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The optimal itinerary for 4 days in Salzburg and Berchtesgaden

The optimal itinerary for 4 days in Salzburg and Berchtesgaden
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In this post, I will share with you the optimal itinerary for 4 days in Salzburg and Berchtesgaden and some other amazing places in Austria and the South of Germany: from Bad Reichenhall to Königsee. 

If you’re new to this blog, hi, I’m Liza! I’m currently living in London and exploring some of the most beautiful places in the world, one place at a time. However, I have family in two different countries – my brother lives in Germany. So Salzburg and Berchtesgaden are two places I keep revisiting all the time. I’ve visited Salzburg over 5 times now (Berchtesgaden even more times) and I keep discovering new places and amazing things to do in both cities!

Finally, I had a chance to visit Salzburg, Berchtesgaden and other amazing new for me locations in summer, so I feel like it’s time to share all the information with you in this article!

Here’s a quick overview of the itinerary I suggest:

Day 1: Flying to Salzburg, exploring Salzburg, Augustiner Brewery, night at Flöckner B&B; visiting the Augustiner Brewery

Day 2: Morning in Salzburg, hiring a car and going over to Germany. Exploring Berchtesgaden, night at Alpenresidenz Buchenhöhe

Day 3: Eagle’s Nest in the morning, then heading to Königsee, night at Alpenresidenz Buchenhöhe

Day 4: Driving to Ramsau, Zauberwald hike, Bad Reichenhall and going back to Salzburg 

Without further ado, let’s start with the itinerary for Salzburg and Berchtesgaden (including Königsee, Eagle’s Nest, Enchanted Forest and more)!

4 days in Salzburg and Berchtesgaden: the optimal itinerary featuring Königsee, Eagle’s Nest and more 

If you’re wondering, how many days you should spend exploring Salzburg and Berchtesgaden, I would say – as many as you have. 4 days, however, are enough to visit the area and see some of the main highlights. If you want to spend more time hiking, cycling and swimming in the lakes, then you can probably stay for a week. Also, if you’re staying for longer, you can go on a trip to visit Hallstatt, the most beautiful village in Austria! 

Do you need a car to explore Salzburg and Berchtesgaden?

If you’re wondering if you need a car to explore Salzburg and Berchtesgaden, I would say yes, however, I recommend hiring a car later, when you’re ready to leave Salzburg. That’s because Salzburg is a very walkable city and you’ll get the best experience by staying in the city centre. There, hotels don’t usually have parkings. Salzburg has wonderful connections with the airport (it’s just 15 minutes away by a public bus), so getting back to the airport to rent a car would be easy.

We always recommend Rentalcars.com for hiring a car because of their third-party insurance. It always ends up being cheaper than renting from any car provider. Also, in 20+ times we rented a car with them, we never had a problem with them, which is why we recommend the service.

Where to stay in Salzburg?

Salzburg has a lot of amazing hotels for any budget. Some of the best-rated and best-located hotels are:

Small Luxury Hotel Goldgasse

Flöckner B&B

…and the famous hotel Sacher

Day 1: Exploring Salzburg

Once you landed in Salzburg, you can easily take a public bus to the city centre. The bus stop is located just outside the terminal (you need to exit the terminal and cross the road). Alternatively, you can pre-book your transfer with GetTransfer.

Salzburg, Austria

The main attractions in Salzburg

Head to the hotel to leave your luggage and go to the city centre for a nice walk. Salzburg is really small and charming, but it has a lot of history. If you’re interested to learn more about it, I recommend taking one of the walking tours of Salzburg, for example, this 2.5 hour walking tour or you can take a much longer, but more eventful The Sound of Music tour of Salzburg, where you can visit a lot of The South of Music filming locations.

If you prefer exploring on your own, I recommend buying a Salzburg card for 24 hours – it will give you access to the main landmarks of the city, plus free transport and skip-the-line tickets in some locations. You can buy it online here >

I recommend going to Getreidegasse first – it’s the main street in the Old Town of Salzburg and it’s open to pedestrians only. On Getreidegasse, you will find plenty of stores, including souvenir shops and even all-year-round Christmas shops! 

The main attractions in Salzburg include the Hohensalzburg Fortress that stands high above the city, Mirabell Palace, Hellbrunn Palace (a stunning palace with beautiful gardens; requires a short bus or taxi ride) and, of course, the Mozart’s Wohnhaus (the house of Mozart). Mozart was probably one of Salzburg’s most famous residents and so many things in Salzburg are decimated to Mozart.

