Berchtesgaden National Park: National Park around Lake Königssee and Mount Watzmann

Berchtesgaden National Park

Berchtesgaden National Park: Lake Königssee

Berchtesgaden National Park: Lake Königssee

National Park around Lake Königssee and Mount Watzmann

The park is located in the mountainous area south of the town of Berchtesgaden. The eastern, southern, and western boundaries of the park coincide with the state border between Germany and Austria. The area of the park is economically undeveloped, and there are no settlements. In the center of the park is a large lake, the Königssee. West of the lake is the massif of Watzmann (2,713 metres (8,901 ft)), the third highest mountain in Germany.

Attractions Berchtesgaden National Park


From the salt mine to the restricted Führer area

The village with almost 8,000 inhabitants lies picturesquely in a basin surrounded by high mountains. The settlement emerged in the 11th century from a monastery foundation. The monastery had forestry sovereignty and the mining rights to salt and metal, which led to an early boom. The first holiday guests arrived in the middle of the 19th century. During National Socialism Berchtesgaden was declared a “Führersperrgebiet” (restricted area for the Führer). The market square is surrounded by medieval houses with frescoes. The nearby Wittelsbach Castle now houses a museum.

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Berchtesgaden alpine adventure trail

Educational and observation trail over alpine paths

The hike leads through the history of alpine farming. Three alpine pastures are on the way, where information boards provide information about the alpine pasture system. You also have wonderful views of the Berchtesgaden and Chiemgau Alps. The tour leads along paved alpine and forest paths. The alpine steep tracks require a certain amount of surefootedness. (Round trip 11.1 kilometers, 4 hours, up and down: 670 meters)


Wild beauty at the foot of the Watzmann

The fjord-like lake at the foot of the Watzmann stretches between steeply rising mountain slopes. It is 200 metres deep and is considered one of the cleanest lakes in Germany. On its eastern shore, a footpath leads to the Malerwinkel, which has attracted countless painters for centuries. There you have a magnificent view on the lake, the peninsula St. Bartholomä and the Schönfeldspitze. From the boat dock on the shore, boats go to the south end of the lake. From there you can continue on foot to Obersee. The chapel on St. Bartholomä is the landmark of the lake. It dates back to the 12th century.


Hitler's private mountain

Adolf Hitler began using the vacation retreat of Obersalzberg in 1923. In 1933, it was made into a security zone where nearly every important Nazi figure had a residence. Most of the buildings have since been demolished. A museum near the former Berghof will inform you about the role Obersalzberg played during the Nazi period. From here, you can follow the Kehlsteinstraße uphill to the Eagle's Nest, which was built and designed by Hitler. At the end of the road you will find a pedestrian tunnel leading to a gloomy hall deep in the mountain. Once there, take the elevators to the summit, where you can see the Eagle's Nest and enjoy the breathtaking view. This is a prime example of architecture designed to intimidate.

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Ramsauer Schattseitweg

Through the magic forest to Hintersee

The varied hike leads along the Schattseitweg from the Gasthof Oberwirt in Ramsau to Hintersee. After a few minutes you reach the glacier springs, which are fed by the meltwater of the Blaueis glacier at Hochkalter, 1,500 metres above sea level. After you have crossed the Marxenklamm gorge, through which a torrential white water rushes, you go on a nature trail through the magical forest. Over bridges and footbridges you reach the Hintersee and go back halfway up. (round trip: 15.7 kilometers, 5:15 hours, up and down: 734 meters)

Salt Mine Berchtesgaden

Underground train ride into the history of mining

Salt has been mined here using the “wet mining” technique since 1517, making it the oldest salt mine in Germany. The mine, which is open to the public, currently employs 100 people, fifty of whom work underground. After donning miners' clothes, you will enjoy a multimedia show called the “SaltTimeJourney,” and then ride a narrow gauge train down into the mine. To reach the underground salt lake further down, you can either take the stairs or use the miners' slide. A cable ferry will pull you across the lake and back to the train. The tour lasts about an hour.

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With the mountain railway up the local mountain

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the old town, you can hike to one of the surrounding mountains. Especially recommendable is the legendary Untersberg in the south of the city. The massif between Berchtesgaden and Salzburg is full of mysterious caves, including the Schellenberger Ice Cave and the Riesending Shaft Cave. Both can be visited. From St. Leonhart, the Untersbergbahn takes you up to the ridge in ten minutes and overcomes 1,300 metres in altitude. From the mountain station you can hike to the Große Mittagsscharte. (round trip: 2 hours, 4.5 kilometers, up and down: 260 meters)

Via the Grünstein to St. Bartholomä

Hike and boat trip

The great hike begins at the large parking lot at Königssee. The first highlight is the Grünstein (1304 m) with a beautiful view over the Berchtesgaden basin. From there it is possible to cross over to the Kphrointhütte. After a snack you can descend to the church of St. Bartholomä and return by boat to the starting point. The world-famous pilgrimage church, the first parts of which date back to the 12th century, is picturesquely situated on a peninsula. Adjacent to it is the former hunting lodge, which now serves as an inn. (Hin: 5:30 hours, 11 kilometers, up and down: 680 meters, only for experienced and sure-footed hikers, contains secured passages)


The mountain is calling!

Once the cruel King Wazemann ruled over the Berchtesgadener Land with his wife and child. Once he crushed a peasant family with his horse. The farmer's wife cursed for God to turn him and his family into stone. Immediately the earth opened up and spit fire: the king became a scary mountain, surrounded by secondary peaks, which are still called Watzmannfrau (wife) and Watzmannkinder (children) today. Writer Ludwig Ganghofer used the myth in his novel “Die Martinsklause”. Later, the 2,713-metre-high colossus fascinated alpinists and mountaineers. The first ascent of the central peak took place in 1800, but it was not until 1868 that the three main peaks were crossed. A total of over 100 mountaineers have already died in the walls of the evil king.

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