Before the borders closed I was fortunate enough to do a lot of traveling between 2019 and early 2020, although I hope this continues in 2021 and I can add more here, for now enjoy my latest adventures!
Konigssee, Bayern, Germany
For my 21st birthday in February I said to my mum that I would love to travel more, I get far more out of experiencing something new with the ones I love rather than just receiving a gift from them (although I’m obviously grateful for those!). Our first trip with this new mindset was to the not-very-well-known area of Konigssee in Germany. This picturesque postcard area right on the Austria/Germany border is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, this place is virtually unknown by foreign tourists and is the main bank-holiday spot for Germans throughout the country, its main draw is the crystal clear Kongissee Lake that runs for almost 8 miles and 600 feet at it’s deepest point located within the Berchtesgarden National Park. We took a 2 hour boat tour early in the morning on our second day and I was speechless at the views, as someone who loves nature more than anything this was just a dream; crystal clear water, small fish, miles of beautiful forest and rock, abundant wildlife as well as small islands throughout the lake that held little villages with souvenir shops and holiday homes. I don’t feel I can express enough how healthy and clear the water was (the lake boasts the clearest water in Europe!) so I will leave a picture for you all to gawp at like I did.
Another part of Konigssee that was so satisfying for me was trying my first ever real German pretzel! Unfortunately I was not vegetarian at the time so all of my pretzels came with a side of German sausage; which I must admit was tasty until I tried a Vienna sausage and realised it contained veal (I don’t agree with veal) at which point I didn’t eat any meat for the rest of the holiday.
Our hotel was called Hotel Kongissee (how original) and was one of only 2 or 3 hotels actually near the lake; behind these hotels the area is set up like more of a German version of Butlins (but way nicer) so we wanted somewhere lake side where we wouldn’t get in the way of the families. I didn’t get any pictures of the room but please enjoy this one of the outside!
The rooms were basic, there was no wifi and a small television BUT there were so many things to do outside and on the lake that we honestly only needed somewhere to sleep at night so this was perfect. The hotel had a nice restaurant that served huge portions of food! I had the 4 cheese pasta most nights after my Vienna sausage nightmare but the pasta was incredibly filling and just what you needed after a long day exploring.
Behind our hotel was a steep hill that was home to so many cute souvenir shops with everything you could ever want: pretzels, fridge magnets, postcards, chocolate, birdhouses, cuckoo clocks, garden furniture, food and pubs, we really were spoilt for choice when it came to choosing somewhere for lunch or a drink.
As I mentioned before, this area in Konigssee was very family friendly and attraction based, the area also has a HUGE bobsleigh, luge and skeleton track nestled between the lake and the mountains, alongside this is a ginormous ski lift that takes you all the way up into the snowy mountains (I am not a fan of skiing so we didn’t do that). Also heading back towards the German Butlins part of the town was a really cute pizza restaurant with a fun crazy golf course; which I conveniently didn’t get a picture of. We spent our last evening there playing crazy golf until it was so dark we could only see in the flood-lit corners of the course, if you are now thinking of going to Konigssee you should definitely do this it was super fun!
A bit of dark history on Konigssee for all the history buffs out there, the high mountainous region of Konigssee was home to Adolf Hitler’s last hangout called The Eagles Nest which is a big wood cabin tucked out of the way in the hills. We were told Hitler used to holiday in Konigssee for years before and then chose this area to hide from the U.S. G.I.’s when they came looking for him towards the end of WWII, unfortunately for Hitler, his cabin wasn’t as hidden as he first thought and the G.I.’s found him pretty quickly. Now there are guided tours up to the cabin which has remained pretty much untouched.
Unfortunately because of the snow in the mountains during the time we went, we were about 2 weeks too early to viewing the cabin which may have come as a blessing in disguise as we quickly found out this was no normal tour. The tour involved a white-knuckle 4x4 off-road ride up the mountain range and through the trees to reach the cabin (no wonder Hitler chose the area he did). Even though the idea of an off-road rally up a mountain doesn't fill me with joy…I’m pretty sure I’d give it a go next time!
On our 3rd day we ventured out over the Austrian border back into Salzburg as it looked like such a beautiful city that we thought we had to have a look around! If I’m being honest…there was nothing there. We couldn’t find any museums of interest or botanical gardens but a nice drive around the city centre allowed us to see the beautiful buildings that the city has to offer so that’s still something. As I mentioned before, we did actually fly into Salzburg airport and then drive over the border into Germany (I know that sounds like a massive trek but it took all of about 20 minutes) if you’re looking to fly to a destination where you’re not gonna land in a heaving airport with hours worth of queues then Salzburg is your place! There were only about 20 people on our Easyjet flight to begin with so when we landed to an empty (and I mean empty) airport we knew we already loved this city!
To continue our exploration of Salzburg we went to Salzburg Zoo on our last day. Anyone who knows me knows I adore zoos, not just because I love animals but I always try and find zoos that are doing their best for conservation of their animals and are worth supporting. Although Salzburg Zoo did have a wide range of animals I felt it wasn’t the best zoo I’d ever been to; with kind of small enclosures and all the enclosures in one long line it was a bit of a long walk in one direction which got draining really fast. They did have some beautiful brown bears and some funny little otters though which was a real highlight of the day.
All in all Konigssee was a huge success and I still love to sit and reminisce about the fact that a real heaven on earth does exist just over the German border. As for the Austrian side, I may give Salzburg another chance one day but with so much more of Austria and Germany for me to see, I won’t be going there any time soon.
Whilst we were away my parents organised a hire car so that we’d be able to get from Austria to Konigssee, we expected a standard 4 door family car but boy, were we wrong. THIS IS BY NO MEANS AN AD. My mum and dad booked their car through Avis and have done for many years now so when we got to the hire car place the attendant said that my dad was entitled to a FREE upgrade. Well, this meant my dad went from a 4 door hatchback to a brand new Mercedes-Benz C Class with all the gadgets. This made my dad’s holiday as this has been his dream car for years and now he finally got to drive one for 5 days for no extra cost. There’s no real review here I just wanted to praise Avis for this as it made my dad’s holiday to drive this car and it made my mum’s and mine to be driven around in luxury. So, the next time you hire a car maybe ask the cheeky question of if you’re entitled to a free upgrade. But thanks Avis, we won’t ever forget that!
i just wanted to add in one more picture that I feel really does the lake justice.
Just a last note on here to the next place I’d like to go in Germany. Considering my partner hasn’t been to Germany before and I’ve heard so many people say it’s a great place to go I think I’d like to experience Berlin! Please let me know if you’ve ever been to anywhere in Germany (or you live there) and give me loads of travel inspiration for the next adventure!