Watzmann Tour: Hut-to-Hut Tour in Berchtesgaden

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Watzmann Tour: Hut-to-Hut Tour in Berchtesgaden
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A hut-to-hut tour in Germany? Jawohl! Bordering Austria you find National Park Berchtesgaden with in the middle of it, the 2,713 meter high Watzmann (8,900 ft). Walk a unique tour around this mountain range that will surprise you every day. With varying degrees of difficulty, cozy local mountain huts and, of course, beautiful views of the many peaks of the Watzmann Mountains. The Watzmann Tour leads you from a leisurely hike through the Wimbach Valley to a true mountain goat experience on the Falzsteig. Berchtesgaden ruft!

Germany is one of eight countries housing Europe's largest mountain range. The Alps are found mostly in Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France and for this, these destinations are very well known. In the southernmost tip of Germany, however, you can also enjoy the versatile Berchtesgaden Alps. Here, the Mittelspitze proudly bears the title of highest peak at 2,713 meters (8,900 ft), while the Südspitze, with its small difference of only 1 meter (3 ft), lies just below it. Shortly above the Mittelspitze you will find the Hocheck, and together they form the famous Watzmann massif.

Watzmann Tour 6185

What and where is the Watzmann Tour?

The approximately 53-kilometer (32,9 miles) long Watzmann Tour runs entirely through the German province of Baiern. Known for its Oktoberfest, soccer and beer gardens, you can also find Germany's only alpine national park there: Berchtesgaden National Park. Since 1978, this protected nature reserve covers 210 square kilometers (81 square miles) and thus the entire Watzmann Mountains. The 4-day Watzmann Tour takes you on an intensive tour around this mountain massif and all its peaks. With stages where you encounter almost all levels of difficulty and conquer a total of more than 6,000 altimeters (19,685 feet), the tour shows you a beautiful part of the German Alps. Enjoy gray peaks, peaceful valleys and even an impressive ferry ride on the Königssee.

Like many mountain ranges, the Watzmann consists of several independent peaks and subtops. Not so unique at first, but the layout of the mountain range and the surrounding story is certainly worth telling. A local legend claims that the peaks were created because an ancient king ruled so cruelly that he was turned to stone as punishment, along with his wife and seven children. As a result, from Berchtesgaden you can see the king on the right (the Watzmann) while his wife is on the left beside him with their seven children behind her.

What and where is the Watzmann Tour?

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Berchtesgaden: Also Known For...

There is no shortage of history in Berchtesgaden. While the story of the petrified king and his family is probably a fable, you could also know the area as Hitler's second place of residence. After he appointed himself Führer in 1936, he had his mansion, bought in 1923, converted into a villa. However, his private secretary did not find this sufficient, so in 1937 Martin Bormann decided to build an additional house on top of the Kehlstein. Today also known as the Eagle's Nest.

The imposing building was inaugurated on April 20, 1939, the day of Hitler's birthday. Construction took a good two years to complete because 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) of new road had to be built over an elevation of 1,800 meters (5,905 ft), as well as 5 new tunnels, a car turnaround area and a small elevator for the last 124 meters (406 ft). In reality, Hitler only stayed in the Eagle's Nest 13 times because, due to his claustrophobia and fear of heights, he preferred to stay in his villa at the foot of the mountain. You will not visit this imposing piece of architecture during your Watzmann Tour, but should this piece of history catch your attention, then it is an interesting additional excursion during your stay in Berchtesgaden.

Berchtesgaden: Also Known For...

Is a Hut-To-Hut Tour in Berchtesgaden for Me?

The Watzmann Tour through Berchtesgaden is definitely not for everyone. Where the Venediger Höhenweg in Austria surprises you with its diverse nature, the Watzmann Tour keeps you on your toes due to its varied difficulty. The stages alternate between blue, red, and also black trails where steel cables and ladders must be climbed. This variety makes for a versatile trek but is also the reason you must be prepared for all situations.

Are you a mountain hiker with some experience but not looking for constant challenge? Do you need a versatile tour where you even take a beautiful ferry ride on the Königssee? Then see if the Watzmann Tour suits you. Easily accessible from Munich, it is a perfect tour for a long weekend in the mountains, or a quiet hiking week in a historic setting.

What Is the Best Season for The Watzmann Tour?

Whether you are hiking a hut trek in Austria, Italy or Germany, the season generally falls within the same months. Between mid/late June and mid-September, the trails are mostly snow-free and you can reach the huts well.

