Things to do in Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden, Germany is beautiful mountain town tucked in the Alps near Salzburg, Austria waiting for you to explore it. There are lots of activities here with famous sights like the Hitler's Eagle's Nest and the Königssee among the most famous. Here are some things to do in Berchtesgaden.
Are you visiting Munich or Salzburg? Don't forget to check out Berchtesgaden! Here are things to do in Berchtesgaden, Germany. @germanytourism @berchtesgadende #germany #berchtesgaden
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How to Pronounce Berchtesgaden in German
Where is Berchtesgaden?
The town of Berchtesgaden is 155 km from Munich or 35 km from Salzburg, Austria in the Bavarian Alps right at the border with Austria. After getting off the A8 (Autobahn) from Munich, the drive to Berchtesgaden is absolutely beautiful.
Berchtesgaden Hotels and Hostels
Berchtesgaden is a small town will only 7660 residence. You can easily to make a day trip from Munich to Berchtesgaden or even closer from Salzburg.
If you want to spend a night or two in the area you can find some quaint little Berchtesgaden hotels and hostels.
KS Hostel Berchtesgaden is one of the most popular hostels because it's right at the train station. It books up fast, so jump on it if there is availability.
You can also find hotels in nearby Obersalzberg which is only 5km away (a 10-minute drive). This is closer to Hitler's Berghof (Eagles Nest) and the Dokumentationszentrum Obersalzberg. There are buses and taxis that run between here and Berchtesgaden.
Salzburg, Austria is only 30-minutes away by car or an hour by train. So an option, is to stay there and make a day trip.
Either way, if you are looking to get a hotel in Berchtesgaden, I recommend booking it right away, as it is a popular place to visit and they book up fast.
I recommend checking out HotelsCombined below. They search all the sites you know like Booking and Agoda and more, and show you the prices for all of them. It's a big time saver.
Organized Tours from Munich to Berchtesgaden
These tours can book up fast so make sure you book them before you go!
Day Trip from Munich to Königssee: Boat Ride & Salt Mine
This tour basically gets you from Munich to the Königssee with a guide that will give you commentary along the way the 2.5 hour bus ride.
Note that this tour doesn't included the entrance fee or ticket for the tour of the lake or salt mines.
Berchtesgaden Town and Mountains and the Eagle's Nest from Munich
Take the stress out of renting a car, or finding your own bus with this tour.
If there is bad weather and the Eagle's Nest (Kehlsteinhaus) is inaccessible, they will visit the Berchtesgaden salt mines instead.
Königssee Full-Day Tour from Munich: Groups of 4 or More
If you are travelling with a group of 4-8 this for you. This tour will pick you up from your hotel in Munich and take you to Berchtesgaden.
Things to do in Berchtesgaden
There are so many things to do in Berchtesgaden and nearby Obersalzberg. The area has something for everyone. Whether you are coming for one day in Berchtesgaden or for a couple of days you'll have plenty to do.
The town is surrounded by the German Alps. There are variety of ways to experience the awe-inspiring views. Up from high above at the Kehlsteinhaus or the Jenner Mountain or from below on a boat on the Königssee on your way to St. Bartholomew's Church.
There are activities for kids and families or just take it easy strolling the town itself. You'll soon seen why this is a must see place in Germany.
Eagle's Nest - Kehlsteinhaus
Perched high above the valleys below at a height of 1834 m (6017 ft), the Kehlsteinhaus has had an important part of history. It was a gift to Hitler for his 50th birthday. It took 13 months to build. He actually only visited here 14 times which is surprising for the amount of money that was spent on this mountaintop chalet.
Today it has become a restaurant for which you don't require a reservation for small groups. From up here you can see the town of Berchtesgaden and the Königssee (King's Lake) below. There is a panoramic view and on a clear day you apparently can see up to 200 kms away.
The mountaintop chalet is closed in the winter months and reopens mid-May until the beginning of November.
It is open from 8:30am to 5:00pm, and that note that fries are not available between 12pm and 3pm. Yup, I'm not kidding.
