If you are looking for a day out during your stay in Salzburg then in less than an hour you could be in the Bavarian Alps. Visit the pretty alpine town of Berchesgarden and the magnificent Konigsee lake.
If you have access to a car then its an easy drive taking about 30 minutes. A regular bust service from Salzburg takes around 45 minutes.
There is a direct service outside of the main train station in Salzburg. The bus you need is the 840 and this will be clearly displayed on the front of the bus. Tickets are available both from the ticket machine at the bus station or you can buy them directly from the driver. The 840 bus starts off outside the Main station in Salzburg but you also catch it at Mirabellplatz, Rathaus, Mozartsteig and at the Justizgebaude. Once at Berchtesgaden it stops at the Salt Mine (“Salzbergwerk), Watzmann Therme, Schiesstattbrucke and the main train station. If you want to go into the centre of the town then get off at Schiesstattbrucke.
Tickets cost €5.80 for a single or you can buy a day ticket for €10. The timetable and more information is available here.
If you wanted to also visit the Salt Mines at Berchtestgaden as part of your day out, the bus stops right outside.
Getting to Berchtestgaden by car is quite straightforward and although the road numbers change it is essentially the same road all the way. If you have sat nav available then the destination is simply Berchtesgaden.
If you are starting from within the city then head for Alpenstrasse (road number 150). This starts at the Karolinen Brucke, one of the main bridges over the Salzach River. Stay on this road travelling south passing by Anif and over the Autobahn. Follow the signs for Berchtesgaden. Note that at the Autobahn the road number changes to 160 and then at the Austria-German border it becomes the 305. There is no border control any more so you can go straight into Germany but make sure you have your passport available just in case there is a traffic check.
Once in Berchtesgarden, look out for road on the left just past the Salt Mine that is signposted to Obersalzberg and the Kehlsteinhaus. Turn right at this junction and take the road up into the town. Opposite the Edelweiss hotel is the entrance to the underground car park.
Points along the way
On the way to Bertchesgaden you will pass through St Leonhard, a small village at the foot of the Untersberg mountain. Incidently, this is where you can get the cable car to the summit, well worth a trip but be careful in winter.
Soon after crossing the border you go through the pretty village of Marktschellenberg and into the mountains. After 20 minutes will have your first view of the Watzmann mountain with its twin peaks. On the outskirts of Bertchesgaden on your left you will see the Salt Mines, and shortly after on your left is the road up the Eagles Nest (Kehlsteinhaus). The small building is in fact an old SS Guard Post.
The town itself nestles in the Bavarian Alps and is dominated by the mighty Watzmann mountain. The centre of the town is compact and pedestrianised so just wander around and take it all in. You will see that many of the houses are decorated with traditional Bavarian frescos called “Luftmalerei”.
There is an assortment of shops where you can find wood carvings and Bavarian clothes. The town has many cafes and restaurants serving everything from coffee and cakes to traditional Bavarian dishes and beer. A great place to eat is the roof terrace of the Hotel Eidelweiss with stunning views of the town and mountains.
Through the archway from the Markt is the Schlossplatz. This open area is bordered on two sides by the residence of the former rulers of the Bertchesgadener Land and the main 12th century church. Both the church and the Residence (“Schloss”) are open to the public. Opposite the church is an arcade painted with murals of the men of the Bertchesgardener Land going off to war.
If you have time then a visit to the nearby lake of Konigsee is well worth it. There is a bus that leaves from the main train station (“Hauptbarnoff”) in Bertchesgaden that will take you directly to the lake.
If you have a car then follow the signs to Konigsee from the large roundabout outside the train station. It takes about 10 minutes and there is a large pay and display carpark.