Berchtesgaden is a charming mountain town that’s situated in Germany’s Bavarian Alps. Offering unparalleled beauty, a wide variety of attractions, and plenty of authentic experiences – it’s undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Germany.
You’ll be surrounded by nature at every turn and there are plenty of awesome adventures waiting for you. If you’re wondering what to do in Berchtesgaden, don’t worry – I’m here to help!
With so many places to visit, planning your Berchtesgaden itinerary can often feel overwhelming. To help you plan your trip, I’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Berchtesgaden that you absolutely can’t miss. Let’s dive in!
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Table of Contents
Best Things to Do in Berchtesgaden, Germany
1. Take a boat trip on the stunning Königssee Lake
When you’re in Berchtesgaden, you can’t miss taking a boat ride on Germany’s deepest and cleanest lake, Lake Königssee.
Known for its stunning views, crisp blue water, and snow-capped mountains, it’s no wonder why visiting this beautiful lake is one of the best things to do in Berchtesgaden!
Since Lake Königssee is surrounded by majestic mountains on all sides, there are no hiking trails around the lake so the best way to explore it is by taking a boat tour.
Electric boats depart from Schönau am Königssee and sail through the lake in about one hour before arriving at Salet. From here, you can access various beautiful hiking trails and visit some other great attractions in Berchtesgaden.
2. Head to St. Bartholomew’s Church
One of the most popular Berchtesgaden attractions is the stunning St. Bartholomew’s Church!
This Roman Catholic church is set on the shores of Lake Königssee, so to reach it you’ll have to catch a ferry from the Königssee terminal.
Luckily, the ferry does stop here so you can stop off and explore the area rather than simply admire it from the water.
With its red domed roof and towers, and white exterior, the church stands out against the lush green forests behind and the lake’s turquoise waters. St. Bartholomew’s Church also has a striking mountain backdrop, meaning this place truly has it all!
However, the church’s interior isn’t nearly as impressive so I’d recommend spending your time outside admiring the views instead.
There’s also a restaurant and beer garden next door if you’re looking to grab a drink or bite to eat.
3. Visit Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest
Hitler’s infamous Eagle’s Nest is located just outside of Berchtesgaden and is one of the most popular destinations in the region.
The Eagle’s Nest was built as a 50th birthday present for Hitler and is set atop Mount Kehlstein at an elevation of 1,834 meters (6,017 feet).
Due to its treacherous location, it’s not possible to visit the Eagle’s Nest on your own. In order to get there, you must take a special bus that departs from the nearby village of Obersalzberg and makes its way up to the mountaintop.
Once you arrive at the summit, you can access the Eagle’s Nest via a cold and long tunnel followed by a breathtaking elevator ride that takes you directly inside the hall. From here, you’ll get stunning views of the Bavarian Alps and Berchtesgaden Basin.
It’s important to note that Eagle’s Nest is not a museum. Now it functions as a restaurant and the unique selling point is its historic location and breathtaking views.
Make sure to head there on a clear day as other than taking in the views, there is not much else to do there.
4. Learn at Dokumentationszentrum Obersalzberg
Dokumentationszentrum Obersalzberg is just a 10-minute drive from town and is one of the best places to visit in Berchtesgaden.
Obersalzberg is a beautiful mountain retreat that offers panoramic views and plenty of hiking trails.
Although it offers a happy experience today, this place was frequently visited by Hitler as he had a holiday home here. Not only that but he actually made Obersalzberg the second government seat after the capital of Berlin!
This museum is home to over 950 documents and exhibits that documents Hitler’s timeline from pre-war to post-war.
This includes his personal life, the Nazi regime, the importance of Eagle’s Nest, and the atrocious acts of the Holocaust. There’s even an underground bunker here that you can visit!
Important info: The documentation center is currently closed for renovation. It’s scheduled to reopen in spring 2023.
5. Marvel at the beauty of Obersee
This area is home to plenty of beautiful lakes, but Obersee is definitely one of the most stunning ones.
