zugspitze is reflected in its crystal-clear waters, and eight small islets shine out with bright beaches. Its location in a landscape conservation area at the foot of our highest mountain, about ten kilometers from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, makes this setting unique. Stand-up paddlers will find paradisiacal conditions at the mountain lake, which is located at an altitude of 1,000 meters (there's also an SUP rental shop), because motorboats, inflatable boats and canoes are prohibited. Even swimmers are few and far between in the 2.5-kilometer-long and about 850-meter-wide lake, because the water temperature remains refreshing - around 20 degrees - even at the height of summer. But the view of the Wetterstein Mountains warms the heart and soul.
Perfect size to paddle a big round: Lake Kochel is 3.5 kilometers long and 3.5 kilometers wide. The landscape is fascinating with rugged mountain slopes in the southern part and the flat foothills of the Alps in the north, as well as many reed beds. The lake, located 70 kilometers south of Munich, was also loved by famous painters such as Franz Marc, Gabriele Münter and Wassily Kandinsky. They gave the area around the lake the title the "Blue Land" because of its bluish colors and light. The deep blue water of the Kochelsee, several entry points such as in Schlehdorf and Kochel as well as rental stations make stand-up paddling here a pleasure for the whole family. Note: The only motorboat chugging across the lake is the Kochelseedampfer, an excursion boat.
From the Kochelsee a pass road leads over the Kesselberg to its big brother, the Walchensee. This is also the largest and, at just under 200 meters, deepest mountain lake in the republic. Other superlatives: Walchensee is surrounded by 27 kilometers of undeveloped shore and framed by Jochberg, Herzogstand and the Karwendel Mountains. A high proportion of calcium carbonate gives it its unreal, beautiful turquoise-green coloring. There are quite a few swimming spots and also SUP rentals. Beware: there are often many wind and kite surfers on the water at lunchtime, taking advantage of the local thermal winds. You can take a bit of culture with you on the SUP tour to the Viking village "Flake". The film village is located directly on the shore between the bathing meadow near Café Bucherer and the water rescue area. It was part of the film set of Michael Bully Herbig's movie "Wickie und die starken Männer".
A classic for stand-up paddlers is Lake Tegernsee. Its crystal clear water is of drinking water quality, due to the many inflows and outflows from the surrounding mountains. But this also means that the water temperature rarely rises above 20 degrees. On the SUP board you shouldn't care about that. After all, you're gliding through a landscape like something out of a blue-and-white picture book: glistening water below you, forested mountain slopes beside you, the peak of the Wallberg in front of you, and church spires and Alpine chic all around you. What's special about Lake Tegernsee is that, thanks to the many public beaches and jetties, you can easily get into the water with both your own equipment and rental gear. Pack a little money, because on a tour of the 6.5-kilometer-long and 1.4-kilometer-wide lake, a stop at the beer garden of Tegernsee Monastery is a must. Here, as it has been for centuries, the famous Tegernsee beer is brewed. If you don't have much time but want to see all the highlights, then one of the guided SUP tours is just the thing.
Schliersee is located in a valley east of Lake Tegernsee, at an altitude of 777 meters in the Bavarian Pre-Alps. With a length of 2.5 kilometers and a width of 1.3 kilometers, it is not particularly large, but rarely overcrowded. If you have your own board, you can go into the water at several swimming spots. For example, the entrance on the southeastern shore at the boat rental is nice and shallow. At rental stations such as on the north shore or at the miniature golf course, you can rent SUP equipment, including introductory courses. And when you set sail, you're guaranteed to paddle toward Wörth Island, which exerts a magical attraction on stand-up paddlers.
Shy of cold water? Then Lake Wagingen is the right place for you. Because the lake in the eastern district of Traunstein is considered one of the warmest in Upper Bavaria with water temperatures up to 27 degrees. Exploring the 6-kilometer-long and 1.7-kilometer-wide lake by SUP is also so much fun because it is connected to Lake Tachingen. You can paddle to it under a bridge. Five lidos and several campsites offer ideal conditions for stand-up paddling with a view of the Chiemgau mountains. Attention: Please keep your distance from the lily pads, because tench live here. The golden rule for water sports enthusiasts is: keep at least 100 meters away from the nurseries of birds, fish and amphibians.
The most famous Bavarian lakes - Chiemsee, Ammersee and Starnberger See - are of course also top SUP areas. But water sports are not possible without restrictions on them. The reasons for this are nature reserves and winter resting zones for water birds. Therefore, you must inform yourself exactly on which sections and at what time of year stand-up paddling is allowed. Passenger ships, motorboats, many sailboats, kite- and windsurfers as well as swimmers also require some attention - and distance - on the lakes so popular with Munich residents. When a 60-meter-long, 400-ton ship like the MS Seeshaupt passes you on Lake Starnberg, the waves are not to be underestimated. The best thing to do is to kneel down on the board and enjoy the view of the mountains. The advantage of the large ships is that you can plan them as a means of transport for large tours. SUP highlights on Lake Chiemsee, for example, include tours to Fraueninsel and Herreninsel. Going ashore is worthwhile, because on the Fraueninsel there are beautiful beer gardens, a centuries-old Benedictine monastery and many artists. Herrenchiemsee Castle, the Versailles replica of Bavaria's fairy-tale king Ludwig II, beckons on Herreninsel.
Cover photo: Definitely give it a try - SUP into the sunset on one of the Bavarian lakes © mmphoto - stock.adobe.com
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