Getting to the Kehlsteinhaus
The road to the Kehlsteinhaus is closed to local traffic. The only way up to the elevator that takes you the rest of the way to the Eagle's Nest is by a special bus service. They usually run in conveys of four buses every 25 minutes.
You can take the local bus the RVO 838 from the main train station in Berchtesgaden and it will take you to the Kehlsteinhaus/Hintereck Bus Station in 16 minutes.
If you are driving, you'll want to take the 319/Salzbergstraße to get there (about 8 mins).If you are driving it will cost you a couple of Euros to park there.
Once here you can purchase a bus ticket to take you the rest of the way to the Kehlsteinhaus Aufzug (elevator). The elevator ascends 124 m right into the lobby of the Kehlsteinhaus in 41 seconds.
The last bus leaves the top at 4:50pm, so keep that in mind, otherwise you are walking down.
Blue path is a hiking trail from the Ofnerboden Parking Lot
Feeling adventurous? You can hike to the Eagle's Nest from the Ofnerboden parking lot. It's about an hour and a half to two hour hike with an elevation gain of about 563 m (1847 ft).
- Ofnerboden Parking Lot: It's about an hour and a half to two hour hike with an elevation gain of about 563 m (1847 ft).
- Scharitzkehl Parking Lot: This is meant to be hiked outside the official bus travel times as hiking on the Kehlsteonstraße is prohibited. The Kehlstein über Sappensteig is a hiking path of moderate difficulty taking about 2 hours. You can find the link to a German Language site about the hike and a map here.
Magic Internet Trick!
If you right click your mouse, choose "Translate to English" so you don't have to learn German.
What to do at Kehlsteinhaus - Eagle's Nest
The Kehlsteinhaus is a restaurant now, and doesn't require a reservation. You can head here yourself. Stop in for a beer and schnitzel or coffee and Apfelkuchen. Admire the view and architectural feat of building this chalet up top of the Kehlstein Mountain.
You can walk up to the Kehlstein Gipfelkreuz (summit cross). If you want you can continue along the path Kehlstein Rundweg (a round trip trail) hiking path. The total trip takes 1h25 through the rocky terrain offering amazing views of the region. Bring a light jacket, even in the summer, as the temperature can be quite a bit cooler up on top of the mountain compared to Berchtesgaden.
Official site: Das Kehlsteinhaus (Germany language mostly)
There are guided tours available every day (from May to end of October) departing from Eagle's Nest Tours at 1:15 p.m.
Bus Tours from Salzburg and Munich:
This museum is dedicated to the tell the story of Obersalzberg and its link to National Socialism that changed the world so dramatically. You can learn here how the National Socialists turned this health resort into the second seat of government outside of Berlin. Many decisions were made here during the Second World War that made a huge impact on so many be so few.
It is located in Obersalzberg right by the Kehlsteinhaus Bus Station, so a great way to learn about what happened in this area before heading up to the Kehlsteinhaus. It's only a few Euros to go visit, and definitely worth the time.
Salzbergwerk - Salt Mine Tour
Organized tours (by bus) from Salzburg and Munich:
The Salzbergwerk is Germany's oldest active salt mine. You can experience and learn about the Salt mine by going 650m (2133 ft) into the mountain via a small passenger train. You will be giving a miners outfit to protect your clothes as you go deep into the mountain side.
There is an hour long tour in which you will ride the small train into the mountain, slide down a miners slide, take a boat across an underground salt lake, and see a giant salt cathedral.
This is a fascinating tour for all ages. For more information here is the official site.
You can walk there from the heart of Berchtesgaden in about 30 minutes.
You can also take the RVO 840 bus from the Berchtesgaden Hbf to the Berchtesgaden Salzbergwerk (B305) bus stop. Then you just have to cross the river by foot.
If you have the BGL-TagesTicket Bus & Train pass, you can present it when you purchase your ticket at the Salzbergwerk and receive a 10% discount.
Things to do on the Königssee
Königssee Boat Tour
One of my favourite things to do in Berchtesgaden is a boat tour on the Königssee. I did it when I was 16, and again with my 2 and half year old son 22 years later. Going alone the narrow lake nestled between the mountains is just something to experience. There is more to this than just a boat tour. There are many things you can do at a few of the stops.
