Lake Königssee (or Königsee) lies just a couple of miles south of the town of Berchtesgaden and is Germany’s deepest and cleanest lake.

This area has been used for outdoor recreation for centuries; Bavarian royalty and the local rulers of Berchtesgaden and Salzburg hunted here, Hitler went boating on the lake, and Eva Braun liked to sunbathe on the shore.

The Königssee is a wonderful example of a crystal-clear alpine lake. It’s easy to get to from Berchtesgaden, just inside the Berchtesgaden National Park, and doesn’t require any strenuous hiking. A short bus ride from town takes you to the parking lot; then it’s a 10 minute walk to the lake and the boat dock.

There are only two stops: St. Bartholomä and Salet. The mountain walls are so sheer, there is no path around the lake, so the boat is the only way to explore the Königssee.

The lake is about 5 miles (8 km) long and rather narrow, like a fjord (it was carved by glaciers). About two-thirds of the way out, roughly 30 minutes, is the church of Sankt Bartholomä. You can get there off and explore, hike a bit along the edge of the lake (or climb 6 km up to the Ice Chapel), and eat at the restaurant in the former hunting lodge next to the church.

During the summer, they serve fresh and smoked trout and whitefish, pulled from right the lake. No other fishing is allowed on the water.