Quite close to the Austrian border and the Bavarian Alps is the pretty town of Berchtesgaden.
You might have heard of it because it’s on the German Alpine Road (one of the most beautiful scenic routes in Germany), or you might have heard about it because some of its residents read like a Who’s Who of Third Reich and World War II history.
Whatever you heard, nothing will prepare you for what you’ll see once you’re here, all under the watch of Mt. Watzmann (one of the tallest in Germany). Also high on a hill is Kehlsteinhaus, better known as Adolf Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest.
Hitler’s 50th birthday present is now a restaurant — and you need to take a special bus to get up there. His Berghof, as well as the houses owned by other high ranking Nazi officials were torn down after the war.
Many of Hitler’s cronies (as well as his mistress Eva Braun and the Duke & Duchess of Windsor) stayed at the Berchtesgadener Hof Hotel, which was also torn down and now has a museum in its place.
Which isn’t to be confused with the Obersalzberg Documentation Center, a museum that acts as both a local history museum and tells the tale of the Third Reich in the region.
You’ll also want to visit the Salt Mine, which is remarkably pretty considering it’s been a real working mine for almost 500 years. Guided tours are available if you’re interested in seeing it.
There are places in Berchtesgaden that’ll make you really appreciate the natural beauty of the area. At the Almbach Gorge you’ll see the clearest of water and romantic footbridges.
Mt. Jenner’s got a 360-degree panorama of the area from 1800 meters or 6,000 feet up (great to ski in the wintertime), and the Königssee lake is simply idyllic.
Keep a look out for the St. Bartholomä monastery on the side of the lake. I don’t think they could’ve picked a more heavenly spot.