Königssee Lake, fjord like lake in Bavaria (Bayern) Germany

Lake Obersee Königssee Lake, one location, two stunning lakes!

The Königssee and Obersee lakes are two of the most breathtaking locations in Germany.

Königssee or King’s Lake, is a long fjord like lake and the cleanest lake in Germany. If you navigate your way to the southern end of the Königssee you’ll find Obersee Lake, one of the most beautiful places in all of Germany!

Königssee Lake, fjord like lake in Bavaria (Bayern) Germany
fjord like Königssee Lake
Obersee Lake Germany
Obersee Lake

Located in Bavaria (Bayern), quintessential Germany, you can easily see both stunning lakes in a day and together, they equal one Bavarian dream destination!

Both lakes have emerald green crystal-clear water and are surrounded by stunning mountain scenery and forests. A visit to Lake Königssee and Obersee lakes is a must-see for anyone visiting Germany.

Emerald green water? I think Alpine lakes are the absolute prettiest lakes. Due to the cold conditions and runoff from snowmelt on the mountain, they are wonderfully clear and take on magical colors.

In this article I’ll tell you all about how you can see BOTH lakes in one fantastic outing! Here’s a quick rundown on how to see them both:

  • Take a boat tour up Lake Königssee
  • Disembark and take a short hike to Obersee Bayern
  • Take the boat back!

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own.

map

This map from Bayerische Seenschifffahrt has a good overview of the area and should help you get your bearings:

map of Lake Obersee Königssee Lake
map of Lake Obersee Königssee Lake

Stops explained:

  • Seelände (Schönau / Schoenau) is where you catch the boat.
  • St. Bartholomä (the only way to reach it is by boat or trails through the mountains) Stop here to see these: St. Bartholomä Church, a baroque church located on a peninsula that juts out into the lake, ice chapel (Eiskapelle) a glacier cave located on the eastern shore of the lake.
  • Salet (mid-April to mid-October) this is where you get out to visit Obersee Bayern and Röthbachfall Waterfall
  • Kessel (on request)

Konigssee Lake

Konigssee Lake is a natural lake that was formed by glaciers in the last ice age. Not only does it have the clearest water in Germany (it’s drinking water quality, go ahead and have a taste!), it is also considered one of Germany’s most beautiful lakes. I’ve always dreamed of visiting Norway with its dreamy fjords (someday!) When I saw photos of Konigssee I knew it had to go on my itinerary. Lake Königssee is Germany’s 3rd deepest lake and stretches for approximately 8 km.

Take a boat trip on Lake Königssee

Yes, the boat trip will get you from point A (the boat dock at Schönau am Königssee) to point B (Obersee) However, the excursion up the lengthy lake and back is an event all in itself and there are plenty of things to do along the way to fill an entire day!

boat tours of Konigssee Lake
get the best view of the lake with an idyllic boat tour on Lake Königssee Germany

The boat trip offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains as you glide along silently in one of the electric passenger boats. In order to preserve the clarity and cleanliness of the lake, only electric boats, rowing, and pedal boats have been permitted on the lake since 1909.

The echo chamber: The sheer rock walls that surround the lake create an echo known for its clarity. Traditionally your boat crew will stop on your tour and play a flugelhorn or trumpet to demonstrate the echo. The echo can reverberate up to 7 times and as the trumpeter plays along with the echo it sounds as if there are a multitude of trumpeters!


Lake Königssee information:
Tour provider:Bayerische Seenschifffahrt Königssee
Travel time from Schönau am Königssee dock:One-way to Salet Anlegestelle dock (Obersee stop): app. 55 min (2 hours round trip)

one-way to St. Bartholomä (the first stop on the journey) app. 35 minute ride (just over an hour round trip)
Prices: (2023)Königssee > St. Bartholomä return ticket 22,00 € (one way 11,00 € )

Königssee > Kessel* (boat stop there in request only) one way 8,00 €

Königssee > Salet return ticket 27,50 € (one way 13,80 €)

Discounts for: children, families, groups

see the official site to confirm prices
ticketsPurchase tickets online or at the ticket office. With the online ticket you can go directly to the pier, no waiting in ticket lines.
TimetablesTour possible year-round. check timetables here.

