Schiff auf dem Chiemsee
Ahoy Bavaria!

Bavaria’s lakes and rivers are the perfect place for a day cruise. Take your pick from an electric-powered ship, nostalgic paddle steamer, sailing yacht or raft. You’re sure to enjoy hours of fun and lots of smooth sailing

16 Wonderful Boat Trips in Bavaria

Schiff am Steg der Fraueninsel im Chiemsee

Grand Tour of Lake Chiemsee

The Bavarian sea, Lake Chiemsee, and its many attractions are best explored by boat. But first comes a ride on the nostalgic Chiemsee railway in Prien. The legendary steam train has been travelling back and forth between the station and the harbour since 1887. Afterwards, it’s time to climb aboard: the Chiemsee-Schifffahrt fleet comprises 13 passenger ships.

A cruise on the paddle steamer “Ludwig Fessler” is particularly quaint. The saloon steamer was built in 1926, carefully renovated in 1995 and radiates a great deal of nostalgic charm on board. How about a Grand Tour of Lake Chiemsee? It lasts two and a half hours, during which you can enjoy the view of the Chiemgau mountains from different perspectives and make stops to go out and explore.

Stops include the famous Herreninsel island with its magnificent castle, Fraueninsel island with its venerable convent, as well as the towns of Chieming with its beautiful beach and Seebruck with the Bedaium Roman Museum. The Grand Tour sets sail four times a day.

Schiffahrt mit Bergpanorama auf dem Kochelsee


Mountain Lake Cruise on Lake Kochel

Lake Kochel stretches charmingly along the edge of the Bavarian Alps, 70 kilometres south of Munich. The mountain lake is around the size of 840 football pitches and reaches a maximum depth of 68 metres. Its shallow northern shore with reed-covered peninsulas and bays borders the Loisach-Lake Kochel moor. The south shore is framed by the Jochberg, Herzogstand and Heimgarten mountains and has a dramatic effect. The views of the mountain panorama from the boat are impressive.

The motorboat “Herzogstand” departs five times a day during the main season for one-and-a-half-hour trips. It can accommodate one hundred passengers. There are five stops where you can take a break from your journey. For example, you can visit the Franz Marc Museum on the east shore (combined ticket for boat trip and museum) or the “Kristall Therme” adventure spa in Kochel.

Also worth a visit is the Lake Walchensee power station information centre on the south shore. Alternatively, you can drive to the Altjoch jetty and hike along an impressive rock face to the village of Schlehdorf, which takes around one and a half to two hours. (Only in German)

Ein Elektro Boot der Königssee Schiffahrt vor der berühmten Wallfahrtskirche mit ihrem roten Kuppeldach Bartholomä


A Great Echo at Lake Königssee

The emerald-green Lake Königssee is the centrepiece of Berchtesgaden National Park. It is nestled between vertical rock faces and at the foot of the majestic Watzmann east face. There are no paths along the steep shores, so the lake can only be explored by boat. Since 1909, the lake’s boats have been electrically powered.

Today, 19 almost identical boats stand ready. They are built and maintained at a shipyard directly at the lake. Each of the twenty metre long and three and a half metre wide boats can accommodate around 80 passengers. The journey from Königssee Seelände or Königssee Lakeside, in the north to the Saletalm at the southern end of the lake takes about an hour. There is a mandatory and famous brief stop with an echo show, during which the sounds of a flugelhorn are reflected from the opposite rock face.

You can (and should) take a break after half an hour at the jetty in St. Bartholomew. The famous pilgrimage church with its red domed roof is the symbol of the lake and is located on the small Hirschau peninsula on the western shore. There, you can also take a break at a traditional tavern with a beer garden. In the high season, due to high demand, it is recommended to depart from Seelände before 10 a.m. and return by 2:30 p.m. at the latest. Online tickets are available for the tours starting from Seelände.



Day Cruise or Sauna Boat on Lake Tegernsee!

The charming landscape surrounding Lake Tegernsee in the south of Munich invites you to go hiking, the shores to enjoy the culture and, of course, the lake to take a relaxing cruise! There are five cruise ships for sailing across the shimmering blue-green water.

