Things To Do In Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden is a historic city in the Bavarian Alps region that is rich in tradition. The market square located in the heart of the city is where you can see Berchtesgaden’s history on a walled fresco/mural. On this wall you will understand the story behind the town’s founding which started from the Countess Irmengard and the builder of the house. It is a town where everyone from near and far meets, and where history is of utmost importance.
For a unique travel experience, visit the Salzheilstollen Berchtesgaden or the Salt Mines of Berchtesgaden. From the early 19th to mid 20th century, salt dissolved in water was carried out by a system of pipes. This brine solution has greatly contributed to Berchtesgaden’s wealth since the Middle Ages. Nowadays, you can take extensive walks along the brine pipeline pathway. It is an ideal place for long walks because this place is well shaded. The interesting part is under these pathways is where the pipes were laid to supply the brine water to its nearby towns. You can ride a mine train, boat rides on the underground lake, ride a wooden slide, and many other surprises. After the tour, you can visit the shop with a large number of souvenirs related to the local salt mining.
When To Go:
Berchtesgaden is characterized by its high alps and agreeable climate all year round. During the winter season (December to February) the alpine slopes of the city become a winter wonderland for ski lovers and winter sports enthusiasts. Visitors loved going cross country skiing (the city is bordered by Austria), bobsleigh, downhill ski, ice skating, and toboggan rides. The cold temperature ranges from -2°Celsius to -5°C. Bring your winter gear and if you have no plans to go skiing, wear thick and warm clothing. The spring season (March to May)comes next with day temperatures ranging from 9° C to 14°C and night temperatures that can go up to a low of 7°C. Spring is an exceptionally prominent time of year for trekking, and for appreciating the pretty flowers that are in full bloom all around the city. The summer season (June to August) is a magnificent time of the year in the city.
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It's charmingly warm without being hot and the normal daily temperature ranges from 16°C to 24°C. This is the ideal time of year to visit the emerald waters of the Lake Koenigssee or to engage in various outdoor activities like mountain biking, trekking, horseback riding, and swimming, kayaking and paddling at the Eagle's Nest and the salt mine sites. This season is also regarded as the wettest time of the year, so prepare an umbrella or a waterproof coat to shield you from the late afternoon showers. The autumn season (September to November) is an excellent weather leading to the first snowfall around November in the alpine mountains of the city. Expect a high temperature that ranges from 14°C to 17°C with a sudden drop to 4°C by the middle of November as the climate shifts to the onset of the winter season.
These are the premier attractions and things to do in the city of Berchtesgaden…
Kirche St. Bartholomae (Church Of St. Bartholomew)
The location of the Kirche St. Bartholomae (Church Of St. Bartholomew) is really impressive. The church is small, but carries a certain charm and from here you can leave for a couple of hiking trails to do in the forest. The cruise on the lake, although very slow because of the low speed of electric boats is wonderful. The boat docks in front of the church and at the foot of Watzmann Mountain where the green waters of the lake reflect the image of the church.
The church was built in the 11th century in an unforgettable landscape surrounded by the lake and the mountains of Berchtesgaden. If it’s not crowded, you can enjoy the place in peace with only the chirping of birds in the background. Dining is not a problem because there is a nearby restaurant where you can eat fish dishes and drink German beer.
Konigssee (Lake Of The King)
You need to get up early and take the first boat ride to avoid the unnecessary queues at the ticket booth to enjoy the beautiful cruise around the Konigssee. The ride is very relaxing and romantic soul’s waxes nostalgic with the view of this mystic lake in the alpine Bavarian region. The stunning crystal lake, the surrounding mountain ranges with the majestic Watzman and engaging storytelling of the skipper is the icing on the cake. It is one of the most visited sites in Berchtesgaden, but you need to be prepared because as with most touristy places in this city, there are always crowds of tourists waiting at the box office eager to see and discover its wonderful sights. There is no ban on swimming (only in winter, it’s not allowed because of the freezing temperature) and the waters are very refreshing.
