The mighty Watzmann mountain as a backdrop, and a medieval town centre: Berchtesgaden has plenty to recommend it for a day trip from Munich.
The town is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Bavaria, where visitors can stroll around the historical market surrounded by beautiful townhouses, buy mementoes in tiny stores, and relax in the cosy cafés or distinctively Bavarian taverns.
One of Berchtesgaden’s most famous sights is the Collegiate Church of St. Peter and St. John the Baptist at the Augustinian monastery, which has a three-aisled Gothic nave at its heart, a twin-towered façade which dates from the Romanesque era, and an early Gothic choir, built between 1283 and 1303, which is a particular attraction.
Berchtesgaden Royal Castle was also built by the Augustinians in the Middle Ages. Its late Romanesque cloister reflects the era in which it was built – though after secularisation took hold in the region, the ruling Wittelsbach family used it as a hunting lodge. The castle, with its many works of art including two altarpieces by Tilman Riemenscheider (dating from around 1500), can only be visited as part of a guided tour.
Why not combine your visit to Berchtesgaden with an underground expedition into the local salt mine? Alternatively, you could take the bus from Kehlsteinstraße to the Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle’s Nest), from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view over the states of Berchtesgaden and Salzburg.
The Dokumentation Obersalzberg documentation centre is also well worth a visit. This historical centre hosts an exhibition detailing the story of Obersalzberg and the National Socialist dictatorship – Hitler bought his Berghof mountain residence in the area, and spent much of his time there during the war. In fact, after 1933, Obersalzberg was a second centre of power during the Third Reich.
Of course, you could also opt for a side trip to Königssee lake and travel from there by electric boat to St. Bartholomä; or even further afield to Salet, located at the end of the eight-kilometre-long lake.
Those wishing to learn more about the area of Berchtesgaden National Park around Königssee lake and the Watzmann, as well as its flora and fauna, should head to the Haus der Berge (House of the Mountains). This information and educational centre is located at the entrance to the village of Berchtesgaden.
Tip: Anyone planning a day trip to Berchtesgaden should rise early, as the trip from Munich takes around two hours.