Things to do

12 Amazing Things to Do in Berchtesgaden National Park

Berchtesgaden National Park

Are you seeking stunning mountain ranges with charming valleys, calm green pastures, icy blue glaciers, deep, dark woods, picturesque lakes, and idyllic valleys? In the Bavarian Alps, you must also include Berchtesgaden National Park on your holiday itinerary. This location is well recognised for attracting energetic tourists who love the outdoors, mountains, and other natural settings. Here is all the information you require for a trip to Germany’s Berchtesgaden National Park.

The Berchtesgaden Land is home to the only National Park in the German Alps, which is known for its diverse topography and magnificent beauty. Visitors can explore this pristine area on well-marked hiking trails, get a sense of nature, and learn about environmental conservation. The only alpine National Park in Germany has been a place where the natural world has not changed since it was established in 1978.

Visitors can readily access and get close to this beauty through a variety of activities. For instance, a special “hikers’ bus” transports people from Hintersee through Bindalm pasture and then on to Hirschbichl.

Where is Germany’s Berchtesgaden National Park?

Southern Germany, quite near the Austrian border, is where Berchtesgaden is located. Along the 450-kilometre German Alpine Road, which runs from east to west in southern Germany, it is highly suggested to stop in this very beautiful region. Munich is 154 kilometres from Berchtesgaden and takes 2 hours, while Salzburg is 26 km from Berchtesgaden and takes 30 minutes.

There are numerous chances to explore the 81 square kilometres of Berchtesgaden National Park (210 sq km). We’ll share with you the many ways you can appreciate the splendour of Germany’s only alpine national park, from cable car excursions to guided boat trips.

Close towards the Austrian border, the small German alpine town of Berchtesgaden enjoys the breathtaking splendour of the Bavarian Alps. However, in contrast towards the mountains & mirror lakes, there are also reminders of a dark past, including gloomy tourist destinations like the Eagle’s Nest. Here is our list of the must-see sights.

Berchtesgaden National Park Activities

The Berchtesgaden Alps’ sceneries were safeguarded with the creation of Berchtesgaden National Park in 1978. If you only have a day to spend in the park, the most preferred method is via boat.

1. Kongissee

The major lake, Königssee, or King’s Sea, is where your boat excursion will begin. It is a glacier lake that is renowned as one of Germany’s deepest, cleanest, and most beautiful lakes. It is crystal clear. With its rich emerald hue, Lake Königssee is captivating. Königssee has a fjord-like structure with a high mountain range directly next to it.

The boat would slow down & blow on a trumpet between the two stops of St. Bartholomew and Salet, and the tremendous echoes will resound off the mountainsides.

2. Sacred Heart Church

The picturesque St. Bartholomew’s Church seems to be a Roman Catholic pilgrimage church that is located on the outskirts of Königssee. The church stands out for its exquisite baroque architecture, with the untamed Alps serving as a breathtaking backdrop and its roof featuring crimson onion domes. There are two stops the electric boat takes tourists to, including this one.

While there, you can explore the church’s interior, eat at the nearby café, wander the wide footpaths, or get ready for a strenuous hike at the foot of the Alps.

3. Obersee

Salent is the destination of the electric boat’s final stop across Königssee. You only travel only a small distance from the boat launch to reach Obersee or the Upper Sea, one of the most breathtaking sights ever. It is a smaller but no less beautiful lake. You can climb to Röthbach Falls or simply enjoy this serene lake and its reflection in a mirror.

4. Visit Berchtesgaden National Park and go Hiking

The 210 km of footpaths and mountain routes in Berchtesgaden National Park are designed for hikers of all skill levels, from beginners to experts. Free guided hikes are available in the park with the purchase of such a guest card. The East Wall of Watzmann is a major magnet for serious climbers. It not only provides breathtaking views in all directions; in this old glacier, however, a water runoff has also produced a fascinating network of caves.

Berchtesgaden National Park
Image by Duernsteiner from Pixabay

Only a few hikes have been mentioned in this post. However, the length and complexity of the more than 140 km of hiking routes in Berchtesgaden National Park vary greatly. Only May through October are the peak trial months. However, due to the year-round abundance of snowfall, some higher-elevation walks are only feasible in the summer. For information on some of Berchtesgaden National Park’s most well-liked hiking trails, consult this booklet.

