Lake Königssee – sheer Bavarian pleasure
Walled in by huge rock faces, the emerald green lake Königssee near Berchtesgaden is the main point of attraction down Berchtesgaden way.
The lake, embedded as it is in the landscape, like a fjord, is 8 km in length and up to 1250 m wide and it lies just 602 m above sea level. With a maximum depth of 190 m, the water is relatively cold, even in the height of summer, since the lake is mainly fed by deep underground inflows.
The lake was in fact generated from the hollow that was formed before the ice age and became increasingly deeper as a result of the powerful ice movements.
With the dwindling of the glaciers, the water that had melted collected in the valley. Between Watzmann to the west and Jenner and Gotzenberg to the east, the Königssee completely fills the valley and has a surface of 5.2 sq. km. The idyllic upper part of Königsee became separated by a terminal moraine. A professional fisherman runs the fishery in St. Bartholomä.
Because of the excellent quality of the water, the fish (saibling, brook trout, salmon, pike, perch, minnows, whitefish, eelpout) are accustomed to a limited diet. Since it is not exactly overfed, the saibling, served as smoked “Schwarzreuther”, makes for a particular delicacy. In earlier times, splendid samples of trout used to be depicted in portrait form. Such a collection of paintings can be seen at the St. Bartholomä guesthouse. In 1976 a fantastic trout weighing 27.5 kilos was caught and can be viewed there, prepared in a glass display stand.
The jetties – an encounter with nature
The Königssee fleet comprises 19 electrical boats accommodating 1650 persons. Each year it transports about 650,000 people over the lake. There are three landing stages:
- St. Bartholomä
Near the landing stage there is a car park. You can obtain everything you need there for your journey. There are Bavarian postcards, souvenirs, maps as well as restaurants. The boats leave here every 30 minutes
The one-way trip takes about 35 minutes. The royal hunting lodge and the St. Bartholomä church dating back to 1134 is worth seeing and makes an ideal starting point for a visit to the so-called Eiskapelle, the ice chapel, a dome-like vault out of ice, which never melts, even in summer.
From Königssee, the return journey takes about two hours. You can break your journey in St. Bartholomä and Salet. A short walk will give you a splendid view of the upper lake and Röthbachfall. The Fischunkel alpine pastures are another 45 minutes away.
This landing stage is the starting point for a great number of alpine tours, such as to Gotzenalm (1685m), Königsbachalm (1150 m) or Kahlersberg (2350 m). But careful! You need to be really fit!