Traunstein County is pretty much identical to the region of the Alpine foothills called “Chiemgau“ in Upper Bavaria’s South-East. Covering an area of 1.533,95 sq.km it’s Bavaria’s second-largest county and the tenth-largest population-wise.
The county’s highest point is the summit “Sonntagshorn“ (“Sunday Horn”, alt. 1,961m), the lowest is in Salzachtal Valley (alt. 370m). Adjacent counties include Berchtesgaden, Rosenheim, Muehldorf, and Altoetting, as well Austrian states Upper Austria, Salzburg, and Tyrol.
Traunstein county and the counties of Altoetting, Berchtesgaden, Muehldorf and Rosenheim, along with the city of Rosenheim form the planning district 18. It belongs to the so-called „Euregiones“ of Salzburg - Berchtesgadener Land - Traunstein and Inntal Valley.
In Traunstein County there are 13 nature reserves covering a total of 157 sq. km., and ten landscape conservation areas covering 160 sq. km. – that means a good 20% of the county’s area is put under special protection. The largest nature reserve is that of the “Eastern Chiemgau Alps” covering 95 sq. km., the largest landscape conservation area is Lake Chiemsee – including its islands and shores – covering almost 12.7 sq.km. On top of that there are numerous natural monuments, smaller protected areas, and habitats protected by law.
Since the 1990s, special care is given to the highmoors and meadow breeders’ regions in the southern Chiemgau. Within the framework of two EU-sponsored “Life-Projects” more than five sq. km. of highmoor were re-watered, and many fallow meadows were freed of bushes and interfering cover with the help of local farmers – these meadows are now once again home to rare bird species.
Within the area of the Eggstaett-Hemhof Lakes and the Seeon Lakes, a 7.8 sq. km. habitat network was created with the support of the Bavarian state, and in cooperation with Rosenheim County. Surface waters in Traunstein County include around 50 lakes of different sizes, five rivers, and 56 torrents.