Introduction

Most foreign visitors arrive at the shores of the Bavarian Sea – as Chiemsee is affectionately known – in search of King Ludwig II’s Schloss Herrenchiemsee. This is Bavaria's biggest lake (if you don't count Bodensee which is only partially in the state) and its natural beauty and water sports make the area popular with de-stressing city dwellers, and many affluent Munich residents own weekend retreats by its shimmering waters.

The towns of Prien am Chiemsee and, about 5km south, Bernau am Chiemsee (both on the Munich–Salzburg rail line) are good bases for exploring the lake. Of the two towns, Prien is by far the larger and livelier. If you're day tripping to Herrenchiemsee, conveniently interconnecting transport is available. To explore further, you'll probably need a set of wheels.