Konigssee, Bavaria, Germany

Lake Locations:

Germany - Bavaria -

Also known as:  Konigssee Lake

For an authentic Bavarian Alps holiday, nothing quite compares to the Konigssee. Stretched below the east face of the famed Watzmann mountain range, narrow, deep and crystal-clear Konigssee offers spectacular views, exciting sports and luxury lodgings surrounded by history. The lake itself is a part of the Berchtesgaden National Park and as such is protected from motor boats and fishing. Much of the shoreline is inaccessible on foot due to the steep mountains surrounding it. An historic church on the west bank, St. Bartholomew, can only be reached by water. Pilgrimages to St. Bartholomew by electric cruise boat have been popular since 1909. These electric cruise ships are the only true way to view the fjord-like Konigssee and the surrounding scenery in all its glory. The reflection of the white church with its red domes amid the surrounding peaks is a photographic opportunity few visitors can pass up.

Cruises on the Konigssee are the primary attraction to the lake itself. The most popular cruises include a visit to St. Bartholomew church for such special events as traditional Christmas story readings during the holiday season. Other cruises feature such events as musical evenings at St. Bartholomew or smoked trout ‘fishing trip’ dinners at the small inn and restaurant next to the church. The restaurant is a former castle; the peninsula also contains a fish smoke-house. Other cruises focus on romance getaways, and most feature at least a blast on the flugelhorn at the famous point where the lake’s rock walls can create up to seven distinct echoes. In former times, a cannon was shot off to reverberate among the rock faces. Most cruises pass small Christlieger island located near the northern end of the lake. Visitors taking the cruise to the church on its small peninsula frequently use the opportunity to hike the surrounding trails and sometimes visit a nearby ice-cave. By taking the cruise boat to the south end of the lake, hikers can cross the Salet moraine, to smaller Obersee Lake with its 1,540-foot high Rothbach waterfall. The Obersee feeds the Konigssee via the Saletbach.

Konigssee means ‘King’s Lake’ in German. Germany hasn’t had a king for many years, but locals and visitors alike enjoy the distant reference to royalty. For Konigssee is truly fit for a king; vacationers and tourists enjoy a taste of royal treatment in the many lodgings and spas in the town of Schonau am Konigssee which serves as gateway to the beautiful Berchtesgaden National Park. Schonau am Konigssee takes its role as host seriously, making sure that there are lodgings and eating establishments available to meet every taste and plentiful outdoor activities and sports nearby. Here one can rent row boats and paddle boats, although the long 12-mile shoreline is best left to the professional cruise operators. The waters of Konigssee are cold, fed by glacial run-off, so most visitors do their swimming in one of the many swimming pools offered in town. Fishing is available in the immediate area, just not on the lake. The Konigsseer Ache (River) is one of the more popular trout fishing streams in the area. Appropriate permits are required, of course.

Hiking and mountain biking near the lake are extremely popular. There is no shoreline trail due to the steep mountain walls, but the entire area is filled with unique hiking trails to picturesque overlooks. The most adventurous come here to climb the east face of Watzmann Mountain- the third tallest in Germany. Watzmann is not a climb for amateurs; it has claimed many lives, and a local guide is strongly recommended. A permanent icefield exists below the peak while another, the lowest-lying permanent snowfield in the Alps, extends down to 3,500 feet in elevation and can be reached with about an hour’s walk from St. Bartholomew. Usually referred to as an ‘ice cave’, the formation is created by avalanches sliding down the side of the mountain where they are caught by an angle in the rock, forming a vault. The resulting cave is a popular attraction but somewhat dangerous due to falling ice. A less strenuous way to climb the local mountains is to take advantage of the cable car to reach the summit of Mount Jenner. The gondola ride begins near the shore of Konigssee and operates both in winter for skiing and in summer for hiking and touring.

Summer is the most popular time for visiting the alpine nature reserve of Berchtesgaden National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Over 100 miles of walking trails allow visitors to enjoy a landscape that has remained the same for thousands of years. Here, eagles soar above, while deer and stag roam the forests and chamois scale rocky outcroppings. Protected flora such as eidelweiss, gentian, herbs and mosses delight nature observers, and researchers study the unique climate and landscape on an ongoing basis. Those desiring a more adventurous holiday can go paragliding or guided rafting. Likely as many visitors arrive in winter to take advantage of a mid-winter break to enjoy the spas, ski or engage in some of the more breathtaking activities Schonau am Konigssee has to offer. The resort town is famous for its bobsled runs, luge and even its skeleton track. Skeleton is a fast-moving sledding sport performed lying face-down on a small sled on an iced track – not for the faint of heart. Other activities will please the less-adventurous, including cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ski lessons at the ski school or even a ride on the ‘bob-taxi’: a bobsled ride behind an experienced operator who maintains control.

Schonau am Konigssee has all types of lodgings to provide just the right holiday for every family. The large number of hotels are paired with health spas, inns, bed and breakfasts, private lodgings, farm-stays, self-catering apartments and campgrounds. There are even golf courses nearby. So whether your tastes run to full-service pampering or a prime spot in an caravan park overlooking Konigssee, you can reserve the perfect spot for your Bavarian Alps holiday. Something at Konigssee will be just perfect for your next getaway. We hope you can make it soon!

Things to do at Konigssee

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Swimming Pool
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park

Fish species found at Konigssee

  • Trout

Konigssee Photo Gallery

Konigssee Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 1,290 acres

Shoreline Length: 12 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,978 feet

Average Depth: 322 feet

Maximum Depth: 620 feet

Water Volume: 414,911 acre-feet

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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