3 fantastic travel destinations in Berchtesgaden for summer and winter
Updated: May 23
Especially in winter, Berchtesgaden shows its fairy-tale snowy side and is at least as worth seeing at this time of the year as it is in the summer months.
In this article we recommend three short winter / summer excursions for Berchtesgaden, each of which you can do as a day trip or within an extended weekend trip.
1. Take a boat trip to St. Bartholomä 2. The most beautiful view of Königssee: short hike to 'Rabenwand' 3. Visit suspension bridge in Klausbach valley 4. When is the best time to travel to Berchtesgaden? 5. What does a vacation in Berchtesgaden cost?
1. Take a boat trip to St. Bartholomä
The famous pilgrimage church of St. Bartholomä on the western shore of Lake Königsee is located on the Hirschau peninsula and is one of the landmarks of Lake Königsee.
Built in 1137, the church St. Bartholomä is now not only the destination of many pilgrims because of its idyllic location and famous red spires, it is equally popular with a large number of tourists from home and abroad, as well as photographers from all over the world.
You can reach the Hirschau peninsula either by foot via an alpine demanding hike of several hours or within 35min by boat starting from Schönau.
On our last visit during the winter months (end of February) we chose the second option and went by boat to the western shore of the Königsee.
How to get to St. Bartholomä by boat
To get to St. Bartholomä, it is best to drive to the community of Schönau am Königssee and park directly at the Königssee parking lot (more information about how to get to Berchtesgaden and further can be found here).
From there you can walk directly to the lake shore (duration approx. 5-10min), where the boats depart every 30 minutes in the direction of St. Bartholomä. The round trip currently costs 20€ per adult and takes about 40 minutes.
Please note that there is a summer and winter schedule and inform yourself in advance which trip you want to take, because depending on the weather, boat trips can be cancelled occasionally. Also the Obersee is not accessible by boats in the winter months.
The current boat schedule can be found here, tickets can be purchased directly on site on the shore of Lake Königsee.
On our visit, we opted for the very first boat trip in the morning and set off on one of the beautiful wooden boats in the direction of St. Bartholomä.
The wooden boats usually have room for over 100 people, but in our case there were only 10 people on board - probably because of the time of year, time of day and Corona.
During the ride you can listen to one of the tourist guides, who will give you really interesting information about the area and nature.
The area around the Königssee is part of the Berchtesgaden National Park. The lake itself is also subject to strict protection measures. The tourist boats for example are powered by electric motors for many years now to protect the water and wildlife of the lake.
About halfway you reach the world-famous Echo Wall. There, the ship traditionally stops for a short moment, because the boatman now plays a beautiful melody with a trumpet or flugelhorn, and you can listen to its echoes in the idyllic mountain landscape.
Many years ago, insted of trumpets being played, firecrackers were fired from the ship to demonstrate an echo of up to seven times, but this is now prohibited for safety reasons.
Depending on the weather, you can quickly spot the red dome roofs of the pilgrimage church. The Watzmann rock massif behind it is also extremely impressive.
After the approx. 5 km long boat trip, you will finally dock directly in front of the pilgrimage church and can visit it from the inside as well as from the outside. In addition, you can hike around the peninsula for about 30 minutes and pass two wildlife feeding stations and the Eisbach.
A hike to the famous ice chapel takes about 75 minutes, but this is not always possible in the winter months.
On the way to the ice chapel you will pass another small chapel - up to here a hike is possible even in winter without any problems.
Before you start the return journey, you can stop at a Bavarian restaurant, which is located in the immediate vicinity of the pier at the peninsula.
Tip: directly at the parking lot in Schönau you can find a tourist information where you can check the current weather situation for certain travel destinations in advance.
For example, we wanted to hike to the ice chapel, but this was unfortunately not possible at the end of February / beginning of March due to acute lava danger. The same applies to the Obersee, which is only again in the spring with the ships.
