Situated within the Bavarian Alps in the municipality of Schönau am Königsee, just south of Berchtesgaden, Königssee is one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in Germany. This lake was formed by glacier during the Ice Age. It stretches about 8 kilometres long, 1 kilometre wide (at its widest) and 192 metres deep.
The emerald-green Königssee is surrounded by steep walls of rock, including Watzmann massif in the west and Jenner and Gotzenberg in the east. Due to this terrain surrounding, there is no path around the lake, so the only possible way to explore the lake is to hop on an electric boat, and get off at one of the stops further out across the lake.
There are only two main stops. The first one is the church of St. Bartholomä. You can get there off and explore, hike a bit along the edge of the lake, and eat at the restaurant next to the church. After stopping at the church, the boat continues for another 30 minutes to the southern end of the Königssee, at Salet. From here you can walk to a smaller lake, the Obersee, and enjoy gorgeous views of the mountains reflected in the lake, and the Röthbach waterfall.
The mountain cliffs along the lake make it look similar to a fjord. This topography also produces a clear echo which is demonstrated on the boat tours. On the way to first stop, the boatman blows a blast on his trumpet, and you will hear the echoes bounce back from the mountain walls. The boats run every day except December 24, unless the weather is bad (in storms, heavy fog, or when the lake is frozen). However, the boats only go out to Salet from late April through mid-October. And you mustn’t miss the last boat because you cannot walk, hike or drive back to town, and there are no accommodation at these stops. You can check the timetable of boat tour on this website.
You also can go around the town and trek the short trail along apart of the lake near boat dock or hike to Jenner. But it will take a lot of time, and you cannot have enough time to hike to Jenner and take the boat tour on the same day.
How to get there?
From Berchtesgaden: several buses stop at the Königssee (839, 841 and 843), and they run hourly. You can catch it from the bus stop in front of the Berchtesgaden Hauptbahnhof, or in town at the stop on Maximillianstrasse near the Kurhaus. If you stay at Berchtesgaden, don’t forget to ask your hotel about the guest card which will offer free public transportation in the region.
- By bus: take bus 840 leaves from the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, and takes you to the Berchtesgaden Hauptbahnhof.
- By train: Depart from the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, change at Freilassing, and arrive at Berchtesgaden Hauptbahnhof.
- After you reached Berchtesgaden Hauptbahnhof, you can take bus 839, 841 or 843 to the Königssee.
For the ticket, if you have only 1-2 persons, you can buy day ticket BGL-TagesTicket Bus & Bahn or Tageskarte region ticket (6 zones). If you travel as group 4-5 persons, you should buy Bayern-Ticket (Bavarian day ticket), but you cannot take bus 840 with this ticket.
From Munich: take the train from Munich Hauptbahnhof, change at Freilassing, and arrive at the main station in Berchtesgaden. After that, you can take bus 839, 841 or 843 to the Königssee. For the ticket, the best solution is Bayern-Ticket.