The oldest, the “MS Wallberg”, was built in 1938, the youngest, the sister ships “MS Rottach-Egern” and “MS Tegernsee”, in 2002 and 2003. They are the only ones to offer on-board dining. All ships call at the most important towns on the lake. From there, there are plenty of day trips and discoveries to be made: For example, the modern iodine-sulphur baths in Bad Wiessee, a museum dedicated to the painter and caricaturist Olaf Gulbransson in Tegernsee, the former monastery church of St Quirinus or the historic Bräustüberl restaurant with beer garden. The long round trip takes a good hour and a half, the southern one an hour.

The sauna ship “Irmingard” in Tegernsee is a great tip for wellness fans. After a sweat session on the converted ship from 1928, take a refreshing dip in the cool lake water! (Only in German)

Zwei Schiffe auf dem Forggensee


Lake Forggensee near Füssen: Alphorn Sounds at Sunset

At twelve kilometres long and three kilometres wide, Lake Forggensee is the largest lake in the Allgäu. However, it is not a natural lake. Created in the 1950s as a reservoir for the Lech, it only reaches its full water level from June to October, when the “MS Allgäu” departs from Füssen five times a day with a maximum of 200 guests on the small round trip and the “MS Füssen” with a maximum of 420 passengers three times on the large round trip. An on-board restaurant provides guests with refreshments. Enjoy a snack and a drink with wonderful views of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau palaces, the mountains of the Ammergau, the Lechtal and Tannheim Alps and the silhouette of Füssen.

Evening cruises are a special attraction. The anchors are lifted every Wednesday in July and August and on Saturdays in June and July. The late cruises not only entice with sunsets, but also with entertainment: For example, infotainment about the fairytale king Ludwig II or live music from alphorn players or Allgäu folk musicians. Tip: Holders of the “KönigsCard” guest card travel free of charge across Lake Forggensee. (Only in German)

Der große Alpsee bei Immenstadt umgeben von Wiesen, Wäldern und Bergen


Alpine Sailing Trip on Lake Grosser Alpsee

The “Santa Maria Loreto” is a sailing passenger ship that sails across Lake Grosser Alpsee. Lake Grosser Alpsee is located near Immenstadt in Oberallgäu, surrounded by meadows, forests and mountains, offering great opportunities for swimming. It is also popular among surfers and kiters.

The sailing ship is operated on a voluntary basis by a club. Though slightly smaller, it was modelled after a medieval cargo ship, a so-called Lädine, or a historical cargo sailing ship. The name is of Alemannic origin and means something like “load”. These boats have been travelling across Lake Constance and transporting goods since the 15th century. The “Santa Maria Loreto” from Immenstadt is twelve metres long and has room for two crew members and a maximum of 25 passengers. An electric motor guarantees that it will find its way back to harbour even in low winds. The boat departs two to three times a day from mid-May to mid-October on a one-hour round trip. Departure is from the Lake Alpsee harbour in Bühl. (Only in German)

Schiff am Leuchtturm Lindau bei Sonnenuntergang


Lake Constance: Across the Swabian Sea

Lake Constance covers an area of 536 square metres, which means there’s plenty of space for fun on the water. A trip on a cruise boat is a must! The first steamboat travelled the “Swabian Sea” as early as 1824. Today, the “White Fleet” of Bodensee-Schiffsbetriebe comprises 16 ships.

The oldest, the heritage-protected “MS Baden”, dates back to 1935, while the most modern ship is the electrically powered catamaran “MS Insel Mainau” from 2022, which is powered by solar panels.

Bavaria has 18 kilometres of coastline in the district of Lindau. There are many options for exploring the lake and its shores from Lindau harbour. The three-country round trip, for example, sails along the German, Swiss and Austrian shorelines, the panorama cruise explores the Bregenz and Schachen bays, while other tours take you into the Rorschach bay or on a one-hour cruise across the Obersee, or Upper Lake Constance. There are also romantic evening cruises available, and you can combine cycling or hiking tours with a boat trip.



Barrier-Free Cruise on the Danube with the “Ulmer Spatz”

The “Ulmer Spatz” was originally built in 1933 as a boat for Lake Schluchsee in the Black Forest. It has been travelling on the Danube between Ulm and Neu-Ulm in Bavaria since 1968. The charity Lebenshilfe Donau-Iller bought the ship in 2003. It was restored by volunteers and brought up to a modern technical standard.

Accessibility was a top priority, so that wheelchair users can also get on board easily. The two jetties at the Metzgerturm city gate in Ulm and in Friedrichsau, Ulm’s large city park, were also renovated and made accessible. The “Spatz” has room for 30 passengers and its crew is made up of people with and without disabilities.

