This tour takes us over the Königssee into the Berchtesgaden National Park to the Funtensee - the coldest place in Germany. We walk from St. Bartholomä along the Königssee for a while, before we go through the Schrainbachtal and the Saugasse into the high altitudes of the national park. Once we have passed the Saugasse, it is only a few metres uphill to the Kärlinger Haus, which lies charmingly above the Funtensee.
Distance 20.2 km
Highest point1,682 m
Lowest point598 m
This hike takes us into the heart of the Berchtesgaden National Park. The Berchtesgaden National Park is the only "Alpine" national park in Germany. It was founded in 1978 and covers an area of approximately 210 square kilometres. The national park not only aims to protect individual animal and plant species, but also to protect nature as a whole. Further goals of the protected area are the scientific observation and research of natural communities as well as the education and recreation of its visitors. It contains the Königssee, with 521 ha the largest body of water in the area. It has been able to retain its drinking water quality to this day. On its banks lies the small village of St. Bartholomew with its famous baroque church of the same name. The settlement first served the prince and canons of Berchtesgaden, later the Bavarian kings as a hunting lodge. The destination of the hike is the 1600 m high Funtensee, the "coldest" place in Germany. Here, at Christmas 2001, the lowest temperature ever measured in the Federal Republic of Germany was recorded at -45.9 °C. It remains unclear whether the forest-free environment is due to grazing or to the cold at this location.
Update: February 21, 2014
Königsee, 598 m
Best time of year
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The trail leads through alpine terrain, which is why surefootedness is required.
Tips and hints
Homepage of the Berchtesgaden National Park: www.nationalpark-berchtesgaden.bayern.de
Tourism Association Berchtesgaden-Königssee: www.berchtesgadener-land.info
Königssee fishermen: www.fischervomkoenigssee.de
Hospitality St. Bartholomä: www.sankt-bartholomae.de
We start our tour at the "Schifffahrt Königssee" landing stage on the Seegelände in Schönau on Lake Königssee. First, in a very relaxed way, the electric boat takes you across the Königssee, the only fjord-like lake in Germany. During the crossing we look back at the "Sleeping Witch" and hear the up to sevenfold echo of the trumpet blower who sounds his horn on the ship in front of the echo wall on the western shore. In St. Bartholomew you have the opportunity to visit the famous baroque church of the same name or the National Park Information Centre and to buy provisions for the tour from the fisherman. The tour begins with a leisurely walk along the shores of Lake Königssee, which is also one of the clearest and cleanest lakes in Central Europe. The lake's greenish colour is due to the limestone it contains. Shortly before the Schrainbach waterfall, which unfortunately cannot be seen from the path, we follow the path steeply uphill into the Schrainbach valley to the Schrainbach-Holzstube, which lies very idyllically on the shallowly flowing Schrainbach. We soon come to a fork below the Mausalpeck and follow this in the direction of Kärlinger Haus / Funtensee. We can enjoy the slightly ascending path and the fairytale-like mountain forest for a short while before we reach the foot of the Saugasse. This has not got its name for nothing and leads between steep rock faces in 32 bends on the shortest way from 1000 to almost 1400 m above sea level. On the other hand, we can now take it easier on the last few metres of altitude and let nature take its effect on us at the edge of the forest line. We cross the Ofenloch and after a last bend we see the Kärlinger Haus. From here we already have a wonderful view of the Funtensee and the neighbouring mountains. The Funtensee, to which we only have to descend a few metres, is the coldest place in Germany due to its hollow location, in which the cold air can collect. At Christmas 2001, the lowest temperature ever recorded in the Federal Republic of Germany was recorded here at -45.9 degrees Celsius. The Kärlinger Haus with its 233 beds is an ideal starting point for hikes into the "Steinerne Meer", a breathtaking karst landscape. But we walk the same way back down into the valley and can wait for our boat at the St. Bartholomä inn and a refreshing drink.
all notes on protected areas
By train to Berchtesgaden, then by bus to Schönau am Königssee (lines 843, 846, 839 and 845).
A8, exit Bad Reichenhall, continue on the B20 to Schönau am Königssee