8

(mostly) Free

Things to Do in

Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden

Great

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Immediately off the train it is hard to rationalize how a small town with immense naturally beauty surrounding it could have such a dark past housing the heads of the Nazi party. What is today an outdoor enthusiasts’ paradise was once the secondary seat of the Nazi government behind only Berlin and a huge symbol of their power. Walking around town with the quaint streets filled with Bavarian architecture and flowers with the Alps rising all around us, forests, glacier fed lakes, rivers, and waterfalls, and the indomitable Watzmann Mountain evepresent, it was easy to feel right at home. It didn’t hurt that half the people walking around town had big backpacks on and were carrying trecking poles.  Still, it was hard to shake the thoughts of this place being the symbolic heart of Nazi power.

Free

  • Walk around town. There are great views, beautiful architecture and friendly people.

  • Hintersee. A short hike throug the “magic” forest and a quiet flat walk around a modest lake with fridgid water.  Beautiful views of Watzmann Mountain.

  • Ramsau Church. Just a quick walk from a bus stop for a photo op of the Ramsau Kirche (church), but this picture postcard spot doesn’t disappoint.

  • Königssee. Crystal clear turquoise lake at the base of the Alps. Cold water that can feel so refreshing after a hot hike.

Worth the Money

  • Jenner Peak. Double cable car ride up the 6,000 plus foot peak and then if you choose, a five hour steep walking descent. Staggeringlly amazing views and reminiscent of a combination of the Canadian and American Rocky Mountains.

  • Rent a paddle boat on Hintersee

  • Kehlsteinhaus (Eagles Nest). Perched high up above town with unparrelled views of the Alps and the town below was Hitler’s retreat. Now you can find beautiful views and endless hiking.

  • Wimbachklamm. Slot canyon where a glacial fed torrent roars through while waterfalls stream down the sides of the canyon. Cool, refreshing spot with mesmerizing and powerful water.

Tips for Visiting

  • We did need cash for the “Klamm,” and the hotel restaurant, so getting euros was a good idea in this town.

  • If you stay in Berchtesgaden you will get a free bus pass for the region.

  • Getting to the Eagle’s Nest DID NOT require a tour group. They used the same shuttle buses up and down as we did. The only difference was we were stuck with the public bus schedule for the return to Berchtesgaden. Take bus 838 (check time tables but usually every hour) to Obsersalsberg and then walk down the stairs to the ticket station to get tickets for the shuttle bus 839 which leaves every 25 minutes. Go as early in the day as you can. Give yourself 1.5 hours if just planning on walking around and taking pictures, 2-2.5 hours if you also want to eat, 5+ hours if you want to hike - looked like some very great hiking!

  • Most of the information on hiking was in German, including the maps. Give yourself some time in advance to research any hikes you are interested in with good, reliable internet - you may not have the same opportunity in town.

  • If you hike Hintersee, go counterclockwise from the bus stop Hintersee Zauberwald.

  • The grocery stores were closed on Sunday, so if you need snacks stock up on Saturday!

  • Take the cable car up to Jenner Peak unless you have 5+ hours to dedicate to a very steep uphill trek. Once at the top, enjoy the views, go up the steps to the peak and when you are ready to descend - choose to hike rather than take te cable car down. You will get great views that way. It is a well marked trail, choose the zig zag steep descent option just off the restaurant patio. If doing it again, I would hike down to middle station and take the cable car down from there.

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