The town of Berchtesgaden sits at the foot of the impressive Watzmann mountain with its twin peaks. It is just over the border into Germany in the Bavarian Alps. It is a pretty town sitting in a magnificent mountain location with many painted buildings in the alpine style.
Its wealth came from the local salt mines that were established in the early 16th century. There is a regular bus service from Salzburg to Berchtesgarten if you do not have your own transport. It is about 30km from the City and will take just under an hour.
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.
Berchtesgaden Salt Mine
On the way into the town from Salzburg you will see the famous Salt Mine, Salzbergwerk. The bus stops outside and the carpark is opposite. The mine dates from 1517 and is open all year round apart from Christmas, New Year and Easter. Tours are every 10 minutes in the summer and every 25 minutes during the low season. Be aware that you may have to wait as it is particularly popular during bad weather!