Königssee Lake Ferry Boat Tour:
Location: Kings Lake Berchtesgaden (Königssee)
Cost: Free, Self-Guided (Boat and lift costs below)
Style: Do-It-Yourself Walking Tour (Self Guided)
Start: Königssee Village & Boat Dock
Time Required: The full round trip boat ride without getting off will take 2 hours (35 minutes to the church, 20 minutes to the end, and back). Arrive before 10am in July-September to avoid long lines.
Seasonality: In the Winter the ferry only goes as far as Saint Bartholomew’s Church and back as a half tour. Many mountain hikes will also be closed in the Winter, but the ferry journey is still great.
Fun Scale: 9.5 out of 10
Königssee is one of the most majestic places in Europe. It mixes the power of the Alps peaks and beauty of Norwegian fjords into one amazing lake. After the Eagle’s Nest, Königssee should be next on your Berchtesgaden must do list!
Getting To Königssee From Berchtesgaden:
From the Berchtesgaden Train Station, Bus 841 goes directly to Königssee in just 10 minutes. Taxis are often available as well and the journey is only a couple Euros. If you choose to hike instead it will take around 1.5 hours.
Königssee Ferry Boat Information:
Ferry Boat Hours: Ferries depart year round at least once a hour from and are increased to every 15 minutes in peak season. During the Winter they only go to St. Bartholomä and back cutting out the Salet/Obersee stop. Check the current schedule for departure times. In the peak months boats usually depart from 8am-5pm, in the Fall 9am-4pm, and in the Winter half tours run with shorter hours.
Trip Length: The full ferry route to the end of the lake and back takes 2 hours round trip. The route takes 35 minutes to reach St. Bartholomä Church and another 20 to reach Obersee then follows the same route back. You can get out at either stop and jump right back on any of the other return ferries, just make note on the time of the last return trip so you don’t miss it. There is no footpath to get you back you really must make the last ferry. In the Winter the ferry only does half of the tour, going just to St. Bartholomä Church and back.
Peak Months Tip: In the peak months of July through September the lines in the afternoon can get long so go early in the day. We recommend starting your journey as early as possible and no later than 10:30am to avoid a long wait. In you get off of the ferries, you’ll want to be at St. Bartholomä Church for the return ferry no later than 2:30pm as the lines will start to form at each ferry stop along the route by then. Boats usually run every 15-30 minutes in these peak months leaving the main dock from 8am to 5pm. Check the current schedule for departure times.
Round Trip Ferry Cost: Adults 16.90€; Children 8.50€; Kids 5 and under Free; Family (2 Adults & up to 4 kids) 42.30€; Dog 3€. Fare is cheaper if you do the half tour only to St. Bartholomä and skip the Salet/Obersee Stop. Combo Ticket: From May-October they have a special ticket for 32€ for the ferry round trip to St. Bartholomä plus the Jennerbahn cable car.
The Königssee Lake Tour Attractions:
*After a short bus of tax ride from Berchtesgaden you arrive at the…
1. Königssee Village & Boat Dock: On our first visit to Königssee we were just expecting a boat dock, but it’s actually a beautiful little village. There are tons of cute little shops leading the way to the lake and the iconic half timber lodge called Hotel Schiffmeister (website) sitting at the water’s edge. The boat dock is impossible to miss. We love watching the graceful and silent electric ferry boats pull into the dock on the lake’s crystal clear water. If you have time to kill between ferries, consider grabbing a drink at the tree-lined outdoor Franzinkaner Beer Garden next to the ticket booth. 360 Degree Photo: (From Hotel Schiffmeister | From Above)
*After buying your ticket you’re ready to begin your journey on the magical…
2. Königssee Lake: The Königssee, or King’s Lake, is an angelic emerald fjord lined by powerful Alpine mountains that never fails to wow its visitors. Nestled in a valley between the Jenner, Hagen, and Watzmann Mountains, Königssee is Bavaria’s deepest lake at 630 feet deep. Rare species of fish swim in the 5 mile long lake’s crystal clear waters and the local restaurants serve them up fresh. The purity of the water is partly because gas motors have been banned at the lake since 1909. Tours on the lake take place on vintage looking electric passenger ferries which quietly glide past lazy boathouses, roaring waterfalls and lofty mountain faces. Every minute of the journey is picturesque and very relaxing.
As you pull out of the boat dock you quickly pass Christlieger Island. The small island has a grotto and marble statue of Saint John of Nepomuk which was built in 1711. From there Königssee begins to open up and the views get better and better along the way. Getting To The Königssee: From the base of the lower level of Jennerbann’s cable car it is only a short wall to the water’s edge and the ferry dock. If you are coming from central Berchtesgaden instead, Bus 841 goes directly from the Berchtesgaden train station to Königssee.
