Berchtesgaden Germany

The town of Bechtesgaden
The city of Berchtesgaden in front of the Watzmann Mountains. European Alps, Germany. Trees colored by autumn.

Located in the Bavarian Alps, in the southeasternmost corner of Germany, lies the picturesque city of Berchtesgaden. Like many of the towns in this region, it has a long history dating back to the Romans and a more notorious reputation from the 20th Century. But there is more to this area than its historical significance. Its location in the Bavarian Alps is an excellent place to experience the outdoors by hiking, rock climbing, winter sports, and even paragliding.

The History of Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden Salt Mine
Berchtesgaden Salt Mine
Eagle's Nest
The Eagle's Nest

As with most towns in this region, Berchtesgaden has its earliest roots with Roman and Celtic invaders. Its location made it advantageous along the trade routes through the Alps. 

The first historical records of the town, though, only date back to the 1100’s. This area of the Alps was important because of the salt deposits, and the region is full of salt mines. 

Again, following this region’s normal sequence of events, a Benedictine Abbey was established here in the 12th century. It was this establishment that enabled the town to grow and prosper.

In the 19th Century, King Maximillian I of Bavaria established his royal residence here. Berchtesgaden became a popular vacation spot for the aristocracy because of this.

A dark chapter for Berchtesgaden came in the 20th century when Adolph Hitler chose nearby Obersalzburg for his mountain retreat. The leaders of the Third Reich built the “Kehlsteinhaus” (Eagle’s Nest) for Hitler on Obersalzburg. The region became a center of Nazi power, and it played a role in the planning of World War II.

After the war, the Nazi installations were taken over by the Allies. The US Military established a recreational area there, including a hotel that contained one of Hitler’s bunkers in its basement. The facilities were discontinued in 1995, and the property was returned to the German government.

Tourism in the Area

Konigsee near Berchtesgaden Germany

Because of its location, Berchtesgaden is an ideal spot for outdoor lovers. Visitors have various hikes at different activity levels to places like Watzmann Mountain, Jenner Mountain, the Wimbachklamm Gorge, and the Almbachklamm Gorge. 

It is also possible to visit some of the salt mines in the area, including a ride on a mine train and a boat trip on an underground salt lake. 

The Berchtesgaden National Park is also nearby, including the Königssee Lake, where you can take a boat ride on the lake or go bobsledding or tobogganing. 

And there is the Obersalzburg Documentation Center that provides information on Nazi operations in the area during WWII. 

Getting There

Berchtesgaden is in the extreme southeast of Germany. It is 110 miles from Munich, and only 20 miles from Salzburg, Austria. It is best reached by car, but there is also train service to Berchtesgaden from Salzburg. There are also different motorcoach tours that include Berchtesgaden on their itineraries for this region.

Ready to Go?

Whether you want to visit this area on your own or on a tour, I can help you arrange travel to this region. Just schedule a time to talk and we can get started.



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