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For the municipality, see Chiemsee (municipality). For the bishopric, see Bishopric of Chiemsee.
Location Bavaria
Coordinates 47°53′24″N 12°28′12″E / 47.89000°N 12.47000°E / 47.89000; 12.47000Coordinates: 47°53′24″N 12°28′12″E / 47.89000°N 12.47000°E / 47.89000; 12.47000
Type Natural lake
Basin countries Germany
Surface area 79.9 km²
Max. depth 72.7 m
Water volume 2,048 mio m³
Shore length1 63.96 km
Surface elevation 518.19 m
Islands (Herreninsel, Fraueninsel, Krautinsel, Schalch)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.
Location of Chiemsee in South Germany

Chiemsee (German pronunciation: [ˈkiːmzeː]) is a freshwater lake in Bavaria, Germany, between Rosenheim, Germany, and Salzburg, Austria. It is often called the Bavarian Sea. The rivers Tiroler Achen and Prien flow into the lake, from the South; the river Alz, out of it, towards the North. The Chiemsee is divided into the bigger, north section, in the northeast, called Weitsee, and the Inselsee, in the southwest.

The region around the Chiemsee is Chiemgau and is a famous recreation area.

High resolution map of the lake within its surrounding region : Chiemgau.


The Chiemsee was formed, like many other pre-alpine lakes, at the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago from a hollow carved out by a glacier (a Zungenbecken). Originally the lake covered an area of almost 240 km², which is about three times its present area. Within 100 years its area shrank to around 80 km². Before 1904 the water level was lowered by about a metre. As a result, large areas of dry land were reclaimed.


Two of the main islands on the lake are Herrenchiemsee (the biggest one with an area of 238 ha) and Frauenchiemsee (15.5 ha), also called Herreninsel (gentlemen's island) and Fraueninsel (ladies' island), respectively. The third main island, Krautinsel (cabbage island[1]), is the smallest (3.5 ha) among the three and is uninhabited.

  • Herrenchiemsee has a palace built by King Ludwig II in 1878, also called Herrenchiemsee, which was never completed but was meant to be a replica of the Palace of Versailles, in France. Many of the rooms of the castle are open to tourists; tours of the castle and its extensive grounds on the island are conducted throughout the summer.
  • Frauenchiemsee, the smaller of the two major islands, houses a Benedictine nunnery, built in 782, as well as a small village. The nuns make a liquor called Klosterlikör (cloister liquor) and marzipan (almond paste).

There are also three very small islands: the Schalch, to the west of Frauenchiemsee; and two unnamed islands, 54 and 80 meters south of the Krautinsel, with an area of 30 m² each.


  1. ^ Because in the Middle Ages, it was cultivated by the nuns with vegetable and cabbages, see the german version for this entry in wikipedia : Krautinsel.

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