Zechmeisterlehen – just unwind

in the heart of the Berchtesgaden mountains

The Königssee, a favourite destination of the Bavarian kings

A boat trip on the Königssee (lake) is one of the most important experiences of the Berchtesgaden Land. Highlight of the trip is the world-famous Köngissee echo and the visit to the St. Bartholomä pilgrimage church. This was a favourite destination of the Bavarian kings for more than 100 years. The majestic scenery around the Königssee has also inspired artists like Schinkel, Rottmann or Stifter. Back then as well as today the boats are the only possibility to reach the former hunting lodge and the church. Surrounded by high rock faces, the Königssee is situated like a fjord in the heart of the Alps. The eastern mountainside of the Watzmann rises 1800 m. An unforgettable sight. To preserve this nature idyll, the Berchtesgaden national park was established in 1978. No intervention should affect flora, fauna and water. Today the Königssee is the clearest lake in Germany with drinking water quality, approx 5 km² in size, 8 km long and 1.2 km wide at its widest point and up to 190 m deep. In a historic restaurant you can enjoy coffee and cake, lunch or a traditional Bavarian snack.

Fishing on the Königssee has a long tradition. Thus, only 1160 salmon trout from the Königssee would have been sent to an army camp of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossas in Upper Italy by Propst Heinrich I.

Since 1508 it has been known, that a fishing master, appointed by the Berchtesgaden seminary, was active on the Köngigssee with two servants. Due to the many Lent- and abstinence days (in total 150 each year), fishing was an important economic factor of the seminary in those days.  Since1967 Rudolf Amort has been fishing master and the only professional fisherman on this idyllically situated alpine lake at the foot of the eastern mountain wall of the Watzmann. A very special specialty of fishing master Amort are his „Schwarzreiter“- small salmon trout, smoked on thin wooden spits above a hazelnut grate, so that they will keep their incomparable taste. This special smoking process is practiced exclusively at the Königssee and has been handed down from generation to generation.

If the catches are good  Rudolf Amort traditionally serves the first “Schwarzreiter” every year on the day of the consecration of the church in St. Bartholomä (end of August). The „Schwarzreiter are know as a delicacy far beyond the borders of Berchtesgaden. Every year, they are delivered to special hotels such as the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, but also to His Royal Highness Prince Luitpold of Bavaria and to Princess Irmingard of Bavaria. From the historic St. Bartholomä restaurant, a beautiful hiking trail leads you ro teh St. Johann und Paul Chapel (1620, late Gothis style) and futher to the famous and wonderfully located “Ice Chapel” (ca. 1,5 hours from St. Bartholomä).

At the foot of the eastern mountsisde of the Watzmann, meltwater of avalanche snow formed a large opening in the course of the summer. Because the vault of ice can collpase at any time, entering the ice chapel is, however, perilous and therefore prohibited.