5. Jenner Cable Car

For the greatest vantage point over Berchtesgaden National Park, ride the Jennerbahn cable car. Visitors are transported in 10-person gondolas to Jenner Mountain’s 1,874 m summit, where the breathtaking panoramic views will leave you awestruck. You’ll have breathtaking views of Lake Königssee from the summit.

Taking a trip on the Jennerbahn cable car is among the greatest ways to view Berchtesgaden National Park. Since our last trip, the cable cars have undergone renovations. 10-person gondolas have been used to transport guests to the summit of Jenner Mountain. When we first went there, the cute small automobiles could only fit two individuals. The vistas are still breathtaking, despite the fact that the journey is now roomier.

Berchtesgaden National Park
Image by -Rita-👩‍🍳 und 📷 mit ❤ from Pixabay

Online ticket searches and purchases are both options. Each ticket is valid for a full year, so there’s no need to choose a specific day. You should take the cable car all the way to the top, as recommended. The views from Jenner Mountain’s peak, which is 6,148 feet (1,874 metres) high, are unmatched! After having a snack at the summit’s panoramic café, take a short stroll for the most stunning views of Lake Königssee.

You made the decision to trek halfway down Jenner Mountain after exploring at the peak. You kept walking downhill the entire time, which was hard for the knees. You might not have made it up the hike, though. It is quite steep! Again, You can’t express how amazing the vistas are. Beautiful 360-degree vistas of Berchtesgaden National. Park was made possible by the generally clear skies. You can board the cable car at the middle station (Mittelstation) to continue our descent of the mountain.

6. Berchtesgaden National Park Restaurants

There are various locations to pause and have a meal and beverage on your journey down Jenner Mountain, aside from the restaurant at the mountain’s summit (or up). At the base of the mountain, Jennerkaser is a quaint eatery offering up the typical Bavarian fare. Enjoy the entertainment provided by the goats playing in the sideyard while sitting outside.

In Berchtesgaden National Park, there are other additional eateries. On your way from the Jennerbahn cable cars towards Bayerische Seenschifffahrt, where you board the boat for a cruise on Lake Königssee (our next choice), you’ll pass through a few other possibilities.

7. A trip on a boat on Lake Königssee

Riding on Lake Königssee is another fantastic opportunity to soak in the splendour of Berchtesgaden National Park. You can hire a row boat and go on your own exploration of the lake. Or obtain a bird’s eye perspective of the lake and its natural surroundings by boarding an electric boat! You couldn’t understand what was being said because the commentary on the guided boat excursion was in German.

But there was a point in the journey when everyone on board spoke the same language. The boat halted, a trumpeter emerged, played a wonderful melody, and the sound reverberated over the mountains. It was an incredibly breathtaking experience!

8. Hiking Trails Obersee

On the lake, there are two (really three) pauses where you can get off the boat and go exploring. The third less well-known station is Kessel, from where you may access a lengthy, steep hiking track that leads to Gotzenalm, the largest mountain pasture in the national park. Unfortunately, You are aware that the boat captain must be informed in advance if you wish to disembark here; otherwise, they will not.

The extreme end of the island of Salet is where they travelled by boat. Only May through October is accessible for this stop. You may access a fantastic (short) hiking track from here that leads to the stunning Lake Obersee. The distance from the floating dock to the lake & back is only approximately a mile. At this stop, there is a café and a small gift shop.

Berchtesgaden National Park
Image by from Pixabay

On your first visit, you fell in love with Berchtesgaden because of the breathtaking surroundings. So, may we recommend making the trip to Salet? You won’t be sorry. At this location, there are lengthier hikes, so if you decide to embark on a long excursion, be mindful of the time the last boat departs the dock!

9. Church of St. Bartholomew

St. Bartholomä Church is presumably the lake’s most well-liked attraction. The chapel was originally constructed in 1134 and then remodelled in 1697 in the current style, with two onion domes and a red domed top. A magnificent café and beer garden are located in a historic hunting lodge just next to the church. You can also take a short journey through the forest & back to the boat dock after taking a leisurely stroll along the shore.

