Welcome to Berchtesgaden
The name Berchtesgaden is most closely associated with Adolf
Hitler's country house, but it is in fact a delightful Bavarian
alpine village with ancient winding streets and a medieval
marketplace, popular as a side trip from Munich. Hitler's holiday
house, the Berghof, is actually at Obersalzberg about half a mile
(2km) up the Kehlstein Mountain. Afternoon bus tours to the
Fuhrer's playground can be undertaken from the tourist office in
the village, but there is little to see besides some underground
bunkers which are open to the public.
Most tourists, however, do delight in visiting the Kehlsteinhaus
(or Eagle's Nest), a remarkable building perched precariously atop
the mountain, originally commissioned by Martin Bormann as a 50th
birthday present for Hitler. (The notorious Nazi leader seldom
visited it because of his fear of heights.) Today it is the site of
an excellent Bavarian restaurant and provides breathtaking views at
the end of a stunning winding mountain road. The town of
Berchtesgaden itself has some interesting attractions, besides its
16th-century architecture and enticing inns. There is a small
wood-carving museum at Schloss Aldelsheim which can be viewed on a
guided tour offered on weekdays at 10am and 3pm. Wood sculptures,
Renaissance furniture and some art works are worth seeing at the
Konigliches Schloss, which was originally an Augustinian
The most fun to be had, however, is in the salt mines to the
east of the town, which offers guided tours. Visitors wear
protective clothing and ride on wagons to the mine, then explore
the mine on foot and ride miner's slides, finishing with a trip on
the salt lake ferry. The tours run daily, all year round. The mine
has been in operation since 1517. Berchtesgarten also boasts a
world-class ice-skating rink, the Eisstadion, which is sought after
by winter sports enthusiasts in the winter months, along with the
skiing opportunities in the surrounding area.
Information & Facts
German is the official language. English is also widely
spoken and understood.
The unit of currency is the Euro (EUR), divided into 100 cents.
ATMs and exchange bureaux are widely available. The major credit
cards are becoming more widely accepted in many large shops, hotels
and restaurants, although Germans themselves prefer to carry cash.
Travellers cheques are best cashed at exchange bureaux, as banks
often won't change them. The quickest and most convenient way to
change money is to obtain cash from one of the ATM machines that
are ubiquitous features on all German streets. Banks are closed on
weekends, but exchange bureaux at airports and main railway
stations are open daily from 6am to 10pm.
GMT +1 (GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the last
Sunday in October).