In general, southern Germany has warm summers with pleasant temperatures at altitude and plenty of sunshine. However, the Alps are unpredictable and the weather can easily turn. If one day you can enjoy plenty of bright sunshine, the next day it can rain gallons of rain. Fortunately, rain often comes in the afternoon, so if you start the stage early, you could possibly avoid the rain.

Because you are dealing with altitude, you might find snow on the trails at the beginning and end of the season. This means that temperatures are also lower but this is not a problem with the right equipment. You see, preparation is essential for a hut trek.

What Is the Best Season for The Watzmann Tour?

Watzmann Tour Map and Navigation

There are several maps and guidebooks available that can help you navigate various hikes in the Berchtesgaden area, and thus also the Watzmann Tour. To help you even further, we have provided a map below with an overview of the entire route, and all the stages involved.

Spending the Night in Bavarian Mountain Huts

In Germany they realized early on that there were many opportunities in the mountains. To take full advantage of these, the Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV) was formed in 1869 and merged with the Österreichischer Alpenverein (ÖAV) in 1873. The result was the DÖAV. After years of cooperation and many changes, the two associations permanently split again after World War II. Good relations remained and to this day the DAV and the ÖAV work closely together. They are constantly concerned with the well-being of the mountain trails, the surrounding nature and the maintenance of their member mountain huts.

Consequently, most of the mountain huts where you will stay during the Watzmann Tour are affiliated with the DAV. These huts are often cozy and simple and this creates a unique mountain hut culture. Together with other hikers, you can enjoy a piece of history before heading to your dormitory, where you'll snuggle up in your warm sleeping bag liner. The next day you will get up early to start the next stage. Of course you will first enjoy breakfast and the beautiful surroundings.

If you have done a trek in Austria before, that is a good comparison for Bavarian mountain huts. However, there are also some differences. Namely, in Germany it is common for the huts to offer dinner a la carte, instead of half-board. In addition, you have to bring your own trash back into the valley, for which you have to bring your own bag. To help you prepare for your stay in a German mountain hut, we have compiled a packing list later in this blog. That way you can be sure you won't forget anything essential.

Not sure yet or want to discuss your plans for the Watzmann Tour with one of our trekking experts? Get in touch today and turn your dreams into memories!

Watzmann Tour Itinerary: From Day to Day

The Watzmann Tour through Berchtesgaden is a circular tour that starts and ends at the Königssee. It is an interesting tour where you will encounter different situations. To give you a good idea of what to expect from the Tour, we have detailed the 4-day tour by day below. The tour can also be booked with overnight stays in Berchtesgaden before and after the tour. Click here to see all the variants of the Watzmann Tour.

Day
1

Königssee - Watzmannhaus

Duration: 05:20 h
Distance: 8.9 km
Ascent: 1310 m
Descent: 10 m
Guten Morgen! Today your Watzmann adventure commences. You start in Königssee, a cozy village located next to the eponymous lake. The first 5 kilometers (3 miles) go up steeply on a relatively easy trail before you continue hiking on flatter ground. In addition to the challenge of the many altimeters, you'll also encounter the Falzsteig shortly before the Watzmannhaus. This is where your mountain experience comes in handy as you have to use steel cables, steps and ladders to find your way up. A fantastic challenge that leads to a point that is considered the shoulder of the Watzmann and also your final destination; the Watzmannhaus. From here, true adventurers can climb the Hocheck, one of the highest peaks of the Watzmann Massif.

Watzmannhaus

Info
Watzmannhaus
Day
2

Watzmannhaus - Wimbachgrieshütte

Duration: 06:15 h
Distance: 14.5 km
Ascent: 620 m
Descent: 1200 m
You start today with the stretch you ended with yesterday and walk back down in the same direction for the first hour. This time you will leave the Falzsteig to the right and continue straight on towards the Falzalm. Here the steep descent continues until you reach the Wimbach. A small stream that flows from the mountains and provides beautiful water features and small waterfalls. Enjoy the view here and possibly a short break before continuing the hike. The last 7,7 kilometers (4,7 miles) you will walk parallel to the Wimbach creek through the Wimbach Valley. This is a relatively easy section, so mainly enjoy the surrounding mountain peaks and the breathtaking views of them. At the end of the valley you can unwind at the Wimbachgries Hütte and exchange your hiking boots for your nice soft hut slippers.