*More than halfway down the lake you’ll reach your first stop at…
3. St. Bartholomä Church: The quaint white Church of St. Bartholomä with its red onion domes is the most photographed attraction on Königssee Lake. The church was first built in 1134 AD before being rebuilt in the current style in 1697. After Berchtesgaden joined Bavaria in 1810, the St. Bartholomä Church quickly became a hunting lodge for the Bavarian Kings. Many visitors get off the ferry at the church to check out the grounds and jump back on the boat when it comes around again on the return visit. There is food, beer garden, and bathrooms available at the church. Admission Cost: Free. Website: Here.
*A steep hike up from the church brings you to the unique…
4. Ice Chapel Glacier & Cave (Eiskapelle): Probably the best hidden gem on the lake is the year round Ice Chapel Glacier sitting above St. Bartholomä. On the hike up you will cross the Eisbach Bridge and the small Chapel of St. John and Paul. Once you get to the end of the trail you’ll be able to see the glacier. The craziest thing about the Ice Chapel Glacier is that it stays year round even though the ice at the top of the mountain melts away each Summer. About 1/3 of the ice retreats in the Summer and the cave entrance can grow to be as big as 60 high by 80 feet wide. Because it is more of an overhanging ice sheet than a cave we recommend using cation and the proper gear if you enter it. Getting Here: It’s a 2 mile, 90 hike up from the church, make sure to wear sturdy shoes on the rocky mountain trail.
*The finally Ferry stop is called Salet is only a 10 minute walk from the beautifully secluded…
5. Obersee Lake: Meaning the Upper Sea, Obersee was cut off from the rest of Königssee Lake by a landslide hundreds of years ago. Because of this natural dam, the cold water in Obersee so unbelievable clear that it makes boats here look like they are almost floating in air. Sitting at the peaceful Obersee pier will send you into an instant state of relaxation. If you feel like venturing further, the spectacular Fischunkelalm Pasture sits on the other end of Obersee just a 30 minute walk away. At the end of the valley is the 1540 foot tall Röthbach Waterfall. If you are getting off at Obersee make sure to double check what time the next Ferry will come so you don’t miss it.
*After returning to the Königssee Village, its a 5 minute walk to the Jennerbahn cable car lift which brings you to the…
6. Lake On The Mount: We highly suggest checking out the small spring fed Alpine Pond halfway up Jenner Mountain. It is right next to the middle-level lift station and offers some great photos as Watzmann Mountain across Königssee Lake always seems to be reflecting in the pond. The best thing about the pond is that because it is spring fed with warm water if never freezes over in the Winter. This is a very rare quality for an Alpine Pond. Also near the mid-level station is a the really fun Dr. Hugo Beck Haus Beer Hall (website)which doubles as a hotel and has a great patio. Jennerbahn Lift Cost: The full round trip is 21.40€ for Adults or 11.60€ for Kids. Combo Ticket: From May-October they have a special ticket for 32€ for the ferry round trip to St. Bartholomä plus the Jennerbahn cable car.
*Going the rest of way up the lift provides amazing views at the…
7. Jennerbahn Mountain Station: At 6,100 feet in elevation, the top of Jenner Mountain truly has the best view anywhere around Königssee. You’ll feel like you are hovering above the lake below you, see hang-gliders flying by you, and can take in miles upon miles of Alpine beauty in every direction. In the Summer months the mountain has unbelievable mountain hiking trails, and in the Winter there are a ton of thrilling skiing opportunities. Make sure to stop by the Berggaststätte Jennerbann which is one of the highest rated restaurants in all of Germany and has a great public terrace overlooking the inland sea. The very best views of Königssee are at the main platform just a short 400 yard walk down from the restaurant. If you are feeling a little more adventurous there are a couple guesthouse and the true Mount Jenner summit within an hour’s hike of the Mountain Station. One of the guesthouse sites right on the border of Austria and German. Jennerbahn Website: here. Construction Notice: The Jennerbahn cable car lift will be closed until May 2018 while they re-build a new lift. This will limit access to Jenner Mountain to hiking or car, and while the mountain huts will still be open, most tourists looking to use the cable car will want to find another activity to fill its place.
