Best Side Trip From Berchtesgaden:
Berchtersgaden’s unique location on the German and Austrian border leads to access to many great side trips. The different day trips can lead you to nearby Salzburg with a quick bus trip or deep into with Alps with amazing hiking. It is a perfect base camp.
Day Trip Train & Bus Ticket Info:
To help with planning your Berchtesgaden day trip transportation, the National Austrian Railway (website) has all of the regional Train/Bus route and timetable information. If you are traveling with a group, consider the Einfach-Raus Day Pass (info) for your trains. It covers a group up to 5 people for unlimited train travel inside of Austria for the day just 35€. For travel toward Munich consider the Bayern Day Pass (info) which covers unlimited trains everywhere from Berctesgaden through Bavaria (including Munich & Salzburg) for 1 day for up to 5 people for as little as 23€ is you buy early. On Monday-Friday you can’t start your travel with these special passes until 9am, but Saturday & Sunday you can start anytime.
Each day and side trip from Berchtesgaden has their own little transportation tips we will further touch on below to help make it easy. Most of our favorite day trips are extremely easy to get to.
Top Day Trips From Berchtesgaden:
1. Salzburg, Austria (45 Minutes): Salzburg is the home of Mozart, the beautiful Mirabell Gardens & Palace, and the location for The Sound of Music. Located in the heart of the Alps, Salzburg is a great spot for a day trip just a few miles from Berchtesgaden. While it does make a great day trip, we recommend 2-3 full days in Salzburg to be able to see the old town sites, Sound of Music Sites, and surrounding towns of Hallstatt & Werfen. The top things to do in Salzburg are the Old Town Walking Tour and the Sound of Music Movie Locations Tour.
Getting To Salzburg: Best way is to take Bus 840 directly which takes 45 minutes and only costs 4.70€ each way. The 9€ for a Tageskarte All Day Pass covers round trip transport plus buses around Berchtesgaden. Alternatively you can reach Salzburg by train with a 20 minute layover in Freilassing in 1 Hour and 25 Minutes for 9-10€ each way. By Car you can get to Salzburg from Berchtesgaden in just 25 minutes. Bus 840 Timetable: (here). Read More About Salzburg: (here).
2. Hellbrunn Palace (40 Minutes): You should really check out the Trick Fountains at Hellbrunn Palace if you are heading near Sazlburg. The fountains are only available as part of a guided tour but is a very memorable time. The tours last about a hour and take you through grottoes, ponds, and walkways all filled with trick fountains that are out to get you. If you have kids with you, the Hellbrunn Fountains will be the most fun thing they do in Salzburg. You ticket for the Trick Fountain tour also covers you to tour the inside of the Palace itself which is pretty fancy and has some amazing ceilings. Also of note is that the Palace is now home to the Sound of Music Gazebo where Liesl sang ‘I am 16 going on 17’ in the movie.
Getting To Hellbrunn Palace: Take Bus 840 to Anif (25 Minutes) then switch to Bus 25 and take it to the Fürstenweg Bus Stop (15 Minutes). Palace Hours: April, October, & November 9am-4:30pm; May, June, September 9am-5:30pm; July & August 9am-6pm (Fountains open until 9pm July & August). Cost: You can see the Gazebo for Free near the entrance. Tours of the grounds included both the Palace interior and Trick Fountains of 10.50€ for Adults, 5€ for kids. Palace Website: (here).
3. Anif Water Palace (25 Minutes): The fairytale Anif Water Palace is private castle-like home which springs out of the middle of a lake. It appears in the opening scenes of Sound Of Music and is an extreme fun home to photograph. Is a private home with no public access but you can still admire it from the water’s edge.
Getting To Anif: Anif is super easy to get to as it is only 25 minute on bus 840 right on the way to Salzburg and only costs a couple dollars. If you are going to Salzburg you can hop off and back one here from free. Buses 25 & 28 also continue to Salzburg from Anif. Bus 840 Timetable: (here).