The lake is located in the Berchtesgaden National Park, just a short walk from Lake Königssee. In order to reach it, you’ll have to take an electric boat to Salet and then follow the marked trails.
In just 10-15 minutes, you’ll be standing in front of Obersee’s crystal-clear waters and towering mountains. You can admire the views, take a dip in the lake or if you’re feeling active, you can hike to the other side of Lake Obersee.
It takes around 45 minutes and it’s definitely worth it. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the lake and its surroundings.
If you’re wondering what to do in Berchtesgaden, then this stunning lake should be at the top of your list!
6. Hike to Röthbach Waterfall
Röthbach Waterfall (or Röthbachfall) is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Berchtesgaden.
It’s Germany’s highest waterfall at an impressive height of 470 meters (1,541 feet) and features an epic vertical drop over the cliffside.
Röthbach Waterfall is surrounded by lush forests and the water’s force is insane, making it a must-visit.
To reach the falls you’ll first need to catch an electric boat to Salet-Obersee. From there, you can hike to Obersee Lake before hitting the trail to the waterfall.
The hike takes around 1.5 hours from the boat docks, and you’ll get to enjoy rolling fields and breathtaking scenery along the way.
Just make sure you’ve got enough time to do the hike and catch the last boat on your way back as there are no accommodation options in the area. Therefore I’d recommend doing the hike early in the day!
7. Take the cable car up to Obersalzbergbahn
If you’re looking for epic views then make sure you take the cable car up to Obersalzbergbahn.
This unique cable car was built in 1949 and is open throughout the year. It will take you up into the mountains, and offers easy access to a variety of awesome hiking trails.
Some of these trails will take you to the Eagle’s Nest and Dokumentationszentrum Obersalzberg, and they aren’t very taxing either.
However, one of the most popular walks from Obersalzbergbahn is the 1.5-hour trail that connects this mountain station and the middle station of the Jennerbahn cable car.
If you’re not up for hiking then it’s worth just going up there for the spectacular views, making it one of the best Berchtesgaden attractions out there!
8. Head down the Sommerrodelbahn Slide
Although this activity is only available during certain months, it had to make it onto this list! The Sommerrodelbahn Slide is a toboggan ride that offers spectacular views of the Bavarian Alps.
Operating between April and November, this toboggan run lasts for around 600 meters (1,968 feet) so you’ll have plenty of time to appreciate the views along the way!
Not only is it fun, but it’s pretty adrenaline pumping making it one of the coolest things to do in Berchtesgaden.
The Sommerrodelbahn Slide is just a 10-minute drive from Berchtesgaden town center or only a few minutes walk from the top of the Obersalzbergbahn.
It’s the ultimate family-friendly activity as children under the age of 6 can go for free with an adult passenger, and children over the age of 8 can head down the toboggan on their own for a small fee.
9. Try a cream puff at Restaurant Café Graflhöhe “Windbeutelbaron”
This cafe is one of the best places to visit in Berchtesgaden as it offers a relaxed atmosphere and a superb menu.
However, the highlight of this place has to be its sun terrace as it boasts panoramic views of the Bavarian Alps! For this reason, you’ll want to visit on a clear day so you can really appreciate the towering mountains all around you.
Restaurant Café Graflhöhe “Windbeutelbaron” offers a wide selection of dishes including burgers and pasta, but it’s most famous for its giant cream puffs.
Trust me, you can’t leave this cafe until you’ve tasted one! They are freshly made every morning and come in a variety of flavors including vanilla and caramel, and they offer seasonal versions too.
The restaurant is either a 10-15 minute drive from Berchtesgaden town or a 10-minute walk from Obersalzbergbahn Bergstation.
10. Hike up Watzmann Mountain
Watzmann Mountain is the third highest mountain in Germany, located just outside Berchtesgaden town. It has three main peaks: Hocheck (2,607 m or 8,553 ft), the Mittelspitze (2,713 m or 8,901 ft), and the Südspitze (2,712 m or 8,899 ft).
