Lake Starnberg, Bavaria, Germany

Lake Locations:

Germany - Bavaria -

Also known as:  Wurmsee, Starnberger See

Lake Starnberg, located in the Five-Lakes Region of Bavaria, plays a major role in the recreational plans of Munich residents. Located only 12 miles from Munich, the historic lake is a major tourism destination and home to many of Germany’s well-to-do citizens. The second largest lake in Bavaria, Lake Starnberg’s size is exceeded only by Lake Chiemsee an hour to the east. Both lakes figure prominently in the history of the former Bavarian kingdom. The five lakes, consisting of Starnberg, Ammer, Worth, Pilsen, and Wesslinger, join a number of smaller lakes remaining as the aftermath of the last glacial period. With the Bavarian Alps as a backdrop, Lake Starnberg looks the part of a playground for the rich and famous. But the everyday holiday-maker is welcomed here as well, along with a variety of tourists from all over the globe.

Local visitors often come to Lake Starnberg to enjoy the public swimming area at the village of Kempfenhausen, just one mile east of the town of Starnberg. Visitors may choose to vacation very reasonably at a camping platziert located near the shore, or choose a holiday flat or apartment and utilize the public beaches. Access from Munich by train is very easy, lending itself to a week-end or longer holiday. The train takes visitors to the docks to board a lake cruiser for a day touring the lake. Other visitors come to stay at resort hotels or a private rental gasthaus. The more affluent may bring the yacht with them or leave it here year-round in a private berth either at their villa or one of the marinas. But even the visitor on a tight budget can rent a sailboat, row boat or paddle-boat. Private combustion engine boats are not allowed on the lake, but the touring boats are plentiful and very convenient for holiday-makers to get around.

Towns by the lake include Starnberg in the north, Seeshaupt in the south, and Tutzing in the west. Most visitors stop at Starnberg to visit the upscale shops selling traditional lederhosen and dirndls. Cycling paths encircle the entire 30 miles of shoreline, and bicycle rentals are plentiful. Canoeing, kayaking, sailing and wind-surfing are favorite pastimes as is fishing. Anglers here pursue pike, perch, trout, whitling, carp, zander, bream, eel and whitefish. Time away from the water may be spent visiting the many restaurants and fish eateries located in the many small towns along the shore. Public parks hold swimming beaches, playgrounds, volleyball courts and even topless bathing. Over a dozen golf courses in the immediate area offer a variety of courses seldom found in one area. Hot air balloon rides over the lake are popular. More than 20 marked walking and hiking trails are located in the Five-Lakes Region, totaling more than 170 miles of trails. And because some of the famed Bavarian ski slopes are only an hour away, visitors also come here in the winter to take advantage of the variety of lodging opportunities found around Lake Starnberg.

Lake Starnberg offers a substantial history lesson about Bavaria and the Bavarian Culture. The lake holds only one island, Roseninsel or Rose Island. Its major inflow comes from a chain of small lakes in the south. This small river is called Ach or Ostersee-Ach. The only outlet is the Wurm River, lending its name to the lake originally. King Ludwig II often met his cousin, the Empress Elizabeth here at the island villa known as the ‘Casino’. Ludwig had over 950 roses planted in the rose gardens. The island is accessible by boat during the summer months. Much of the history of the Bavarian monarchy is centered around Lake Starnberg, including the death of the deposed King Ludwig II at Berg. A cross stands in the water where his body was found below the chapel. Elisabeth, daughter to Duke Max of Bavaria, grew up in Possenhofen castle on the banks of Lake Starnberg. The tragic story of Ludwig’s death is still a matter of conjecture, and the date of his death is still memorialized. The Empress Elizabeth Museum is open to visitors as is the chapel at Berg.

Other museums around Lake Starnberg include the Lake Starnberg Museum, where the remnants of the Bavarian Royal Fleet that once sailed the lake are housed. The Buchheim Museum showcases a fabulous exhibition of expressionist art. The Museum of Fantasy is located behind by the Bernried ferry stop and contains enchanted pools, pagodas and park lands. A variety of annual festivals celebrate the Bavarian culture and not surprisingly, many of them involve music. Ludwig was a patron of the composer, Richard Wagner; it has been said that Richard Wagner’s late career is part of Ludwig’s legacy, since he almost certainly would have been unable to complete his opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen or to write his final opera, Parsifal, without the king’s support. The Rose Island Serenades schedule concerts during the summer months, and the annual Starnberger Music Days are one of Europe’s most famed musical events.

Vacation rentals can usually be found around Lake Starnberg, but reservations may be necessary, particularly around holidays. Real estate is often available in the villages along the shore, with some lakefront property occasionally on the market. A visit to Lake Starnberg is the crowning touch for any European trip. So come and see Starnberg – it will become a part of your dreams.

Things to do at Lake Starnberg

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Wind Surfing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Casino Gambling

Fish species found at Lake Starnberg

  • Carp
  • Eel
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Trout
  • Whitefish
  • Zander

Lake Starnberg Photo Gallery

Lake Starnberg Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 13,838 acres

Shoreline Length: 31 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,967 feet

Average Depth: 175 feet

Maximum Depth: 419 feet

Water Volume: 2,431,248 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 21 yrs

Drainage Area: 100 sq. miles

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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