Wimbachgrieshütte

Info
Wimbachgrieshütte
Day
3

Wimbachgries Hütte - Kärlingerhaus

Duration: 06:30 h
Distance: 10.6 km
Ascent: 920 m
Descent: 630 m
Today offers you everything, making it the longest hiking day of your Watzmann Tour. After a good breakfast at the Wimbachgries Hütte you start with a short section through the valley and therefore on a blue hiking trail. After a short 1.3 kilometers (0,8 miles) you will deviate to the red hiking path and you will walk up steeply. After being on the trail for 4 kilometers (2,4 miles) you will cross the Hundstodgrube. This is a long distance where you will climb steeply over various rocks and stones. Take your time here and be careful to place your feet properly and not slip. This also applies to the section over the Hundstodgatterl because here it goes a bit further and it really starts to look like climbing. When you have passed this part you can leave the biggest challenge behind you and it is only 4 kilometers (2,4 miles) to the Kärlingerhaus, your sleeping place for tonight.

Kärlingerhaus

Info
Kärlingerhaus
Day
4

Kärlingerhaus - Köningssee

Duration: 08:15 h
Distance: 18.6 km
Ascent: 300 m
Descent: 1320 m
It's time for the last day of the Watzmann Tour and you will encounter a nice surprise at the end of this stage. You start at Kärlingerhaus and walk in a northerly direction. On narrow forest and mountain paths you will walk slowly downhill. After 3,5 kilometers (2,1 miles) you will be at the beginning of Saugasse where you will descend steeply on a sharp zigzagging path for 3,5 kilometers (2,1 miles). Once down, you may immediately climb back up 230 altimeters (754 ft) and then finish the rest of the descent. After covering a total of 11,5 kilometers (7,1 miles) and arriving at the Köningssee, you will first walk past it for a bit before seeing the surprising part of today's stage. After hiking for almost 13 kilometers (8 miles), you may travel the final kilometers/miles by ferry across the Köningssee. Buy your ticket and be sure to look to your left on the ferry so you can see the Watzmann, his wife and seven children shuffling by. These are the mountains you have been hiking through for the past 4 days, well done.
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How Do I Get to the Start and End Point?

The Watzmann Tour has an ideal location and because it is a circular route, you also have the same starting and finishing point: the Königssee. This small but cozy village is just steps away from Berchtesgaden and right below the great Austrian city of Salzburg. In addition, Munich is 160 kilometers (99 miles) to the east, so both Salzburg and Munich are good starting points for when you start planning your trip.

Plane
Munich and Salzburg both have international airports. Salzburg is closer and thus the subsequent journey by public transport is also shorter. However, finding a flight to Munich is easier in some cases, so consider both airports.

Public transportation
Because Munich is relatively close, from there you can be at the starting point of the Watzmann Tour within 3.5 hours. The fastest connection is via Salzburg in Austria so should you come from another part of Europe you can travel on from there. In just over an hour you will reach Königssee.

Car
Due to the perfect location of the Königssee, traveling by car is fast and comfortable. In Köningssee you will find a large (paid) parking lot where you can park your car, even if you decide to spend the night in Berchtesgaden, for example.

How Do I Get to the Start and End Point?

Packing List for the Watzmann Tour

It doesn't matter where you are going trekking or for how long: Carrying the right equipment with you is paramount. For a hiking trip in the mountains, you will need, first and foremost, a good backpack. Its size will depend on how many days you will be spending in the mountains, the season, and the clothes you will be taking with you. We have prepared a packing list with some essential clothing that you should include and some extras that you may find useful:
  • Essentials

  • Extras

What to Do in an Emergency?

An emergency occurs when a human life (yours or someone else's) is in danger and there is nothing you can do to resolve the matter. You should call for help if there has been an accident, if someone is stuck, if you are lost or in trouble and can't go any further because of the time of day or weather conditions, or if you are stuck because of technical climbing challenges beyond your capabilities.

The most important thing to do in an emergency situation is to stay calm and survey the situation. Do not panic or take useless risks if those in need are difficult to reach. In case of an emergency, call the rescue services first and foremost. When you do so, be sure to communicate the location, number of victims and type of injuries. Then protect the victim from cold and other environmental threats and provide first aid, if you can.

Emergency numbers for Germany
  • General emergency number: 112
  • Police: 110

What to Do in an Emergency?