*Who needs a luge when you can race down a real…
8. Bobsled Track Rides: You know you are truly in the Alps when one of the attractions lets you ride in an authentic bobsled going 80 miles an hour down the mountain! Each sled is manned by a German, Austrian, or European bobsled champion driver and will truly get your blood pumping. You must be 18 years old to join and each sled can have up to 3 passengers. If you aren’t looking for the full heart pounding experience you can opt for the Kini-bobberl instead. This bulky version of the bobsled goes at half the speed and is made out of think foam rubber instead of metal. Either way you choose it is a very fun and safe experience behind expert drivers. Hours: Runs late Fall into Spring with the schedule coming out each August; closed in summer. Cost: Kini-bobberl 30€ a person; Traditional bobsled 90€ a person. Includes professional driver, insurance, and award certificate. Website: Here.
*After returning to the Königssee Village, its a 5 minute walk to the Jennerbahn cable car which brings you to the…
9. Greenstone Mountain Climbing (Grünstein Klettersteig): The most popular peak near Königsee for rock climbers is Greenstone Mountain. The rewarding climb has built in handhold, metal ladders and an amazing wooden suspension bridge along its route. The summit can also be reach by hiking along the South side of the peak and the top has incredible views of Watzmann Mountain. If you are looking to climb we suggest joining a tour group unless you bring your own rock climbing gear. Full climbing gear is required and children are not allowed to rock climb. Hiking Time: You can hike to the summit and back in a little of 2 hours. Climbing Time: To rock climb to the summit it takes around 2.5 hours. Mountain Website: (Here).
*One of the best photo opportunities around is at the…
10. St. Sebastian Church (Ramsau, Germany): Photographers will love taking photos at this riverside church in the nearby village of Ramsau. As you approach the church it becomes perfectly framed by lush trees and quaint footbridge completed with the Reiter Alpe Mountain range as a backdrop. The setting is so awesome that you’ll quickly understand why the church ends up being put on so many local postcards. The age of St Sebastion Church is also impressive as it was built in 1512 before being remodeled in 1692 in the baroque style. Getting to St Sebastian Church: Bus 846 from Berchtesgaden’s Main Station stops right in front of the Church (Ramsau b.Berchtesgaden Kirche). Buses leave a couple times an hour, it is the 9th stop from the train station, and it takes less than 15 minutes. Live Webcam: here.
*Follow the river running trough Ramsau back toward Berchtesgaden and you’ll find a really cool collection of waterfalls called the…
12. Wimbachklamm Waterfalls (Ramsau, Germany): The Wimbach River is a small tributary to the Ramsau and runs down a narrow gorge cut into Watzmann Mountain. About a half mile down the Wimbach River it a weeping wall covered with a series of finger like waterfalls in a tight canyon setting. The well maintained wooden footpaths and the unique setting will make you feel you are on the set of Lord of the Rings. It is truly a hidden gem in a region of wonders. Getting to Wimbachklamm: Bus 846 stops right in front of the Church 9 stops from Berchtesgaden’s Main Station (Ramsau b.Berchtesgaden Wimbachbrücke) and 7 minutes from the Church and 8 minutes from Berchtesgaden. From the Bus Stop follow the signs and other tourists a short .5 miles South to the Waterfall. If you skip the bus and walk the whole way, the Waterfall is 1.5 miles from the Church.
*Follow the river running trough Ramsau back toward Berchtesgaden and you’ll find a really cool collection of waterfalls called the…
13. Watzmann Mountain & Guest House: The iconic Watzmann Mountain dominates Berchtesgaden from almost every angle you can think of. At 8,900 feet Watzmann is the 3rd tallest peak in Germany (behind Hochwanner & Zugspitze), but is overall tallest mountain to be located completely on German soil as the others are on the Austrian border. The mountain’s main dual peaks poke up like horns around a center dimple almost like someone took a big bite right off the top of the summit. Sitting at the about halfway up the the Alpine face is a large 200 person guest house called the Watzmann Haus (website). Built in 1888, this hostel is one of the highest hotels in Europe at 6332 feet above sea level. The average room is 28€ a night.
Watzmann is considered the center of the Berchtesgaden National Park and the area provides great rock climbing and unbeatable Alpine hiking. During your hike you feel like you are in Switzerland the entire time and the views are that good. You have to be in pretty good shape to do the hiking and should dedicate a full day to visiting the Watzmann if you plan on doing so. Hiking Time Required: It takes about 4-4.5 hours to reach Watzman Haus from the valley and another 2.5-3 hours from the Watzmann Haus to the mountain summit. The hike is strenuous and some stretches toward the top are not for the faint of heart. You can do the whole thing round trip in around 12 hours, but we recommend staying at Watzmann Haus or just hiking to the hostel and back if you only have 1 day.