Germany | Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park |

Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park

Are you looking for deep dark forests, icy blue glaciers, idyllic valleys, peaceful green pastures, and picturesque lakes all within a breathtaking mountain range? Then you have to add Berchtesgaden, in the Bavarian Alps, to your travel list. Situated in the south of Germany, this is a destination known for active holidaymakers, ones who have a passion for mountains, nature and the great outdoors. Not that adventuresome? No problem, I guarantee you will fall in love with the incredible scenery this area has to offer. This is a recommended stop along the Alpine Road, Germany’s most epic road trip. 

Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany |
Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany |

Berchtesgaden National Park

The Berchtesgaden National Park is 210 kilometers (or 130 miles) of easy footpaths and steep mountain trails, pretty alpine wildflowers, rustic mountain cabins, and of course, its crystal-clear ravines and lakes. 

Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany |

The establishment of this national park was in 1978 for the primary purpose of protecting the incredible landscape of the Berchtesgaden Alps.

Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany |
Germany | Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park |

The Watzmann is the highest mountain in the Berchtesgaden Alps at 2,713 meters (or 8,933 feet). Among the serious climbers, it is the East Wall, located in the national park, that is the real highlight. Not only does it offer magnificent panoramic views, it’s also where a water runoff has then created a fascinating system of caves in this former glacier.

Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany |
Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany |


Königssee (translated as King’s Sea) is a crystal-clear glacial lake in the middle of Berchtesgaden National Park. It is one of the deepest, cleanest and most stunning lakes in all of Germany. The glacier lake is mesmerizing. Its deep emerald green colour being hugged by the towering mountain peaks of the surrounding Alps gives off its mirror-like reflection. It will render you speechless.

Germany | Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park |

The structure of Königssee is similar to that of a fjord. Its steep mountain range right next to the lake, making it only accessible by a quiet electric boat. Most visitors take this option, otherwise it is a paddle boat. No gas motors are allowed. 

Germany | Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park |

There are two stops, St Bartholomew and Salet. Along the way, the boat will slow down and blow a blast on a trumpet and the incredible echoes bounce back from the mountain walls.

Germany | Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park |

St Bartholomew’s Church

St Bartholomew’s Church is a Roman Catholic pilgrimage church that sits in a picture-perfect setting on the edge of Königssee. The church stands out because of its beautiful baroque architecture, with its red onion domes roof and the rugged Alps providing a stunning backdrop. This is the one of two stops the electric boat brings visitors to. 

Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany |

While here you can view the interior of the church, dine at a restaurant adjacent to the church, stroll the easy foot paths or prepare for a long challenging hike at the base of the Alps.

Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany |


The last stop the electric boat makes across Königssee is Salent. From there you walk a short distance until you come upon one of the most stunning views ever – Obersee (translated as Upper Sea). It is a smaller, but equally pristine lake. 

Germany | Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park |

Stay right here at this site, or hike to Röthbach Falls, Germany’s highest waterfall. The trail itself is just under 10 kilometers (or six miles), you’ll need to allow for 3-4 hours for this medium difficulty trail.

Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany |

Rossfeld Panoramastrasse

A drive along the Rossfeld Panoramastrasse is a definite highlight of any tour of Berchtesgaden. The serpentine road hugs the surrounding alpine cliffs and offers the most incredible views. 

Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany |

This road is available by toll only, but it is worth it, as it allows visitors to get out of their vehicles safely and take in the unbelievable views. 

Eagle’s Nest

The Kehlsteinhaus (translated as Eagle’s Nest) is a small building on top of Mount Kehlstein at 1,834 meters (or 6,017 feet) provides fantastic panoramic views. The historic building was completed in 1938 as a retreat for Hitler and party officials for government and social gatherings. Although it represents such a dark period in our history, the Bavaria State entrusted it into a foundation in 1960. It now operates as a restaurant and viewing platform where on a clear day you can see up to 200 kilometers (or 125 miles). Interested in joining a tour, click here

Germany | Exploring Berchtesgaden National Park |
Photo credit:

As a holidaymaker…

This is a destination known for those who have a passion for the mountains, nature and the great outdoors. Even for the non-adventurous types, you will be in awe of the incredible scenery. From the towering mountains, the  dense forest and emerald green lake – it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.    

