Ever since I saw the Geroldsee on Instagram, I had to find it and capture it myself. It reminds me of Alpe di Siusi in Italy, do you see why? When I first discovered it, no one shared the name of this place. Right now it’s common knowledge, so I’m here to tell you how to get there, the best time to capture this place and how to get the best photos! Oh, this place is also known as Wagenbrüchsee, in case you were looking for that lake!
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Where is Geroldsee?
Geroldsee is located in Bavaria, Southern Germany. You’ll find the small town Gerold ust a couple of kilometers out of Garmisch Partenkirchen. The lake is known as Wagenbrüchsee as well. Garmisch Partenkirchen is a famous city for winter sports in Germany. If you pay attention to the map, you see that you’re close to Austria too! In fact, the mountain range behind the lake is located in Austria.
How to get to Geroldsee?
Trying to navigate to the lake? Take this exact spot. That’s the spot where you can park. The lake gained some popularity for photographers lately, so the local authorities introduced a paid parking system. The best way to pay for parking, is by downloading the EasyPark app beforehand. It saves you time and you can easily extend the time you want to park at the spot.
If you traveling from overseas, I would recommend to rent a car. Not just for this location, but to make the most of your time in southern Germany and/or Austria. The closest airport is Munich, about an hour away. Rentalcars offers a great variety of cars at multiple companies.
If you don’t have a car, you can get to the lake by bus as well. Just use Google Maps for the timetable and make your way to the lake. If you’re coming from Garmisch Partenkirchen, you can take bus 9608 or 9618.
Of course hiking is an option too. It takes a couple of hours from Garmisch Partenkirchen, or you can combine multiple lakes on a day hike in southern Germany. I didn’t hike in this area myself, but Mountain Moments wrote a great blog about hiking in this area! If you’d rather plan your own route, you can just follow Google Maps or Maps.Me. It’s smart to download offline maps, so you can still navigate when your coverage is gone.
Once you arrive, it’s pretty straight forward. The footpath is on Google Maps, just make sure you end up on the north side of the lake to take the best photos. As soon as you arrive at the lake, there are some small paths leading up to the cabins. Make sure you use the designated footpaths, as the meadows are private property. I personally stayed on the footpaths at all times, just to honour the farmers who were around.
What's the best time to visit Geroldsee?
The Geroldsee is beautiful at any time of the day, but sunrises are definitely most beautiful. I visited the lake twice. The first time during the afternoon, the second time during sunrise. When I arrived at sunrise, I got lucky with some very foggy conditions.
The lake was hardly visible, but the drone photos turned out amazing. I loved to see the Zugspitze colouring orange with that sunrise glow! If you’re not into photography and you just want to enjoy your day, go during the morning or late afternoon. It gives you enough time to do some other activities in the area, or hike around to find more amazing spots!
When I went during the midst of the day, I was on my way to Italy. I just wanted to see and enjoy the lake, and do a small stop during my road trip. The light was a bit harsh, but I still enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere!
How to find the best angles for photography
As a photographer, it’s important to be creative. Look for unique angles that you haven’t seen before. I recently saw a photo around Geroldsee on Instagram, that I hadn’t seen before. It made me excited to go again and look for new angles as well.
Which lens should I use?
One way to be creative, is to have a variety of lenses with you. When I arrived at sunrise, I started with my drone in one hand and my 70-200 lens in my other hand. The idea was to create a hyper lapse with my drone at sunrise, but I messed up with the settings. The results are still nice, but not what I hoped for. While my drone was creating the hyper lapse, I took my Sony A7III and 70-200 F/4 to capture the Zugspitze. The sunlight hits beautifully and the conditions blew me away. Alright, not literally, but you know what I mean. At this point, I changed my lens and went for the 16-35 F/2.8 GM to create some landscape photos.
As soon as I finished my first drone battery, the fog started to clear up. I decided to walk a bit down, to see if I could get the classic shot of the lake with the cabins. The sun started to hit the lake and you can see the result below. I would always suggest to go for that shot that you haven’t seen yet.
Other activities in the area
There are a lot of other things to do in this area. Garmisch Partenkirchen is a mountain paradise, so expect mountain related activities! Another amazing lake to visit is Eibsee. The colour of the water is beautiful and it’s another great sunrise location. Something else you can’t miss is Partnachklamm. A wonderful gorge where glacier water is flowing down. You can hike through the gorge, but bring a jacket as you’ll get wet and it can get chilly! If you’re an adrenaline junky, try mountainbiking or one of the toboggan runs in the area!