Gearing up to explore Germany? As well as being a nation for unforgettable city breaks, it’s also fantastic for road trips thanks to its spectacular scenery – including dozens of dreamy lakes.
Whether you want to go somewhere where you can get out on the water or you’re simply craving some gorgeous backdrops for some Insta-appreciated holiday snaps, we’ve got you covered! Check out our choices for the best lakes in Germany…
For those after complete peace and quiet, relax at Mummelsee
Fed up of a bunch of tourists? Get away from the crowds at Mummelsee, a picturesque lake fringed by enchanting pine forests. You’ll find it within the Black Forest National Park and only a short drive from Strasbourg on Germany’s western border with France.
Mummelsee may be smaller than our other picks, but it’s a real hidden gem! That makes it a honeypot for those after some R&R in tranquil surroundings which are almost exclusively untouched. Romantic at heart? Legend has it that mermaids and water spirits splash around in Mummelsee’s waters…
For those whose Instagram feed needs a facelift, make your way to Tegernsee
Smack-bang in the heart of the Bavarian Alps, Tegernsee is absolutely glorious, no matter what time of year you decide to visit! It’s surrounded on all sides by snow-capped peaks and its water is busy with brightly-painted boats in the warmer months, offering you plenty of pretty backdrops for photos.
Visiting in the summer? There is nothing better than walking from Tegernsee over grassy peaks dotted with wild flowers and the occasional herd of alpine cows to reach the smaller yet no less pretty Schliersee. Visiting in winter? The lake usually freezes over and the shoreline is blanketed in snow – just like a real-life Winter Wonderland!
For wannabe sailors, Lake Müritz is the place to start
Is the Berlin Wall one of the major attractions on your ever-growing bucket list? See the city and then set your satnav for the banks of the enormous Lake Müritz, just two hours north. Its shores are lined with postcard-perfect boat houses and medieval villages which are worth a wander if you love exploring off the beaten track.
When it comes to the water itself, boating excursions are extremely popular and the only way to see as much of the 117 square kilometre lake as you can! Müritz is also part of the region’s Mecklenburg Lakes, which is made up of a whopping 100+ other bodies of water ideal for visiting if you’re in the area for a while. What’s more, the beautiful Müritz National Park is on your doorstep and it’s packed with stunning sections of heathland, marsh and ancient forest.
For keen hikers after fairy tale scenery, Lake Constance is the one not to be missed
Known as Bodensee in the local lingo, this huge lake sits at the intersection of three nations – Germany, Austria and Switzerland – and holds the title of the biggest body of water in the country! Its sheer size means there’s loads to do along its shores, from strolling around pretty towns to testing your balance at windsurfing.
If you love a lakeside walk, Bodensee’s shores are criss-crossed with hiking trails which’ll also plunge you into the surrounding wonderful woodland. The lake is additionally a key stopping point on the 450km long Alpine Road (aka the Deutsche Alpenstrasse) which is one of our favourite road trip routes in Europe!
For those brave enough for a refreshing swim, travel to the waters of Schluchsee
This glacial lake is perched in the heart of the Black Forest and is a real stunner! If you’d like nothing more than to swim in crystal-clear waters, Schluchsee should definitely be on your German road trip bucket list. When you see it, you’ll want to jump into it!
Schluchsee’s lofty position 900m above sea level affords it breath-taking views and some of the cleanest water in Germany that’s safe – if not a little chilly! – to swim in during the summer months. The lake has been a hotspot for holidaymakers for decades and has some pretty luxe hotels and guest houses along its shores if you want to stay overnight.
For easy access to stunning heritage sites, Alpsee can’t be beaten
This large lake sits almost right on the German-French border and it really is as striking as its photos! Shadowed on all sides by green forests and spectacular alpine peaks, Alpsee is also one of the deepest lakes in the country. If you visit in the warmer months, you’ll probably glimpse one of its resident white swans swimming in the shallows. More of a winter wanderer? Expect plenty of snow to play around in!
Coming with your kids? Alpsee is only a stone’s throw away from the storybook Neuschwanstein Castle which is the real-life inspiration of the Disney castle! Complete with turrets and a throne room, it’s an ideal spot for budding knights and aspiring princesses to let their imagination’s run wild. If you can’t get enough of castles, Alpsee also has another right on its shores: Hohenschwangau Castle, the swish summer palace of King Ludwig II.
Getting to Germany’s lush lakes by road
Germany’s high-speed motorways makes it an absolute breeze to explore by car! You can pick up a rental car at any airport, city or large town and then hit the open road to cruise across to one of the country’s incredible lakes. If you’re holidaying in the winter, remember that a lot of the German lakes are in the mountains, so you might want to upgrade to a 4×4.
After more awesome driving holiday options in glorious Germany? Hit the road on Bavaria’s Romantic Route, swot up on your art and history knowledge along Frankfurt’s Museumsufer or set your sights on the beaches of sunny Sylt.