Berchtesgaden National Park 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. 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 the 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 literally 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, only for hikers) – St. Bartholoma – Salet – St. Bartholoma – Kessel (upon request, only for hikers) – Königssee Seelände. You can get off the boat at each stop or continue the tour to the next dock. Plan your trip ahead if you don’t want to miss out.
Boat tours are offered 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. If you don’t want to do the full tour, you can purchase a ticket to a specific boat dock only. Booking a ticket online in a good idea, especially in high season. You will avoid queuing at the ticket office which may happen in summer. Departures are scheduled every 15-20 minutes. The ticket office is at Königssee Seelände.
If you wish to stop at each dock, it’s best to start the trip early in the morning. I highly recommend getting off at Salet first and then at St. Bartholoma. Be mindful of the current timetable and check the time of the last boat 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 was not the last one. Additional boats arrived to collect all remaining tourists at St. Bartholoma. Otherwise, they would be stuck there overnight. It’s hard to say if this is always secured though.
The bout tour is undoubtedly an amazing experience, but there is even more than this. How about exploring the neighborhood at each dock? Take a 20-minute walk from Salet to Lake Obersee. This lake 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 marvellous view of Röthbachfall, Germany’s highest waterfall (400 m). The mountain path is easy and suitable for everyone. Enjoy the pristine nature!
Next boat dock is St. Batholoma. You will see here one of the most popular landmarks of Lake Königssee, the beautiful St. Bartholomew’s Church. It’s a Baroque style chapel with two onion domes and a red domed roof. What’s more, another interesting 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 definitely more challenging than the one leading to Röthbachfall.
Painters Corner (ger. Malerwinkel) is another place worth a visit near to Lake Königssee. It takes only 20 minutes to get there from Königssee Seelände, so you can definitely take a walk once you finish the boat tour. This place is popular for its spectacular view across the lake with high mountains in the background and… the eternal silence. No surprise that this view inspired many landscape artists to paint a picture. I didn’t stay here long enough to watch the sunset, but I do think that this could be a great idea. Enjoy!
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 accessible for everyone 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. There are a few options to tackle this hike. You can start at the foot of the mountain or take a cable car ride and set off a bit higher. The last option is to take a cable car ride directly to the top of the mountain, but let’s be honest. This doesn’t have much to do with hiking.
TALSTATION – MITTELSTATION
The lower station of Jennerbahn is located in the valley at 630 metres (Talstation). The trail to Mount Jenner starts nearby. If you set off from this place, you will most likely struggle to finish the hike before it gets dark. If you want to avoid unnecessary rush, take a cable car ride to Mittelstation at 1185 metres. This will definitely save some of your time. Even though I started my hike from Mittelstation, it took me the whole day to climb Mount Jenner and get back to the carpark. Mostly because I stopped at every mountain hut and picked the walking track that goes around the mountain before it finally takes you up to the peak.
MITTELSTATION – CARL VON STAHL-HAUS
Dr. Hugo Beck Haus will be the first mountain hut on your way from Mittelstation towards Mount Jenner. Follow the trail that goes around the mountain until you get to the next hut at 1240 metres. It’s Königsbachalm. Now the trail goes gradually uphill. After a couple of kilometres, look for another mountain hut, Schneibsteinhaus (1670 metres). It’s time to decide whether you want to summit Mount Jenner now or take a little detour, and cross the Austrian border to visit another mountain hut at 1736 metres. Carl von Stahl-Haus is beautifully situated, and surrounded by majestic mountains. It’s well worth going here.
CARL VON STAHL-HAUS – JENNER
If you decide to visit Carl von Stahl-Haus, you will have to take a few steps back to get to the trail that goes up to Mount Jenner. Jennerhaus (1802 metres) is the last mountain hut before the actual summit. There is also the upper 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! 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.
JENNER – TALSTATION
It will take you around 2 hours to return from the summit to Mittelstation. It’s best to continue the hike around the mountain so that you are not going back the same way. There will be many huts on your way, including Mitterkaseralm at 1534 metres. Be sure to check the timetable of Jennerbahn beforehand to catch the cable car back to Talstation with no issues. 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 want to get off at Mittelstation, the ticket price remains the same. Unfortunately.
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, and mostly used by Nazi for government and social meetings. According to historical records, Hitler didn’t like this place. He felt unwell here, and complained about the weather that tends to be unstable. Currently, Kehlsteinhaus is a mountain restaurant and historical information centre. It also provides visitors with a breathtaking panoramic view. Make sure to check what else is worth doing in German and Austrian Alps in summer.
HOW TO GET THERE?
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. The second option may be a bit challenging. It will probably take you around 2 hours one way. Buses depart 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. Walk through a long tunnel that has a brass elevator at the end, and take the ride up the final 124 metres to Kehlsteinhaus.
Make sure to check the bus timetable before arrival as it may vary dependently on the month. The ticket for an adult for a bus ride (both ways) and an elevator ride to Kehlsteinhaus is €16,10. Buses depart from the bus station every 20 minutes in 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. Take your time to enjoy the place and admire the views from the top. They are spectacular!
Are you looking for more cool outdoor activities in Bavaria? Check Almbachklamm, another place well-worth visiting here. 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. Almbachklamm Gorge is open from May to October. The ticket for an adult is €6. Don’t forget to wear sturdy shoes as the walking path is rocky, and may be slippery.
The walking track starts at Kugelmühle, and goes all the way through Almbachklamm Gorge. There are plenty of bridges and overpasses, and all of them are 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 go back to Kugelmühle. This hike is not difficult, the total elevation is 220 m. It shouldn’t take you more than 3 hours to walk through the gorge from Theresienklause to Kugelmühle, and back. Enjoy the hike!
That’s all about outdoor activities in Bavaria. Which outdoor activity seems like fun for you? Let me know by leaving a comment below!