The boat sails from the Metzgerturm jetty from May to October at normal water levels. The round trip takes around 60 minutes and offers a variety of views of the two cities of Ulm from the Danube. You can also hire the “Spatz” for special occasions. (Only in German)

Bei der Volkacher Mainschleife umläuft der Main in weitem Bogen einen Bergsporn.


Through the River Main Loop at Volkach on the MS Undine

The Volkacher Mainschleife, or the River Main Loop at Volkach, is the largest meandering river landscape in Bavaria. Here, in the Franconian wine country between Kitzingen and Schweinfurt near Volkach, the River Main winds around a mountain spur in a wide bend. The Main loop is a geotope and landscape conservation area. It also forms the centrepiece of viticulture in Franconia with the Engelsberg, Honigberg and Kirchberg vineyards.

From Easter to All Saints’ Day, the “MS Undine” travels the northern loop from Volkach to Stammheim and back again, passing winegrowing villages and vineyard slopes. The cruise takes 90 minutes. Another tour, just under three hours long, takes you to the wine village of Wipfeld to the north of Stammheim. The ship passes through a sluice and is raised by 4.30 metres. The “Undine” was built in Würzburg in 1959 and can accommodate 250 guests. It has two panorama salons, an upper deck and two sun decks as well as an on-board restaurant. The ship is suitable for standard wheelchairs. (Only in German)

Ein Schiff fährt an einer Reihe Fachwerkhäuser vorbei


Bamberg: Ahoy, World Heritage City!

Bamberg’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can view the city from the water on a harbour cruise. The tour ships of the white fleet depart from the “Am Kranen” docking area. From the Middle Ages until the beginning of the 20th century, the old Bamberg harbour was located here, and Albrecht Dürer once embarked here on his journey to the Netherlands. The view includes Bamberg’s famous Brückenrathaus, the old town hall, the cathedral, the Residenz building complex and Michelsberg hill.

The ships turn below the old town hall and sail downstream along the Regnitz River, past Little Venice, and pass under St Mark’s Bridge. The city then opens up; on the left, you can see the old hospital from 1789, and opposite that, the concert hall of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. Eventually you reach sluice 101 of the historic Ludwig-Danube-Main Canal. The round trip then leads to the Staatshafen, or state harbour. The route then takes you back out onto the Regnitz, past the former state garden show grounds, now Erba Park, and back to the Old Town. In August, in addition to the harbour cruise, the Three Rivers and Main Valley cruises to Eltmann are offered once a week. (Only in German)


Floating Beer Garden in Lichtenfels

What a place to be: 200 square metres of solid wooden planks, topped with chairs, a drink counter and a barbecue, a sail to protect you from the sun and rain – plus accordion music.

This extremely cosy raft floats on the upper reaches of the Main River near Lichtenfels in Upper Franconia. The tranquil journey takes around two and a half hours. It starts at Mainau in Lichtenfels, within walking distance of the railway station. The raft initially floats up the Main towards Michelau, turning around at the Oberwallenstadt campsite. While you enjoy the typical Franconian hospitality, the rustic vessel glides through charming river meanders and passes through romantic countryside. You can also see the Banz Monastery high above the valley on the Banzberg mountain, and briefly the Staffelberg mountain with its striking rocky crown – along with the Walberla and Kreuzberg mountains, it is one of the three holy mountains of Franconia! It’s best to book your ride online. (Only in German)


Amazon Feeling in Bad Kissingen on the Saale River

In the Unesco heritage town, two historic “Dampferle” steamboats take guests from the Rose Garden to the attractions at the lower salt works – and back again. The “Kissingen” was built in 1923, the “Saline” in 1964. Both boats can carry 50 passengers each. With a little imagination, a trip along the dark waters of the Saale will make you feel like you’re in the jungle.

The banks are overgrown with dense greenery on both sides, with bushy branches jutting into the water. You can see ducks, swans, fish and sometimes even beavers. Once you reach the salt works, the surrounding area invites you to take a walk. It's worth taking a closer look at the historic pumping stations, the “Round Fountain” (a brine spring), the Gradierbau (an elaborate wooden structure used to increase the salt content by evaporating water) and the old salt works.