4. Ramsau, Germany (15 Minutes): Ramsau is a small village on the edges of Berchtesgaden that has been lining postcard since as long as we can remember. Photographers will love taking photos are this riverside St. Sebastian Church which is awesome any time of year. A small stream with a fantasy foot bridge sit right in front of the Church and huge mountains create a backdrop that is even more beautiful with a snow fall. One mile closer to Berchtesgaden from the Church Ramsau also holds the hidden Wimbachklamm Waterfalls. These Waterfalls require a half mile walk down a pretty wooden planked walkway and led to the unique falls that act like a weeping wall of water.
Getting To Ramsau: Take Bus 846 from Berchtesgaden Station to Ramsau. The Waterfalls will come up at the 5th bus stop (Ramsau b.Berchtesgaden Wimbachbrücke) after 8 minutes and the Church is another 7 minutes at the 9th stop from Berchtesgaden (Ramsau b.Berchtesgaden Kirche). Village Website: (here).
5. Munich, Germany (3 Hours): As the former capital of Bavaria, Munich is known for its beer halls, friendly residents and robust culture. The city can be seen in 1-2 days, but it has so many amazing surrounding sites you’ll want to stay longer. Outside of its Oktoberfest feel, Munich’s surrounding sights include the Hofbräuhaus, English Garden, and further away Dachau & Mad King Ludwig’s Castles. The top things to do in Munich are the Free Munich Walking Tour, Dachau Memorial & Palaces, and of course a side trip to the magical Mad King Ludwig’s Fairytale Castles.
Getting To Munich: Getting from Berchtesgaden to Munich is a very straight forward 3 hour train ride with a small layover in Freilassing. The ticket will cost 22-30€ each way and is cheaper if you buy your round trip fare together. See our Munich section for more details.
6. Saalachtaler Natugewalten, Austria (90 Minutes): Saalachtaler Natugewalten is one of the coolest protected nature areas in all of the Alps and has been open to tourist since 1882. The protected area of the park called Weißbach has 3 main sections all full of mountain forests starting in the North with Vorderkaserklamm. Vorderkaserklamm is a huge gorge is 2.5km long, 263 feet deep, and while it starts at 20 feet wide it narrows to under a foot wide near waterfalls at the end. During your decent on foot into the gorge you cross 51 bridges and 35 sets of stairs with a total of 373 steps. The 2nd area the the vast cave system 51km long called Lamprechtshöhle. With a easy roadside entrance you can explore a long section of well lit walkways inside Lamprechtshöhle. The final area of the park is the Seisenbergklamm gorge where you get to follow awesome winding bridge paths created by loggers in the 1830’s. We love the park in the Summer when all the attractions are open as you really get to take in the caves, trees, lime stone peaks, and waterfalls of this great nature park.
Getting To Saalachtaler Natugewalten: Take either the train (30 Minutes) or Bus 841 (40 Minutes) to Bad Reichenhall then hop on Bus 260 which goes from Salzburg right to the park which takes about 50 minutes for a 90 minutes total journey. Bus 260 Typically leaves Bad Reichenhall at 9:08am, 1:08 pm with the last return bus leaving at 4:30pm getting back to Bad Reichenhall at 5:20pm. Bus 260 Timetable. Park Hours: Daily 8:30am-6:30pm, gorges close in the Winter by the Caves stay open. It is a much better Summer Attraction.
7. Hallstatt, Austria (3 Hours and 15 Minutes): If you like Berchtesgaden, you’ll absolutely love Hallstatt. There was a Hallstatt before there was a Rome and it is just about as cute of an ancient alpine village as you’ll find anywhere. Hallstatt is compact, full of history, and an absolutely beautiful lakeside village. Just walking around the village streets can be amazing and we’ve put together a Free Hallstatt Walking Tour for you to follow to make sure you see all the top sights. The main highlights include the colorful Market Square, the creepy painted skulls of the Bone Chapel, and a boat ride on the lake. If you end up with extra time we also suggest visiting the World’s oldest Salt Mine sitting just above the city which over 7,000 years old. Note that the Salt Mine is closed in the Winter, but Here is an excellent series of interactive 360 degree panoramic views to give you an idea of the view you’ll uncover if you make it.
