After four months and seven countries visited, I finally returned "home" to Salzburg, where I currently live, in the middle of June. I was greeted with a heatwave and wonderful weather - a big change to the snow I had left behind back in February!
Desperate to get out into the mountains nearby, I took advantage of a mid-week bank holiday, even though I had just had two and a half weeks of holiday from work, and took my bike out for a 62km ride from Salzburg into the Berchtesgaden National Park in southern Germany. The ride was exceptional, all along the Salzach River and then into the mountains of the Bavarian Alps.
The Berchtesgaden National Park is perhaps most famously home to the Eagle's Nest, a Nazi-constructed building on the summit of the Kehlstein, used by members of the Nazi Party for government and social meetings.
However, it is the exquisite natural landscapes that draw many visitors to this incredible region, home to alpine lakes, hikes, mountain ranges and wonderful views.
Two of the best places to visit in the national park are the lakes of Königssee and Obersee. To visit, make your way by bike, car or bus to the harbour of Schönau am Königssee, on the shores of Königssee, where you take a one-hour ferry service for €25 return per adult (no need to buy tickets in advance, boats run really frequently up and down the lake).
As you ride along the lake, you will get panoramic views of the lush green shore and the mountains surrounding the lake on all sides. A stop is made at St Bartholomew's Church on the lake's shores, built in 1697, where you can get off and walk around, before boarding the next boat to continue up the lake, or you can just ride all the way to the end (that's what I did).
The final stop is at the opposite end of the lake at Salet Anlegestelle, from where you disembark to hike up to Obersee. To visit the famous boathouse of Obersee is just a fifteen minute walk from the ferry terminal, but I highly recommend doing the hike up to Röthbachfall on the other end of Obersee both for the views back across the lake and for the impressive tumbling water that comes down.
When I was there, a recent storm meant the path to the top of the waterfall was not passable, but the view of the waterfall from the valley floor below was spectacular.
Königssee, Obersee und Röthbachfall Hike DETAILS
When: year-round, but recommended on a warm, sunny day
Where: Berchtesgaden National Park, Germany
Length: from the Salet Anlegestelle ferry terminal on Königssee, it's a 9km return loop around Obersee to Röthbachfall
Directions: from the Salet Anlegestelle ferry terminal on Königssee, follow the clearly marked yellow signs to Obersee, then right around the lake to Röthbachfall
Bathrooms: yes, at Salet Anlegestelle ferry terminal and at the opposite end of Obersee before you begin the climb to Röthbachfall
Public Transit: yes, bus 840 runs from Salzburg to Königssee. There's also a train station in Berchtesgaden from where you can catch a bus, too. I biked from Salzburg, though!