Taking a full-day excursion to one of the many lakes surrounding Munich is a relaxing and fun thing to do during the Summer months, especially if you can sit back on one of the many steamboats while enjoying the marvelous views from the lake (check out this post about a tour of Lake Starnberg). And it is even more fun if you can experience it on an old-style paddle wheeler.
Lake Ammer, or Ammersee as we say here in Germany, is just a thirty-five minutes ride by public train away from Munich central station and the sixth largest lake in Germany. While offering a bit less mountain panorama than Lake Starnberg, it is still a beautiful place to retreat to when seeking long walks along the lake´s shore or a refreshing dive into the clear waters.
And it is the only lake close to Munich that offers lake cruises on an old-style paddle wheeler steamboat. So not a surprise that my partner and me had to check it out by ourselves. Finding out that sometimes a less sunny day can be the most perfect time to go.
When planning an excursion in or around Munich, it is always a good idea to leave in the early morning between 8 and 9:30am. Traffic can be already hideous at this time, particularly on weekends or public holidays. And as public transportation gets you to almost anywhere in Bavaria, there is not necessarily the need for a rental car. Especially when you are traveling on a budget.
To get to Lake Ammer, you can take the S8 local train towards Herrsching, which serves also as the final and dedicated stop for the lake. If you are traveling in a group from 2 to 5 adults, the best choice would be the “Group Day Ticket Gesamtnetz” for 24,30€. It allows the entire group to use the entire network of trains, buses, trams and subways for 24 hours!
From the cute little station, it is only a five minutes walk (follow the signage “See”) down to the shore where your first can be quenched with an ice-cold Bavarian beer underneath the old chestnut trees on the banks.
Ideally, the steamboats leave from the pier alongside. The consumption of own food and drinks is permissable aboard the Ammersee fleet, so it could be a great idea to arrange a Bavarian style picnic a day ahead to be enjoyed while cruising the lake. This is always a favorite of mine! Otherwise, a small kiosk onboard offers a selection of warm snacks, sweets and cold drinks. Including beer, of course. It is highly advisable to bring cash with you as paying by card is not possible!
The paddle wheeler is operating only two times a day between 1. April and 10. October with the first departure from Herrsching for the whole circling at 11.45am, the second (and last possible departure for the whole circle) leaves Herrsching at 3:28pm.
There are altogether two paddle wheelers in service: The truly historic MS Diessen built in 1908 and the larger and more modern MS Herrsching. The latter was inaugurated in 2002, but was designed and built in a historic style with Art Nouveau elements. You can hardly tell that it was constructed in the 21st century once you are on it since it is still maneuvering with the paddle wheels. A beautiful vessel, truly!
Even though our ticket would have enabled us to leave twice during the round-trip, we stayed for the entire duration onboard and enjoyed the views from various locations throughout the ship. Since the weather was rather cloudy that day, not too many people had made their way out to the lake so early. We had decided for the 11.45am departure which proved to be the right decision as the number of families with screaming children was apparently much higher when we returned to Herrsching in the late afternoon.
So what a relaxing and tranquil trip this had been. A great time-out for everyone longing for some lake escape…. in, around or on Lake Ammer.
For more information about prices and the timetable, click here. By the way, with the day ticket I mentioned in this post, you receive a 10% discount on the steamboat fare!!!