Set amongst the idyllic alpine foothills of Upper Bavaria lies the popular excursion destination Lake Kochel. The lake is a particular favourite of avid hikers. A charming path leads all the way around the lake, and the ascent along the south bank has a special charm with breathtaking views. The path takes you past the Walchensee Hydroelectric Power Station, which is bound to spark excitement amongst technology enthusiasts. Since 1923, it has been generating electricity with the water that rushes down from the upper part of the lake through the vast turbines. The power station is completely free to visit. Before marching onwards with your lakeside promenade, you can regain your strength with a snack from the Oskar-von-Miller café (e.g. "Obatzter" – creamy cheese topped with onion rings – served with a pretzel, or home-made spinach dumplings). Anyone intending to complete the full lakeside walk will need a lot of stamina. 15 kilometres are no mean feat.
Fortunately, there are several opportunities to shorten the tour. In the summer, you can take the boat from Schlehdorf or from the power station back to Kochel (from 1 April to the end of October). In the colder months, weary wanderers can catch the bus (no. 9611 or 9613) from Schlehdorf back to Kochel.
Or for a day of wellness and bathing glory, you could go to the Kristall trimini thermal baths, located just on the edge of the lake. Here, you can also go for a swim in the refreshingly cool lake, ideal for hot summer days. The indoor and outdoor slides (measuring 80 metres and 160 metres respectively) are also bound to enthral – children in particular. For a day of relaxation, try out the different pools with healing water, the three saunas and the steam room. And after your day of respite, you can return home in the comfort and tranquillity of the train.
Directions to Kristall trimini thermal baths: Catch the train to Kochel am See station. From here it's a 20-minute walk. First, head towards the town centre until the road merges into Schmied-von-Kochel-Platz. Then turn right up Schlehdorfer Straße. Shortly before you reach the bridge across the river Loisach, turn left down Trimini Straße. Walk down the path along the water until you reach Kristall trimini thermal baths.
Directions for the circular hike around Lake Kochel: Start at Kochel am See station and head towards the town centre until the road merges into Schmied-von-Kochel-Platz. Stay on the main road until you reach Herzogstandweg, which branches off to the left. Follow this road, which leads all the way to the Franz Marc Museum. At the museum, keep following the Herzogstandweg down towards the lake. When Herzogstandweg splits in two, take the left-hand narrower path. At the bottom, turn left along Erlengrund. Follow the road, keeping left, until you reach the "Tiroler Kreuz". From there, turn right onto the asphalt path. When you reach a sign that says "Bombenhölzl", turn left, then follow the sign that says "Urfeld" down towards the stream and cross over to the other side. From here, keep following the red and white markings on the trees all the way to the Walchensee power station. Then continue down Forststraße, which starts between the information centre and the machine hall, and follow the sign "Schlehdorf Felsenweg" all the way to the town of Schlehdorf. From here, take the foot and cycle path that runs alongside the main road between Schlehdorf and Kochel, all the way back to Kochel. The route is just under 15 kilometres and takes between 3.5 to 4 hours on foot. Although the level of difficulty is very low, we would recommend wearing sturdy shoes.