This week we are going down, way in the south, to Bavaria's southern border.
I want to tell you all about a location where you can take in Germany’s natural scenery. That destination is the Berchtesgaden National Park.
Now this is not Germany's largest park, but there is a lot going on there. The park is just over 200 square kilometers. That is pretty small in terms of area for a national park but there is a lot of cool stuff to see and do.
It is located in the state of Bavaria, right in the very southeastern tip boarding Austria. The closest major city is Salzburg, though that is in Austria From there is is about 40 kilometers away. Berchtesgaden is a German national park, so all the actual parkland is located within the German borders.
Why should you visit Berchtesgaden?
First and foremost, the scenic views from both high up in the mountains as well as deep in the valleys below are breath taking. These southern mountains are pretty huge. Also, Berchtesgaden is the only German national park located in the famous Alps mountain range.
The land is pretty much untouched by any sort of development and was created to preserve this specific landscape which was made a UNESCO Biosphere reserve over 25 years ago. There are no settlements here. Just beautiful, untouched, nature.
In the middle of the park there is a gigantic lake that is almost 8 kilometers long but less than 2 kilometers wide which resides between the steep rocky walls. Visitors at the lake can take in the awesome reflections of the surrounding mountains and forest. If you go in the morning you might even get some cloudy mists floating over the lake to give it that tranquil feel. There is a famous church, St. Bartholoma right on the lake's edge that people like to visit and nearby you can even get a guide boat tour. If you are nice guide he or she might play a flugelhorn to show off the valley’s echo.
The Eagle's Nest, Hitler's mountain resort home.
Berchtesgaden is also where Hitler’s vacation spot, the Kehlsteinhaus (or better known as "The Eagle's Nest") is located. Tours are offered year around and it is also a restaurant and beer garden.
If you want a real experience in the park, a small inn has recently opened where you can stay overnight. But if you want a spot… you are going to have to book quite some time in advance.
This destination was originally featured as part of podcast episode number 84. Listen to that episode in full here.