Useful Information

Location: Kärlingerhaus, 83471 Schönau am Königssee.
Starting point: Seestraße 3, 83471 Schönau am Königssee.
(47.493396, 12.939911)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: KarstKarst Lake KarstUvala
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=230 m, W=140 m, A=1601 m asl, Ar=2.5 ha, Dmax=5.5 m, Davg= 2.5 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Anon (2012): Karsthydrologische Markierungen im Nationalpark Berchtesgaden, Berchtesgaden, März 2012, Nationalpark Berchtesgaden, Uni Graz. Deutsch - German pdf
Thomas Eder (2012): Karstgrundwasser-Vulnerabilitätskartierung im Nationalpark Berchtesgaden, Magisterarbeit zur Erlangung des akademischen Titels eines Magisters der Naturwissenschaften. Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Umwelt-, Regional- Und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät, Graz, Jänner 2012. Deutsch - German pdf
Inga Kosak, Sabine Hennig, Hans Krafft (2004): Aufbau des Karstwasser-(G)IS im Nationalpark Berchtesgaden - Einsichten in die „Blackblox“ Karstwasser, Angewandte Geoinformatik 2004: Beiträge zum 16. AGIT-Symposium Salzburg, Volume: 16. Salzburg, July 2004. Deutsch - German researchgate pdf
Address: Kärlingerhaus, A. Bachmann, 83471 Schönau am Königssee, Tel: +49-8652-6019901. E-mail:
Deutscher Alpenverein e.V., Anni-Albers-Straße 7, 80807 München, Tel: +49-89-14003-0, Fax: +49-89-14003-23 E-mail:
Österreichischer Alpenverein, Olympiastraße 37, 6020 Innsbruck, Tel: +43-512-59547, Fax: +43-512-59547-50. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1385 use of the Funtensee area as alpine summer pasture documented.
1850 Funtenseealm managed with 185 cattle.
1964 Alm (Alpine meadow) abandoned.
2001 German cold record of minus 45.9 °C at Christmas.


The Funtensee (Lake Funten) is a rather unspectacular small mountain lake in the core zone of the Berchtesgaden National Park, less than 4 km south of Königssee, at 1601 m asl. However, while Lake Königssee is flooded by tourists, the crowds here are rather moderate, except of course on fair-weather weekends in summer. On its shore is the Kärlingerhaus, a category +-I Alpine Club lodge belonging to the Berchtesgaden Section, an ideal starting point for numerous mountain tours. But the lake is easily overlooked, even though it is one of the most interesting sights in the national park, as it is a karst lake. This is why Funtensee has been designated as a particularly valuable geotope (geotope number: 172R002) by the Bavarian State Office for the Environment.

A karst lake is a lake without an outlet, or at least a lake without an outlet on the surface. Underground, it is connected to the karst aquifer, the groundwater body. Thus, rainwater flows into the lake above ground, via the Stuhlgraben and the Rennergraben in the southeast; the catchment area covers about 10 km². Nevertheless, the surface inflow is quite low, except during snow melt, most of the water flows into the lake underground. As a blind lake, Funtensee has no surface outlet, and most of the water leaves the lake via a collapsed ponor at the Teufelsmühle (Devil's Mill), called Teufelsloch (Devil's Hole). Most likely there are several swallow holes in the area of the lake. The reference to the devil is possibly a result of the gurgling sound of the water flowing underground, which must have been quite mysterious to people in the past. The water flows underground to the north and normally reaches Kastl at the Königssee after 11 hours. After 20 hours, the water then reaches the Schradlloch. The connection was already proven during the first dye tracing tests in 1997 and 1998, a detailed report with dye tracing tests was published by the National Park in 2012.

The depression of the Funtensses is primarily a karst form, which was, glacially altered during the last ice age. The bowl-like, elongated depression with an unevenly shaped bottom and irregular slopes is called an uvala. This is the largest uvala in the national park with an area of 0.75 km².

There are several buildings at Funtensee, the best known being the Kärlingerhaus Alpine Club Lodge. The alpine hut Kaser dates back to the time when alpine pastures were still in use here, and has not been used since the 1960s. Kaser is the local dialect term for cheese maker, the area was used for cow farming and the main product was the milk which was preserved as cheese. The third hut on the lake is the Enzianbrennhütte (Enzian distillery) of the Grassl gentian distillery, where Funtensee gentian is distilled from the roots of the gentian that grows here, which are dug by hand and processed on site.

The lake lies in a depression, it has no outlet for water or air, so it is a cold trap. In winter, the cold air, as it is heavier, sinks to the lowest point and forms a "lake" of particularly cold air there. Thus, Lake Funten became somewhat famous, at least among meteorologists, when it set the German cold record of minus 45.9 °C at Christmas 2001, which it still holds. At the Kärlingerhaus, a few metres higher up, it was almost 20° warmer, the temperature was based on the cold trap effect and even a strong gust of wind would have dispersed the cold air again. For the same reason, there exists also another fairly rare effect here: the lower you go, the colder it gets and the and the trees become smaller. This is called a temperature inversion, an effect that occurs quite often in karst cavities.

Funtensee can only be reached by a hike of at least three to four hours. The fastest way is from Sankt Bartholomä at the Königssee via the so-called Saugasse, which also requires a boat trip to Sankt Bartholomä across the Königssee. More challenging trails lead through the Wimbachgries over the Trischübel Pass, over the Steinernes Meer or from Salet over the Sagereckersteig.