The Eagles Nest, or as the locals call it, Kehlsteinhaus sits at an elevation of 6,017 ft. The Eagle’s nest is a “teahouse” that was gifted to Adolf Hitler on his 50th birthday, it was used to impress and entertain foreign diplomats.
A visit here is beautiful and eerie all at once. It is an impressive architectural feat that only took 13 months to build to completion, which would currently cost the equivalent of 150 million Euros. Some of the biggest and most crucial decisions of WWII were made here. While it is a stunning place, it has a sad and twisted history.
How to get there + what to know before going:
To get to the Eagles Nest from Berchtesgaden you can choose to take a bus or, if you have a car, drive up the mountain to Obersalzberg. Once at Obersalzberg you must either purchase a ticket for the bus that departs from there, or hike the rest of the way up. There is no other way up as the road is closed to all traffic except designated buses. The bus tickets are around 17.00 Euros per person. *Do be aware that the buses do not run up during the winter, and the tea house is closed.* The ride up is gorgeous no matter which side of the bus you are sitting on. Try to get a window seat!
The bus will drop you off near the top. Here you will immediately want to get in line to get your ticket stamped for your return time, so think of how much time you will want to be up there for in advance. We stayed up for 2.5 hours, and I think that was a perfect amount of time for what we wanted to do (tour, walk around + explore, and have a beer and cheesecake). However, if you want to do some more hiking then you will want to book more time, or just hike down. After you get your ticket stamped you will arrive at an underground tunnel that goes into the mountain.
This tunnel will lead you to a “golden” elevator, which is brass plated with gold, and it will take you the rest of the way up the mountain. Back in the day, guests visiting were driven up the mountain in a limousine, driven down the tunnel and dropped off at the elevator to be taken up.
The tour that we did, while interesting, was not something that was mind-blowing. If you are short on time or on a budget, I would not recommend it. There are plenty of signs that you can read that will most likely give you the majority of the same information.
One interesting thing that we did learn was that the Eagles Nest was bombed at numerous times, each time being missed, most likely due to snowy conditions. Once the Allied Forces raided the Eagles nest in 1945, many parts of it were taken as victory souvenirs for the soldiers. For example the soldiers used their guns to break pieces off of this marble fireplace, seen here. If you look closely at the edges you can see that it has been worn down and broken away.
After our tour of the inside, we walked up the mountain and did some adventuring while taking in the absolutely stunning panoramic views of the Berchtesgaden area. You can see Konigssee on the left all the way to Salzberg on the right. It is definitely worth walking around and enjoying the sites.
Afterwords we walked down to the biergarten and enjoyed some drinks with cheesecake, which I obviously recommend.
When we got back to Obersalzberg we decided to go to Dokumentation Obersalzberg which is a 5 minute walk from the bus drop-off and only costs 3 Euros. Documentation Obersalzberg is packed with history on Hitler, the Third Reich, and Hitler’s tie to the area of Berchtesgaden- all of which is very interesting.
However, the main draw of interest at Dokumentation Obersalzberg is the underground bunker which you can walk through. This bunker was built for Hitler and his soldiers. When the Allied forces raided it they found enough food and drink to last 3,000 people for 6 months. The underground bunker was the only part of Obersalzberg that was not completely destroyed.
In my opinion, a trip up to the Eagles Nest and a trip to Dokumentation Obersalzberg are both a-must-do. Jam-packed with history and education they are an interesting stop in the Berchtesgaden area. Not to mention the natural beauty that surrounds them is astounding.