There is a footpath that leads to the Museum Upper Saline in just a few minutes. It showcases the flat with the original interiors that Bismarck used during his stays, an exhibition on the Kissingen Health and World Spa as well as special exhibitions. There’s also a café under shady trees as the perfect place to take a break. The trips only run from Thursday to Sunday and take around 15 minutes.

Fähre im seichten Wasser vor einer Felswand


Cable Ferries on the Danube: Just Like in the Days of Yore

Two cable ferries on the Danube River in eastern Bavaria offer guests river crossings almost like in the Middle Ages. At the Danube Gorge, five kilometres upstream from Kelheim, one of these ferries connects the village of Stausacker on the left bank of the river with the Weltenburg Monastery opposite. The connection has existed since the 15th century. Weltenburg Abbot Konrad once granted the right of passage only for festivals and public holidays, for pilgrims and visitors to Weltenburg Monastery.

Today, the city of Kelheim offers the service to everyone. The crossing is still a special experience. Hikers, cyclists, motorbikers and cars – there’s room for everyone. The ferry can transport a maximum of 30 people at a time, with a maximum total load of 2,800 kilograms and a maximum individual load (important for cars) of 1,700 kilograms. Another ferry connects the banks of the Danube about five kilometres upstream between Hienheim and Eining. The open-air museum Abusina Roman Fort is located just under one kilometre south of Eining. (Only in German)

Ein Schiff fährt zwischen den Felswänden der Weltenburger Enge hindurch


A Spectacle of Rocks at the Weltenburger Enge

The “Weltenburger Enge” gorge near Kelheim is an impressive natural spectacle, Bavaria's first National Natural Monument and recognised as a nature reserve and geotope. 150 million years ago, a subtropical sea covered the land here. Corals and sponges formed mighty reefs – today’s rock faces of the Enge. Then, 200,000 years ago, a tributary of the Urdonau carved its way through the rock. Today it is the riverbed of the Danube.

The mighty river flows between the rock faces over a distance of around five kilometres, rising up to 70 metres. It’s a spectacle that is best experienced from a boat. The cruise boats of the Kelheim White Fleet run between Kelheim and Weltenburg Monastery from March to November. The monastery is located upstream at the entrance to the gorge. It was founded around the year 600 and is considered the oldest monastic settlement in Bavaria. Built and decorated by the Asam brothers between 1716 and 1739, the monastery church is one of the highlights of European Baroque. (Only in German)

Das Schiff MS Kelheim vor einem großen Felsvorsprung


Kelheim: Into the Altmühltal Valley or to Regensburg

The landscape of the Altmühltal Valley, which is dotted with juniper heaths and charming rock formations, has a southern flair. Its beauty can be experienced in comfort on a boat trip. Six modern cruise boats operate on the Main-Danube Canal from Kelheim. In Essing, you float past the ruins of Randeck Castle, which lies high above the valley on a hilltop, and then pass under the “Tatzlwurm”, a modern, spectacularly long curved wooden bridge.

From a distance, you can already spot the next castle on a rocky spur: Prunn Castle, where an original manuscript of The Song of the Nibelungs was found. The destination of the trip, Riedenburg, is home to three castles: Rosenburg and the ruins of Rabenstein and Tachenstein. After a short stop, the ships set sail again for the return journey. Other day cruises from Kelheim take you along the Danube to Regensburg with its World Heritage Old Town in just under two hours. (Only in German)

In Passau fährt man an bunten Häuserfassaden vorbei


Passau: All the Way to Linz and Vienna

The three-river city of Passau is a wonderful place to marvel at during a Danube cruise. During city tours, you can comfortably enjoy the views of the colourful house façades with their Italian flair, St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Oberhaus and Niederhaus fortresses, the Maria Hilf monastery and, last but not least, the rivers themselves with their varying colours: The green Inn, the blue-brown Danube and the black Ilz. There is also a day trip to Linz in Austria. It can be combined with an onward journey to Krems/Vienna.

The Barefoot Boat by Til Schweiger is new to Passau. The ship’s design is marked by lots of wood, wicker, linen and soft colours, creating a relaxed atmosphere on board. During the high season, there are daily Barefoot day cruises – a city tour with a detour into the Danube valley in the morning and down the Danube to the town of Engelhartszell in Austria in the afternoon. The crossing of the sluice at Jochenstein is also a highlight. In summer, the Barefoot ship invites you to enjoy culinary evening cruises on Friday evenings. (Only in German)

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