2. The most beautiful view of Königssee: short hike to Rabenwand
You can enjoy the most beautiful view of the Königssee from a small vantage point on the Rabenwand. You can reach it on foot within 45 minutes. It is a very easy hike, which can be undertaken even in winter without any problems and is also suitable for families.
In summer, the hike to the 819m high Rabenwand is quite busy, but in winter way less and therefore our absolute recommendation for this time of year.
How to get to the view point at Rabenwand
You can park your car directly at the Königssee parking lot. Now you have to go through the "tourist shopping street" directly in the direction of Königssee and follow the trail along in the direction of "Malerwinkel" because the Rabenwand will be marked at a later time during the hike.
During the hike you will pass a café right at the beginning, where you can stop for a short break.
Now follow the signs along the Malerwinkel until you reach a new sign after about 30 minutes, on which the Rabenwand is written (see photo) and follow the signs to the right upwards.
After 15 more minutes you will reach your destination at 819 meters above sea level and can enjoy a wonderful view of the emerald green Königssee.
For the way back we recommend you to hike in the direction of the parking lot/Jennerbahn (approx. 30min), because this way is a bit shorter than the normal way back. Of course you can also just back the same way you came.
3. Visit suspension bridge in Klausbach valley
Completed in 2010, the 11m high suspension bridge in the Klausbach valley is 55m long and offers a beautiful view of the ice-cold Klausbach. Both in summer and winter, this bridge is one of the absolute highlights of a hike in the Klausbach valley and therefore absolutely recommended.
Duration of the hike to the suspension bridge at Klausbachtal: From the parking lot to the suspension bridge you can plan about 1 hour walk.
How to get to the suspension bridge at Klausbach valley
The Klausbach suspension bridge is relatively easy to reach on foot. It is best to park directly at the parking lot on Hirschbichlstraße (parking rate: 4€ for 4 hours) and hike from there, passing the National Park information point on your right. The suspension bridge (in German: "Hängebrücke") is marked from the beginning and therefore very easy to find.
The hike itself is very easy and leads along a path through the wonderful nature of the Klausbach valley.
On the way to the suspension bridge you will pass snow-covered meadows and snow-laden trees and hike along the cool Klausbach stream. Further, you can enjoy a unique view of the breathtaking mountain panorama.
About halfway, you have the opportunity to take a short detour to a wild animal feeding station, where you can observe red deer and some bird species, among others. It is definitely worth it!
Alternatively, you can also reach the suspension bridge by bus. The bus line is part of the initiative "Bavaria barrier-free" and wants to enable all people access to sights.
Tip: Before you head back home, you should definitely take the opportunity to make a short stop at the nearby Hintersee in the Zauberwald (the so called "magic forest").
This is in summer as well as in winter a great opportunity for a short (about 40 minutes), "magical" walk around the lake.
What else you can experience there, you can read in this blog article.
4. When is the best time to travel to Berchtesgaden?
Berchtesgaden can be visited all year round and is definitely one of the top tourist hotspots for excursions and longer holidays in southern Bavaria.
If you travel to Berchtesgaden in the winter months, it is worthwhile to head for the classic summer destinations away from the popular ski slopes, as you can expect significantly fewer tourists there. Depending on the snow and weather conditions, you should check in advance whether your destination is currently accessible. For example, it is not always possible to reach the ice chapel at Königssee in winter; the better month for this would be June, for example.
5. What does a vacation in Berchtesgaden cost?
If you want to stay in Schönau and the surrounding area of Berchtesgaden for several days, you can expect to pay at least €60 per person per night in a hotel during the winter months. Alternatively, there is a wide range of vacation apartments for rent. For parking costs (if you can not park for free at your hotel or apartment) you may also include a small budget. Further, you nees some money for taking a boat trip for 20€ p.p. and restaurants (about 40€ for 2 people per restaurant visit).
Tip: if you are at Königssee more often, you can buy an annual parking card for 40€. This is valid for 14 months and you can even enter two license plates. You can find more information here.
What are your favorite travel destinations in Berchtesgaden? Tell us in the comments or send us a private message via the contact form!