When we learnt about World War II and the schemes of Adolf Hilter; the picture that was painted was that of a country taken over by a cruel dictator. A picture of concentration camps, families spilt up and radicalisation. What we didn’t get much of an insight into was who Aldof Hilter was as a person, his background, why he did what he did, and where he did it from.
When staying in Berchtesgaden recently, I got to expand my knowledge, and get a further look into this piece of history, by visiting the exact area where Hilter planned all his works, and ultimately hid out.
Kehlsteinhaus, or the Eagles Nest as it is more commonly known as for tourism purposes, is a large complex, sitting high on the of Kehlstein; a mountain in the Alps bordering Austria, some 1800 metres high. Access to the top of the mountain is via a long, steep and winding road. Now only accessible by a special bus, or if you choose to; a 3 hour long hike.
When we reached the top, it was easy to see why Hilter choose this area to hide out and plan his schemes – it was so very difficult to reach, but it was stunningly beautiful. If you’re a rich megalomaniac, you often need a bit of grandeur in your life!
How to get to the Eagles Nest – Tour vs Independent Travel
Prior to going to the Eagle’s Nest, I spotted a few tours online which cost between 25 and 50 Euros per person. These were all day tours, and gave access to the museum at the top, where you got a better insight into the history. However, sometimes I like to be a bit thrify, and with a quick bit of research I found out that it was rather easy, and cheap to access the Eagles Nest Independently.
If you are staying in Berchtesgaden, then you will be given a travel card from your accommodation provider, which allows you free travels on all local buses; which includes buses that go to the Eagles Nest. If you are not staying in Berchtesgaden, a bus ride will cost 3 Euros one way.
- Jump on bus 838 to Obersalzburg, which runs every 25 minutes from 7.40am t0 4pm. This will take approximately 20 minutes to reach the base of the Eagles Nest.
- Buy your ticket, which includes entry and the next bus up the mountain. For adults a ticket will cost 16.10 Euro or 9.30 Euro for children.
Note that the last bus down from Eagles Nest to Obersalzburg is at 4.50pm during summer times.
What you see at the top of Kehlsteinhaus (Eagles Nest)
On arrival at the top, you must make sure to book your return bus journey down. That way, they are aware of how many people will be on each bus, and so you can reserve a spot. They say to allow a full 2 hours to see the area properly. However, we were running short on time, so only stayed for an hour.
After this you will walk through a long tunnel (an original tunnel built for the purpose of Hilter’s hideout). Its dank and cold, but the brickwork is precise and still well maintained.
At the end of this particular tunnel, you’ll get to the original brass elevator, which took you to Hilter’s actual hideout, or place of residence in the mountains.
The elevator takes a matter of seconds, and you’ll exit out to what is now a cafe/restaurant, with what is undoubtedly one of the best places to sit and have a coffee, with a 360 degree view of the stunning Alps!
Once you have stopped marvelling at the Mountains; it is possible to explore some of the actual rooms of Hilter’s residences; even though some of it was partially destroyed post war, there are some original fixtures, including a fireplace.
If you are a bit of a walker, then put on good walking shoes, as there are really great and clearly marked paths to explore in.
Note: If you are only exploring the Eagles Nest itself, trainers (sneakers) are fine – though I did see a few people in sandals and flip flops!
The Documentation Centre (Dokumentation Obersalzburg)
As an additional attraction, there is also the Documentation Centre (Dokumentation Obersalzburg) which, if you have time you can pay a visit to. The centre is essentially a museum documenting the history of the area, the rise and fall of hilter, with actual artefacts from this time in history. It costs 3 Euros to enter (and is an additional charge from the Eagles Nest ticket). They recommend that you spend about an hour there.
Although my trip up to Eagles’ Nest was a little rushed, I am glad I got to explore a small section of it. It is truly and amazing area, with a lot of history.
If you are in Berchtesgaden, take the trip to the top, for unforgettable views.