Berchtesgaden National Park located in Bavarian Alps is a real paradise for nature lovers. Just imagine… majestic mountains, deep valleys, alpine huts, crystal-clear lakes and a great diversity in animal population and plant species. Nature in this region of Germany remains unspoiled. Bavaria offers numerous outdoor activities, including plenty of walking tracks and steep mountain trails. From easy walks accessible for everyone to challenging ones of a via ferrata dedicated for experienced hikers only. Berchtesgaden National Park has a network of 260 km well-marked walking tracks. Let’s dive in and discover a variety of outdoor activities in Bavaria!
Lake Königssee is a heart of Berchtesgaden National Park and the jewel of Bavaria. This fjord-like lake is over 7 km long and reaches a maximum depth of 192 m. It’s also the cleanest lake in Germany, nestled at the foot of the eastern wall of Mount Watzmann (2713 metres), the second highest mountain in this country. There are a couple of lakes in Bavaria, however, Lake Königssee is one of nature’s true masterpieces. This is why I had to include it in this blog post about outdoor activities in Bavaria.
Electric boats run on Lake Königssee so that you can experience its beauty up close. Boats depart from Königssee Seelände according to the timetable and stop at the following boat docks: Königssee Seelände – Kessel (upon request – for hikers) – St. Bartholoma – Salet – St. Bartholoma – Kessel (upon request – for hikers) – Königssee Seelände. You can get off the boat at each stop or continue the boat tour.
The bout tour is not the only one attraction here. You can enjoy the pristine nature and explore the neighborhood at each stop. From Salet take a 20-minute walk to Lake Obersee, which is smaller than Lake Königssee, but equally beautiful. Continue the same walking path and after an hour, you will get to Fischunkelalm mountain pasture. Here we have a marvelous view of Röthbachfall, Germany’s highest waterfall (400 m). The mountain path is easy and suitable for everyone.
Next boat dock is St. Batholoma. You will spot here one of the most popular landmarks of Lake Königssee. St. Bartholomew’s Church is a Baroque style chapel with two onion domes and a red domed roof. What’s more, another interesting hiking trail starts nearby. It goes to Eiskapelle, a permanent ice field lying at the east face of Mount Watzmann. It takes around an hour to get from St. Batholoma to Eiskapelle. The walking track is not difficult, but slightly more demanding than the one leading to Röthbachfall.
If you wish to visit all the above-mentioned places, you need to start your trip early in the morning. I highly recommend you to get off at Salet in the first place and later on at St. Bartholoma. Be mindful of the current boat timetable and check the time of last departure towards Königssee Seelände. Most tourists deliberately wait until the last minute to return and this generates a huge queue just before the last departure. In my case, it turned out that the last scheduled boat to Königssee Seelände was not the last one. Additional boats arrived to collet all remaining tourists at St. Bartholoma. At the same time, it’s hard to say if this happens every day.
Another place worth a visit is the Painters Corner (ger. Malerwinkel). It’s a short, 20-minute walk from Königssee Seelände so you can drop by once you have finished the boat tour. This place is popular for its spectacular view across the lake with high mountains in the background and… an eternal silence. No surprise that this view inspired many landscape artists to paint a picture.
Boats run on Lake Königssee from April to October. Make sure to check the time of the first and the last boat before you arrive as this may vary dependently on the month. The ticket for an adult is €20,20, for the following journey: Königssee Seelände – Salet – St. Bartholoma – Königssee Seelände. It’s possible to purchase a ticket to a specific boat dock only. If you book a ticket online, you will avoid queuing at the ticket office at high season. Boats depart in summer every 15-20 minutes. The ticket office is at Königssee Seelände.
What would a visit in Berchtesgaden National Park be without a day-hike? The Berchtesgaden Alps offer numerous walking tracks and steep mountain trails. From easy walks to challenging ones of a via ferrata. A walking track that goes to Mount Jenner (1874 metres) is of medium difficulty and this is why I decided to give it a try. You can start your hike at the foot of the mountain. You can also take a cable car ride and begin the hike a bit higher. The last possibility is to take a cable car ride to the top of the mountain, but let’s be honest here. This doesn’t have much to do with hiking…
The first station of Jennerbahn is located in the valley at 630 metres (Talstation). The walking trail to Mount Jenner starts nearby. If you set off from this point, you will most likely struggle to finish the hike before it gets dark. If you want to avoid unnecessary rush, you can take a cable car ride to Mittelstation at 1185 metres. This will definitely save some of your time. Even though I started my hike exactly from Mittelstation, it took me the entire day to climb up Mount Jenner and get back to the carpark. I did enjoy the panoramic views, I stopped at every mountain hut and I also picked up the walking track that goes around the mountain instead of taking the shortest one.
