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Worthsee, Bavaria, Germany

Also known as: Worth Lake

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Map: Worthsee, Bavaria, Germany

"Gemuetlichkeit" is German for a certain kind of "Bavarian coziness," and it is an appropriate way to describe Worthsee (see=lake) or Worth Lake. Nestled in Upper Bavaria and set against the backdrop of the Alps, Worthsee is a 1,072-acre lake surrounded by quaint, picturesque villages. Easily accessible from the Bavarian capital of Munich, the lake and surrounding countryside wait to embrace weary city dwellers and enfold tourists with their German charm.

Worthsee is one of five lakes in the Funf-seen-land or "Five Lakes Region," which also includes Ammersee, Stamberger See, Pilsensee, and tiny Wesslinger See. Worthsee is over two miles long and less than a mile wide with a maximum depth of 112 feet. The lake is glacial in origin and is fed by several rivers and a few underground springs (river=bach): Auinger Bach, Bulachbach, and Gunter Inger Feldbach The Inninger Bach makes up the lake's outflow, and the river goes on to meet the Amper River after it leaves Ammersee.

Worth Lake is considered one of the cleanest lakes in Bavaria. It is also one of the warmest, making it a popular place to swim. There are sandy (and topless) beaches, some of which are available to the public, and a few public recreation areas. Approximately three-quarters of Worthsee's seven-mile long shoreline, however, is private with no access. It takes approximately two hours to walk around the lake, and tired pedestrians can reward themselves at the end of their walk with a stroll to one of the local beer gardens.

Like most of Bavaria's lakes, motor boat use is restricted on Worthsee. The best way to explore the lake is by canoe, kayak or rowboat. There is fishing on the lake, and permitting is through the regional association. Anglers reel in catches of Arctic char, carp, and whitefish.

A 30-acre island in the northwest part of the lake gave Worthsee its name. Worth is German for island, and Worthsee it also the name of a village on the lake's eastern shore. The island is also known as "Mouse Island." According to legend, the local Count had a barn full of poor people burned. He was set upon by a plague of rats and mice, and fled to the island to escape them. The rats and mice followed, and he disappeared under the onslaught. Today the island is ringed with sand, and the sandbar almost connecting it to the mainland is easily visible from the air.

Munich is a short drive from Worthsee, and the lake is on the historic train route. It is an easy weekend trip for city residents and likewise, the city is an easy trip for vacationers wanting to enjoy all that the Bavarian capital city has to offer. There are self-catering holiday villas, cottages and vacation rentals in the area and any amenities a visitor might want. Embraced by the surrounding villages and hospitality of the region's people, visitors to Worthsee are certain to feel Bavaria's "Gemuetlichkeit" and want to return again and again.

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