The lake is 8 km (5 miles) long and one of Bavaria's deepest lakes at 192 m (630 ft). Expect to spend at least 4-5 hours of your day here, unless you plan on just going to St. Bartholomew's Church and coming right back.
The boats run on the Königssee year round, including the winter months. In the winter they just run to St. Bartholomew's Church and back. The hiking trails are also closed in the winter. To experience it all, it's best to come between May and October.
Read below of some of the activities you can do at some of the stops and plan accordingly.
Get Your Guide has great tours from Munich and Salzburg including boat tours on Königssee, although if you plan on doing one of the hikes, it many not afford you the time. The advantage to these tours is that you get a taste of many different things in one day, including the bus ride to Berchtesgaden.
Along the way you will come to the Echo wall where a member of the boat crew will play a trumpet and create music with the echo. The first dock, Kessel is more of a stop for mountaineers doing more adventurous hikes. The second dock is the St. Bartholomew Pier. This is the most common stop for most. We'll start there.
St. Bartholomew's Church
There is a stop at Hirschau Peninsula where you will find St. Bartholomew's Church with the impressive Watzmann Mountain as a back drop. St. Bartholomew's Church is a Roman Catholic pilgrimage church. What you see here was built in 1697, although the first church was built here in 1134.
The boat ride here takes about 35 mins. Once here you can explore the area including some of the things below.
St. Johann and Paul Chapel
Eiskapelle - Ice Chapel
Bring your hiking shoes (and maybe a bathing suit)as this will a bit more challenging. The Ice Chapel is an amazing experience with a great reward at the end. This hike will take about 1.5 hours one way until you reach the Eiskapelle. While it is made of ice, it is just nicknamed a chapel. It's a ice cave formed under a glacier at the base of the Watzmann mountain.
To see a quick short video with some highlights of the Eiskapelle check out Tastemade's video here.
Obersee and Röthbach Waterfall - Germany's Tallest Waterfall
At the end of Königssee you'll find the Salet Pier. From here it's a 15 minute walk to the Obersee (Upper Lake). This is a great photo opportunity with the famous boathouse and off in the distance you can see the Röthbach waterfall.
The Röthbach waterfall (Röthbachfall) is Germany's tallest waterfall at 470 meters (1542 ft).
If you'd like to hike closer to the falls, just follow the trail on the south side of the lake. Hiking boots are good idea as it can be muddy at times. Along the way you'll find some alpine cows roaming around doing alpine cow things.
The total hike is about 8.5 kms (there and back) and can take 2-3 hours. You can also just hike around the lake to get a closer view.
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Other Things to do Around Berchtesgaden
The Jennerbahn is cable car that takes you to the top of the Jenner mountain for spectaular views of the Königssee and mountains that surround it.
The Jennerbahn is located close to the starting point of the Königssee boat tours, which makes a great pairing of experiencing the area from the lake and from high up on the Jenner mountain.
At the top there are many trails for hiking or biking. There is also a couple of restaurants up top and places you can even stay. You'll find great photo opportunities at the Königssee Water Reserve and the Jenner Aussichtplatform (viewing platform).
Here is the official link to the Jennerbahn. It's all in German, so just right click on the page in Chrome to "translate to English"
The ticket page is in English and you can buy your tickets before you go. Jennerbahn Ticket Page in English
Sommerrodelbahn - Summer Toboggan Run
If you have never experienced a Sommerrodelbahn (Summer toboggan run) then you need to. This is just a little one in Berchtesgaden right beside a nice little Gasthof that you can stay at or stop by for something to eat. Kids of all ages will enjoy this, even the adults with the little kid inside.
Enjoy the beautiful scenery as you cruise down this run. It's is inexpensive fun and a great little side adventure when you are here in Berchtesgaden.
You can get a family pass for 10 runs for only €18. Single run tickets are available too for a couple of Euros.
Here's the link to their price list for accommodations and toboggan run tickets - Alpengasthof Hochlenzer Sommerrodelbahn.
Berchtesgaden National Park is a hiker/mountaineers paradise. There are hiking trails all over through this picturesque landscape.
