The Chiemsee is just an hour from Munich, and leaves you with a real “on holiday” feel. Known as the Bavarian Sea, it’s home to two islands – the Herrenchiemsee with its huge Versailles-esque palace and the Frauenchiemsee, with lots of little smoked fish restaurants and a Benedictine nunnery.
I spent a day exploring both islands and the pretty town of Gstadt, before heading to the wonderful Wirtshaus D’Feldwies a short drive away. Service is fantastic, the beer garden’s very quaint and the food was just what we needed – the menu offered spinach dumplings, chanterelle risotto with pork medallions, Schweinebraten and spätzle. Unfortunately, after such a hot day (it was 36°C in the sun), none of us were particularly hungry – and the portions are huge.
I spent a couple of hours relaxing in Gstadt, before heading across the lake on a ferry to an island. Tickets for a round trip (includes both islands) cost 11.50 €. I started off with Herrenchiemsee. You can buy tickets to visit the palace as soon as you land, but it was too hot to head indoors, so I wandered around the small island and King Ludwig II’s gardens. They really are eerily similar to Versailles.
Next up, the Frauenchiemsee. Whereas the Herrenchiemsee only has King Ludwig II’s palace buildings, the Frauenchiemsee is home to locals and Benedictine nuns, who make their own schnapps and liquor. – sadly, we arrived at the Klosterladen too late to buy some. The Frauenchiemsee was my favourite island – the gardens were all so pretty, almost as if the residents of the island had held a meeting to discuss their gardens earlier in the year. Every second building is a smoked fish restaurant, and if you’re not smoking fish, you’re making some sort of ceramic products for the many tourists who visit in the summer.
I rounded up my day with a swim in the warm lake, before heading back to Gstadt and driving to the Wirtshaus for dinner.