St. Bartholomä church on lake königssee

Lake Königssee and Berchtesgaden National Park

Königssee along with the Eibsee is one of the most beautiful and famous lakes in Bavaria and probably the entire Germany. It is located in Berchtesgaden National Park and it used to be a hunting lodge of Bavarian Kings. Königsee is the deepest lake in Bavaria which is about 200m deep. Thanks to its shape and surrounding mountains it reminds Norwegian fjords. So whenever you are in Bavaria, don’t miss the chance to see this natural wonder. 

boat ride along the sheer rock faces of Lake Königssee
Boat Tour on lake Königssee

Table of Contents

Salzburg to Königsee
Munich to Königsee
When is the best time to visit Lake Königssee
Take a Königssee Boat Tour
Hike to Lake Obersee and Röthbach Waterfall
Hike to the Malerwinkel and Rabenwald Viewpoints
Visit the Eiskapelle, also known as the Ice Chapel
Have lunch at the St. Bartholomä
Take a Cable Car up to the Jenner Mountain
Hintersee and Ramsau church 

How to get to Lake Königssee

Königsee is located in the Berchtesgaden National Park close to the Austrian border. It is easily accessible both from Munich and Salzburg.

Obersee lake
Berchtesgaden National Park

Salzburg to Königsee

From Salzburg main train station or the Rathaus take a bus N840 to Berchtesgaden. Then from Berchtesgaden train station take bus N841 to Königssee Seelände station. The journey will take about 1 hour and 20 minutes. By car, it will take about 40 minutes if there is no traffic.

Malerwinkel Viewpoint over Lake Königsee
Malerwinkel Viewpoint

Munich to Königsee

Lake Königsee is one of the best day trips from Munich. There are two options to get from Munich to Königsee by public transportation. Both options take about 3 hours, so you should start your trip early in the morning if you want to do it within a day. 

Option 1: Take a train from Munich to Freilassing. At Freilassing you would catch a local train to Bad Reichenhall. From the main railway station at Bad Reichenhall get a bus N841 to Königsee.

Option 2: Take a train from Munich to Salzburg’s main train station. In Salzburg take bus N840 to Berchtesgaden station then take bus N841 to Königssee Seelände station.

Alüine Deer family looking into camera
Alpine Deer Family
Petting a cow in Bavarian Alps
Petting an Alpine cow

When is the best time to visit Lake Königssee?

The best time to visit Lake Königssee is between June and September. July and August are also the busiest months of the year. During the summer months, the days are longer and the weather is generally better giving you the opportunity to fully explore this magnificent lake and one of the most beautiful national parks in Germany. The daily boats that cross the entire Lake Königsee are running only between April and October. During the winter months, the boats go only to St. Bartholomä and back. If you want to skip the big crows and not miss out on anything go in May or September.

Boat on the shores of lake Obsersee

Things to do at Königssee

Take a Königssee Boat Tour

There are daily boat trips starting from Königsee Seelände. They usually make two stops – St. Bartholomä and Salet. The boat may also stop at Kessel upon request. From October to mid-April they go only till St. Bartholomä. Departure times vary depending on national holidays and amount of people. Basically, the more people wanna take the boat trip the more often the boats will go. For more information check the official website. The highlight of the tour is the boat guide playing trumpet in the middle of the lake. The surrounding rocks create an echo effect. When the lake is covered with a mist this creates a pretty mysterious atmosphere.

Boat Tour on lake Königsee
Boat Tour on Lake Königsee

Cost of the Königsee Boat Tour

A return ticket from Königssee to St. Bartholomä costs about 18,50 euros (price in 2021)
Children up to 5 years old may travel for free
Children at the age 6-17 travel for the half price
Large groups, people with disabilities, and seniors can get some reductions.

Königssee boat trip instagram
Königssee boat trip

Hike to Lake Obersee and Röthbach Waterfall

Lake Obersee is a smaller beautiful lake (only 1.3 km long) hidden just behind the famous Königssee. In order to get there, you will have to take a boat to Salet station and walk for about 15-20 minutes. Some people, including me, like Obersee more than its big brother Königssee.

Its crystal clear water in shades of blue and green will make you fall in love with this Bavarian treasure.