If the weather permits, consider taking a river boat cruise down the river Salzach – it’s a wonderful activity for a sunny and warm day in the city! You can book it online here >

Amazing food spots not-to-miss in Salzburg

Where to eat cake in Salzburg

When in Salzburg, eat a lot of cake! Salzburg is known to be the birthplace of the famous Sacher cake. However, there are plenty of other cakes that are worth trying! You can find the best cakes in the Kafe-Konditorei Fürst – it’s a chain, there are a couple of them in the city centre, but I prefer the one with a large open terrace. You can sit there and enjoy a piece of cake and an iced coffee! You can also buy some hand-made truffles there. They are pretty pricy, but they are an amazing souvenir, and they also taste great.

Where to eat lunch or dinner in Salzburg

If you’re looking for something more substantial (e.g. a Schnitzel), head to Imbiss Grill or Johanneskeller! Both of these restaurants are well-rated and serve delicious traditional food. 

What to do in Salzburg at night

Wondering what to do in Salzburg at night? It entirely depends on what you prefer to do. For example, you can book a dinner with an accompanying classical music concert dedicated to Mozart (you can check the prices and availability here

If you prefer more casual activities, there is an amazing authentic brewery located just a short walk from the city centre – Augustiner bräu – Kloster Mülln. It’s been open since the 17th century and it is definitely something you shouldn’t miss. If you haven’t been to similar places before, I’ll quickly explain the way it works. At the entrance, you take a beer mug of the size you want and pay the price at the cashier. Then you head to the filling station, where they will fill the mug for you. After that, you can walk away and take any free seat in any of 5 inside rooms (they are huge) or in the outdoor beer garden! 

Day 2: Salzburg and Berchtesgaden 

It’s impossible to visit all the landmarks of Salzburg in just one day, so I assume you probably still have some hours left on your 24h Salzburg pass (if you decided to buy it) and some attractions left to visit. You can take a nice breakfast in Salzburg, then explore one attraction of your choice and around 11-12pm, head to Salzburg airport to rent a car. 

You’ll probably have the car by 1pm, which would be a perfect time to drive over to Germany, to the beautiful Alps and Berchtesgaden. It takes around 35 minutes to get to Berchtesgaden from Salzburg Airport. 

Where to stay in Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden is the optimal place to stay for exploring the Bavarian Alps and this region in general. There aren’t that many hotels because it’s a very small town and it gets booked very fast, but if these hotels are available, I would definitely recommend them:

Alpenresidenz Buchenhöhe

Home Hotel Salzberg

Hotel Kempinski Berchtesgaden 

You should be in Berchtesgaden by 2pm, which is a great time to check-in, if the room is not available yet, leave your baggage at the property and go to explore Berchtesgaden.

Things to do in Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden is a very small town, however, despite its size, pretty much every German person knows it. Berchtesgaden is the capital of Berchtesgadener Land (County Berchtesgaden) and National Park Berchtesgaden is also named after it. It’s a very popular destination for summer holidays because Berchtesgaden along with other neighbouring towns like Bad Reichenhall is a perfect location for hiking, cycling, swimming in mountain lakes and visiting local Thermal spas in summer and skiing in winter!

Berchtesgaden is really pretty! I recommend heading straight to the town centre to see its stunning painted buildings and narrow medieval streets. Berchtesgaden used to be a very rich and important city as it had a large salt mine. All this region heavily depended on salt industry and there are plenty of museums dedicated to salt, salt mines and salt production in the area.

There is also a short circular hike that surrounds Berchtesgaden and lets you see the city from above. If you are up for that, I definitely recommend taking the hike – it would take around 1h-1.5 hours to complete! You can find the route here >

Where to eat in Berchtesgaden

If you find yourself hungry in Berchtesgaden, here are some amazing places, where you can have lunch or dinner:

Grillstüberl

Berchtesgadener Esszimmer

Sophie’s Café

Visiting a Thermal Spa in Berchtesgaden

One of the main attractions and the best things to do in Berchtesgaden is visiting a Thermal spa. Watzmann Therme is open every day until 10pm, so it’s a perfect place to visit after a long hike or after a tiring cycling session! You can find the prices on the official website here.

Renting a bike/e-bike in Berchtesgaden

A lot of people come to Berchtesgaden and Berchtesgadener land to cycle. Berchtesgaden has some of the best and most scenic biking trails in all Germany (and some of the best ones I’ve seen in Europe as well). If you’re interested in renting a bike, there are a few rental offices throughout Berchtesgaden. You can ask for directions to the closest one at your hotel or the Tourist information centre! 

There are plenty of other things to do in Berchtesgaden – you can learn more about them in this article.

