Konigsweg: Why you Have to do the Hike to Schachen House

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The Konigsweg (King’s Way) follows the royal footsteps of King Ludwig II up to the Schachen House mountain retreat in the German Alps. It is a hike you must do at least once.

Your hike starts near the Castle Hotel Elmau near Garmisch-Partenkirchen

How to Hike the Konigsweg

There are a few options you can choose from when hiking up to Schachen House. I did the hike that starts in Elmau and via Wettersteinalm following the Konigsweg. The hike starts in the parking lot behind Hotel Schloss Elmau (pictured above). It’s free to park there but you’ll have to pay a toll to reach the parking lot.

From there, you’ll hike along a forest path along the Koitaboch. At around the halfway point, you will arrive at the Wettersteinalm. You can grab a second breakfast here or watch the cattle who spend their summers in these perfect pastures. It’s all a part of the perfect German experience. You’ll continue on the Königsweg, the King’s Way, a gravel road where King Ludwig II used to ride his horse up to reach his mountain retreat.

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Me stopping to enjoy the views of Garmisch-Partenkirchen

It took us around 1:45 hours of hiking to reach the Schachen House. It is one of the highlights of this great hike. If you continue a bit further up the saddle you will find some truly spectacular views over the Schachen house and the Wetterstein Mountains. Stop for a refreshment at the Schachenhaus Hut and either return the same way or through the valley.

One of the best things about this trail is that it is really well marked so you will have no problem at all finding your way whichever way you decide to hike.

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Me stopping to enjoy the views of Garmisch-Partenkirchen
You can return the same way you came on the Königsweg, or take this gorgeous alternative route.

Highlights of the Konigsweg Hiking Tour

The highlight of this tour is the King’s House on Schachen which offers one of the best views found in the entire German Alps. In comparison to Neuschwanstein, King Ludwigs II’s most famous castle, it’s underwhelming from the outside. However, it’s still impressive given its location at 1866 m on top of a mountain. It was built in 1869 in the Swiss style, a much simpler style,  than the king’s usual preference. You can visit the King’s House on Schachen with a guided tour. Check the opening times here.

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You may think of it as very plain compared to King Ludwig II’s other creations. The first floor may disappoint you but just wait till you see the second floor of the Schachen House. When you enter the luxurious Moorish Room you will be dazzled by its bright colors. The Turkish room is furnished with long low sofas for relaxing and naturally a fountain in the center.

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Overlooking the King’s House on Schachen.

Another highlight of this tour is the Alpine Garden. You’ll find plants and flowers from Bavaria and throughout the world. It was closed when I was there so I didn’t have a chance to visit but it adds another unique element to this hike.

View of the Schachenhaus from above.
View of the King’s House on Schachen from the saddle.

Insider Tips

King Ludwig celebrated his August 25th birthday here every year. In honor of the king’s birthday,  hikers and the king’s lordship hold a memorial service at the Schachen on August 25th. If you are around you may want to consider partaking, it is a great experience.

Turn it Into a Multi-Day Hike

If you would like to extend your hike, then consider staying at the Schachen Mountain Hut. You need to make reservations beforehand though. The accommodation here is simple. I.e. shared bathrooms and no hot water. However, staying in a mountain hut is a great way to experience the Alps Culture.  I do it at least two or three times each year in the Alps. You’ll have a choice of trails, including peaks that you can ascend from the hut, extending your hiking time in this royal region. And adding a stay at the Schachen Mountain Hut is a great way to end your hike on the Konigsweg.

Schachenhaus, a mountain hut serving food, and where you can also spend the night.
Private room in the Schachen Mountain Hut.

How to Get There from Munich

By Car

It’s just over 105 km from Munich and takes ~ 1:30 hours to reach Hotel Schloss Elmau. You’ll pass it on your left and continue driving until the end of the road when you reach a parking lot on the right. Note: This is a toll road so you will have to pay a small fee.

Looking back on the King’s House on Schachen.

By Public Transporation:

Take the train to Klais. From there, the RVO bus leaves for Elmau every day. Note: If you’re doing this tour by public transportation you’ll need to spend the night at the Schachen Hut due to the infrequent public transportation. Alternatively, you could take a taxi from Klais to the starting point (under 10 km). But as you can expect it will probably cost you quite a bit.

My Verdict on the Konigsweg Hike to Schachen House 

It is a fun hike to do and is added to by the fact that King’s once walked the same trail.  It’s also not very often that a king’s Pleasure Palace is waiting for you at the top of that you can say that you have hiked a trail called the Konigsweg. The views are fantastic and you have the option to take a different route down at the edge of a mountain. It’s definitely a unique hike and one of the top hikes that I’d recommend if you only have a few days in the German Alps. My other recommendations would be Höllentalklamm (Hell Valley Gorge) and the Parchtnachklamm.



HIKING TIME: 6 hours 


SEASON: June – Sept

HIGHLIGHTS: King Ludwig II’s Mountain Retreat 

It’s a great hike, a positively royal hike. The hike up the Schachen Haus is adventurous and one of the best hikes I have done.