South of the village of Berchtesgaden is the Konigssee (The King’s Lake), Germany’s third deepest lake carved from granite mountains by glaciers during the last ice age. The picturesque Konigssee is located in the Berchtesgadener National Park on the border with Austria.
The Konigssee was a ten minute walk from our farmhouse B & B in the Schonau municipality. We walked there several times through a pine forest, over a wooden bridge, and along a fast-moving stream flowing out of Konigssee. The woods were peaceful, smelling of pine, crisp mountain air, and damp earth.
A small village of Konigssee at the southern outflow consists of vacation homes, restaurants, souvenir shops and boat docks. The fjord like setting is so steep there are no trails around the lake. But we took short hikes on both sides of the lake with beautiful views of the Konigssee in one direction and the Berchtesgadener valley in the other.
To preserve the pristine ecological setting, regulations forbid gasoline powered boats on Konigssee. The only crafts allowed are sail boats, row boats, canoes, and electric ferries that take tour groups to the end of the lake.
The health and scenic benefits of the regulation are many. The water is varying shades of pastel to emerald-green. Fish can be seen swimming along the shoreline. The crisp mountain air is fragrant, cool and pure. And motoring down the lake on an electric boat, there were no jarring noises of rasping motors, obnoxious jet skis, or speedboats.
A delightful acoustic feature of the narrow lake is the echo effect. Our ferry stopped in the middle of the lake and the captain turned off the electric motor. One of the crew stood on the gunwale and played a few notes from a flugelhorn. After a few bars, we could hear the echo reverberate down the lake. It was ethereal, floating on a still, pristine lake with the faint echo of the flugelhorn.
Half way down the 5 mile long Konigssee we docked at a peninsula with a meadow and a few buildings; St. Bartholoma church, a farmhouse and barn, and gasthaus. The remote peninsula is reached only by ferry. Every summer, hikers and mountain climbers make the journey to camp and climb the steep mountains.
We spent an hour at St. Bartholoma while the ferry continued to the far end of the Konigssee. We walked around the meadow and along the pristine shoreline to admire the beauty of the Konigssee and the amazing sounds of silence.
We returned from St. Bartholoma as the sun was setting and clouds were descending from the mountains. The stillness and beauty of the lake, and the grandeur of the mountains were profound. When we arrived at the village of Konigssee, we were so enthralled by the experience that we walked around the village without talking. We ended up at a lakeside restaurant for a dinner of lake trout, pomme frites, grilled vegetables, and weizenbier to share the incredible experience of being in one of the most beautiful places we’d ever been.
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Next: Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance (Konstanz)
In addition to writing this travel blog, I write fiction — thrillers, mysteries, and suspense novels. I’m currently writing a thriller series based in Milan featuring the anti-terrorism police, DIGOS, as they track down domestic and international terrorists.
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