Hiking up Watzmann Mountain is definitely one of the best things to do in Berchtesgaden but it’s not an easy feat. It’s a fairly long hike so you’ll need to be physically fit and make sure you have the right gear with you.
The hike up the mountain takes around 5-6 hours if done in one go, but you can always split it over 2 days with an overnight stop at the Watzmannhaus mountain hut.
You can also turn this into a loop hike and include Wimbachgrieshütte and Berggaststätte Wimbachschloss on the way back to the starting point. Either way, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the region and it’s definitely an experience you won’t forget.
11. Admire the views from Jenner Aussichtsplattform
If you’re looking for an easier way to admire the views of Berchtesgaden then head up to Jenner Aussichtsplattform. The Jenner is a 1,874 m (6,148 ft) high mountain located close to Lake Königssee and it offers stunning views of the region.
The best way to reach the top is to hop on the Jennerbahn, a cable car that takes you from the village of Schönau am Königssee all the way up to Jenner Aussichtsplattform.
Once you’re at the top, you’ll get unparalleled views of Berchtesgaden and its surroundings. You can even spot Watzmann Mountain and Lake Königssee from up there!
The best part is that Jenner Aussichtsplattform is open both during the summer and winter seasons and you can even grab a bite to eat or a hot drink at the restaurant located on the top of the mountain. So, if you’re looking for a more relaxed way to admire the views, this is definitely the place to go!
12. Spend some time at Bräustüberl Beer Hall
If you fancy some relaxation after a busy day exploring the area, then I’d recommend heading to Bräustüberl Beer Hall.
Spending some time here is one of the best things to do in Berchtesgaden and you’ll soon see why!
Offering live music, traditional food, and a wide variety of beers, it’s the perfect place to kick back and reminisce on your trip so far. You can even grab a 1-liter beer which is pretty impressive, although quite the challenge!
If you head there on a Friday evening, you’ll often get to see some of the traditional dances too.
Bräustüberl Beer Hall may be famous for its food, beer, and awesome experience, but it’s also got quite the history. Dating back to 1645, the building offers unique architecture and is still designed as an old hunting lodge to this day!
13. Explore Schloss Berchtesgaden
During your trip, you’ll want to spend some time exploring Schloss Berchtesgaden. This beautiful pink building was once a monastery, but it later became the royal castle once the royal family moved in.
Although Schloss Berchtesgaden has been rebuilt several times, some of the architecture from the 11th century still remains to this date.
This is also the reason why you’ll find a variety of architectural styles throughout the castle ranging from Baroque to Renaissance.
While exploring this palace you’ll get to visit several rooms, view a variety of exhibits, and admire the views from the Upper Rose Garden.
Visiting this stunning castle is one of the best things to do in Berchtesgaden so make sure you leave some free time for this activity. You’ll have to take a guided tour to visit and it may be worth booking the tickets in advance.
14. Wander around the Old town
Simply wandering around the old town is one of the best things to do in Berchtesgaden! With the beautiful Ache River running through the town and the Bavarian Alps in the background, this place has to be one of the most scenic places in Germany.
Less than 10,000 people live here, but the town can get pretty busy as it attracts around two million people each year.
During your time here, you’ll want to explore the main plaza, listen to some traditional music, and visit the House of Mountains.
If you can time your visit to Berchtesgaden during one of its awesome events – even better! Although you’ve got the traditional Oktoberfest, the winter months are another fantastic time to visit.
The festive season here is incredible and includes the story of Krampus, the running of the Butt Mandl, and the Holiday Market.
15. Head up to Lockstein
For the best panoramic views of Berchtesgaden and its surroundings, head up to the Lockstein. This is a small observation deck located just above the town and it offers a fantastic view of the entire region.
To get there on foot, you just have to follow a footpath leading up to the summit from the center of town. Although it’s a bit steep in some places, don’t worry – it’s not too difficult and you’ll reach the top in no time!
Alternatively, you can drive up as there is a small parking area located right next to the observation deck. It belongs to Ferienwohnungen Lockstein, a small guest house offering accommodations for those who want to stay for a couple of days and take in the views.