10. Berchtesgaden National Park Transportation

Owning a vehicle will make travelling to Berchtesgaden National Park the most convenient. However, Berchtesgaden has a central train and bus terminal that is conveniently connected to the national park by the RVO bus if you’re reliant on public transit (839, 841 or 843).

We’ll provide you with some basic details regarding travelling to Berchtesgaden from Salzburg and Munich. Check out this incredibly helpful detailed article from Big Boy Travel if you need any additional details about how to get to the town of Berchtesgaden.

11. Getting to Berchtesgaden from Munich

1. Train from Munich to Berchtesgaden

Take the Meridian or RB from Munch’s Hauptbahnhof Station to Freilassing & change lines towards the Berchtesgadener Land Bahn to go from Munich to Berchtesgaden by train (BLB). After stopping at Bad Reichenhall, this train continues to Berchtesgaden.

2. Munich bus to Berchtesgaden

Low-cost bus provider FlixBus offers a direct, three-hour bus ride from Munich towards Berchtesgaden. The price is indeed unbeatable. However, the service isn’t provided every day. If you want to know if there will be a bus going from Munich to Berchtesgaden on a certain day, check the FlixBus schedule.

12. Getting to Berchtesgaden from Salzburg

1. Train from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden

Although it is a bit more expensive and takes a little longer than a bus to get from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden, taking the train is still an option. Similar to the train from Munich, the one from Salzburg towards Berchtesgaden requires a change in Freilassing. Another benefit of using the train is that it runs until just after 10 p.m., as opposed to the 6 a.m. departure of the last bus from Berchtesgaden.

2. Salzburg bus to Berchtesgaden

However, if you don’t have a tonne of stuff, taking the bus from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden is your fastest alternative. Just across the street from McDonald’s, close to Salzburg’s main bus terminal, bus number 840 departs. Buses from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden leave nearly every hour, and the trip takes under an hour if there are no transfers.

Other Things to Do in the National Park of Berchtesgaden

A year-round destination, Berchtesgaden National Park offers a variety of things to do. Swim in Königssee Lake

If you dare, go swimming in the lake during the hot summer months. You can swim in Lake Königssee, yes. The water temperature, however, seldom rises above 68 degrees. The water will be cool and deliciously refreshing even on the warmest day! At Seelände in Schönau, you may get to the lake right underneath the bobsleigh run. A good stroll from the electric boats dock will take you to a Malerwinkel on the northeastern shore of the lake.

1. Winter at Berchtesgaden National Park

From May through October, Berchtesgaden National Park is almost completely accessible. However, some of the parks are unavailable to guests in October when the snow truly starts to fall. As previously indicated, Berchtesgaden’s winter weather makes several hiking trails impassable. At lower elevations, some of the routes are still accessible. These include the loop beside St. Bartholomä Church and the path leading to Malerwinkel & Jennerbahn on the northeastern shore of the lake. Be careful when walking as they could be slippery from ice.

From November to April, the guided boat excursion on Lake Königssee discontinues operations to the farthest stop (Salet). However, while certain areas of the park close throughout the winter, others become a winter paradise! With 6 lifts & 7 miles of groomed slopes, Jenner Mountain is transformed into a skier’s dream.

2. Christmas Market in Berchtesgaden

You can take part in the yearly Berchtesgaden Advent if you plan your winter vacation to Berchtesgaden properly. Christmas Market season (Christkindlmarkt) in the town runs from the end of November until the end of December. The Berchtesgaden Christmas Market will take place from November 28 to December 31.

While shopping for Christmas ornaments and other crafts, indulge in delectable seasonal goodies. And sip some tasty Glühwein to stay warm (mulled wine)

3. Berchtesgaden Village

You should undoubtedly visit Berchtesgaden’s old town centre, even if you didn’t make it during Christkindlmarkt. Every season is really wonderful! The national park is just under a 10-minute drive from the town centre. Stroll past cafes, stores, restaurants, and historic structures along cobblestone streets. Old Town Berchtesgaden features some of the Bavarian Alps’ oldest non-religious artwork on its buildings.

