Inzell, Bavaria – the active getaway
Surrounded by mountains, far away from traffic and shopping malls, lies the quiet Bavarian town of Inzell, situated in the South of Germany, between Munich and Salzburg. The village has a mere 300 residents making it the perfect getaway from the daily stressful routine with guaranteed calm and time for relaxation. But that doesn’t mean it’s boring! Inzell offers a ton of options on outdoor activities and sports, such as mountain biking, football golf (keep reading if you’re confused by this one) and speedskating.
The first thing to know about coming here is the Inzell Plus card, which you get free in 200 of the area’s hostels and hotels and which contains lots of attractions, such as free visits to the natural pond, the swimming pool or the sauna, as well as iceskating, bike reantal, minigolf, museum visits, football golf and much, much more. Via this link you have an overview of the places offering the Inzell Card Plus free of charge when making a booking. For a list of activities included click here.
The best possible way to launch into an active day in this part of the world (ok, any part of the world really) is a nice healthy breakfast, nothing can really go wrong after. As your personal breakfast scout I had the pleasure of test-driving two restaurants ‘Kesselalm‘ and ‘Glusthaferl‘, both of which served exactly what I needed to kickstart my day: fruits, breadrolls, cheese, ham, and some really good coffee.
Breakfast at the Glusthaferl
Breakfast at the Kesselalm
Special perk when visiting Kesselalm: try the tube rail! It was built by the owner himself and has a fabulous view. I naturally had a go at it and quickly realized how much fun it was to let out the inner kid once in a while! During the winter there are also three ski lifts around the Kesselalm, perfect for beginners.
The picturesque area offers lots of opportunities to go hiking and mountain biking and has something for anyone loving the outdoors. One thing that must not be missing from anyone’s to-do list while in Inzell is a hike or bike ride to Frillensee, a gorgeous lake, complete with beautiful clean water which is jugely popular for ice-skating during the winter months. Due to its icy temperatures, like most lakes in the mountains, this one is not suitable for swimming, even during the height of summer. As a result the big crowds mostly stay away but the scenery is all the more beautiful. The lake holds a lot of history – it was the actual starting point of an ice-speedskating era. In 1959 the German Ice skating Commission was looking for a new training ground and when they found Frillensee with its 20cm of thick ice, a beautiful panorama and lack of competition, they quickly knew they had met their match.
Frillensee, the lake where speedskating in Inzell was created
Since then, many national and international competitions had been held here and ice skating quickly became a popular tradition in Inzell. Only 4 years later, in 1963, the ice-rink had to be closed again as the heavy blanket of snow was threatening to break the ice, causing the city council no other choice but to build a new natural ice arena to allow continuing on with the tradition.
Throughout the years the rink has seen many improvements and most recently, in 2010, the ‘Max Aicher Arena‘ was built which is now the training ground for many speed skating professionals – one of the most modern iceskating halls in the world. The good news here is that the ice rink is not only reserved to the top professionals in the field, visitors also have the opportunity to test their skills. Best check out the opening hours on their website. Once a year the ice rink is used for wild motorbiking and every now and then it is turned into a concert hall.
Max Aicher Ice Rink
Me trying to speedskate
The perfect way to get around Inzell is by bike. You can easily rent a bike at the bikeshop ‘Mailis‘ (Inzell card users can use bikes for free for a couple of hours every day) and drive around the sparkling lakes, fields and hills and moorlands.
Alternatively, for those who love the thrill, you can go on steep mountain bike rides down the alms or attend the bike camp ‘Mountain Aktiv’, which is led by two enthusiastic women. The company offers guided bike courses for every level and has a special ladycamp for racing bikes, where you learn everything about the right technique, such as finding the right speed when biking downhill. The ladycamp has space for about 12 people and takes place once a month between May and August. It’s suitable for both beginners and advanced. From scenic bike tours to lake ‘Chiemsee’ to downhilling there is something for everyone and every level.
Have you ever heard of football golf? I hadn’t until I have been to Inzell. Football golf is, as the name suggests, a mixture of golf and football. This means bigger fields, different obstacles and, of course, a football and a hole. And loooooots of fun. This type of sport has around 25 fields in Germany and about 100 in Europe. Inzell’s 5 hectar Soccer Park is the largest one in Germany and the World Championships have been held here where Germany beat Indonesia and the USA.
I could have easily spent the whole day playing football-golf, but a hungry stomach calls for more food, glorious food! We stopped at ‘Zwingsee Stuberl’ a tiny, inconspicuous restaurant, located near the lake (Reichenhaller Str. 81, 83334 Inzell). The friendly restaurant is renowned among visitors and locals alike for its fish specialties. Every Thursday people come here for ‘Steckerlfish’, a local fish which is grilled on a pole on the BBQ – sooo good!
The perfect spot to cool down after all the hiking, football golf and biking is the beautiful natural pond close to the city centre, which was made into a swimming pool with lots of space to hang out and enjoy the awesome mountain panorama. Let your feet dangle in the water with a cool beer in hand and just watch the world go by for a moment.
Inzell is one of those lovely little places, ideal for anyone with an appreciation of mountains, lakes and the great outdoors. It’s a world apart from the ski mekkas one finds in Austria and Switzerland making it into a lovely retreat from the daily, stressful routine back home, a true holiday for body and soul.