Berchtesgaden – a feast for the eyes, body, and soul

If you decide not to fly on holiday in this strange year, drive to the beautiful Bavarian Alps, the Berchtesgaden National Park. You will not regret it.


There is about 450 km far from Bratislava. You pass the picturesque Wachau valley surrounded vineyards, take a break and have true wiener schnitzel in the photogenic town of Steyr (they make it really yummy in the Orangery of the castle park), you can buy a little bag of Mozart balls in Salzburg and after half an hour you be at the finish.

The park is located south of the same-named town of Berchtesgaden, on the border with Austria. The nature reserve has covered 218 square kilometers, the highest peak, the Watzmann glacier is 2713 meters high. It is nice that a part of this massif is also Watzmannfrau and they have 5 small Watzmannkinderns hills together.

There are three lakes here. The largest Königssee is the cleanest lake in Germany. It is 8 km long, about a kilometer wide, and 190 m deep. Right behind it, there is a small Obersee and near the town of Ramsau is Hintersee.

Sailing on the boat on the lake Königssee

A boat trip on quiet, emerald green water is almost mandatory for tourists. At the level of Watzmann glacier which rising from the lake, the boat stops for a moment and the captain blows the melancholic melody on the trumpet. And the echo answers him seven times melancholic. After a few minutes, we get off on a small peninsula. The dominant feature is the pilgrimage church of St. Bartholomew. There is a large garden restaurant next to church. Have a big glass of beer here to flush away consternation from a long queue of tourists waiting for the boat back. No, no, there is no walkway around the lake. The shores are very steep and rocky.

A special event takes place on the lake twice a year – Almabtrieb. Local farmers transport their cattle to pastures behind the lake on special rafts called Landauer. The road around does not exist and going through the mountains is extremely challenging. For the first time in the spring to the lush meadows of Saleta, and after 100 days back. It’s a festive event. Farmers are dressed in typical German lederhosen, and cows with flowers look like allegorical wagons.


There is another attraction in the Berchtesgaden National Park, a stone, austere building also called the Eagle’s Nest. It is built on the top of the steep rocky hill Kehlstein at an altitude of 1834 m.

It was built by Nazi chief Martin Bormann in 1937, allegedly as a gift for Adolf Hitler’s fiftieth birthday. Some sources deny this reason. However, the fact is that Hitler was here at the time of his birthday. The house was built in difficult terrain by German soldiers in an incredible 13 months. In addition to the stone cottage, they had to build a 4 meter wide 6.5 km long road with an elevation gain of more than 800 m and carve five tunnels. The last one leads deep into the rock, under the house, to a magnificent, brass elevator with a lift boy, which take you 124 m high, directly to the building.

The building is not any architectural deed. There is a restaurant, a small buffet, and social facilities here at this time. Interesting in the restaurant is an original red marble fireplace which gifted to Hitler by Mussolini. It is damaged because soldiers cut pieces of stone from it in memory. There are a few documents and photographs of the origin in the entrance hall, but the operators are careful that the name of Adolf Hitler does not appear there very often. The Kehlsteinhaus is one of the few authentic buildings of the Third Reich, and the fear that it would become a kind of “pilgrimage” place of modern Nazis is still here.

Hitler visited the cottage about 12 times. It was not a pleasant place for him, because he was afraid of heights. He feared that such a high-rise cottage would be an easy target for bombers. Kehlsteinhaus was really the target of a bomb attack on April 25, 1945. But the Allied squadron Eagle’s nest didn’t hit.
The fact that the lightning struck two times to the elevator engine during the building, Bormann managed to hide from the leader.

You can get to Eagle’s Nest either by foot or by special bus. They drive at exact times and pass each other in one place. Book your ride back in the upper car parking immediately, otherwise you will go your own way. In my opinion, 2-3 hours will be enough for a visiting.

Town Berchtesgaden

If you have free time, walk around this small, cozy town and admire the richly painted townhouses in the center. Or sit in the garden brewery and have a “haxen grill” and a beer.

Both of my visits were one-day, one in May and the other in September. We came here as a part of a holiday in Austrian Hallstatt. But Berchtesgaden National Park deserves a longer stay. You need to train your body here a bit on mountain hikes. There are many routes to choose from easy walks to difficult for sportsmen which takes 20 hours. Tear your eyes away from the screens and fill them with endless lush green. And caress the soul with the sound of leaves and the ringing of bells.

All pictures from Berchtesgaden National Park are in my photo gallery.

Other travel blogs: Wandering shoes

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