Being a great fan of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and having read many books about his life, I couldnâ€™t resist the chance to see his last castle, Herrenchiemsee on a Munich day trip. The castle is located on Herreninsel island in the Chiemsee and can be reached by ferry boat from a small town, Prien am Chiemsee, on the lake shore.
You can of course drive taking the MÃ¼nchen-Salzburg Autobahn or a more scenic route, but I opted for the comfortable train. Trains run every hour from Munich and the return trip to Prien costs EURO 22. Much to my surprise, Prien am Chiemsee turned out to be a worthwhile day trip destination in its own right.
When I left the station, the first thing I saw was the worldâ€™s oldest still operating steam tramway, the Chiemsee Bahn. Three to four open carriages pulled by a hooting engine, billowing clouds of steam into the air, invite the visitor to mount and take the short trip from the station to Prien/Stock where the ferry boats depart.
I decided to leave the train for my return trip and to explore the town of Prien first. Itâ€™s a picture book small Bavarian town with a church and market place and my best find was the Heimatmuseum or folklore museum.
Admission is a modest EURO 2 and you find yourself in a typical old stone house built in the style of the region with painted adornments around the door and windows, wooden floors, small rooms and low ceilings. The building dates from 1837 and is called Beim Mayerpaul.
The exhibits of the museum reflect history and traditions of the south of Bavaria. Fishing is an age old trade around the Chiemsee and the Chiemsee Renken, which in taste and texture are similar to trout are a delicacy as is the eel. Pottery is a craft which still is very much alive on the Fraueninsel, another island in the Chiemsee and the tiles to cover stoves and ovens made by Klampfleutner of the Fraueninsel were and are much in demand.
Several rooms are furnished in the style of the 19th century and you can see bedchambers, kitchens, a Biedermaier dining room and of course Trachten, the traditional clothing of the region. Well known is the Priener Hut, a hat which you can even try on.
The Heimatmuseum is located opposite the church on the market place where I found a cozy cafÃ© and enjoyed a Haferl, a mug of wonderful filter coffee before embarking on my lake journey to the Herreninsel.
You can find the best prices for hotels in Prien am Chiemsee using the HotelsCombined price comparison site.