Day 3: Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle’s Nest) and Königsee 

Visiting Kehlsteinhaus

On your third day, head to one of the main attractions in this region – Kehlsteinhaus or Eagle’s Nest. It is connected to the Dark History of Germany and you can read about it more here (if you haven’t heard of it before). The views from Kehlsteinhaus are incredible! When you drive to the ticket office for the Eagle’s Nest, there is huge parking, where you need to leave your car.

You have two options, you need to either buy tickets for the bus to go up there (these tickets also give you the right to take the golden lift) – they cost around 27-28 euros or you can hike all the way up there. The hiking trail is amazing, but it can take around 1.5-2 hours to go all the way up. Some people buy just a one-way ticket (although to be fair, the price isn’t significantly cheaper) and hike all the way back instead. 

Up there, there is a nice restaurant and also a small cafe, where you can have some snacks (e.g. a Brezel or an ice cream), so consider your lunch sorted, especially if you decide to hike all the way there. 

Königsee

Once you’re done with the Kehsteinhaus, head to the next must-visit place in this region of Germany – the Königsee. The Königsee is one of the most beautiful lakes in Germany and it’s allowed to swim there! Although, to be honest with you, the water is quite cold there even on the hottest day in summer! It’s unlikely that you will be swimming there for a long period of time – it will be more like a quick dip!

If you don’t want to swim, it’s also absolutely fine – Königsee is stunning regardless and it’s already worth going there because of the views. Actually, you will be able to see the Königsee already from the Eagle’s Nest, however, once you get to the lake, you will get different views.

There is a lovely and pretty easy loop trail that starts near the Königsee so if you’re in the mood for another hike, you can take this route.

Day 4: Ramsau, Zauberwald, Hintersee and Bad Reichenhall 

Ramsau and Zauberwald Hike to Hintersee

On the last day of your trip, I recommend heading to the town called Ramsau for a lovely walk to another lake. The road to Ramsau is very scenic and you will see a lot of photogenic cows on your way. 

10 amazing things to do in Bad Reichenhall, Germany

The town itself is small and lovely, but not very remarkable. You can leave your car at the parking (if you drive past Ramsau, you will see it).

The hike to Hintersee is clearly marked – you just need to follow the signs to Zauberwald and Hintersee. It took us around 30-45 minutes to hike to Hintersee, as the walk was pretty crowded. It is also pretty flat – so no proper hiking involved, so it’s not difficult at all in case you’re wondering. Hintersee is very beautiful! There are good facilities – e.g. a shop, a toilet and a restaurant and there are benches all around the lake, where you can sit down and enjoy the scenery. The lake itself is extremely cold! Even on the hottest summer day, the temperature doesn’t exceed 13-14 degrees and when we were there, it was just 11 degrees! Nonetheless, both my brother and Jose went for a short swim in the lake!

Once you’re done exploring the lake (you can also go for a walk all around the lake if you have time), you need to go back – there is a slightly different route to go back, a slightly shorter one. We took it and were able to see a lovely toy house operated by the water energy! 

Bad Reichenhall

If you still have a bit of time before your train or flight, I recommend visiting Bad Reichenhall. It takes around 30 minutes to get there from Ramsau. Bad Reichenhall is a spa town. A lot of people come there for a week to relax, visit the spa hotels as well as the Thermal baths and go for hikes and cycling rides. Bad Reichenhall has a lovely long pedestrian street with various shops and cafes and a lot of parks all around the town. It also has a historical part hiding slightly outside the town centre, where you can find a lot of buildings from the medieval ages. You can read more about Bad Reichenhall in this post about the top 10 things to do in Bad Reichenhall!

In order to get from Bad Reichenhall to Salzburg, you can take a bus. The bus is very affordable, but it also takes a lot of time as it goes through all the villages to collect people, so the journey might take around 1 hour. 

Summary of 4 days in Salzburg and Berchtesgaden 

I hope you enjoyed this itinerary for Salzburg, Berchtesgaden, Bad Reichenhall, Königsee and Ramsau – I hope you will be lucky with the weather and will enjoy the amazing scenery this region of Europe offers. 

If you have any questions, feel free to DM me at @lizatripsget – I might be able to help!

Here are some other articles you might find useful:

The best things to do in Bad Reichenhall

10 amazing things to do in Berchtesgaden

The best of Rhine Valley and Alsace – 3-day road trip

Cannstatter Wasen – the best alternative to Oktoberfest

The most beautiful castles in Europe

The best places for White Christmas in Europe

10-day honeymoon itinerary for Italy

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