Berchtesgaden with its Königssee is a lovely place to see in Germany. All your clichés you have of Bavaria or Germany – here they will finally come true. A picturesque little town, people dressed in Dirndl and Lederhosen and typical Bavarian food at its best in a stunning setting. Sounds good – it is.
To have the best experience I would recommend to stay at the Hotel Edelweiss right in the centre of Berchtesgaden or at the Explorer Hotel Berchtesgaden which is in walking distance of the lake. A rental car is a good option to get around.
One of the most beautiful places in the area is Lake Königssee. I had heard a lot about it but had actually never bothered going there. What a huge mistake. This lake is right in the German Alps and crystal clear with a lovely emerald colour. It even is the cleanest lake in Germany. And the best thing about it, is the boat tour with electric boats which takes you 8 km across the lake. At the end of the lake just jump of and enjoy some lovely hiking.
Tip: Wake up early and take the first boat in the morning.
I know that 8 am doesn’t seem appealing when you are on holiday but it’s totally worth it to enjoy the tranquillity of the lake and avoid the tourist masses. I went on a summer day in July during the week and it was amazing. At this time of the day, the air is still so fresh and clean (and sometimes chilly, so take a jumper) and the fog was still lying on the surface of the lake making the atmosphere really mystic. When the fog suddenly disappears and the morning sun starts sparkling on the lake you will want to have your camera handy to get some good shots for Instagram. Check the boat schedule here.
The boat captain is a charmer. With his German-English-explanations he will give you the most important facts and stories about Lake Königssee with a good portion of humour. We had a good laugh. When the boat stops in the middle of the lake then you have arrived at the best place to experience the echo. You can imagine that on a lake in the middle of the mountains the echo of the boat captain’s trumpet is rather impressive.
After hiking or just soaking in the scenery you can stop at St. Bartholomä on your way back, where you can visit the famous pilgrimage church or enjoy some Bavarian specialties in the “Biergarten” with lake view.
If are thinking about taking a dip in the lake at the end of the boat trip, feel free to do so, but be aware that the lake is over 190 meters deep and that means even in summer it never really gets warm. If you enjoy swimming in water with 17°C (62°F) then this is the right place for. As we say in Germany: “Nur die Harten kommen in den Garten”. Have fun translating that one!