10 wonderful things to do in Berchtesgaden, Germany | The best of German Alps

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In this article, I’ll share with you top 10 wonderful things to do in Berchtesgaden, Germany!

Berchtesgaden is a lovely Alpine town located in South of Bavaria, Germany. I can say that it’s one of the most impressive German cities I’ve ever seen (and no, I haven’t only been to Berchtesgaden :). Berchtesgaden is very small: it has a population of only about 7000 citizens but nonetheless, it is a very important city for both German tourism and culture. I’d say it’s one of the most underrated cities in Europe for sure.

Despite the fact Berchtesgaden is small, there are so many wonderful things you could do there! A lot of people come there for 2 or 3 weeks, especially if they enjoy hiking and cycling because it’s probably the best place to do that in the whole Germany!

Before we start, here are some frequently asked questions about travelling to Berchtesgaden!

How to get to Berchtesgaden & do you need a car there?

Berchtesgaden is easily accessible from Salzburg airport in Austria. It’s way more convenient to fly there and then take either a train or a bus to Berchtesgaden than fly to Munich because your journey from Munich will be three times longer and more expensive.You can check the prices of the trains to Berchtesgaden here.

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 Rentalcars.com, we never had a problem with them, which is why we recommend the service.

How many days should you stay in Berchtesgaden?

If you’re wondering, how many days you should spend in Berchtesgaden and nearby towns, I would say – probably 4-7 days. 4 days are enough to visit the area and see some of the main highlights as well as travel to beautiful Salzburg in Austria that is just around the corner! 7 days are perfect to do more hikes or cycles and have a way more relaxing holiday!

If you want to spend more time hiking, cycling and swimming in the lakes, then you can probably stay even for 10 days! Also, if you’re staying for longer, you can go on a trip to visit Hallstatt, the most beautiful village in Austria! 

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 – the best hotel in the area

Okay, let’s start with the 10 amazing things to do in Berchtesgaden!

10 things to do in Berchtesgaden:

Visit the famous Eagle’s Nest

Eagle’s Nest or Kehlsteinhaus is connected to the Dark History of Germany and you can read about it more here (if you haven’t heard of it before). However, the views from Kehlsteinhaus are incredible!

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 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. 

Explore the beautiful town centre & hand-painted medieval buildings

Berchtesgaden is a very pretty city – its narrow medieval streets and stunning surroundings (pretty tall and photogenic mountains) make it the perfect place to walk around and explore. As I mentioned before, it’s also a very small city, so you can probably do all the sightseeing in less than 1 hour.

Berchtesgaden at night
Berchtesgaden at night

Go on a loop walk around Berchtesgaden for stunning views of it

There is 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!

In case it’s winter, go skiing

You can take a bus to the famous Jennerbahn or to Schönau am Königsee and enjoy skiing in German Alps. Or if you’re a bit lazy, just take a local bus in the city centre of Berchtesgaden, which goes to the top of the mountain to the Kempinski Hotel Berchtesgaden (in the past, Intercontinental) and on the way you’ll encounter some slopes great for beginners (with all the infrastructure, of course).

Schönau am Königsee in Winter, Berchtesgaden, Jenner
View from Jenner

Visit the Thermal Baths

You can either visit the Thermal Baths located directly in the city centre of Berchtesgaden or go by bus up to the top of the mountain and visit the spa centre of hotel Kempinski (which is also amazing, what else would you expect from a fab 5-star hotel).

Spa of Kempinski Berchtesgaden
Spa of Kempinski Berchtesgaden

Have a beer in a local brewery of Berchtesgaden (Hofbrauhaus Berchtesgaden)

This brewery (Hofbrauhaus Berchtesgaden) is probably the loudest and the most crowded place in the whole city! But it’s definitely worth visiting. You can try some beers you won’t find anywhere but in Berchtesgaden. Also, there are plenty of great restaurants around, so prepare your stomach for loads of tasty German food.

Brewery in Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgadener Brewery

Visit some cities in the neighbourhood, e.g. Salzburg or Bad Reichenhall

There are plenty of nice places to visit near Berchtesgaden! For example, Bad Reichenhall is definitely worth visiting – despite being so close to Berchtesgaden, it was a totally different atmosphere!

And of course, you can go to Salzburg which is just 27 km away. There are plenty of things to do in Salzburg – you can easily spend a day or two there. In case you’re interested in the best things to do in Salzburg, head to this article.

You can even go to Halstatt like we did, it’s just 1.5 hours away and it totally worth visiting. 

Salzburg - one of the closest cities to Berchtesgaden
Salzburg – one of the closest cities to Berchtesgaden

Go hiking

Mountains around Berchtesgaden are amazing. And it’s quite easy to get there. However, some of the most beautiful hikes (well, according to me) are located around the Jenner Bahn. So just head there and start climbing (or take the lift up to the mountains). You can even walk to Almbach Gorge (Almbachklamm) (one of the most impressive hikes in Germany). Don’t forget to wear appropriate hiking gear!

Hiking with my brother in Berchtesgaden (Jenner)
Hiking with my brother in Berchtesgaden (Jenner)
The view from Berchtesgaden City Centre
The view from Berchtesgaden City Centre

Spend a night in a cabin in the mountains (look for Berghütte)

Even though it might sound tough and crazy, it’s totally worth to do it. There’re plenty of cabins in the mountains, so just check Facebook or Google for their web pages (in order to find out, if they’re still working or not). Or alternatively, check the region’s page on Booking. What you need to be searching for is “Berghütte” – the name for mountain cabins in German!

Jenner in winter, Germany
Jenner in winter, Germany

Swim in a mountain lake

Another fabulous activity you can do in Berchtesgaden and the surroundings is to swim in a mountain lake! There are two close lakes to Berchtesgaden – Königsee, which is probably the most famous lake in Germany and Hintersee, located slightly further away, in the forest called Zauberwald (Enchanted Forest) near Ramsau. Both of the lakes are really cold even in summer, but on a hot day, after sizzling in the sun for a few hours, you can go for a quick dip in one of the lakes!

Bonus: go cycling

Another amazing activity you can do in this region is cycling! The area is very mountainous, so you definitely need an e-bike to drive around and enjoy some of the most scenic rides in Berchtesgaden!

There are quite a few bike rental offices in Berchtesgaden. None of them have websites, so the best way to find a bike rental office is by asking someone at the reception in your hotel or heading straight to the tourist information centre.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the best things to do in Berchtesgaden and will enjoy spending some time here!

Some other articles you might find useful:

The best things to do in Bad Reichenhall

Hallstatt – the most beautiful village in Austria

7-day road trip around South Germany and Austria

West Germany & Alsace road trip: the best of Rhine Valley

Cannstatter Wasen – better than Octoberfest! Visit this beer festival in Stuttgart

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