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Hiking to the Eiskapelle // Berchtesgaden National Park

One of the highlights of my trip was my day trip to Berchtesgaden National Park, in particular, Lake Konigssee.  Lake Konigssee is only about a 45 minute drive from Salzburg (about 2 hours from Munich) and is the perfect getaway for any nature lover. The lake itself deserves its own post so for this post, I am focusing on my hike to the Eiskapelle (“Ice Chapel”).
The Eiskapelle is a permanent snow/icefield at the foot of Watzmann mountain in the Bavarian Alps. A cave, referred to by the same name, is formed in the ice due to a river of melting water. Entering this cave is said to be extremely dangerous and some have died due to falling ice.
To start this hike, you will first need to take a 35 minute ferry ride from Schonau am Konigsee on the northern end of Lake Konigssee to St. Bartholomew’s Church. From here, you can access numerous trails varying in difficulty and distance. There will be signs to lead you in the right direction to hike up to the Eiskapelle. Keep in mind that this hike is labeled as “easy” but that doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park. Some areas are pretty steep and you will break a sweat. Once you get higher in the mountains, the temperature noticeably drops. It’s pretty cool to feel such a drastic change in temperature, one minute you’re sweating, the next you need to put on a jacket. The hike should take you around 1 1/2 hours to reach the Eiskapelle depending on your speed and how many times you stop to take pictures (trust me, you will want to stop a lot).
Unfortunately for me, I could not make it all the way to the Eiskapelle due to snow (boo). Maybe if I had on the right boots, I could have made it but I had on running shoes so it was a no go. I was pretty disappointed but even without seeing the Ice Chapel, this hike was totally worth it. Everywhere you turned, it was like looking at a postcard.

To get back, you just follow the same trail down. You can spend at much time as you want exploring the park and different trails, but always keep in mind the time for the last ferry ride back to town. You will be stuck like chuck if you miss it since there are no footpaths that lead back to Schonau am Konigsee. But if you’re going to be stuck somewhere, this is a pretty good place to be.

If you’re going to be in Salzburg (or Munich even) and need a day trip idea, definitely head over to Lake Konigssee. Not only is the lake gorgeous (post coming soon) but this hike will take your breath away. While the area around St. Bartholomew’s Church can get its fair share of tourists, once you start exploring around the lake and park, it is extremely peaceful. While out, I only ran into other hikers a couple of times the whole day. For the most part, you feel like you have the whole park to yourself, it’s a pretty cool feeling.

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  1. This is the second set of pictures I've seen with people in T shirts hanging out in the snow. How very *very* cool is that? Love the way your pictures take us right along on the journey with you. Looks breathtakingly lovely.

  2. What's funny, while there my husband (who grew up in Philadelphia) said "I love hanging out in snow in shorts!" I guess I never thought about it cause I never see snow as a Texan lol. It was definitely cold up top but when you got closer to the lake and ground level it was pretty warm. Gotta love that!

  3. How disappointing that you couldn't make it to the ice chapel, but I agree that the rest of your hike and your ferry views look totally worth it!

  4. I tried to go on a hike this weekend, but ultimately decided to not because of snow! I think I made it 10 ft onto the trail, slipped 3 times and decided nope, didn't want to risk breaking anything so I definitely can understand! It still looks beautiful though. Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler!

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