Touring Hitler’s Eagle Nest:
Location: Obersalzberg Mountain above Berchtesgaden
Cost: 16.10€ for Adults, 9.30€ for Children
Seasonal Hours: Due to its high elevation the Eagle’s Nest is open in Summer only, usually from about early-May through late-October.
Time Required: Around 3 hours round-trip from train station
Fun Scale: 9.5 out of 10
Sitting directly above Berchtesgaden the small neighborhood of Obersalzberg provides some of the best Alpine views in Germany. These amazing views attracted a young Adolf Hitler to rent a home here fresh out of jail from 1923’s failed Beer Hall Putsch in Munich. Hitler found inspiration in Obersalzberg and it’s here that he finished his Nazi propaganda book, Mein Kampf. After rising to power he turn theneighborhood into a military zone which served as the 2nd seat for the Nazi government. visiting the remain sights today can be a moving experience and the Germans believe it is important that we never forget the horrors of the past so they never happen again.
How To Get to Hitler’s Eagles Nest:
By Bus 838/849: From the Berchtesgaden train station you will take Bus 838 to the Documentation Center. An all day ticket for the local buses costs around 5 euros. Bus 838 leaves at least once an hour and the ride to the Documentation Center will only take 12 minutes. You will be dropped off at the road and will have to walk down by the ticket booth to switch to Bus 849. This is a special RVO Bus and requires a stand alone ticket (16.10€ for Adults, 9.30€ for Children) which also covers your entrance to the Eagles Nest. Bus 849 leaves every 25 minutes from 7:40am-4pm your steep switchback journey will take 20 minutes. Before riding the elevator up to the Eagles Nest make sure to choose a return time get your ticket stamped at the window to ensure yourself a spot on the bus back down the mountain.
By Hiking: You can get to the Eagles Nest by Alpine hiking on one of two well marked trails illustrated on our map above. From the Ofneralm Parking Lot it is a 1.5-2 hour long strenuous hike up. From the Scharitzkehl Parking Lot in about 3 hour hike. If you don’t have a car take the 383 bus to the end of the line at the Christophorusschule (Gymnasium) Stop near the Scharitzkehl Parking Lot. You can also catch this trail not far from the Luge mentioned below cutting your hike down to 2 hours. Make sure not to hike on the road as their is no space for pedestrians and it is also a longer route. If you take the bus up and hike from the last bit instead of the elevator which does take long.
The Eagles Nest Area Attractions:
*From the train station a 3 mile ride on Bus 838 brings you uphill to the informational…
1. Nazi Dokumentation Center: In 1933 Hitler started seizing neighborhood homes and hotels to start a vast 80 building compound here known as the Obersalzberg Complex. The complex was declared a military only area in 1936 and became the official second seat of government of the 3rd Reich known as the Führer’s Security Zone. Secret Nazi plans were hatched out at the complex and its said that Hitler spent around 1/3 of his as ruler at the compound.
When the Nazi’s lost the Battle of Stalingrad in 1943, they built a 4 mile long bunker system under the Obersalzberg Complex for added security. The bunkers held meeting room, lavish apartments, and served as air raid shelters, but it didn’t last long. After Germany lost WW2, the US Army plundered the parts of the Obersalzberg Complex that weren’t bombed and occupied the hilltop until 1995. In 1999, the local government decided to build a museum on the ruins of the former complex so the citizens could learn from the past and never repeat it. Prior to being incorporated into the Obersalzberg Compound, the building they chose for the museum was once the Gästehaus Hoher Göll Hotel. The used the original foundation of the former hotel and incorporated large sections of the Nazi’s underground bunker system into the museum. Visiting the bunkers truly feels like you are stepping into the past, or at least an old James Bond film.
Cost: 3€ for Adults, Children Free. Hours: April-October Daily 9am-5pm; November-March Tuesday-Sunday 10am-3pm, Closed Mondays in Winter. Audio Tours: English audio guide tour available for rent 2€. Guided Tours: Available in English Mid May-October, you may book ahead of time HERE. Website: Here.
*A short wooded stroll up from the Documentation Center brings you to…
2. Hitler’s Berfhof Ruins: Less than two years after Hitler’s failed 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Munich he was out of jail and rented a small cottage here called Haus Wachenfeld. Ten years later he bought the property as a home and it was the start his new military complex. This was where Hitler spent most of his time while at eh complex along with his dogs and mistress/wife Eva Braun. He also had many famous guest including British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain who came to negotiate a treaty in 1938. The home was badly damaged in WW2 but parts of the ruins remain. You could actually still go into some of the tunnels here until they were cemented shut in 2013.
*History and WW2 buffs will also really enjoy the…
3. Hotel Zum Tuerken: The Hotel Zum Tuerken was built in 1911 and there has been an Inn at the location since 1630 AD. The property was seized by the Nazis as part of the Obersalzberg Complex in 1933 and was heavily bombed in WW2. In 1958 the family who ran the hotel for 3 generations before the war got the property back and rebuilt on the old foundation. One of the coolest things is that they left a large section of the Nazi bunker system which you can tour. This section was once connected to Hitler’s underground apartments and secret escape exit. Bunker Tours: Mid-April through October they are Wednesday-Monday 10am-5pm, Closed Tuesdays. Christmas through mid-January they open daily 11am-3pm. Closed the rest of the year. Website: Here.
*Across from the local golf course you’ll find the site of…
4. Hitler’s Tea House (Teehaus): Located on Mooslahnerkopf Hill near the golf course once was the famous Teehaus built in 1937. Hitler would often take afternoon strolls here with his dog to relax and nap. Often people incorrectly call the Eagles Nest chalet Hitler’s Tea House when it was actually a different building located here. Today the ruins have a park bench and great views. Make sure to walk along the path curving around the golf course and do not walk directly across the fairways as it is private property and an active golf course.
