If you’re visiting Bavaria as we are, you may enjoy swimming in one of the many fresh-water lakes or badesee that are dotted around the countryside here. They’re very popular locally with all ages and often have facilities like small cafes, picnic tables and swimming platforms.
Today we decided to hire bikes from the small town of Altötting, where we’re staying – the rest of our party decided to take a coach trip to nearby Salzburg to do some sightseeing but we fancied something a little more relaxing on a hot, sunny day. We set off after lunch armed with a map from the cycle shop and headed off on fairly busy roads, through a town landscape until we reached the River Inn (with a few stops to check directions).
Once we crossed the river we followed the cycle path beside it for about half an hour until we came across the swimming lake that the man in the shop had pointed out to us on the map. I’d expected something a little more commercial but in fact it was in a very natural surrounding, fringed with reeds and trees and surrounded by a grassy meadow with wildflowers and shady trees where numerous people had parked their bikes, laid out their towels and were swimming and sun-bathing.
We ventured in for a swim in the milky, green water, only hobbling a bit on the stony bottom and swam out into the sunshine. Further up the shore there was a swimming platform in the middle of the lake and we could see a cafe and boathouse on the other side. The fresh water was silky and refreshing after our cycle ride but there’s something about putting your foot on a squelchy, muddy bottom that I find a bit off-putting although my husband would prefer this kind of out-door swimming to any other.
After our swim we relaxed for a while in the shade and then cycled around to the cafe for a coffee and enormous slice of creamy peach cheesecake. On this side there was a car park and so there were far more people, especially families who had moved in with sun loungers and children splashing around with inflatable toys.
We only stayed long enough to have our Café und Kuchen then decided that we’d run out of time to return via a forest path that we’d spotted on the map and instead returned the same way we’d come. If you’re sightseeing in Bavaria or Southern Germany, do look out for these swimming lakes – it’s a great thing to combine with a cycle ride and you’ll understand why the Germans love to get back to nature in such a beautiful rural setting.