The boat journey to the Lake of the King takes about 35 minutes and in the vicinity there are several restaurants with a great mountain view. The trip by boat on the lake is fantastic and complemented by the breathtaking scenery. A stop where one of the staff plays a wind instrument and the sound making an echo towards the lake makes it unique. There are luxury hotels near the lake, a beer garden, and fine dining areas on the opposite side. The boat ride costs about 20 Euros (as of September 2015), but it is really worth it. The lake gets very touristy in the summer season, so the best time to enjoy it is during the season of autumn where you can see the landscape all covered in green and looks more like a painting even from afar. You can access the Church of St. Bartholomew by carrying out a tour of the lake and explore the walking possibilities of the all green forest. At the Bird’s Nest area, you can visit a small resort house used by Adolf Hitler. With the green banks, serene water with a mix of blue and green, completely blue sky and snowy peaks in the background; you need to be pinched to make sure that this place is not a dream.
The Eagle's Nest
The Eagle's Nest has one of the most beautiful views of the Austrian Alps and it is mandatory to see it when in Berchtesgaden. Another interesting fact about this famous tourist attraction is this was the house where Hitler meets up with his minions to decide their evil plans. Take the Mountain House Adolf Hitler tour, which is situated at 1843 meters at the top of Kehlstein Mountain and admire its spectacular vista. It is even hard to imagine that a beautiful place served as a refuge for the despotic ruler of Germany. This place has a small museum and bunker area that is open to the public; it also has a restaurant which serves the typical dishes of Bavarian cuisine. You can reach the place by walking (or by a scheduled bus from the terminal at the city center), and you must be prepared to climb at least 2 hours of hiking in the mountain, but there is a reward for the effort because the view from up there is breathtaking!
Interestingly, it has become associated with the symbol of the Nazi era, a monument of the Nazi period and transformed into a restaurant after World War II. The house was built as a present for the 50th birthday of Adolf Hitler. The network of roads leading to it is considered great works of engineering during that time. In this house there is an excellent documentation center on Nazism and one of the largest underground bunkers to survive the bomb attacks. It is the only house of Hitler that was not destroyed after the war. The furniture and design of the rooms are all unique and you have a wonderful view of the Bavarian Alps by the window. The house itself remains largely unchanged, full of history and unparalleled views. After the challenging mountain climb, you can go through a tunnel that leads to the luxurious elevator. Upon exiting the elevator, you can have access to the old Tea House. Pay attention at the details inside the elevator, which is still the same up to this day. And do not forget to have a coffee when you get up there at the top!
Berchtesgaden National Park
The Berchtesgaden National Park is fantastic, with special attention to the Lake Konigssee. It is worth making the boat trip, which leads to the other side of the city where the views of the Alps is amazing. The landscape is like a perfect postcard scene and the Lake Konigssee is something incredible, because the water is pure, clean, and you can have the best cruise on its 8km long territory. It is a major attraction of the city and you can take a boat and make the ride across the lake to reach the church of St. Bartholomew, a place that is only accessible by boat. If you like great contact with nature and good infrastructure, the Berchtesgaden National Park is a good option.
The park is 45 minutes away from Salzburg, Austria. Upon arrival, you will see a large parking lot (coin-operated machine) and an information center. From there, you have two options of things to do: a) ride the Jennerbahn cable car, and left; b) explore street with shops, restaurants and hotels that extends to the lake Königssee and take the bobsled track on the right when going back.
The cable car of Jennerbahn costs around 20 Euros/person and leads to the top of Mount Jenner (the fastest way instead of hiking). On the way up, you can see one of the official headquarters of Hitler in Berchtesgaden located on top of the hill and where you can also make a stop along the way. At the top, there is a restaurant with outdoor seating and gift shops. From the restaurant, you can visualize and take the most beautiful pictures, and if you walk a little (+/- 10 minutes), you can reach the top and see all of Königssee Lake and the Alps. If your ski level is up to date, you can buy a one-way ticket, because the track is very good. If you want to stay overnight, the way to the lake Koenigssee is full of options regarding food and lodging. After 15 minutes of walking, you will reach the lake where there are boating options. The exciting part after the tour is you will need to ride a bobsled for an easy descent and takes only a few minutes to achieve as opposed to hiking over two hours to reach the top of the mountain.
