Königsee is the deepest, cleanest, coldest and perhaps the most beautiful glacial lake in Germany. It has been the subject of many tales and local folklore, and is a famous tourist destination for the past few years. Whether you take a boat ride across the lake, or walk along the meandering trail along its shores, you are guaranteed to be enchanted by the beauty of the lake and its surroundings. The Berchtesgaden National Park was established centered around this lake. It is surrounded by the Alps, is 8 km long, 1250 m wide and 190 m deep. The lake occupies the whole valley between the Jennerand Getzenberg in the east and Watzmann in the west.
Things to do:
Take a ferry ride across the Königsee:
Since 1909, in order to preserve the water quality, only electric boats are allowed to ferry passengers across the lake. The ferry-ride across the emerald-green lake is quiet, scenic and provides you with a bonus- the Boatman’s Trumpet Show. It is quite an enchanting experience to listen to the sounds of the boatman’s trumpet echoing from the mountain walls, while there is almost a pin-drop silence around you. The boat trip lasts for about an hour each way, with the possibilities to get off at St. Bartholomew (after 30 mins.) or Salet (after 1 hour), to explore the Obersee.
The tickets can be purchased from the ticket office just a few meters away from the Königsee Ferry Point. For further details regarding price, timing and discounts, please check here.
- Check beforehand for discounted ticket rates, especially if you are traveling with children or in a group of 20 or more.
- It can be highly crowded with tourists in summer and peak seasons.Hence, have time in hand, start early and plan accordingly.
Hike around the Königsee shores:
If you want to skip the crowds and not spend money on the boat trip across the lake, walk along the meandering trail across the lake shores. The walk is easy and not too stressful, is about 3.5 km in length and leads you to the secluded Malerwinkel or the Painter’s Corner. It is quite famous for its vantage point with painting-like views.
- Please check the weather conditions before you plan your visit, especially during winter since this area can receive heavy snowfall and trails can be closed owing to adverse weather conditions.
- Carry appropriate clothing as weather condition can change abruptly and within a short notice.
Get down at St. Bartholomew and Salet for hikes:
One can also get down at St. Bartholomew and visit the church, one of the most photographed in Germany. It was originally built in the 12th century, but was remodeled in the 16th century using an Ottoman-styled dome architecture. The hiking trails in this area are nice and not so stressful. If you want to experience the sudden and spectacular views of the surroundings, exploring the area on foot is highly recommended. If you feel hungry (or even thirsty), sit down to have a ‘Maß’ of Beer with some local specialties at the restaurant in the former hunting lodge next to the church.
From there, one can catch the next ferry and continue to Salet, the last stop.
- If you are in St. Bartholomew during winter, a 6 km (approximately 1.5 hours) hike from the ferry dock takes you to the beautiful Eiskapelle or the Ice Chapel. It is a wonderful area with incredible natural views.
- If you are in Salet, a 15 min walk leads you to Obersee, with some gorgeous views of the mountains reflecting in the mirror-like water surface. An added attraction to this magnificent landscape is the Rothbach waterfall.
- Check the schedule for return-trip times. If you miss, be ready to endure an extreme long hike to get back.
Take the cable car to the Jenner Mountain:
The Jennerbahn Station is only 5 mins walk from the Königsee Parking lot. If you want to get a spectacular birds’-eye-view of the Königsee, it is highly recommended that you reach up to the topmost point.
- Look out for combined tickets with the Königsee boat ride. For more information, please refer here.
Visit the Eagles’ Nest:
Hitler’s Eagles Nest sits on a mountain peak, high above Berchtesgaden. Originally Martin Bormanns’ birthday present to Hitler, it is now accessible to the general public, and offers a spectacular 360 degree view of the Alps. Hitler’s mountain retreat, the Kehlsteinhaus, sits there, preserved in its original form, with a restaurant that welcomes guests from everywhere.
- It is only accessible mid-May through October, due to the adverse weather condition in the other times.
- In case you plan to hike, you can start from Obersalzberg. However, it is quite a tough one. Hence, it is highly advised to be prepared. Carry appropriate clothing, and have enough fluids to avoid being dehydrated.
- In order to get there, arrive to Obersalzberg from Berchtesgaden (10 mins by bus 838). From Obersalzberg, the special Eagles’ Nest bus leaves you to the entrance of the elevator shaft in Eagles’ Nest.
- For schedule from Obersalzberg to Kings’ Nest, you can check in here. Enter the source as Kehlstein Busabfahrt, Berchtesgaden and the destination as Kehlsteinparkplatz, Berchtesgaden.
Getting to Königsee:
- From Munich-
Take a train from Munich Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) towards Salzburg. Depending on the connection, get down at Freilassing or Salzburg. Check your connection here.
- From Salzburg or Freilassing-
From Salzburg take bus number 840 to Berchtesgaden Hbf. From Freilassing take bus number 836 to Berchtesgaden Hbf. From Berchtesgaden, take bus 839/841/843 to Königsee Parking lot.
Travelling by Car:
Make sure that you enter the correct destination in your navigation system. The address is:
Parkplatz, Seestraße 3, 83471 Schönau am Königsee
The lake (or the See as it is called locally) is a 10 min. walk from the parking lot.
- Please ensure that you carry your passport or identity documents. It is quite normal for one to encounter frequent security checks along this route.
- While travelling by car, make sure that you set a filter to navigate through toll-free roads. Else, ensure that you buy Vignette before entering Austrian highways to avoid getting tickets.