Königssee Tips and important information

  • IMPORTANT CAUTIONARY INFORMATION: IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE HERE READ THIS: be sure to make note of the time of the departure of the last boat. If you miss the last return boat, you will be picked up by the Wasserwacht Berchtesgaden (water rescue). It can cost up to 520 € for this special service! Phone number: +49 8651 9999 100
  • Start early: Catch the first boat of the day in order to avoid long lines. The early bird catches the worm and that means a less crowded boat and a better chance of getting a good seat. Upon arrival at your destination, you’ll have less crowds to deal with and less people to compete with for your stunning photos.
  • The best seat: for the best view, sit on the right going out, and on the left heading back.
  • Stop in St. Bartholomä: If you have a round trip ticket to Salet, your trip can be interrupted in St. Bartholomä once, either on the journey there or the journey back. It is recommended that you go straight to Salat.
  • Pets: Must wear a muzzle, additional fee may apply. See the website for further information (weitere informationen!)
  • Disability Accessibility: information for disabled passengers can be found here.
  • Arrive early in the day during peak times: If passenger volume is high, they may stop selling tickets for the round-trips at the Königssee lakeside in the afternoon. In order to avoid waiting times for sailings (if you haven’t already purchased tickets online) depart before 10.30 am and return before the rush hour (starts around 2.30 pm)
  • Bathrooms / restrooms: There are no toilets onboard the boats. Bathrooms can be found at each of the stops, including at the Fischunkelalm (snacks stand between Obersee and the Röthbach waterfall.)
Stop in St. Bartholomä on Konigssee Königssee
St. Bartholomä

activities: Königssee Lake

In addition to the requisite electric passenger boat ride there are plenty of other activities to do at Konigssee Lake

Swimming: is permitted except in the lock area at Seelände or in the shipping lanes. Take a dip in the crystal-clear water of the Konigssee Lake but beware the water is chilly. Temps can reach up to 20°C (68°F) during long periods of good weather. (inflatables are prohibited)

Paddle Boats: are also available for rent for those who want to explore the lake at their own pace. Rent a rowing boat from Lake Königssee Shipping near the docks.

rent a paddle boat or rowboat on Königssee Lake in Germany
get away from the crowds and experience the peaceful surroundings as you navigate your way through the high cliffs surrounding the lake: rent a rowboat on Königssee Lake!

Hiking: is another popular activity in the area. The lake is surrounded by several hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. The most famous trail is the Malerwinkel trail, which leads to a viewpoint overlooking the lake. Plan your route on Komoot.

Pack a picnic: For those who want to relax and enjoy the scenery, there are several scenic spots around the lakes to enjoy a picnic lunch or snack. The St. Bartholomew’s Church, located on the western shore of the lake, is also a popular spot for visitors to relax and enjoy the stunning views.

Webcam

Can’t get to Königssee just yet? No problem! Check out their webcam!

Obersee Lake

Obersee Lake is a quieter and more secluded lake located just a short distance from the southern end of Königssee Lake. (The two lakes are separated by the Salet Moraine Wall (or glacial tilt)

This stunning little alpine lake was on my Germany travel bucket list, and it did not disappoint!

Obersee Bayern has crystal-clear emerald green water and is surrounded by towering mountains including the Hoher Göll and Watzmann peaks. You’ll feel as if you’ve been encapsulated in a dreamy painting!

How to get to Obersee Lake

The easiest way to reach Obersee Lake is by taking the Konigssee ferry to the Salet ferry station stop. From the boat dock in Salet, it’s a 15 minute walk on a 1 km relatively flat path to the iconic boathouse at Obersee.

Salet dock on Königssee Lake in Germany
Salet dock on Königssee Lake, the water here is a spectacular green color!!!
the path that leads from the Salet Ferry station on Konigssee Lake to Obersee
the relatively flat path that leads from the Salet Ferry station to Obersee

The first thing you come to is the first boathouse.

the first boathouse on the north end of Obersee Germany
the first boathouse on Obersee Germany
Angie Kunze We're Not in Kansas Anymore Obersee Lake Germany
We made it!!! ANOTHER BUCKET LIST DESTINATION!
Lake Obersee Bayern Germany crystal clear water
you can really tell how crystal-clear the water is in this photo
blue green water at Lake Obersee Germany
slow down and take in the beautiful scenery. It’s second to none!
emerald-green water at Obersee Germany
The water color is just indescribable

activities: Obersee Lake

Hike to the south end of the lake: A short hike from the north to the south end of Obersee rewards visitors with breathtaking views!! The hiking trail is somewhat difficult but more than worth the effort. As you can see in the photos, you don’t want to miss it!

