The Tegernsee is just one of the many lakes in the German state of Bavaria. But there’s so much that makes this specific lake special and worth visiting. I had a chance to visit the town of Tegernsee for a winter afternoon day trip from Munich. It’s the kind of charming lakeside getaway you expect in Bavaria, with a small town feel that’s electrified by small shops and restaurants while the Alps provide a beautiful backdrop.
The History of the Tegernsee
Today the Tegernsee is a popular spot with locals and tourists alike for its beautiful scenery, recreation, and outdoor activities. The towns that dot the perimeter of the lake are buzzing with life. But its history goes back much, much further. In the 8th century, a monastery was founded on the Tegernsee in the picturesque region.
By the 19th century, the monastery had been acquired by the Wittelsbachs, the Bavarian royal family. The buildings were turned into the family’s summer residence.
Visitors to Tegernsee can tour the former Benedictine Abbey of the Tegernsee. Included in the monastery’s complex is the abbey church, St. Quirinus, which is still an active church and now serves the local community.
Visiting the Town of Tegernsee
Whether you’re looking for an easy day trip from Munich to experience more local Bavarian charm or just to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, the Tegernsee doesn’t disappoint. My husband and I had the opportunity to spend a late winter day in the town of Tegernsee. We stopped in the town with friends on our way back to Munich after spending the morning in Kufstein, Austria exploring the town’s namesake fortress.
Eating & Drinking at the Tegernsee
As many know, where you can find monks you can often find beer. At least in the German-speaking region. The monastery at the Tegernsee is no different.
Around 1050 the Herzoglich Bayerisches Brauhaus Tegernsee was founded in connection with the monastery. When the Wittelsbach family took over the monastery, it became the brewery we know today.
You can visit the brewery for a drink or a meal. Right along the lake they have a cavernous restaurant in a historic building. There’s also a large Biergarten right out front for when the weather is nice. You can sit back, enjoy a beer and a meal and watch the lake.
Be sure to check out the restaurant’s whimsical cardboard beer coasters, or Bierdeckel. They feature a rather overweight man enjoying their beer and wondering, in Bavarian dialect, where his dog is. Spoiler: the dog is at his feet but unable to be seen over the man’s large belly. The coaster is a favorite of my husband.
What to Do at the Tegernsee
On a winter day, there is no shortage of places to explore in the town of Tegernsee. If you enjoy exploring on foot the town has lots of options, such as walking around the lake or through the town itself. The streets are rather narrow so you can windowshop as you wander through the town. There are also built-in recliner benches along the lake so that you can sit and relax.
During those cold winter months I recommend finding a bakery or coffee shop that you like and settling in with a piece of cake and a warm beverage. Or, bring a thermos of your favorite hot beverage and go sit by the lake. Be sure to bundle up!
Historically, the region has been known as a popular spot for health resorts. This continues to this day with a number of spas and wellness resorts. With its peaceful landscape, I can only imagine how ideal the Tegernsee is for serious R&R.
If you’re looking for something a little more exciting or involving, there are, of course, lots of options. Like much of Germany, biking and hiking are a popular past time at the Tegernsee. And with the surrounding mountains so close by it’s a tempting proposition.
If you’re itching to get out on the lake, there are also options for sailing or boating. You can even take the ferry between some of the lake’s towns. The ferry operates year round so check their timetable to see the schedule. Coincidentally, the ferry is the same operator as the ferry on the Königssee so you can expect a certain level of service.
The town of Tegernsee sits on the southeastern coast of the lake of the same name. The town is located about 30 miles south of Munich and less than 20 miles from the Austrian border.
If you’re visiting with a car, there are some spots available. Parking is, however, relatively limited and there is usually a fee.
There are also lots of train stations in and around the Tegernsee. From Munich’s main train station you can reach the Tegernsee in about an hour.
All opinions, as well as all photos, are my own.