Officially Founded In: 1102 AD; Independent Imperial City in 1194 (Wittlesbachs served as Prince-Archbishops from 1594 until 1723 so it was basically part of Bavaria); 1803 Ceded to Salzburg then Austria; re-joined the new Kingdom of Bavaria in 1810 and remained part of Germany post-WW2.
Language: German (Deutsch), plus a little English.
Suggested Length of Stay: 1 to 2 Full Days.
Sought as the ultimate Alpine retreat by Austrians and Germans for centuries, the Bavarian village of Berchtesgaden is an unspoiled, magical place. The charming Berchtesgaden is enclosed by a series of mountains including the picturesque 8,900-foot-tall Watzmann which is the 3rd highest peak in Germany. These mountains work together to provide amazing views, a long elegant fjord, and protection to Berchtesgaden’s old Bavarian charm. Enjoy our Berchtesgaden travel guide!
Our FREE Berchtesgaden Tours:
With our numerous visits to Berchtesgaden, we have put together three very helpful do it yourself tours to help maximize your visit. One of the tours will help you explore the old village center with Salt Mine. The other two tours cover the site surrounding both the beautiful Kings Lakes and the mountain-top Eagle’s Nest.
Top 10 Things To Do In Berchtesgaden:
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Historical Overview of Berchtesgaden:
The area was first used as a small settlement until the Augustinian monastery and town were officially established in 1100. Like other local powerhouses such as Salzburg and Hallstatt, salt was quickly discovered in Berchtesgaden and from 1200 through the Middle Ages, this white gold brought wealth to the village. Since the 1500s the village has back and forth on whether it is part of greater Salzburg or Bavaria, but has retained as much sovereignty as possible.
Because of its beauty, many leaders have longed for Berchtesgaden, from the Bavarian Royal family that has held a permanent residence here since 1810 and even Hitler who made the area the 2nd seat of government for the 3rd Reich during WWII. When the Nazi’s lost WWII the region was in search of an identity and decided to join neighboring cities to form Berchtesgaden Land.
Since WII some of Berchtesgaden’s Nazi past has been turned into wonderful tourist attractions to help make sure the event of the past are never repeated. These attractions include the Documentation Center Museum complete with its underground tunnels and the mighty Eagle’s Nest providing views of up to 120 miles. Throw in the amazing experience of a boat ride the enclosed Königsee Lake, the views and skiing from Jennar Mountain, and charm of Old Town’s market and beer halls all capped off with the tower Watzmann peaks and you have a village that needs to be on your must-visit list.
Berchtesgaden can be an amazing day trip from either Salzburg or Munich, but is even more fun if you can stretch your visit to two days with an overnight stay. A busy day here can be very rewarding, but since life moves at a little slower pace in Berchtesgaden, you’ll be able to feel the full magic of the village slowing down your pace as well.