Important note: Wear proper shoes. I didn’t realize that the trail would be so difficult, rocky and uneven, and did not have the proper footwear. Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes to prevent any injuries.

the somewhat difficult path that leads from one end of Obersee Lake to the other
the path from one end of Obersee to the other requires caution

As you approach the south end of the lake, you’ll notice a second boathouse (maybe more picturesque than the first!)

the second boathouse at Obersee Lake
the second boathouse

Continue on to reach Fischunkelalm, a mountain hut that offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Angie Kunze We're Not in Kansas Anymore at Obersee Lake Bavaria Germany
I could sit here all day on the edge of the lake gazing at the beautiful view of the Watzmann Mountains. Make time for it!

Picnic: this is one of the most beautiful spots for a picnic on planet earth! Bring something with you or grab something at Fischunkelalm!

Swimming: Yes, you can swim here but take my word for it, the water is COLD, according to the toe I dipped in the water. However, these young people seemed to be enjoying it!

swimming at Obersee Lake
swimming at Obersee Lake, although one of my favorite things to, the cold water was too much for me!

Röthbach Waterfall

Consider the beautiful hike to Röthbach waterfall. At 470 m (1,540 ft) high it’s Germany’s highest waterfall (Höchste Wasserfall Deutschlands.) An approximately 2.3 km scenic out and back trail takes hikers from Obersee to the waterfall. Along the way you’ll pass meadows surrounded by mountains and dotted with grazing alpine cows. AMAZING!

Rothbach Waterfall Röthbachwasserfall at Obersee Lake Germany's highest waterfall
Rothbach Waterfall (Röthbachwasserfall) Germany’s highest waterfall

Getting to Lake Obersee Königssee Lake

Location

Königssee and Obersee lakes are located in the Berchtesgaden National Park (Berchtesgadener Land.) The location in the Bavarian Alps, near the Austrian border, is an ideal destination for nature lovers.

Closest airports

Munich International Airport (MUC)
Innsbruck Airport Austria (INN)
Salzburg Austria (SZG)

Distance from

Königssee is an easy one day trip from the following larger cities:

  • Berchtesgaden (6 km)
  • Salzburg Austria (36 km)
  • Munich (160 km)
  • Innsbruck Austria 170 km

Getting there by car

The easiest way to get to Konigsee Lake is by car. The most flexible way to explore the area is by car allowing you to tour the area at your own leisure.

Parking

If you have your own car, there are several parking areas near the lake, and visitors can park their cars and explore the area on foot. Since there is so much to do right here in this area it is recommended that you purchase a full-day parking pass at the lot.

Address: Königssee parking lot (Königssee parkplatz): Seestrasse 3 Schoenau a. Koenigssee

Parking Prices (2023)

with the Bergerlebnis Berchtesgaden guest card €6.00, without the guest card €8.00 cash/coin: machine does not give change (change machines on site) 4 machines for bank/credit card payments available/ Accepts the Parkster App.

Public Transportation

Public transportation is also available, and visitors can take a bus from the nearby town of Berchtesgaden to the lake.

Train / bus combination

Take the train to Berchtesgaden Train Station and then from there you will need to take a bus to Obersee Königssee. Approximately 15 minutes. From the bus station it’s a 6-minute walk to the dock at the lake. To seamlessly plan your train and bus route use the Rome2Rio website or app.

Coming from Salzburg? From the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof your total travel time by train is one hour and 20 minutes. BUT Rome2Rio tells me that the bus can get me there in 45 minutes!

day tours: Munich to Königssee Obersee

If you would rather join a tour, full day tours to Königssee from Munich are available on Get Your Guide. Along the scenic German Alpine Road. Boat tour and Obersee Bayern are included on the tour. 9-hour tour, pick up at your hotel in Munich.

Book a tour here! (free cancellation!)

where to eat

It’s important to note that many restaurants in the area close early, so visitors should plan accordingly and check the hours of operation before heading out to eat. Additionally, some restaurants may require reservations, especially during peak tourist season.