Safe hiking tips for the Watzmann Tour

When you go on walking holidays it is wise to be aware of a few points. Even if this is not your first time, you should never underestimate the mountains. Good tour planning and compliance with the regulations on the mountains will significantly increase safety. To ensure that your hiking holiday is a safe and enjoyable experience, here below you can find a list of 8 recommendations for safe hiking in the mountains:
  • Know your limits

    Hiking the Watzmann Tour is the perfect outlet to escape from daily life. It is an endurance sport along with a beautiful nature experience with a positive effect on body and mind —as long as one is in good shape and has a realistic picture of one's possibilities and limits—. Never overestimate yourself or underestimate the route. Don't overdo it! Always choose the slower variant and take more time for your plans. Hiking under time pressure is not fun and at too fast a pace it can be dangerous. Be wise!

  • Plan carefully

    Good planning is half the work! Hiking maps, literature, the Internet and expert advice are invaluable when planning the route in the Watzmann Tour and enable you to determine the length, altitude difference, difficulty and conditions of the hike. When planning group treks, the itinerary should always be planned for the weakest member of the group! The weather in the mountains can change incredibly quickly and rain, wind and cold all increase the risk factor. For this reason, always check the weather forecast beforehand and contact our trekking experts to find your way around before you start.

  • Be fully equipped

    Equipment is everything. In the most extreme case, it makes the difference between life and death, and in any case, it definitely makes the difference between having fun and having a bad time. Food and water, sunscreen and waterproof and warm clothes must always be in your backpack, as well as a first aid kit and a mobile phone with a full battery (in case there is an emergency). However, packing light makes walking easier, so don't take too much extra luggage with you. Your equipment should always be suitable for the terrain you'll be hiking on in the Watzmann Tour.

  • Wear suitable footwear

    Good walking shoes protect your feet and provide a better fit. Shoes with a good fit, with non-slip soles, water-resistant and lightweight are a must for additional walking pleasure during the Watzmann Tour. Trail running shoes are great for a weekend in the mountains, but on longer hikes or more technical trails, you'll want at least A/B hiking boots. That means it is recommended wearing high mountain shoes that are water-repellent with extra ankle support to prevent sprains.

  • Stay on marked trails

    Watzmann Tour has endless marked hiking trails, which are controlled and maintained and should not be deviated from. It may be tempting, but it's not a good idea to take shortcuts or alternative routes through unmarked terrain. It increases the risk of disorientation and you're more likely to get lost and have accidents or fall in the mountains. Even steep slopes of packed old snow are often underestimated and dangerous. Are you in doubt? Better don't do it. For easy navigation we work with our trusted partner Komoot, whose interactive maps, also available offline, provide you with the necessary digital means to get from A to B. As a backup, make sure to bring a hiking guide or a paper map with you. FYI, 75% of stumbles occur due to carelessness on marked paths or roads, not in open terrain!

  • Take regular breaks

    Remember you're on a hiking holiday. Timely and regular breaks not only provide welcome relaxation but also make it possible to enjoy the Watzmann Tour. The body needs a regular food and drink intake to maintain performance and concentration. Our advice is that if you have little time, it's better to follow the short itinerary than to speed up the long one.

  • Stay reachable

    If you are hiking solo or in small groups it is advisable to inform people back home about your plans, what route you are taking and when you plan to return. Even small incidents can lead to unpleasant emergencies so make sure you are available at all times. Bring a charged phone containing at least the phone numbers of immediate family members, your accommodations en route and the emergency phone numbers operating in the Watzmann Tour.

  • Respect nature

    Leave no rubbish behind, prevent noise, stay on the marked trails, do not disturb wildlife or grazing animals, and respect protected areas.

How Much Does the Watzmann Tour Cost?

A hut tour through Germany really doesn't have to be expensive. Huts are usually simple, but offer everything you need to recharge your mental and physical batteries for the next hiking day(s). For the 4-day Watzmann Tour, you can expect to pay around 80 EUR/USD per hiking day. This includes route description, navigation aid, your accommodation in a mountain hut and halfboard. For hut tours in general, we then recommend taking 40 to 60 EUR pocket money with you. This is for lunch and your drinks. Most of our pocket money usually goes to that ice cold beer in the next hut!

How Much Does the Watzmann Tour Cost?

Where Can I Book the Watzmann Tour?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book the self-guided Watzmann Tour and many other treks. We take care of all the details for you, including arranging accommodations and providing you with relevant information well in advance of your trek. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is the Watzmann Tour not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our following blog posts:

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