The Malerwinkel at the Königssee is the most famous viewpoint and at the same time the most beautiful hike at the highlight of the Berchtesgadener Land, the Königssee in Bavaria. We will tell you everything you need to know about the Malerwinkel hike: where you should park, where the best viewpoints are and what the ominous Inifinity Pools at Königssee are all about.
The Königssee in Berchtesgaden
Königssee is a mountain lake in the municipality of Schönau am Königsee and is located in the Berchtesgadener Land National Park. Situated at an altitude of 600 meters, the lake is the place of interest in Berchtesgadener Land and one of the most beautiful natural highlights in Germany. The Königssee is often called the fjord of the Alps because of its shape and the mountain walls rising steeply on its shores.
We can share this view without hesitation, we have seen numerous fjords on of our Norway round trip and can say with a clear conscience that the Königsee does not have to hide in comparison. In addition, the Königssee is one of the cleanest lakes in Germany. One reason for this may be that the lake may only be navigated with electric boats or rowing boats. And this has been the case since the time of the emperor.
The lake is almost 8 kilometers long and is nestled between the high rock faces of the Watzmann, a 2,713 meter high mountain in the Berchtesgaden Alps, and the Hagen Mountains. The Königssee is not only famous for the imposing rock massifs on its shores, but also for its smooth, crystal-clear water that shimmers emerald green in the sun.
Hiking at the Königssee
Contrary to what you might think, there are not that many hiking trails at or around Königssee. The reason for this is that the Königssee is enclosed by the mountains – and therefore looks like a fjord in Norway – and therefore there is no room for many hiking trails. So there is also no path that leads around the Königssee!
There are some via ferratas and challenging hiking trails, but almost all of them can only be reached by boat. From Schönau am Königssee, there is actually only one hiking trail that you can hike. But this one is very family-friendly and can be done even without extensive hiking experience.
The Königssee Malerwinkel hiking trail
The Malerwinkel circular trail at Königssee is the most famous, but also the most beautiful hike at Königssee in Berchtesgadener Land! It leads to the Malerwinkel lookout point on the north shore of Königssee. The view from the Malerwinkel over the Königssee, which is otherwise difficult to access, extends Pilgrimage church St. Bartholomä almost to the Obersee, which is located at the southern tip of the Königssee. The Malerwinkel circular trail is also popular as a winter hike, as the trail is cleared and gritted even when it snows. Facts about the Malerwinkel hiking trail:
- Round trip: Yes
- Length / duration: 3,8km / approx. 1.5 hours
- Difficulty: Very easy to walk
- Ascent/Descent: 128 meters in altitude ↓↑
- Parking: Sufficient parking facilities in Schönau
How to get to Königssee & to the Malerwinkel circular trail
By public transport:
- Line 839: Strub – Berchtesgaden – Königssee
- Line 842: KönigsseeExpress Berchtesgaden
- Line 843: Berchtesgaden – Jennerbahn
By car: Follow the B20 to the large Königssee parking lot. There is a large parking lot available for you.
The best parking place at the Malerwinkel hiking trail
The best place to park is at the large Königssee parking lot (Google Maps link). There are enough parking spaces within walking distance to the lake until about 10 am. If you arrive later, you have to use the alternative parking spaces (these are signposted)
The parking lot costs 5 euros as a daily flat rate, which we think is pretty fair. You can also pay by app with the Parkster app and extend the parking time on the go. This works wonderfully and is much more practical than paying with small change at the parking machine.
Where exactly does the Malerwinkel circular route start?
From the parking lot in Schönau am Königssee you only have to walk about 300 meters to the lake. From there, a path leads to the left past old boat huts and after just a few meters you will find yourself in the Berchtesgaden National Park. After a few meters of altitude, the Café Malerwinkel appears on the right side and here you have the first beautiful view of the Königssee from above.
Our experiences with the Malerwinkel hike
Just 20 minutes after the start of the hike, you are already at the Malerwinkel lookout point. Quite fast, you will think. Was that it? No, of course not. Even though most people stop here to take photos and some are sure to turn back, you should definitely keep walking.
Even if this is the viewpoint after which the whole trail is named, it’s really not the most beautiful viewpoint of the whole hike. And not only because there are the most tourists here.
There are only a few hundred meters further beautiful places where you can look at the Königssee. Often it is even possible that you can walk a short trail down directly to the lake. There are countless such places. If you are early enough at the lake (before 11 o’clock) then you will also have such a point for yourself to take photos or to go swimming.
The infinity pool at Königssee
If you go even further, then after a few hundred meters you will come to a “Danger to Life” sign that tells you not to go any further. But on the first meters this is no problem at all. The path continues normally. Only after about 200 meters you come to a place where you have to shimmy along a slippery spot between the lake and the steep rock face. And from there on it doesn’t get any better and then partly dangerous.
But the path itself is quite good to walk, if you wear good shoes and are really very careful. But we have decided, also because we had our dog Schoko with us, against running further. Nevertheless, many (mostly younger) people make this walk, because at its end the famous infinity pools of Königssee are waiting. These are natural pools (natural pools) fed by the Königssee waterfall. One of these pools has become a real Instagram hotspot and attracts a lot of people who come there just to take the perfect photo.
See a few corresponding pictures on Instagram here. At the same time, the pools are really life-threatening. Due to the strong current, it is difficult to get out again and numerous people have already drowned there! Also, the risk of falling is not insignificant. So think twice before you want to go there. The national park administration is also considering whether the path to the infinity pools at Königssee should be closed. Currently (September 2020), however, nothing is to be seen of it yet.
The way back to the Jennerbahn
If you want to continue the circular route, then you have to go back to the Malerwinkel viewpoint. There the path branches off and takes you back in the direction of the Jennerbahn. The circular trail leads you through the sparse mixed forest in two wide hairpin bends to another lookout point. Here you have another wonderful view of the lake more than 100 meters higher than at the lower viewpoint.
At the highest point of the Malerwinkel circular trail, the Rabenwandsteig trail branches off, leading through the rock-strewn forest to another vantage point below the Rabenwand. The trail leads you in a slight up and down through the beautiful forest and only shortly before the end it goes downhill again and you pass directly the valley station of the Jenner cable car.
This is the perfect opportunity to take the cable car up to the 1874 meter high Jenner. If you don’t feel like it or don’t have time for the ride up the Jenner, then it’s only a few meters further and you’re back at the parking lot.
Do you have questions about the hike or do you find a hint missing here? Just write us a comment or a mail via our contact page.