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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 (30.8 sq mi)
Max. depth 72.7 m (239 ft)
Water volume 2,048×10^6 m3 (72.3×10^9 cu ft)
Shore length1 63.96 km (39.74 mi)
Surface elevation 518.19 m (1,700.1 ft)
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,[1] Germany, near Rosenheim. It is often called "the Bavarian Sea". The rivers Tiroler Achen and Prien flow into the lake from the south, and the river Alz flows out towards the north. The Alz flows into the Inn which then merges with the Danube. 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 (93 sq mi), which is about three times its present area. Within 10,000 years its area had shrunk to around 80 km2 (31 sq mi). Before 1904 the water level was lowered by about a metre. As a result, large areas of dry land were reclaimed.


There are three main islands on the lake: Herreninsel, the largest, with an area of 238 hectares (590 acres); Frauenchiemsee, 15.5 ha (38 acres), also called Herreninsel ("gentlemen's island") and Fraueninsel ("ladies' island"); and uninhabited Krautinsel,[1] 3.5 ha (8.6 acres). It is known as "Cabbage Island" because in the Middle Ages it was cultivated with cabbages and other vegetables.[2]

  • Herreninsel has a palace built by King Ludwig II in 1878 called Herrenchiemsee, which was never completed but was meant to be a replica of the Palace of Versailles. Many of its rooms are open to tourists; tours of the palace and its extensive grounds are conducted throughout the summer.
  • Frauenchiemsee, the smaller of the two main 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 square metres (320 sq ft) each.


  1. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Chiemsee". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 132. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-12-17. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 

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