Friday, 10 August 2012

Munich Starnberger See Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 13.7 km (8.5 miles)

Munich Running Routes:
Old town, English Garden, Isar 
Nymphenburg Palace gardens  
Olympiapark  
Isar River south route  
Classical Munich  
Starnberger See lake-side route  

For more running routes see the route list.

If you already know Munich well and are heading back for a visit during the summer, here's my tip for you: book a room in Starnberg, on Starnberger See (lake), south of the city. The Munich commuter trains (S-Bahn line 6) can get out you there in just a half hour, and then you're standing on a sparkling alpine lake, with the Alps lining the southern horizon. This trip, you won't be spending your time on Marienplatz or packed into the Hofbraühaus, but you'll be rewarded with wonderful waterside running trails.
Starnberger See, with the Alps on the horizon
This run is a simple out-and-back along part of the eastern shore, to the village of Leoni and back. You can also run on the western shore, but there is a long stretch where you have to run along a fairly busy road, with houses between you and the lake. The east side is definitely the better one for running.

As this is a simple out-and-back (returning down the same way that you went out), you can lengthen or shorten it any time you want. The waterside path continues onwards for the length of the eastern shore. You could even run to one of the further ferry stops and take the boat back to Starnberg, although they only run a few times a day. A complete lap of the lake must be close to 50 km.

The Starnberger See Running Route
We'll start in front of the train station, which is right at the waterfront in Starnberg. Just run through the tunnel under the tracks and you'll be out on the pedestrian promenade along the water.
The promenade in Starnberg
Facing the water at the ferry dock, turn left and follow the paved path along the water. At the beginning, there is just a short stretch where you have to leave the water, running around the back side of the ferryboat company shipyard, then turning right on Nepomukweg.

At the Wasserpark (a swimming hall and beach) with its Strandhaus, turn left then right to get around the hall, continuing on Nepomukweg.

You'll soon have to cross the first of two wooden drawbridges, this one crossing the stream that drains the lake, with a little marina there.
The first wooden bridge
Now, you'll run through a little park and then cross the next wooden bridge.

After this second bridge, you will run through a big beachfront park.
The Starnberger beach park
There was a sailing regatta out on the lake when I was running on a Wednesday evening. Every Wednesday at sailing areas around the world, regattas are held so that sailors can get out on their boats during the week. As a sailor myself, I was half-wishing I was out there, despite the beautiful trail in front of me.
View of the regatta from the shore
After three kilometers, the park ends and you'll continue on a gravel path with private gardens and docks fenced off along the water side.

The path then merges into a small paved street with little traffic, Seestraße. There are a lot of great homes along this stretch. The whole Starnberg area is very upscale, what the Germans call "schicki-micki". Now that I think of it, there are a LOT of schicki-micki neighborhoods in Munich.
One of the houses on Seestraße
At almost five kilometers into the run, you'll come to the next village, Berg ("Hill" in German). The place is aptly named, because you'll have to turn left, heading away from the water, and run straight up a hill, gaining 35 meters in the process. Here is your natural fartlek all built in with no extra planning!

The detour goes around Schloß Berg (Castle Berg), once a home of the Bavarian royal family. Famous King Ludwig II grew up here before he became famous for being excentric and building the fairy-tale Neuschwanstein castle. Ludwig was the Michael Jackson of his time: a creative, tormented homosexual who couldn't fit into the roll that society designed for him.

Ludwig was declared unfit to make his own decisions and was banned to Schloß Berg. One day, he went for a walk along the water and he never returned. He was later found dead, floating on the water.
The turnoff on the Berg hill, follow that foot-trail!

Up the hill, turn right on the footpath marked "Votiv Kapelle". The path will follow a wooden fence along the palace grounds. Follow the fence all the way back down the hill to the water, into the woods.

First, you'll pass the votive chapel, dedicated to Ludwig II, then you'll run through more woods.
The votive chapel at the spot where Ludwig II disappeared
This woods is a secluded public beach. It was so hot running that day, that on the way back, I couldn't resist -- I kicked off my shoes and stopped in here for a swim. It was wonderful.

After the woods, the path takes you past the Leoni boatyard, then you come out onto a street again, Assenbucher Straße.
The view from the Leoni ferry dock back to Starnberg
Now you run the last half kilometer to the modern box, the Seehotel Leoni, and the ferry dock. Turn around there and head home the same way that you came. Watch out for those beaches: they're beckoning to jump in for a cooling swim. Or, another temptation that I couldn't resist: ordering a large weissbier back at the Starnberg promenade!
The finish looks better through a half-empty weissbier glass