On the other side of Lake Obersee is located Germany’s highest waterfall – the Röthbach Waterfall. For those who want to reach the waterfall – along the way, there is quite a steep rock staircase to climb but it is doable and definitely worth it.  Once you reach the waterfall, you will see how from over 450m Röthbach tumbles down into the valley.

Obersee lake
Obersee lake

Hike to the Malerwinkel and Rabenwald Viewpoints

Malerwinkel viewpoint, located on the north shore of the Königssee, offers breathtaking views over the lake. When you arrive at the parking lot of Königssee, head towards the main boat station and follow the small way on the left. Follow the signs and after about 15 minutes you will arrive at this viewpoint. The trail is about 3.2 km long and the path is well maintained. 

This is quite an overcrowded trail, so I recommend going there either very early in the morning or during the low season in October or November. 

On the way to Malerwinkel, you have the opportunity to make a detour to the Rabenwand viewpoint. It goes about 15 minutes further uphill. The road is rocky and a bit slippery.

It has a higher point and offers a direct view of the Königssee with St.Bartolomä. It is considered to be the best view over Königsee and it is usually less crowded compared to Malerwinkel.

Malerwinkel Viewpoint Königssee
Viewpoint over the Lake Königssee
Girl enjoying the view over Lake Königssee
Enjoying the view over Lake Königssee

Visit the Eiskapelle, also known as the Ice Chapel

Eiskapelle is a naturally made ice cave often called Ice Chapel or Eiskapelle in German. It is located below the Watzmann east face where glacier water runs down from the Watzmann mountain and forms a thick layer of ice. The Eiskapelle is the lowest-lying permanent snowfield in the Alps. If you go here in early spring or late autumn, make sure to check if it is safe to do so because of the risk of avalanches.

Eiskapelle cave at foot of Watzmann mountain
Eiskapelle at foot of Watzmann

Hiking to Eiskapelle from St. Bartholomä

The easiest way to get to the Eiskapelle is from St. Bartholomä. It is about a 2-hour hike. The road is mostly straight. Only the last few meters are quite rocky and slippery.  I recommend wearing proper hiking boots and some warm clothes. Eiskapelle is located in the shadow and it is always a bit cooler here than in other places. If you decide to hike to Eiskapelle, make sure that you have enough time and will not miss the last boat. 

Eiskapelle is extremely dangerous and I do not recommend entering inside as the ice inside is highly unstable and may collapse at any moment. 

Eiskapelle from Inside

Have lunch at the St. Bartholomä

St. Bartholomew’s (German: St. Bartholomä) is a Roman church named after  Saint Bartholomew, patron of alpine farmers and dairymen. The church is located on the Hirschau peninsula in Königsee. It can only be reached by boat. There is a nice restaurant/beer garden located directly in front of St. Bartholomä church. Here you can enjoy your delicious meal with a scenic background.

St. Bartholomä at lake Königssee
St. Bartholomä at lake Königssee

Take a Cable Car up to the Jenner Mountain

Take a cable car on the 1,874-meter (6,148-foot) high Jenner Mountain overseeing Lake Königsee. It is a bit pricey, 32 euros return ticket for adults but for that, you will get beautiful scenery and a brand new modern mountain gondola. On top, there is a nice restaurant where you can enjoy the magnificent views while having a nice meal and drinks.

Hintersee and Ramsau church 

If you are staying longer in the Berchtesgaden National Park and Königssee you should not miss another marvelous lake Hintersee in Ramsau. It is only about 12 kilometers away from Königsee. This lake and the Ramsau church near it are becoming more and more popular among bloggers and photographers. No wonder, because this scenery is among the most picturesque in the Bavarian Alps. I highly recommend having a car in Berchtesgaden National Park and especially Ramsau in order to enjoy all the sights fully and be more flexible. You can park your car just next to the lake. If you have time, you should also check out Zauberwald. It is a magical forest at Hintersee Lake. You need good shoes to walk from the church in Ramsau through Zauberwald to Lake Hintersee.

Panoramic View over Ramsau Village and Church
Ramsau Village and Church Ramsau
Hintersee Lake in Berchtesgaden National Park
Hintersee Lake

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