Dr. Hugo Beck Haus is the first mountain hut you will spot within a few minutes, starting from Mittelstation. Continue the trail that goes around the mountain until you get to Königsbachalm (1240 metres), next mountain hut. Now the trail goes gradually uphill. Next mountain hut on your way is Schneibsteinhaus (1670 metres). At this point, you can take the walking track that goes directly to the summit or you can continue the trail to cross the Austrian border and visit another mountain hut, Carl v. Stahl-Haus (1736 metres). Then you will need to take a few steps back to the trail that finally leads up to Mount Jenner. Jennerhaus (1802 metres) is the last mountain hut before the actual summit. There is also the final station of Jennerbahn, Bergstation (1800 metres).
Once you get to the top of Mount Jenner, take a deep breath and enjoy the amazing views. Have a look at Lake Königssee, nestled at the foot of the mountain. It looks incredibly beautiful in the sun! It will take you around 2 hours to get back to Mittelstation if you continue the walking track around the mountain. There are many mountain huts on the way back, including Mitterkaseralm (1534 metres). Be sure to get back to Mittelstation before the last departure of the cable car. Otherwise, you will have no other choice that hiking back to the carpark.
Make sure to check the current timetable of Jennerbahn before arrival as it may vary dependently on the month. The ticket for an adult is €32, for the following journey: Talstation – Mittelstation – Bergstation – Mittelstation –Talstation. You can’t purchase a ticket to Mittelstation only. If you plan to get off at Mittelstation, the ticket price remains the same as for the cable car ride to Bergstation.
Bavaria offers a large number of outdoor activities. Almbachklamm is one of them. This beautiful gorge is located in Marktschellenberg with main entrance at Kugelmühle. The walking track is 3 km long, and goes up through the deeply cut gorge, along the Almbach River, next to thundering waterfalls and crystal-clear pools. There are a lot of bridges and overpasses too, and each of them is numbered. Theresienklause, the old dam, formerly used to flush timber downstream is at the end of the walking path. At this point, you will have to turn back and get back to Kugelmühle. The walking track is not difficult, the total elevation is 220 m. It shouldn’t take you more than 3 hours to walk through the gorge (both ways).
Almbachklamm Gorge is open from May to October. The ticket for an adult is €6. It is recommended to wear sturdy shoes as the walking path may be slippery.
Kehlsteinhaus is a former property of Adolf Hitler, also known as the Eagle’s Nest. It sits on an atop Kehlstein at 1834 metres in Berchtesgaden Alps. It was commissioned in 1937, completed within 23 months and mostly used by Nazi for government and social meetings. According to historical records, Hitler didn’t like this place as he didn’t feel fine that high. He also complained about the weather here which tends to be unstable. Currently, Kehlsteinhaus is a mountain restaurant and historical information centre. It also provides visitors with a breathtaking panoramic view.
It’s not possible to get to Kehlsteinhaus by car as the road is closed to private traffic. You can get there by bus or on foot in 2 hours. Buses go from the station at Documentation Center, Obersalzberg. There is also a parking where you can leave your car. The bus will take you up to a viewing platform at 1710 metres. Then you will notice a long tunnel that leads to a brass elevator going up the final 124 metres to Kehlsteinhaus.
Make sure to check the current bus timetable before arrival as it may vary dependently on the month. The ticket for an adult for a bus ride (both ways) and entry to elevator is €16,10. Buses depart from the bus station every 20 minutes at high season (usually 4-5 in convoys). The place gets quite busy, especially in summer. So it’s much better to arrive in the morning to avoid long waiting times to the ticket office, bus and elevator.
I remember my trip to Austria and Germany very well as I enjoyed it big time. The above-listed outdoor activities in Bavaria were just a part of it. Make sure to check what else did I do in German and Austrian Alps in summer. Don’t miss the blog post about Eisriesenwelt Cave and Mount Schafberg either.
That’s all about outdoor activities in Bavaria. Which outdoor activity is your favourite so far? Let me know by leaving a comment below!