One of the most popular resort towns in the Bavarian Alps is Berchtesgaden, which lies at one end of the German Alpine Highway. Soaring mountains surround the town on all sides and have long drawn hikers and sightseers, including Adolf Hitler who built his Eagle’s Nest retreat here.
Follow the 6.5-kilometer-long Kehlsteinstrasse (a private road built for Adolf Hitler) to the Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle’s Nest), which now features a restaurant boasting panoramic views of the region. Underground hallways and tunnels used by the Nazis can still be explored, while the Hotel Türken that once housed the SS has just reopened to guests. You can learn more about the Nazi history in the region and the decisions that were made at the Eagle’s Nest at the Dokumentation Obersalzberg museum.
Spend time exploring the lovely glacial lake of Königssee, much of which is protected within the Berchtesgaden National Park and is noted for its crystal clear waters. The sheer rock walls that surround the lake are renowned for creating an echo of incredible clarity, which is often demonstrated using a flugelhorn on boat trips across Königssee.
Discover the 500-year-old salt mining history of the region at the Salzbergwerk Berchtesgaden or admire the historic weaponry, porcelain and paintings in the beautiful palace of the Wittelsbachs that was originally founded in 1100 as a house for Augustinian canons. Berchtesgaden is also renowned for its outdoor pursuits, with lifts accessing the Obersalzberg and Rossfeld ski areas, while the Königssee bobsleigh, luge and skeleton track regularly hosting international events.