16. Take a drive along Rossfeld Panoramastrasse
One of the best things to do in Berchtesgaden is to drive along the scenic Rossfeld Panoramastrasse.
It’s one of Germany’s highest roads and as you can imagine, it offers breathtaking views of the Bavarian Alps as it hugs the cliffs at every turn.
Luckily, there are plenty of pull-off places along the way so you can stop off during the drive.
As you continue along Rossfeld Panoramastrasse, you’ll pass by two inns where you can stop for refreshments and endless hiking trails.
To drive along the road you’ll need to pay a fee at the toll station, which can be reached via the North or South slip road.
No matter what time of year you drive it, the road is absolutely beautiful but just be cautious during the winter due to snowfall and ice.
17. Admire the beauty of the Parish Church of St. Sebastian
If you’re wondering what to do in Berchtesgaden then why not take a 15-minute drive out of town to the Parish Church of St. Sebastian?
This church is located near the Austria/Germany border and is set on the Ache River, so you won’t find an area much more peaceful than this.
Behind the church, you’ll get spectacular views of the Bavarian Alps too making this place a must-visit.
It’s no surprise to hear that the Parish Church of St. Sebastian is a favorite spot for photographers. With its unique architecture, breathtaking backdrop, and authentic wooden bridge, you’ll get some fantastic photographs here!
18. Tour Salt Mine Berchtesgaden
One of the best places to visit in Berchtesgaden is this iconic salt mine! Salt Mine Berchtesgaden is one of the most popular attractions in the area as it’s the oldest active salt mine in Germany.
It’s been operating since 1517 so has quite the history!
To explore the mine, you’ll need to take a guided tour which lasts for around an hour. On this tour, you’ll take a miner’s train deep into the Bavarian Alps in which you’ll head 650 meters (2,133 feet) into the mountain.
You’ll then wander through the salt mine, go down an old industrial slide, and finally, go on a boat trip across the salt lake.
All this makes for quite the adventure, and you’ll get to learn about the history of this mine and its production system along the way.
19. Walk through Wimbachklamm
Located a 10-minute drive from Berchtesgaden town, Wimbachklamm is a scenic gorge that is home to an elevated walkway taking you through this spectacular location.
Offering the ultimate escape to nature, an easy stroll, and breathtaking views, it’s one of the top things to do in Berchtesgaden.
As you wander along the boardwalk you’ll get to see several waterfalls cascading down the gorge walls, lush forestry, and a vivid turquoise river (if you visit on a clear day). The force of the water is really impressive as it races through the gorge!
From Wimbachklam, you’ll also be just a 10-minute drive from Zauberwald and Lake Hintersee.
20. Stroll around Hintersee
Lake Hintersee is a small, idyllic lake located in the Berchtesgaden National Park, close to Obersee and Königssee. It’s one of the most popular spots in the park and it’s easy to see why – the views are simply stunning!
The best way to explore Lake Hintersee is by renting a boat and cruising around its crystal-clear waters. Not only will you get to take in the beauty of the lake, but you’ll also get to see some of the surrounding mountains up close.
If you’re not feeling adventurous, you can always just relax on one of the many beaches located around the lake. There’s also a few restaurants and cafes if you want to grab a bite or a drink.
So, if you’re looking for a beautiful spot to relax and take in the natural beauty of Berchtesgaden, make sure to add Lake Hintersee to your list!
21. Visit the German War Graves
Deciding on what to do in Berchtesgaden can be difficult as there are so many amazing places to visit. However, during your time in this beautiful mountain town I recommend that you visit the German war graves.
Throughout WWII, many families in Germany didn’t have physical remains of their loved ones as many soldiers were simply buried in mass graves.
To honor their relatives, many families in the country erected empty memorials and tombstones that were etched with messages.
Some of these graves can be found at the cemetery within Berchtesgaden that’s found next to an old Franciscan church.
In this cemetery, there are over 900 of these graves and most of them are empty which is heartbreaking to see. These graves act as a reminder of Germany’s history and are an important place to visit.