If you are visiting Berchtesgaden, head up to Wimbachklamm and start at the National Park Tourist Information (Nationalpark-Infostelle Wimbachbrücke). There are so many hiking trails waiting to be explored. From here it's a 15 minute walk to the Wimbachklamm Waterfalls.
You can just head down the Wimbachklamm road and you'll hit a souvenir shop on the right just before heading into the forest.
Once in the woods, you'll find a trail that goes along the Wimbach. There are boardwalks that take you right along the gorge and the flowing water.
Getting to Wimbachklamm Waterfalls:
Getting here by car is only a quick 8 minute drive. Just take the 305 west until you find Wimbachklamm/Wimbachbrücke and hang a left. There is a parking lot right by the information centre.
Taking the bus is simple too. Take the 12 minute bus ride on the 846 Hintersee, Ramsau b. Berchtesgaden from the ZOB Berchtesgaden (bus/train station) to Wimbachbrücke, Ramsau b. Berchtesgaden.
Ramsau Church - St. Sebastian in Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden
If you are looking for that perfect Instagram photo then this is the place for you. (just make sure to follow and tag Ačiū on Instagram!) Okay, really, it's for everyone.
This is one of those iconic places you always see pictures of. While pictures are great, being there is better.
This is a great area to stay in also. There are lots of little Gasthofs, pension hotels and even farm stays available.
Here is a link to the Live Webcam of the church. That's right, it's that famous it has it's own webcam. Beyond that, the webpage has other great information about the area and places to stay. It's worth checking out.
Getting to the Ramsau Church:
Getting here by car is only a quick 11 minute drive. Just take the 305 west until you find the Im Tal roundabout. Follow Im Tal until you reach the church (about 1.2 km).
Ramsau is just down the road from Wimbachklamm. Take the 15 minute bus ride on the 846 Hintersee, Ramsau b. Berchtesgaden from the ZOB Berchtesgaden (bus/train station) to Kirche, Ramsau b. Berchtesgaden stop.
How to Get to Berchtesgaden
If you are visiting Berchtesgaden you are more than likely coming from Munich or Salzburg, as they are the closest two major cities.
Driving takes about 1h50m from Munich to Berchtesgaden and 35-45 minutes from Salzburg.
The train from Munich to Berchtesgaden will take about 2h30. From Munich you will depart the Munich Hbf and have to transfer in Freilassing to continue on to Berchtesgaden Hbf.
The train from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden takes about 1h05m.
The bus doesn't go direct to Berchtesgaden, unless you are doing a tour like those from Get Your Guide.
Taking the bus from Munich to Berchtesgaden, you would have to first go to Salzburg first and from there take the train or bus to Berchtesgaden. The bus can be the cheapest option. Flixbus often has the cheapest tickets.
Now You Know!
What does Hbf mean? It's a German abbreviation for Hauptbahnhof, which means Main Train Station.
What does ZOB mean? It stands for Zentraler Omnibus Bahnhof, which means Central Bus Station.
This is your best bet for taking the train from Munich to Neuschwanstein. This ticket will get you there and back. Tickets start at €25 for the Regular Bayern Ticket and starting at €23 for the Bayern Ticket Nacht (Night) in second class.
Here's what you get for either ticket:
Buying Your Bayern-Ticket
Buying your Bayern-Ticket is quite easy. You can do it in advance online and get a mobile ticket or print out the PDF.
You can also get it at the train station at one of the DB ticket machines.
Before you buy it online or at the station, make sure you understand the difference between the regular Bayern-Ticket and the Bayern-Ticket Nacht (Night), 2nd Class and 1st Class tickets, and who counts as a passenger.
Using Your Eurail or Interrail Pass
If you are travelling on a Eurail Pass (non-European resident) or Interrail Pass (European resident) you can just hop on at Munich Hbf and you'll have to transfer in Freilassing and then continue on to Berchtesgaden Hbf.
Just remember high-speed or overnight trains may require a reservation.
On the Rail Planner App you can select "Trains without compulsory reservations" and then it will show you those trains. On Eurail's desktop site, make sure to go under "Show More Options" and check off "All trains except high-speed".
You can find the Eurail Timeables here.
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