Cycling with a child in the trailer and a view of the mountains. In between, go for a ride on the SUP board and refresh yourself in Lake Chiemsee. If you then spend the night on a family farm of the Blaue Gockel, you will experience wildly beautiful family holidays. Text: Astrid Därr. Photos: Steffi Eckelmann
Chiemsee cycle tour with kid
Purple wispy clouds marble the evening sky above the Alz. The silhouette of the pastures is reflected in the river water. The play of colours changes almost by the minute from deep red to grey-blue. The last rays of sunlight illuminate the peaks of the Chiemgau Alps on the southern horizon.
We devoutly observe the natural spectacle between forest, water, sky and mountains. We listen to the quiet splashing, chirping and twittering, keep an eye out for birds in the reeds. Matthias Untermayer, farmer and host of the "Moierhof" holiday farm on Lake Chiemsee, pulls wine glasses out of the picnic basket and pours sparkling "ChiemSecco".
Along the way, he chats about his travels in southern Africa. We feel a bit like we are on a safari with a sundowner on the Zambezi. Instead of crocodiles, however, we only spot a swan.
Matthias does not transport his guests to the river in an off-road vehicle, but in a 60-year-old tractor. On the way, he shows us his favourite places: the wooden platform at the edge of the forest with a view over fields and mountains, the blue and white beach chair on the bank of the Alz, the mini-island with a footbridge in the river. Matthias has a sense for secluded spots.
Despite the many tasks on the "Moierhof" with 70 dairy cows plus calves, farming on 70 hectares and guest business with five-star holiday flats, his wife Susi, daughter Rebecca and he take time to show guests their homeland.
"I love paddling the SUP board on the Alz at sunset and getting out again somewhere downstream under a starry sky," Matthias enthusiatically says. The Alz, which rises near Seebruck in the north of Lake Chiemsee, borders directly on the family's estates and is a popular spot for SUP and inflatable boat tours in summer.
An animal and children's paradise
The tractor chugs across the field back to the farm, where our one-year-old son is allowed to stroke the calves in the straw before bedtime. "The barn is always open here. The children can help with the feeding or watch the milking. In the evening, we have bread from the campfire," says Matthias.
Yes, at the "Moierhof" the kids enjoy boundless freedom. In front of the stately main building there is a sandpit, merry-go-round, slide, trampoline and a play hut on a large meadow. Around the farm there are nothing but forests and fields, the mountain panorama ranges from the Mangfall Mountains to the Wilder Kaiser.
The little ones squeal with delight when the pigs grunt
Two branch swings dangle from the ancient oak tree in front of the farm. The fleet of vehicles, from slide cars to go-karts, makes children's hearts skip a beat. The animal house with rabbits, ponies, donkeys, sheep and goats to touch also exerts a magical attraction on our youngest, who squeals with delight when the pigs Hannibal and Rosalie grunt.
The teenagers groom the horses or take lessons in the riding arena. And then there are the shaggy Scottish Highland cattle Henriette and Gretl, who greedily let themselves be fed dry pretzels. Actually, there are already enough attractions on the farm, but there is even more to discover by bike.
On the Chiemsee Cycle Path to Gstadt
After breakfast with blueberry jam, milk and eggs from the farm, we pack the little one into the trailer and swing onto the bike. The first stop is directly behind Henriette and Gretl's pasture, the Celtic farmstead of Stöffling.
Seebruck is considered one of the best researched Roman sites in Bavaria
Four buildings in block and post construction show what a Celtic settlement might have looked like around 300 BC. This is the start of the "BEDAIVM" archaeological trail, which leads through 4,000 years of human history on 29 kilometres of different stations. But we are drawn to the lake. We roll downhill along the Alz to Seebruck. Those interested in history can visit the Roman Museum.
In the summer heat, we prefer to cycle to the lido with its large sunbathing lawn and adventure playground. The water is so shallow that it is already bathing tub temperature in May which is ideal for children.
After a break in the water, a decision has to be made. On the Chiemsee cycle path, which circles the "Bavarian Sea" over 60 kilometres, we either head southwest towards Prien or southeast towards Chieming. We turn west towards Gstadt.
Passing bathing spots with views over the silvery, glittering Chiemsee waves to the white powdered Alpine peaks, we drive to Gollenshausen. At the "Seehäusl" at the small beach bath with jetty, hungry cyclists queue up for a roll with smoked Chiemsee roe deer.
We make it to Gstadt and enjoy the view from the Hofanger nature park on the lakeside promenade over Fraueninsel to the mountains, according to Matthias "the best view on the whole of Lake Chiemsee". There's a playground with water games near the steam pier.
If you're looking for more glamour, take a boat to Herrenchiemsee to King Ludwig's fairytale castle or explore Fraueninsel with its gardens and the 1,200-year-old Frauenwörth monastery. If you want to extend the Bavarian safari, lie in wait for cormorants, great gulls and grey geese at the "Ganszipfel" birdwatching tower just beyond Gstadt before the return journey.
From north to south: to the mouth of the Tyrolean Achen
The birds are chirping, the crickets are chirping and the leaves in the floodplain forest rustle in the fresh morning wind. Trails lead through the bushes to the pebbly lakeshore. The cycle path from Seebruck to Chieming has a different character. Again and again it runs above the lakeside path, which is only accessible to pedestrians.
Before Chieming, we pedal through a sea of rape and dandelion blossoms to the Schützing farm with its farm shop and boat mooring. A little further on, the daughter church of St. Johann von Stöttham sits secluded on the edge of the forest. Just before Chieming, we take a breather at the viewing platform before reaching the steam pier. The "Thomafischer" at the pier sells fresh fish, in a roll if you wish, and rents out pedal boats for a little spin.
Behind Chieming, the lakeside path is closed to cyclists. A short stretch along the main road, then we turn into the Tiroler Achen nature reserve on the southern shore of Lake Chiemsee. The estuary with its gravel and sand banks, floodplain forests and meadows is considered the best-preserved inland delta in Central Europe. On the way back, it's worth stopping for a swim at the wonderfully shady Chieming beach bath.
Through the hinterland: Seeon and Eggstätt-Hemhofer lake district
On sunny summer weekends, it can get pretty crowded on the Chiemsee cycle path. In high season, it's worth taking a trip into the hinterland. From the "Moierhof" we cycle north to Truchtlaching, where we would love to jump into the water at the sight of the reed-covered beach on the banks of the Alz.
The tour continues on small roads through picture-book scenery, gentle hills in the foothills of the Alps, pretty farms, unobstructed views of the Alps. In Seeon, the Klostersee lake offers the second opportunity for a swim. The onion-domed former Benedictine monastery (10th century), where Mozart once found inspiration for his compositions, sits enthroned on a peninsula in the lake.
We follow the "16-Seen-Runde" uphill and downhill on a small side road until we reach a viewing bench in front of the hamlet of Eschenau. Here they all lie before us, the peaks between Wendelstein and Kampenwand, including Schleinmoos with its meadows. Now it's a brisk ride into the area of the Eggstätt-Hemhofer Seenplatte northwest of Lake Chiemsee.
At the Hartsee lake with its bathing jetty, beach volleyball and playground, it is time for a midday rest. In the forest we discover more quiet bathing spots at Einbesssee and Kesselsee. Near Gstadt we finally reach the Chiemsee circular route again. A cheeky duck chases our youngest cyclist, who tries to save his biscuit. The animals on the Bavarian cycling safari are not dangerous, but they are quite hungry.
At a glance
Family holidays on a farm
The "Blauer Gockel" children's farms offer a high level of comfort and a good range of services, like the "Moierhof".
blauergockel.de (only in German)
Cycling at Lake Chiemsee
The Chiemsee-Chiemgau region scores with a well-signposted network of cycle paths totalling 1,400 kilometres. 20 adventure tours such as the "Archaeological Circular Trail" (29 km) or the "Monastery Trail" (45 km).
chiemsee-chiemgau.info (only in German)
Boat tours on Lake Chiemsee
Boats shuttle from Prien and Gstadt to Fraueninsel and Herreninsel all year round. Herreninsel. In summer, steamers also leave from Seebruck, Chieming, Übersee and Bernau. From May to October, natural history "delta boat trips" to the estuary of the Tyrolean Achen.