This landmark site is a peek into Germany’s history in one of its most dramatic phases. It is hard to believe that an idyllic place that invites to spirituality and has been the scene of decisions that cost the lives of more than a million human beings.
The Obersalzberg area is a part of the resort called Hintereck. It is accessible by bus and the journey takes about 20 minutes between steep cliffs and deep gorges. After passing through the gallery lined with marble, you'll enter the famous elevator with coated brass and green leather seats that takes you to the Eagle's Nest.
The history of this beautiful area is impressive, but it also shows the dark side. In this scenic setting, the worst war ideas were hatched and Europe was forever changed. All of this is now getting exhibited in such a beautiful building called the Documentation Obersalzberg. The bunker complexes that can be visited from the center are quite remarkable and informative, but anyone who wants to see more of it must stop by the Hotel Zum Turken and go underground. There is much to admire more of this gigantic tunnel and historic village. The documentation center lays the dictatorship of the National Socialism in great detail with picture and sound, without overlooking any detail. In addition, you can also pay to take the bus to the top of the mountain ride to the Kehlsteinhaus. This tea house is the only building that remains standing out of the many buildings that Hitler and his faithful followers constructed in World War II.
After a visit to the Eagle's Nest, you have here the opportunity to obtain more information about the city in a historical perspective. There are lots of documents and facts about the Nazi era, Hitler and his leaders in Berchtesgaden and the Berghof. It is a depraved site, but remains an interesting piece of history and it is unfortunate that the remnants of the Berghof were not well preserved. This site is both shocking and educational; a good way to teach the younger generation about the horrors of World War II.
Hotel Zum Turken WWII Bunkers
The Hotel Zum Turken WWII Bunkers remain standing without any modification and untouched since the war. You can feel the presence and impact of German history at its feet. The place is dark and a little scary, but worth the visit.
It is a unique and amazing experience that is well worth visiting if you pass by the Berchtesgaden. The entrance is at the Turken hotel, you go down several meters where you can start down the tunnels that are in very good condition. At the end, there is an impact or some kind of bazooka projectile where you can see the thickness of the walls and a guide on how the bunker was built.
The Salzheilstollen Berchtesgaden is a fascinating journey not only for adults, but also for children. Kids can have fun while wearing the overalls designed for the slides, climb on the train that roll down fearlessly from the hill, watch the sound and light show about the salt mining history, listen to the audio guide and go boating.
The journey takes about an hour and picture taking is not allowed. They have an official photographer and the photos are not cheap (three photos for 12 Euros). But everything is all worth the effort and money because the real fun begins the moment you sit on the steel cart and rolls down the row of salt mining areas and observe how it is processed.
Haus der Berge
In the house of the mountains or Haus der Berge you climb from the bottom of the Lake Koenigssee and head out into the mountain regions and have a firsthand experience of the flora and fauna in detail. The museum conveys interesting facts about nature and the mountains in Berchtesgaden.
It is an ideal site, especially for children who love exciting and interactive exhibits; and all that for a quite family-friendly price. In the reception area, there is a slideshow or film about the National Park and how it looks in different seasons. The animal shots are great, so you can watch them from up close. The explanations are kept very short and sweet, so it does not become boring and repetitive.
Berchtesgaden Salt Mines
The visit to the Berchtesgaden Salt Mines is great fun (especially the slides), but also instructive. For visitors who do not speak German there is a specified audio guide in their own language. The lines here are worth the wait and before given access, everyone is required to wear the jumpsuit and the whole procedure alone takes up more time. It allows guests to experience how miners live underground from years ago and points out the history of the salt mines and its important role in the valley and other surrounding towns in Berchtesgaden.
For being a small town in Bavaria, Berchtesgaden is a great option to know the local culture, and despite the size, it has good food and lodging options. The salt mines are interesting attractions for children and adults. The exciting part is learning all about history in all the important historic attractions of this city. If you want a holiday where you can explore nature, good weather, and informative sites to see, include the city of Berchtesgaden when visiting Germany.
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