The Marvels of Berchtesgaden
Bavaria in Germany is famous for its beer and the October Fest in Munich. But, there are unexplored places hidden in the Bavarian landscape. This week, Tourism News Live is taking you to a small, picturesque, and historical town in Bavaria. Famous for its salt mines, Berchtesgaden is located within a small territory surrounded on three sides by the Austrian border.
The Berchtesgaden Salt Mine, which has been in continuous operation since 1517, is 500 year old now. The visitor train takes you below the earth’s surface, 650 metres deep into the mountain. The train leaves you at the mouth of the Salt Cathedral from where you have to take a steep plunge into a grotto where salt mining and its history are impressively presented in audio-visual displays. The most interesting part of the tour is a visit to a mile-long Mirror Lake Light Show, which is 130 metres below sea level. Duration of visit: 1.5 hours
A special shuttle bus from Kehlsteinhaus bus station will take you to The Eagle’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus), a gift from the Nazi party for Hitler on his 50th birthday. The road from Obersalzberg to the Eagle’s Nest parking lot is considered a feat of engineering. The road was blasted out of solid rock in only 13 months’ time and is considered to be unique in this construction design. Perched on a mountain summit, its construction in 1939 was an architectural phenomenon. A golden brass elevator buried in the heart of the mountain will take you this architectural marvel, which is a restaurant now. The Eagles Nest is open from middle of May to middle of October.
If you are tired of the tour to the mine and the hike up the Eagle’s Nest, take a tour to the serene Königssee, the famous emerald green lake at the foot of Mount Watzmann. This narrow, fjord- like lake is 8 km long and lies 2000 ft above sea level. Lake Königssee retains its cold temperature even during the hottest time of the year and is the deepest and the cleanest lake in Germany. Take a boat trip to the other side of the lake and visit the world famous church Kloster St. Bartolomä. An annual pilgrimage to St. Bartholomew’s is held on the Saturday after 24 August, starting from the Austrian municipality of Maria Alm and crossing the Berchtesgaden Alps. You can also see House of Wittelsbach, a lodge located near the chapel, which was built in the 12th century by the church.
Another site of interest accessible close to this part is the Berchtesgaden National Park, which can be accessed via two hikes from the Königssee Lake. You can either opt for an extremely difficult two kilometre trail up from the St Bartholomä to the Watzmann-Ostwand, where many mountaineers have lost their lives or the comparatively easy and popular hike from the south of the lake to the Obersee. You will not only get to see wild alpine species such as the mountain goat, marmot, eagle, blue hare and the alpine salamander but also, with a little bit of luck, the rare golden eagle. The flora is equally beautiful and diverse, and includes, for example, the horminum, the Hausmann´s rock jasmine and the dwarf alpine rose.
A visit to the Schloss Adelsheim local heritage museum, which houses an extensive collection featuring local art and handicrafts, is also an interesting thing to do. The Royal Castle in the town of Berchtesgaden was originally the seat of the small church state and later became the summer residence of the Bavarian royal family in 1810. Though it is still privately owned by the Bavarian royal family, the main rooms are open to the public on regularly-scheduled guided tours.