Sitting high above Hallstatt on Dachstein Mountain are a couple real gems, the Dachstein Ice Caves & 5 Fingers Lookout. A tour of the huge Ice Cave is absolutely awesome and it’s crazy they stay at or below freezing no matter how warm it is outside. There are even a few different frozen waterfalls you have to see to believe. Depending on how you are doing for time swing up one more level on the cable car lift and hike over to the 5 Fingers Lookout where a glass bottom walkway juts you out thousand of feet above the valley floor. The views and photos are awesome, plus it is really cool to be above the tree line and around snow even when it is 60-70 degrees outside.
Getting To Hallstatt: Take Bus 840 to Salzburg (45 Minutes), you’ll have a layover (25 Minutes), then take Bus 150 to Bad Ishcl (90 Minutes), from there take Bus 542 directly to Hallstatt (40 Minutes) or the Local Train (35 Minutes) plus the Ferry across the lake (20 Minutes). Because Hallstatt is father away and requires some transfers, we suggest staying overnight or consider seeing it on your way to Vienna. Bus 840 Timetable: (here). Bus 150 Timetable: (here). Bus 542 Timetable: (here). Bus 150 Timetable. Bus 542 Timetable. Seasonality In Hallstatt: Take note that the Ice Cave and Salt Mine are closed in Winter, but Hallstatt is still a magical place to visit even when you only stick around the village. Read More About Hallstatt: (here).
8. Herrenchiemsee New Palace (2 Hour and 15 Minutes): Known as Mad King Ludwig’s “New Palace,” Heidelberg was modeled after Versailles and wasn’t finished until 2 years after Ludwig’s death. The best part are no crowds, and that really makes it easy to enjoy rooms such as his Great Hall of Mirrors. If you are planning on spending a few days in Munich and only have one day to see palaces, we recommend skipping this one in favor of King Ludwig’s even better palaces/castles highlighted in our Munich Day Trip Section, here. Getting Herrenchiemsee New Palace: Take a train toward Munich to Prien a Chiemsee (12€), take the local train to the boat dock called Prien/Stock (this only runs during the summer and is about a half mile walk the rest of the year), from the dock you take they have boat to go to the private island on the lake that the Castle is on (click here for the boat timetable).
9. St Gilgen, Austria (2 Hours): Cozy authentic Austria village which is mainly free of the tourist crowds. It is a great place to stop for food if you are taking the 150 Bus from Salzburg to Hallstatt. The highlights are extremely cute City Hall (Rathaus), romantic lake front on Wolfgang Sea (Wolfgangsee), and 15 minute Alpine Lift (Zwölferhorn Gondola) bringing you to the 1,600 meter summit of the neighboring Zwölferhorn Mountain. The mountain provides great views over the lake, Hang Gliding, and skiing in the winter. Classical music lovers will love St Gilgen’s tie to Mozart as it’s the town where Amadeus’ sister Nannerl lived after leaving Salzburg. Getting To St. Gilgen: Take Bus 840 to Salzburg then 150 East from Salzburg right to St Gilgen. From Hallstatt take the REX train or bus #2570/542 to Bad Ischl and then Bus 150 West to St Gilgen. Bus 150 timetable and route plan HERE.
10. Werfen Castle & Ice Cave (1 Hour 40 Minutes): As seen in the opening of the movie Sound of Music Tour, Hohenwerfen Fortress is the sister of Old Town Salzburg’s Hohensalzburg Castle. It is actually even more famous from the movie “Where Eagles Dare” than its Hollywood Von Trapp connection. With a rise of 508 feet from the entrance you can see why this castle has stood the test of time. In Werfen you can also visit the World’s Largest Ice Cave which for some people moves it far up this list. Getting To Werfen: Take bus 840 to Salzburg and transfer to the local train toward Werfen. Sometimes based on the schedule it is better to take the train the whole way from Berchtesgaden.
