Detours | Walchensee
Sunshine Reggae in the Alps

A slice of the Caribbean in the Alps: Lake Walchensee in Bavaria with its brilliantly green and blue coloured water.
A slice of the Caribbean in the Alps: Lake Walchensee in Bavaria with its brilliantly green and blue coloured water. | Photo (detail): © Adobe

A Caribbean panorama in the Alps, how is that possible? It can hardly be thanks to the weather, and is definitely not because of the easy ocean access. And yet it is not without good reason that Lake Walchensee is dubbed the “Bavarian Caribbean”. So why not pop on your flip flops and your shades – and let’s take a look at what our local Caribbean has to offer.

By Jan Zipperer

If you ask the internet why the sea is sometimes so wonderfully blue and sometimes so stunningly green, you will get quite a range of different answers:

  • Because the sky is reflected in the sea.
  • Because water molecules tend to scatter short-wave light.
  • Because our eyes generally perceive more blue and green hues than other colours.
  • Because the sea is very deep, and the deeper it is, the greener and bluer it appears.

But if you ask the internet why Lake Walchensee in Bavaria has such a brilliantly green and blue colour, the answer is always the same:

  • Because the lake has a relatively high proportion of calcium carbonate.

Calcium carbonate comprises crystals which, in combination with the pure Alpine water, reflect the sun and give the lake its extraordinarily beautiful blue-green colour. It’s as simple as that: all that is needed for a slice of the Caribbean in Bavaria is a dash of calcium carbonate – and bingo, you’ve got pura vida holiday vibes between Munich and Innsbruck!

Lake Walchensee is one of the most picturesque corners of Bavaria. Situated in the district of Bad Tölz, it is one of the largest (16 square kilometres) and deepest (190 metres) Alpine lakes in Germany. Thanks to its natural beauty, Lake Walchensee is the perfect place for a whole host of leisure activities: hikers for example can explore the St James Way that runs along the lake, which is part of the famous European pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostela. The route offers spectacular vistas of the lake and the surrounding mountains – an absolute must for hiking enthusiasts.

Lake Walchensee also has an interesting film history, however. In the 1920s it served as the backdrop to the famous German silent film Mountain of Destiny. The impressive scenery lent the film’s dramatic scenes a special atmosphere, even though the water’s unique display of colours went unnoticed in the black-and-white movie.

In 2008, Michael “Bully” Herbig shot his box office hit Vicky the Viking at Lake Walchensee. Afterwards, the original film sets were turned into the “Flake” family theme park directly on the banks of the lake. The imposing Viking ship is anchored there, and a number of authentic Viking huts can also be seen. In addition, a Viking market is held there every September. So when you visit Lake Walchensee, you can feel yourself transported either to the pirate world of the Caribbean or to the Viking world of Scandinavia – despite neither a Caribbean or Nordic pirate having ever set foot here.



What does Görliwood mean, why can you find a piece of the Caribbean in Bavaria and where can you dance in front of bucket wheel diggers? In our series we take you on a trip each month to somewhere in Germany that you may not yet know but should definitely be introduced to. We reveal places that are not to be found on the usual tourist trails. Are you ready for a bit of a detour?