Derik and I knew we wanted to take an cool trip somewhere in Germany over Memorial Day, but we didn’t realize how epic Berchtesgaden was going to be until we drove into town. It’s hard to get a genuine feel for a place by looking at Google images, and honestly half the time the images found are only of the most scenic and picturesque locations, and sometimes the rest of the area can be rather drab and boring. Not Berchtesgaden.
This sleepy little ski-town is home to some of the most gorgeous landscape views in Germany (personal opinion but should be straight fact), and part of me kind of wishes to keep it all to myself and not share it with you guys. I like the fact that it wasn’t overly polluted with tourists for being a destination location. The area thrives off of tourism both in winter and summer with all it offers outdoors: alpine ranges, beautiful lakes, glacier fed rivers, and lush green forest.
The only mistake we made was spending less than three days in Berchtesgaden — we should have spent at least a week. No worries though, we’re already making plans to re-visit in the winter. I’m going to try my best at hitting the slopes even though it’s been years since my one and only attempt to ski.
We live pretty close to the French/German border, so road-tripping to the the southeast tip of Germany took approx. five and a half hours each way. Was it worth it? Yes, however due to the construction on the Autobahn it’s not a trip I want to take every weekend. I can’t tell you how many Staus (German word for traffic jam) we saw/got stuck in along the way, but thankfully we didn’t get delayed that much.
Our hotel was in Bischofsweisen, a small suburb of Berchtesgaden Land, and not too far from all the activities and outdoor recreation. We chose to stay in Bischofsweisen because the price of a hotel was about 50-80 euro cheaper, and honestly it took only 10 minutes to drive to a more central location. Parking wasn’t bad either around Berchtesgaden; the trick of it was to make sure to pay for parking all day. It’s very easy to lose track of time, and the parking attendants know this and constantly check tickets.
If you’re looking for food in the area, Berchtesgaden has some great options: we tried both a biergarten and a Greek restaurant (with a view) the first night. We also walked past a turkish kebab shop, Italian restaurant, German grill, and some smaller cafes. Be sure to bring cash (per usual in Germany) as about 90% of the restaurants in the area do not take credit/debit cards.
Lake Konigssee was my number one ‘must see’ in Berchtesgaden, so I did a lot of research beforehand. I had read online that Konigssee is one of the main tourist attractions in the area, and it was advised to arrive early to ensure the wait wouldn’t be very long to get a ticket/get a ferry ride across the lake. It might be because I’ve lived in Asia before, but the crowds didn’t seem that bad to me around 10:00am (only a 15-20min wait in line/to board our boat) OR when we got back to the main area around 4:00pm.
We decided to take the ferry to St. Bartholomew’s, a picturesque Baroque church constructed in 1687. Although we were interested in the church itself, we had heard there was an ice cave nearby and wanted to go find it. After several miles and following all the signs pointing to the ice cave, the signs mysteriously disappeared as the trail opened into a giant valley. We tried our best to pick our way through the valley looking for some resemblance of a trail, but quickly realized it was going to be almost impossible to find the ice cave by ourselves. We passed a couple hikers on their way down from one of the several mountain faces, and they told us that they had been searching several hours for the same ice cave but think the cave either hadn’t formed yet this year, or it melted way too early. Online sources told us it was open all year around, so maybe 2017 is an off year?
It was hard to feel disappointed when we were literally hiking though mountainous bliss, but I’d love to go back eventually to try and find that ice cave again. If you’ve been, I’d love to find out exactly where it is (I’ll owe you a thousand thank you’s)!
The Eagle’s Nest
Our last morning/early afternoon was spent visiting The Eagle’s Nest (otherwise known as Kehlsteinhaus), a gift built for Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday (he only visited the location 14 times which blew me away because of how magical the location is). The Eagle’s Nest was also used by the Nazi party for social events and government meetings, but has since been converted into a tourist attraction with its own biergarten and restaurant. We spent so much time at the top of the mountain we ran out of day to go explore the museum/documentation center below. #nexttime
As I said before, I felt like we barely scratched the surface of Berchtesgaden
although I took enough pictures to last a lifetime and look forward to visiting again! If you’ve been or live in the area, please leave suggestions below on things we need to do next time.
Additional Tourist Information: here