Here are two words for you: Berchtesgadener Land. They probably have to be two of the best words in all of Germany — an outstanding piece of real estate that brings you to towns like Saaldorf-Surheim.
Now I’m not gonna sugar-coat this, Saaldorf-Surheim isn’t the place to be for fast and hard action. It is, however, the perfect place to be if you’re happy and content to stroll along a river bank (the Salzach River), gasp in awe at the surrounding Bavarian Alps, and prefer camping and small guesthouses rather than funky & eclectic hotels.
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And it sure is a nice place if you’re into the whole history kind of thing, since Saaldorf-Surheim is over 1200 years old (officially), but technically is much (much much) older, as an old Roman road came right on through. In fact, if you head on over to the Rathaus, or Town Hall, you’ll find a Roman grave stone.
After the Romans picked up and left, Germany (and the rest of Europe) was plunged into the Dark Ages, also known as the Middle Ages. That’s probably a better term for it (in my not-so-humble opinion) since it was during the medieval period that many castles and churches were built.
What’s this got to do with it? Plenty, because it was during this time that Saaldorf-Surheim’s St. John the Baptist church was erected (don’t let its Baroque facade fool you), and the Church of St. George was built in the 14th century. Oh yes, we got to add the Church of St. Stephen into this as well, it does have a Romanesque core.
A few of the churches within Saaldorf-Surheim’s 53 villages have seen a Baroque overhaul; but between you and me, the Pfarrkirche St. Martin is what’s known as neo-Baroque — only built at the turn of the last century.
This is Upper Bavaria, so, of course, be prepared to spend as much time outdoors as you can. Saaldorf-Surheim lies right in the heart of the Rupertiwinkel, a natural area of hiking trails and bike paths. Don’t forget to come by the Abstorfer See, a particularly gorgeous lake and area where the stresses of life can melt away at and over the water.
Want to know what else will kill stress? That’s right, a good party. Lucky for us Saaldorf-Surheim does it proper Bavarian panache. There are two Village Festivals (1 in May, the other in July), and a Waldfest (a Forest Festival in May), and a 4-day Herbstfest (Autumn Festival) every August.
See, I told you that only two words were needed. Maybe instead of the Berchtesgadener Land, I should’ve just started with Saaldor-Surheim from the beginning. ;-)