11. Sound Of Music Meadow (1 Hour): Made famous in The Sound of Music’s opening scene, this timeless meadow is where we learns that the ‘Hills are alive with the Sound of Music’. The Meadow is easily accessible and is only a couple miles North of Berchtesgaden in Marktschellenberg, Germany. A lot of the Birch trees and other dressings were added artificially for the filming of the movie but even without them the Meadow doesn’t disappoint. Many Sound of Music Lovers refer to the Meadow as Julie Andrews’ Meadow.
Getting To Julie Andrews’ Meadow: Take Bus 840 from Bertesgaden toward Salzburg to Marktschellenberg Ortsmitte bus stop which takes 20 minutes. After getting off of Bus 840 you will go by foot up the hill to the Meadow with a 40 minute hike up (25 down). At the top here is a boarding house and 3 homes at the end of Mehlweg Street and just past the buildings puts you in the center of the famous meadow. In the Winter the trail will be closed so you have to take Mehlweg Street which has no sidewalk and takes 1 hour up (35 minutes down). Taxi up the hill: It is only 15 minute cab ride from the Berchtesgaden train station. Website for closet cab company. 360 Degree Panorama Taken Above the Meadow: Here.
12. Untersberg Mountain (30 Minutes): In the closing scenes of The Sound of Music, with the Austria’s borders closed, the Von Trapps look to pass over Untersberg Mountain to reach freedom. During their climb the family finds solidarity by singing ‘Climb Every Mountain’. Today an easy to reach cable car zips you too the summit offering amazing Alpine views. We prefer visiting the Eagles Nest instead, but if you are short on time or visiting in the Winter when the Eagle’s Nest is close, this is a good stop. More adventurous visitors can also hike 2 hours from the summit to the Untersberg Mountain Ice Caves (Eishöehle) which is only ice cave in Germany. If you decide to hike to the Ice Cave from the Eishöehle bus stop instead of the summit it will take 3.5 hours to get up.
Getting Here To Untersberg: Take bus 840 to the village of St. Leopold then ride on the Untersbergbahn Alpine Lift Route to the top of the mountain if desired. From the lift Bus 840, 25, and 28 all continue to Salzburg. Ice Cave Tour Hours: The cave has tours on the top of every hour 10am-4pm, check the cave’s website for any closures. Keep in mind it is a 2 hour hike each way from the top of the mountain to the Cave. Cave Tour Cost: 6€ Adults or 15€ for family.
13. Hallein, Austria (45 Minutes): Like Berchtesgaden, Hallein also has a nice Salt Mine, but with a couple cool added bonuses. While it was the standard underground lake and miners’ slides you also get to cross the German/Austrian border through one of their underground tunnels which is a great opportunity. As an added bonus, admission also gets you into the neighboring Celtic Village among other attractions. If you have kids also consider doing the Alpine Luge near the Salt Mine which is open in the Spring-Fall.
Getting To Hallein: The easiest way is to take Bus #848 to the Austrian border and walk across to the Luge where you can catch Bus #41 (40 Minutes). This route is the route less traveled and more visitors either take Bus #840 to Anif then Bus #170 to Hallein which takes an hour. This option looks equal since it is an hour but it only puts you at the train station where the first option listed gets you right to the Luge and very close to the Salt Mine. Bus #41 is the main route connecting the Luge, Salt Mine, and Train Station. Consider this stop is you plan on also taking the train to either Werfen or Salzburg after.
14. Innsbruck, Austria (3 Hours): Known as the city of the Golden Roof, and the Tirolean capital, Innsbruck is the only major city located in the European Alps. Innsbruck, which hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympic Games, is best known for its winter sports and skiing. There are mainly other attractions year round such as a large number of beautiful lakes and the world’s largest crystal at Swarovski’s Crystal World, the gardens at Swarovski factory, and many others. Getting To Innsbruck: Pretty straight forward train ride just over 3 1/2 hours. Typically a trip to Innsbruck isn’t the best use of your time as everything it has to offer you can get right in Berchtesgaden, but if you are heading to in that direction anyway it is worth a stop.