4. Accommodations in Berchtesgaden

We stayed at a charming 8-room guest home in the national park during our first trip to Berchtesgaden. Schönau am Königssee. In addition to offering single and double rooms, Pension Hochödlehen also has three studio-style flats with a private bedroom and living room. A great breakfast is part of the accommodation cost, and WiFi is accessible throughout the property.

5. Additional Activities in Berchtesda

In addition to the national park as well as the historic district, Berchtesgaden offers a variety of activities to keep you busy for a few days. The Eagle’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus), as well as the Berchtesgaden Salt Mine, are probably the two most well-known sights in Berchtesgaden. Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s former summer residence, is situated at the height of more than 6,000 feet and provides some of the greatest vistas.

In addition to a thorough examination of this area’s Nazi and World War II history. The only way to get to Eagle’s Nest from the Nazi Documentation Center is by bus. (Eagle’s Nest is closed every year from November to April.)

Although salt has been mined in Berchtesgaden, the Berchtesgaden Salt Mine first opened its doors in 1517. Using a salt train & wooden miner slides, you may tour this old mine. Visit an underground lake, take a ride down the old miner slides, and learn about salt mining (120 feet).

Don’t forget to stop by Berchtesgaden’s beer hall, Bräustüberl, which dates back to 1645, while you’re in town. Take pleasure in a full dinner and a later stein of a tasty beverage! A fascinating voyage into the realm of “white gold” is provided by the salt mine at Berchtesgaden Salzbergwerk, which has been in operation since 1517.

Berchtesgaden National Park
Image by from Pixabay

You will spend about an hour learning about the development of salt mining, which is only accessible by guided tour. The experience is anything but dull; after receiving authentic miners’ overalls, you ride a train deep inside the mine, cross a salt lake on a raft, and slide down an old industrial slide.

Jenner Mountain, Berchtesgaden’s highest point, offers a panoramic view of approximately 100 snow-covered peaks in the German & Austrian Alps. Two-person gondolas (Jennerbahn) travel over dark forests and Alpine lakes on the way to the summit.

This twisting, serpentine road seems like it belongs in an Alpine fairy tale, hugging the rocks and weaving through the woods. It’s breathtaking in every season; in the winter, the beautiful green scene is converted into a snowy wonderland. Variously tough hiking trails branch off the road, and further up are skiing slopes.

6. Consider Dokumentation Obersalzberg’s Past

Documentation 950 documents, images, recordings, videos, and maps illustrating Nazi tyranny and the horrors of the Holocaust are displayed in the Obersalzberg museum. It also shows how Obersalzberg changed over time, going from a popular tourist location to Hitler’s stronghold. Since 1923, it had served as Hitler’s vacation house and later grew to replace Berlin as the secondary seat of administration. The museum occasionally also offers lectures and special exhibitions.

7. Check out the German War Graves

Another reflection of the ugly side of war that formerly coexisted with this region’s beauty is the German War Graves. Townspeople who did not own the physical remains of their ancestors frequently created their own monuments and gravestones in already-existing cemeteries, like this one at the neighbourhood Franciscan church. There are 910 graves of German troops & 55 graves of German citizens who died in World War II scattered around the cemetery; the majority of them are empty.

8. Slide down Sommerrodelbahn in one Motion

The best way to experience the Alpine beauty in the summer is to ride the 600-meter (1,969-foot) luge. You’ll ride a little cart with a brake in the middle as you speed downhill on a metal chute. This gives you control over your speed; be aware that children under the age of eight cannot ride alone. You can’t do it just once, so purchase a few rides in advance and return frequently.

Final Note

A variety of wildlife can be found in the Berchtesgaden national park, including marmots, rare orchids, almost 700 different species of butterflies, chamois, ibex, red deer, and many pairs of golden eagles. There are many things to do in Berchtesgaden national park, like steep mountain trails, salt mines, elevation gain, peaceful green pastures, train stations, boat tours, rugged cliffs and many more.

There are also craggy cliffs, deep dark forests, untamed streams, and glaciers. Here, there is a wide range of things; it is a special little place where nature can grow on its own & where people can breathe in harmony with a healthy atmosphere.

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