Berchtesgaden is a picture-perfect Bavarian town close to the borders of Austria, south-east of Munich. Dating back to 1102 when they first discovered mentions of the city because of the rich salt deposits, the city offers a beautiful blend of history, culture, views & traditional Bavarian hospitality and cuisine.
How did I ended up right here? For my birthday me and my husband booked a hotel in Schonau am Konigssee to enjoy the stunning scenery and after discovering that much of the area is closed down for winter season, we ended up spending most of the afternoons in Berchtesgaden.
As it seems to be an established tradition, we arrived completely unprepared and only did a quick google on the train from Vienna to Salzburg. That didn’t stop us from enjoying the beautiful scenery and some hidden gems of the city.
Starting with a stroll in the old town….
…. admiring traditional Bavarian houses with beautiful festive decorations on full display. A lot of the Gasthauses were closed for the season (opening again in December), but the few that were open we more than we could have asked for.
The main square with fountain was where all the buzz happened. Even in the freezing temperatures, locals were enjoying a cup of coffee outside and inspired by their courage, I also suggested to enjoy a drink on the terrace in the yellow Gasthouse on the corner.
They happened to have the most fairy-tale like beer garden, which was of course closed in winter. On the picture below on the right side.
Luckily, that doesn’t have to stop you from tasting the beer.
A sample some of the local berries served on clouds of Bavarian cream.
For food, we found another local gem just a short walk away.
This little corner restaurant was filled with lots of locals & tourists alike, and most importantly, atmosphere you would never expect.
At noon, we found ourselves sitting next to a table of older local gentlemen who were laughing and giggling so much that we couldn’t help ourselves but to join in. I had no idea what was the topic of the jokes, but their laughter was infectious.
Nobody but the two older ladies sitting opposite seemed to mind, so they put up quite the show. I was sad to leave when we finished eating, because I had a feeling the show kept going for a few more hours as the beers kept coming.
With no plans and no knowledge of the town itself, we did a quick search on google maps to discover a walkway stretching at the edge of the town and set out to find it.
Through trial & error we stumbled upon the start of the path that led through the most picturesque parts of the town with the most stunning views. It was a steep climb, but well worth the effort.
The walkway was a wooden path man-built on the edge of the cliffs, which turn around the cliff and offers you spectacular views of the whole valley under it.
In the evenings, we found a very cool hotel in the city and we ended up spending almost every evening there. It was opposite the tourist information center (closed during November) and conveniently organized taxi whenever we needed to get back to our own hotel.
Upon further inspection I found out that they have the most spectacular pool on the roof, offering the same views I saw from the wooden walkway, complete with an outdoor Jacuzzi. If you’re looking to spoil someone with the perfect winter or summer getaway, that would be my option number one. The hotel was called Hotel Edelweiss.
On our last day, we decided to culture ourselves by visiting one of the few museums in the town. I was intrigued by the Salt Mines tours, but found out it’s not a great option for people who don’t like dark narrow spaces, plus you can’t photograph in there.
Haus der Berge was therefore way better option to spend the last afternoon in Germany.
I would call it an interactive nature museum, with the added benefit of beautiful views towards the mountains from the local restaurant and some pretty unique experiences waiting for you inside.
This window shades transform by a touch of a button into a screen where they show different seasons passing through the mountains, complete with very crisp sound effects. It was breath-taking!
We warmed up in the museum’s own restaurant with a cup of tea before embarking on a trip back to the hotel and a last night in Germany.
If you want to take the most out of Berchtesgaden, I would recommend visiting in the depth of winter when everything is cover by snow, or in the middle of the summer when you can fully enjoy the hiking (and perhaps that beer garden!).
We were visiting in November when most businesses and attractions are closed until December, which doesn’t give you the option to explore the area to it’s full potential.
Safe to say I can’t wait to see more of Germany!