15. Mauthausen Concentration Camp (2 Hours 45 Minutes): Memorial site of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp is a great taste of dark Nazi history for anyone traveling between Vienna and Salzburg who may not have the time to visit Dachau near Munich. This site was selected due to it’s onsite granite quarry so the imprisoned people could service as slave labor. The stairs of death are known as a spot of torture where prisoners were forced to carry stones heavier than their own body weight all the way up, only to be pushed off the adjacent cliff by SS Guards to their death. They would also line prisoners up on the top of the quarry cliff and then force them to push each other off. Even worse than the slave labor, cliffs antics, and even gas chambers, was the SS Guard who would cut off prisoners tattoos to use the skin as lamp shades. During its time of operation, over 100,000 prisoners were killed at this death camp.
Getting Here: Go to Salzburg then take the train to Linz where you catch the bus to Mauthausen-Ufer which takes 2 hours. I will save you about 10 minutes if you take the train to St. Valentin stead and transfer to the the REX train that takes to right to Mauthausen train station. From the train/bus station it is either a 5km walk or 3km cheap taxi to the Camp. Entrance Cost: Free, not recommended for kids under 14 years old. Visiting Hours: May-June Daily from 9am-5:30pm. July-October Tuesday-Sunday 9am-5:30pm, Closed Mondays. November-April Tuesday-Sunday 9am-3:30pm, Closed Mondays. Guided Tours: Guide tours are available but pricey at 40€ per person. Alternative you can get the 75 minute audio tour for Free after a refundable 40€ per headset deposit. It is easy enough to share a headset between a couple people. Mauthausen Website: (HERE).
16. St. Florian Ossuary (2.5 Hours): Under the beautiful Augustine Monastery is the creepy St. Florian Ossuary. In the center of the room is the free standing tomb of Anton Bruckner, but around it is a orderly collection of the skulls/bones of 6,000 people. Getting to St Florian: Get to Salzburg and take the train to Linz which takes 1 hour then it is only a short cab ride from the Train Station. On Site Tours: May-September at 11am, 1pm & 3pm.
17. Vienna, Austria (4 Hours): The Austrian capital a little ways away at 4 hours, but is a good city to add to your itinerary if you are in the region. Realistically you will have to stay at least one night in Vienna from Berchtesgaden to enjoy it. Vienna is compact enough for the hardcore traveler to leave by train really early, still get to Vienna in the morning hours, cram all the compact sights in and leave by dark, but trust us you’ll want to space it into at least 2 days if you can. A great day in Vienna will consist of the free Vienna City Center Walking Tour, a trip around our Ringstrasse Tram Tour, and make sure to stop at Schönbrunn Palace.
Getting To Vienna: It is a 4 hour train ride, but with only one line change it goes by quickly. Take the local train to Freilassing where you will switch to a high-speed line through Salzburg right to Vienna. In general it will be a better use of your time to check out Salzburg, Hallstatt or both for a full day on your way to Vienna.
18. Fucking, Austria (2 Hour): Pronounced Foo-king, but the city signs all over town have become a tourist attraction all of there own. Especially American travelers flock to this village of only 104 people to take photos doing funny things in front of the signs. Some have even been busted having sex near the signs. Getting To Fucking: Take Bus 840 to Salzburg (45 Minutes), you’ll have a short layover to get to the train platform (20 minutes), take the local train North from Salburg to Oberndorf b.Salzburg (20 minutes), after getting off the train quickly switch to bus 383 (25 minute ride), and you get off at the Tarsdorf Ortsmitte bus stop which is a very short walk from Fucking. Overall it is a lot of work just to take a photo but a sign but is worth it to some people, especially is Salzburg is your end destination.