Starnbergersee was one of Europe's first pleasure grounds. Royal coaches were already trundling out from Munich to the lake's wooded shores in the 17th century. In 1663 Elector Ferdinand Maria threw a shipboard party at which 500 guests wined and dined as 100 oarsmen propelled them around the lake. Today pleasure steamers provide a taste of such luxury for the masses. The lake is still lined with the small baroque palaces of Bavaria's aristocracy, but their owners now share the lakeside with public parks, beaches, and boatyards. Starnbergersee is one of Bavaria's largest lakes—20 km (12 miles) long, 5 km (3 miles) wide, and 406 feet at its deepest point—so there's plenty of room for swimmers, sailors, and windsurfers. The water is very clean (like most Bavarian lakes), a testimony to stringent environmental laws and the limited number of motorboats allowed.
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