*Closed to public traffic, the local EVO bus whizzes you up the…
5. Mountain Road (Kehlsteinstrasse): Built in only 13 months and cut through solid rock, the Mountain Road is a marvel by Nazi engineer Martin Bormann. The 4 mile long road climb over 2,700 with 5 tunnels and only 1 switchback. Because of the steep cliff drop offs there simply wasn’t room to use switchbacks making the road that much more impressive. Completed in 1939, the journey up the road by bus is very exciting and offers amazing views. Because most of the road is only one lane, expect that your bus will stop a couple times to wait for oncoming buses to pass. The buses have been running since the road was closed to the public in 1952.
*A long tunnel and high speed elevator swoop you up t0 breathtaking views at the…
6. The Eagles Nest (Kehlsteinhaus): With the best panoramic views in Germany, the Eagles Nest is by far the top attraction in Berchtesgaden. Perched almost 3,000 feet above the surrounding valley floor, on a clear day you will able to see up to an unbelievable 120 miles away! The entire Eagles Nest project from the mountain road to the Alpine chalet at the top were meant to be a gift for Hitler’s 50th birthday in 1939. Nazi engineer Martin Bormann carefully chose the location because he knew Hitler loved the views at the Teehaus he visited daily. It was no small feat as the tortuous road required 3000 workers to labor in dangerous conditions around the clock. While it took 13 months to build the 4 mile long road, the chalet on top was actual completed a year earlier in 1938.
The interior of the chalet was lavishly decorated including a fireplace that was a gift from Italian dictator Mussolini. As amazing as the chalet was, however, Hitler only made 14 official visits up to the Eagles Nest and most were in the first year. That’s pretty odd seeing how he spent almost 1/3 of his time as ruler at the nearby Obersalzberg Complex. The most common reasons we have heard to why this was is because Hitler didn’t like the change of air pressure from high elevation at the Eagles Nest and that he was afraid of being hit by lightening in the elevator. Although Hitler himself didn’t tour the site often, his mistress Eva Braun frequented the Eagles Nest. Eva’s sister Gretl even had her wedding reception at the chalet in 1944.
Somehow the Eagles Nest was spared by targeted bombings in WW2, but it didn’t escaped unharmed. When American and French soldiers took it over in 1945 many soldiers chipped souvenir pieces off the building’s stone facade and took almost everything inside. Unlike most of the Obersalzberg Complex, this Nazi building wasn’t demolished and instead was turned into a restaurant in 1952. The Eagle’s Nest Restaurant has good food, an unbeatable patio, but can get a little crowded in the afternoons, especially if it is a clear day.
At the entrance of the Eagles Nest you get to use the same long tunnel that Hitler used to access the high speed elevator. After a slick 407 foot journey straight up you arrive at chalet. Some visitors like to the long hike from the Eagles Nest entrance to the top, but we suggest taking the elevator. Once at the hop though make sure to take the gradual hike up 300 feet above the chalet to the summit of the peak marked by the Mountain Cross. It is here at the Mountain Cross where you will be able to take the iconic photos back toward the Eagles Nest with the valley below. You will also be able to see cement platforms from two of the four 3.7cm guns that protected the chalet from air attacks.
Seasonality: Due to its high elevation the Eagle’s Nest is open in summer only, usually from about mid-May through October. Getting To The Eagle’s Nest By Bus: The easiest way to get here is to take the RVO Bus from the Documentation Center’s Hintereck Parking lot which leaves every 25 minutes from 7:40am-4pm and costs 16.10€ for Adults, 9.30€ for Children. Getting To The Eagle’s Nest By Hiking: You can get to the Eagles Nest by Alpine hiking on one of two well marked trails illustrated on our map above. From the Ofneralm Parking Lot it is a 1.5-2 hour long strenuous hike up. From the Scharitzkehl Parking Lot in about 3 hour hike. If you don’t have a car take the 383 bus to the end of the line at the Christophorusschule (Gymnasium) Stop near the Scharitzkehl Parking Lot. You can also catch this trail near the Luge mentioned below cutting your hike down to 2 hours. Cost: The Eagle’s Nest is now a restaurant and there is no cost for visiting. The high speed elevator is free. Website: Here.
*After returning to the Documentation Center a quick taxi or ride on Bus 838 gets you to…
7. Sommerrdelbahn Slide: Family fun awaits at Sommerrdelbann’s 2,000 foot long metal Luge which speeds down the mountain. After whizzing down the mountain the track automatically shuttles you back up to the top for more fun. It is probably impossible to only to one trip on the Luge as it is so fun you’ll want to do it at least 2 or 3 times. The Maltan Family that runs the Luge also runs a beautiful hotel and beer garden nearby if you are looking for Berchtesgaden accommodations. In addition to a great location, the rooms are some of best priced in town.
Getting To The Luge By Bus: The easiest way to get here since you are already up the hill is to take Bus 838 directly to the Sonneck stop which is right outside the Luge. Getting To The Luge By Alpine Lift: There is also a convenient Alpine lift that goes right from Berchtesgaden up to the Luge. The lift is probably the easiest way to get back down to Old Town from the slide. Slide Hours: April through early-November 10am-6pm; Closed when wet; also closed in Winter. Ride Cost: 1 ride is 2.50€ for Adults or 2€ for kids. Discounts for multiple rides with 18€ for Adult rides 10 as an example. Combo Ticket: You can buy 3 rides plus round trip on the cable car up the mountain for 13€. Website: Here.
Other Sights Near The Eagle’s Nest:
8. Old Town Berchtesgaden: From Market Square to the Hofbrau Haus and the Salt Mine, there are a bunch of great sites in Old Town Berchtesgaden to help round out your visit.