Königssee

There are several places to eat at the entrance to Konigssee. When in Doubt, check Tripadvisor for customer reviews and lots of photos!

St. Bartholomä

Fischerei St. Bartholomä is where you’ll find the smoked fish everyone is talking about. The lovely rustic building was once use by Bavarian Royalty (a hunting lodge of Bavarian Kings!)

Obersee

There are three places to eat at Obersee.

Fischunkelalm: I highly recommend the small restaurant located at the far southern end of Obersee, with world class views! They offer a limited menu of food and drinks, like fresh milk, beer and colas. We opted to stop here for refreshments. The food of the day when we visited was speckbrot. I found a new obsession, delicious! (Read more about speckbrot and the best German food you need to try!)

Fischunkelalm restaurant sits on the edge of Lake Obersee in Germany
all meal with a view of the beautiful landscape! Fischunkelalm restaurant sits on the water’s edge at Obersee Lake
Speckbrot (bacon bread) rye, butter, bacon, the best German food! at Fischunkelalm Obersee
Speckbrot at Fischunkelalm Obersee

Gaststätte Saletalm: you’ll find it between Konigssee and Obersee. Cafeteria style, hot meals and smoked fish. I stopped in for cake!

Mooskaser Saletalm: walk south around Konigssee to reach this one.

accommodations

From cozy guesthouses to luxurious hotels, there is something for everyone. If you don’t have a car there are plenty of options right at the lake. My favorite place to search accommodations: Booking.com. If you have a car you’ll have more options. Here are a few standouts:

Note: This area is a popular tourist destination, both among Germans and International Tourists. It is recommended to book accommodations in advance, especially during peak tourist season.

Hotel Pension Greti

This is where we stayed at this cute little chalet because it seemed central to different attractions. The lady running the hotel was just lovely, the breakfast was wonderful. guest rating: 8.6, prices starting at: $92 (it’s a bargain!) distance from the lake: 2 km

book it here on booking.com!

Villa Rein Boutiquehotel

This Art Nouveau villa, dating from 1898, is a great option for visitors to the area who have transportation. Located 26 km from the lake this beautiful boutique hotel located in the historic section of Bad Reichenhall is central to sites in the National Park, Salzburg, and Berchtesgaden. guest rating: 9.5, prices start at: $208.00 per night.

book it here on booking.com!

ALPEN EXPERIENCE Jugendgästehaus CVJM Aktivzentrum

Is nested on the shores of Hintersee and offers rooms with balconies overlooking the lake. 15 km from the lake, 8.1 guest rating. Prices start at $144 per night.

book it here on booking.com!

Berghotel Rehlegg

Located just 650 meters from Ramsau Kirche (9 km from the lake) with beautiful alpine decor, spa services with panoramic views, choose a balcony or terrace with mountain views, 9.0 guest rating, prices starting at $355 per night.

book it here on booking.com!

Hotel EDELWEISS Berchtesgaden Superior

Staying in Berchtesgaden? Why not book a stay at this luxury hotel overlooking the Bavarian Alps. Spa area, rooftop terrace, 3 gourmet restaurants, indoor swimming pool, a children’s play area and free childcare. guest rating: 9.2, prices starting at: $336 per night. Distance from Konigssee: 6 km

book it here on booking.com!

camping

Visitors who prefer a more rustic experience can also consider camping: Campingplatz Königssee and the Campingplatz Winkl-Landthal

tips for both Lake Obersee Königssee Lake

  • Bring cash: Some of the facilities around the lakes only accept cash. It’s a good idea to bring some Euros with you to avoid any inconvenience.
  • Check the weather: The weather around the lakes can change quickly, so it’s important to check the forecast before heading out. Bring appropriate clothing and gear for the conditions.
  • Tips for avoiding crowds: Summer months bring hordes of crowds to the area. The general rule of thumb for avoiding the worst crowds at popular tourist attractions are:
    • Visit early morning or late in the day (i.e., the first or last tour of the day)
    • Weekdays are often less crowded than weekends.
    • Travel in the shoulder or off season: Summer months are peak season / high season, spring and fall are considered shoulder seasons, and winter months are off season in Germany (outside of the Christmas market season.)

FAQ

Here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

Is Lake Obersee Königssee Lake worth it?