Visit Berchtesgaden National Park in southern Bavaria, Germany
Visit Berchtesgaden National Park in southern Bavaria, Germany


  • Ketki

    I am sold to visiting Berchtesgaden National Park! It looks absolutely breathtaking with the views it offers. The bountiful nature is soul-soothing even in photographs. Added to my travel list!

  • Natalie

    Simply stunning – I would love to visit this part of the world. I love how you can feel like the only person in the world in parks like this. 🙂

  • Eric Gamble

    We love exploring Bavaria from Hungary to Austria and definitely into Germany! Though we have played around in southern parts of Germany, I have never explored the Berchtesgaden National Park. So I definitely have a reason to go back. I love backpacking so hitting the Bavarian Alps in summer time would be epic especially with views like the ones of Watzmann & the Glacial lakes throughout the Berchtesgaden area. I love that whole St. Bartholomew area. Definitely would take a Pilgrimage stop there.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Eric for your comment. This indeed is a great spot for you to visit then with your love of mountains and nature.

  • Ann

    Hi Renee 🙂
    What a beautiful place, the nature feels a bit surreal, almost like its a movieset for a film like Sound of music.Your beautiful images kept pulling me away from your article 🙂

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Anne for your comment and stopping by. You’re right, it is unreal to see it in person. So much spectacular views.

  • Smita

    Absolutely love the Alps – while I’ve spent a lot of time in the Swiss Alps, the Bavarian Alps have eluded me so far! I really really need to get to them soon! Königssee does look like a fjord – so darn pretty!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Smita for visiting my site and commenting. Yes, it sounds like you need to add this to your list.

  • Angela

    Germany isn’t a place I have really visited however several of the lakes in your post are places I am aware of and would like to explore. Obersee is top of my list, it reminds me of a place I went in Tasmania with its little boat hut. Magical.

  • Jan

    Truly a feast for the eyes! Berchtesgaden National Park reminds me of the stunning scenery in the Canadian Rockies on one hand, and Norwegian fjords and tall mountains on the other! I have never visited Germany and your blog has inspired me to add Bavarian Alps area to my bucket list. Your pictures are simply amazing! 🙂

  • Sue

    You had me hooked at the first sentence! It sound amazing & I can feel how fresh the air is here by looking at your photos. It looks a beautiful area in Germany to explore & with some spectacular hikes. Love your photos, really bring the area to life!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your kind comment Sue, appreciate it greatly. I am so glad that you were inspired to maybe on day visit here.

  • Georgina

    Wow! such an amazing place! Don’t think I will ever want to leave, St Bartholomew is a lovely little gem! You have certainly inspired me to add this to my list, so pinning the post.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Georgina for taking the time to comment. I am so happy that this area of Germany inspired you to see more of it. Hopefully you will get there one day soon.

  • Jay Artale

    That has to be the cutest little church I’ve ever seen .. it belongs in a fairy tale! I bet the air is so fresh and clean in this national park, I’m so pleased that over the past five decades people are becoming more aware of the importance of trees.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Yes, this was one of the cleanest parks I’ve been to, just think no pollution anywhere near it. So the sights and sounds are as natural as you would imagine them to be. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • Yukti Agrawal

    I have been to Bavarian Alps and was amazed by its beauty. Never knew about Berchtesgaden, in the Bavarian Alps, and I would surely add this to in my next travel to Germany. As this destination known for active holidaymakers, then I am for it and also to see those mountains and lakes must be a splendid view here.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      It’s too bad you were not able to visit here, but that area of Germany is so vast that it is worth seeing again and again. Thanks for your comment.

  • Candy

    I always think of the US when it comes to National Parks, so it’s nice to see a National Park in a different country and one I have never heard of.I’d love to explore Salent. I don’t mind that it’s smaller, in fact, I like places that are smaller and that lake is SO beautiful.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your comment. Salat is indeed beautiful, yet smaller. It really does look like a fjord with the water right against the rock.

  • Karthika

    This looks like such a stunning place to visit. Your photos are amazing. Can you also camp here like how we can in the national parks in the States?

  • Umiko

    The rock formations in this park reminded me of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado. It looks quiet and the water is very clear. I wonder how cold is the water in this glacial lake.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      It’s one of Germany’s deepest lakes so definitely it might be a cooler water temperature.

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