The Kings Lake
Welcome to Königssee! The Kings Lake leaves you with a fascination which has made this place well known far beyond its borders. After spending a weekend in this truly idillic place, I am not surprised it is chosen every year as one of the top destinations in the whole Germany. For every lake enthusiast this German gem located in Bayern is an unconditional must visit place. Not only because of the beautiful location but also because of a great number of different attractions you can enjoy around the lake. Hiking, biking, swimming, boats tours, waterfalls – you will not have a chance to get bored. The Königssee is a wonderful example of an alpine lake that is a truly interesting travel destination in any season.
How to get there?
The Salzburg Airport is 25 km (15.5 miles), the Munich Airport 185 km (115 miles) away. Both have international flights connections.
If you don’t want to rent a car to drive from the Salzburg airport to Königssee, you can use local transportation:
By bus – Take the bus number #840 (The Watzmann Express) that departs from the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof and the Salzburg Rathaus, and takes you to the Berchtesgaden Hauptbahnhof, the journey takes 45 minutes.
By train – You need to depart from the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, than change at Freilassing and arrive at the main station in Berchtesgaden in about one hour and 15 minutes.
From the Berchtesgaden Hauptbahnhof you need to take bus #839, 841 or 843 to the Königssee parking lot.
Where to stay
The best option is to stay in Schönau am Königssee, picturesque town located at at the foot of the famous mountain Watzmann, just a walking distance from Königssee lake. You have countless options of hotels and guesthouses to choose. The issue is that most of them are not available on accommodation portals like Booking or Airbnb. Also, what is available on Booking and Airbnb is usually more expensive than what you can find locally.
The best source of places to stay is a local page called Berchtesgaden-Online where you can find many options with different standards and different price levels. We have chosen Hotel Hanauerlehen, that offers simple but cozy rooms and, what I loved the most, beautiful panoramic mountain view from every balcony.
Eat like a Bavarian
I have been traveling to Königssee really excited to make the best out of this weekend trip. Disappointingly, the lake welcomed us with thick fog and pouring rain. But well, it turned out this unpleasant weather to be a good thing. On this rainy day we simply enjoyed amazing Bayern hospitality and made quite a few rounds through local bars and restaurants. To hide from the rain and to try what local places have to offer.
Believe me, this region of Germany can surprise you with amazing cuisine reflecting both, tradition and local food resources. The lake is stocked with Alpine trout (saibling, or arctic char) that you simply must try in all the possible ways. Fried trout, cooked trout or smoked trout, all the options are really tasty. Places I sincerely recommend:
Waldhauserbraeu – local bar and restaurant in one. Serves traditional fish and meat dishes accompanied with great choice of beverages. If you want to see where locals eat and where they go for a drink in the evening, this is the right place.
Gasthaus Unterstein – more elegant version of a local restaurant. Try fish, meat and delicious desserts. On days of local holidays and some weekends you can enjoy also life music.
Gaststätte St. Bartholomä – this restaurant is located next to pilgrimage church of St. Bartholomä. The locaton obviously makes it a touristic place, but it is still worth visiting. Fresh fish from Königssee is absolutely amazing and it’s a perfect place to enjoy a nice lunch break during your boat tour through the lake.
What you cannot miss at Königssee
Königssee is a jewel among Berchtesgaden lakes and a boat ride will be truly unique experience. Rent a paddleboat and enjoy the National Park’s nature in peace and quiet or take an electric boat for a group and guided tour. The boat service operates year round and in high season the service starts at 8:00 am in frequent intervals. Just try to start your boat tour early and leave before the last hour that the boats are running, so you don’t stand in the long line.
As soon as you board the boat, all the noise will be left behind and you will enjoy this magical silence of the lake. During the crossing to St. Bartholomeo the boatman plays his trumpet to lure out the world famous Königssee echo was really impressive. You will also pass the famous waterfall and so-called painter’s corner, which is the only point easily reached on foot on the lake’s banks.
Once you will get to the pilgrimage church of St. Bartholomä you will surely be amazed with this historical attraction. It is located in one of the most beautiful places in Bavaria together with the former hunting lodge of Bavarian Kings. Do not stress if your boat will be full of other tourists. Once you are all out walking around, it doesn’t feel crowded at all.
It is also well worth taking the boat right to the end station of the boat ride, at Salet. A short walk from this location leads you to Lake Obersee. There your view stretches across the magnificently situated lake and over to the Fischunkelalm and the Röthbach Waterfall, Germany’s highest waterfall with impressive 450m height.
Secret waterfall – what you may not know
Most of us before our trips is searching for information and pictures on the social media. Obviously, I did the same and found a secret waterfall spot with a natural pool at the top. I have seen pictures of people posing around or in it and this was my plan too. I will leave it up to you if to hike to that place or not but will share with you what we heard from local people.
We have been strongly discourage to this idea by locals. Moreover, we have been advised to not to hike there and not to promote Königssee in this way. According to what we have been told, the hike path to the waterfall is closed as its dangerous and causes death risk. It is not allowed to climb there and local society feels frustrated that people still do so and that the lake is promoted with hike to the waterfall as an attraction. They feel disappointed to see more and more people climbing to the waterfall what attracts other brave souls to do the same. So knowing that I guess we all need to make our own decision before taking the risk and also to keep in mind what influence it has. We decided not to climb there.
Lake Königssee with its location at the foot of the wall of Mount Watzmann is definitely one of the most spectacular treasures created by Mother Nature. If you would like to see more of the nature’s true masterpieces read also about Lake Bled in Slovenia, Morskie Oko Lake in Poland and Lake Braies in Italy.