Overall score 20/10…is that a thing? Seriously, this is a MUST addition to your Germany itinerary. There’s a good reason why year after year one of the top destinations in Germany. This is a veritable nature lover’s dream. Glide over still waters past mountains scenery as you make your way to a tiny emerald green crystal clear lake. It really is the stuff that dreams are made of!

How much time should I spend at Lake Obersee Königssee Lake?

While you could feasibly get in and get out in half a day, why not slow it down and spend an entire day? There is so much to do in this area: rent a rowboat, take the boat tour to Obersee, stopping at St. Bartholomä, experience one of the scenic walks and relax and enjoy the blissful scenery!

Can I fish at Königssee Lake and Obersee Lake?

While fishing is not permitted at the lake you may catch a glimpse of a fish. Fish found in the lake: Brown trout, Rainbow trout, Arctic char, Brook trout

Other things to do in the area

Jenner Mountain

take the Jennerbahn cable car up to the top of Jenner Mountain for panoramic views of the entire area.
Distance: You’ll find the cable car station in the area of the lake parking lot

The Eagles Nest (Kehlsteinhaus)

Hitler’s “nest” sits perched on a sheer rock cliff, today a restaurant. Not on your itinerary? No problem, you can catch a glimpse of it from the area of the parking lot, shops, and restaurants….just look up!
Distance: 10 km

mountain carts

Take a mountain cart tour with Adrenalin Erlebnis. Both the young and the young at heart will enjoy this adventure with fantastic mountain views! Contact Marco through their website for instructions on where to meet.
Distance: 10 km

Mountain Go carts
Mountain Go carts

massage

being a tourist can be exhausting and leave you with sore muscles. Part of my travel routine is to get a massage to alleviate aches and pains. Book a spa day here: Alm- & Wellnesshotel Alpenhof,

Wimbachklamm Gorge and Waterfall

Don’t miss this stunner! Transverse elevated wooden walkways and bridges that run through this ridiculously scenic gorge with multiple waterfalls. Easy 1.4-mile loop.
Distance from the lake: 10-12 k

The Parish Church of St. Sebastian

I was thrilled when I realized that another of my bucket list destinations was just down the road! St Sebastian is an adorable little world-famous church that is idyllically situated in the foothills of the alps. It looks like something straight out of a fairytale! Get all of the important details on how to visit St. Sebastian!
Distance from the lake: 12 km

Parish Church of St. Sebastian Church/ Ramsau Church/ Ramsau Kirche in Ramsau Germany
The Parish Church of St. Sebastian: Ramsau Church/ Ramsau Kirche in Ramsau Germany

Hintersee

There’s a lovely lake just a few kilometers down the road from the church. Hintersee Lake has a 3.5-kilometer trail that circles the lake and takes you through a magical forest. If walking isn’t your thing, you can rent rowboats and swan pedal boats instead or just take in the views. Boat tours are also available at Hintersee in season.
Distance: 15 km

Berchtesgaden National Park (Nationalpark)

Most of Konigssee (and all of Obersee) are located in a national park that boasts 174 named mountains, including the Watzmann, the tallest peak in the park. Berchtesgaden National Park is a veritable hiking paradise with mountain huts scattered throughout the park.
Bindalm trail is popular with visitors. Check this site for further information on the ALM ErlebnisBUS that runs a route through the park.
Distance from the lake: 16 km

Hohenwerfen Castle (Austria)

The 11th century Hohenwerfen Castle is situated picturesquely on top of a rock overlooking the valley below. This 900-year-old castle surrounded by mountains is an absolute delight. The red paint color used on some of the architectural elements really pops against the deep blue canvas of the sky. Daily falconry shows and at last check a creepy Witch exhibition. will still be on offer!!
Distance from the lake: 55 km

Hohenwerfen Castle famous Austrian Landmarks
Hohenwerfen Castle famous Austrian Landmarks

Photos: All Rights reserved if you would like to use a photo from this post please use our contact page to obtain royalty-free standard commercial licenses for use.

free 2 week Austria Germany Slovenia Itinerary

We visited Obersee and Königssee as a part of a 2 week trip to Austria, Southern Germany and Slovenia. Get the itinerary and don’t forget my Ultimate Guide to traveling Germany on a budget!

Headed to Germany for the first time? Be sure to check out my Ultimate Guide!

You might also enjoy:

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *