Power wave or purple heron?

Ride the world’s longest water ski course, paddle on the Ilz River or go walking in the Bärnloch. At the mouth of the Isar and on the Unterer Inn, in contrast, bird watchers can enjoy their quiet pastime. Text: Christian Haas

Reading time: 8 minutes

Holidays on the water in Eastern Bavaria

Ready for boarding? On Lake Friedenhain in Parkstetten near Straubing, waterskiers and wakeboarders jump for joy. That is, if they feel capable of taking off over the eight obstacles! Even those who leave these well alone will still feel their pulse racing: ultimately, this lift pulls you across the water at around 30 kilometres per hour (and sometimes rising to over 50). What’s more, that’s over a length of 1,200 metres: a clear world record!

Alternatively, visitors to the lido can hire SUP boards or frolic in the free wave chute. Watertainment at its finest!

Alluvial forests at the mouth of the Isar

40 kilometres downriver on the stretch of the Danube between Plattling, Isarmünd and Deggendorf, the focus is all on nature. The Isar is the only Alpine river that still flows virtually intact into the Danube, and where it does, alluvial forest and an embankment foreland create a 2,800-hectare dream landscape.

In the 800-hectare Isarmündung nature reserve, you can see birds such as the bluethroat, collared flycatcher, marsh harrier, bittern, purple heron and the rare kingfisher, and also moor frogs and agile frogs, emperor dragonflies, many types of butterfly as well as grass snakes.

Where and when to see these creatures is all revealed in the “Isarmündung Information Centre” near Moos.  It also provides details about the habitat that is so valuable for many endangered plant species and how to spot these - whether you are walking, cycling or in a canoe.

Blick auf die Isar-Mündung bei Moos

Wild and mild: canoe fun on the Ilz

An even more extensive canoe trip can be undertaken on the Ilz, Eastern Bavaria’s last stretch of white water. The only really wild section is in the Dießensteiner Leite, with much of the river offering calm paddling conditions. And picturesque scenery.

Tip: Between Fürsteneck and Fischhaus, the “Black Pearl of the Bavarian Forest”, as the River Ilz is called due to its dark waters, can be seen at its absolute finest. Potential boaters are best advised to get equipment, route tips and information from specialists. And exercise a degree of caution: boating is not possible when the water level is too low or too high (and is generally not allowed in May and June), and the route finishes at Halser Weir anyway - or, with a short portage through the town, a little further on in Passau.

Kanutour auf dem schwarzen Regen: Hanse Wenzl empfiehlt den Aussichtspunkt am Weiler Kohlnberg
Passau: Ilz, Donau und Inn fließen in der Dreiflüssestadt zusammen

Children like to send small wooden boats on their way in the Osterbach River in the Wegscheider region near the border. A wonderful path leads through the wildly romantic Bärnloch, and constantly turns back to the water - the perfect place to cool off or build a boat.

Bathing is slightly more appealing in the warm Lake Rannasee, around another kilometre further on. Day trippers can also go fishing, do a Kneipp tour or hire a pedalo there.

The River Inn: birds and butterflies

Not far away, Jochenstein radiates energy. Not just because this is the location of Germany’s second largest hydroelectric plant, but also in the “Haus am Strom”, which entertains and informs in equal measure through a range of interactive elements.

The centre is all about nature, water and energy. This concept starts with the architecture, since the building is in the form of a wave as well as resembling a Danube pebble. The main building offers dancing water music and a ride in Europe’s only water lift. Instead of electricity, the lift is powered by water.

3 Personen auf SUPs auf dem Rannasee
Blick auf das Donaukraftwerk Jochenstein - Haus am Strom
Frau und Hund am Naturschutzgebiet Donauleiten

Sandbanks, islands, swamps, alluvial forests and a lot of water come together to form the 5,500-hectare Unterer Inn European nature reserve - a true bird paradise: the 55-kilometre stretch of river between the mouth of the Salzach and the mouth of the Rott is one of the most important hubs for international bird crossings.

In spring and autumn, in particular, amateur and professional ornithologists can marvel at a non-stop flying show. In addition, 800 species of butterfly flutter around the many wildflowers that can be seen on a walking or cycling tour. Good starting points for this are the Eglsee viewing platform and the Naturium, opened in 2020, with its attractive permanent exhibition.

Boathouse, Treehouse or Waterhouse?

Where is the best place to let it all sink in? Perhaps in the award-winning architectural delight that is the “Hofgut Hafnerleiten” near Bad Birnbach, with its three holiday homes and seven themed accommodations, such as the Boathouse on the bathing pool, the Treehouse and the Waterhouse, built on stilts over the lake.

More exceptional places to stay in Eastern Bavaria can be found under the “Sightsleeping” brand, including the “Berghotel Maibrunn”, the children’s Bio Resort of “Ulrichshof” and the "Landgasthof Meier".

More ideas about Holidays by the water in Eastern Bavaria on ostbayern-tourismus.de (only in German)

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