22. Make a quick stop at the picturesque church in Maria Gern
The pilgrimage church in Maria Gern is one of the most iconic landmarks in Berchtesgaden and it’s definitely worth a visit.
This small church was built in the 18th century but there were other churches located on the same spot prior to this one dating all the way back to the 16th century.
The oval interior of the church with the beautiful high altar is absolutely stunning but it’s the church’s location that truly makes it something special. It’s located on an idillyc meadow and it offers stunning views of Mount Watzmann and the surrounding mountains.
So, if you’re looking for a unique and peaceful place to explore, make sure to add Maria Gern to your list of things to do in Berchtesgaden!
Useful Info for Visiting Berchtesgaden
How to get to Berchtesgaden
Located in the Bavarian Alps, Berchtesgaden is easily accessible by car, bus, or train.
The easiest way to get there is by car and since having a rental is the best way to explore Berchtesgaden and the surrounding area, it’s worth considering.
If you don’t have a car or would rather not drive, you can opt for public transportation.
Located only 25 km (15 miles) from the town of Berchtesgaden, Salzburg (Austria) is the closest major city. From here, you can either take the WATZMANNexpress bus which will take you directly into Berchtesgaden or you can hop on a train to Freilassing and then change to another train to Berchtesgaden.
Read Next: How to Spend One Day in Salzburg, Austria
Arriving from Munich is another option but it’s slightly longer, with the journey taking around 2.5 hours by train. There is no direct train to Berchtesgaden from Munich so you will need to change at Freilassing as well.
Best time to visit Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden can be visited year-round and regardless of when you decide to go, you’ll find plenty of things to do.
However, summer is undoubtedly the best time to visit as the weather is sunny and warm, and the snow has melted off the mountains. This makes it easier to explore the outdoors and hike in the national park.
If you want to avoid the crowds, late spring and early fall are your best options. The temperatures will still be comfortable, and you’ll have the chance to experience all that Berchtesgaden has to offer without the summer tourist rush.
Although Berchtesgaden looks incredible during the winter months, unfortunately, most attractions are closed during this time. So, if you’re planning a winter trip to the area, there won’t be as much to do except skiing, snowshoeing, and other winter activities.
How to get around Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden is relatively small and you can easily get around on foot. However, if you’re planning to explore the surrounding area like the national park, you’ll need to make use of public transportation or rent a car.
The bus system in Berchtesgaden is reliable and efficient, with frequent services from the town to key attractions such as Lake Hintersee and Maria Gern.
Renting a car is a great option if you’re planning to explore the area further or to visit places that are not accessible by public transportation. This will give you more freedom to explore at your own pace and make multiple stops throughout the day.
Where to stay in Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden offers a wide variety of accommodations, ranging from budget hostels to luxury resorts. However, as the town is small, it’s important to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak season.
If you have a car, you can also take a look at some of the nearby villages such as Bischofswiesen or Schönau am Königssee. These are both located within the Berchtesgaden National Park, offering amazing views of the alpine landscape.
For those of you who want to stay in the heart of Berchtesgaden, here are my top recommendations.
LUXURY – Kempinski Hotel Berchtesgaden
Offering picturesque views of the surrounding mountains, beautiful suites, and fantastic facilities, Kempinski Hotel is one of the best luxury options in town. With an indoor & outdoor pool, a spa & wellness center, and an on-site restaurant, this hotel has everything you could need for the ultimate stay!
MID-RANGE – Hotel EDELWEISS Berchtesgaden Superior
Located in the center of Berchtesgaden, this hotel offers breathtaking views of the Bavarian Alps – especially from its rooftop terrace. You’ll also benefit from beautiful rooms and tons of facilities including an extensive spa, a swimming pool, a fitness center, and three on-site restaurants.
BUDGET – Hotel Grünberger Superior
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option then check out Hotel Grünberger. This property is set on the River Ache and offers scenic views of the surrounding area. Boasting an indoor pool, a sauna, and an on-site restaurant & bar, this hotel has so much to offer. There’s even a large sunbathing area right by the river.
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