Berchtesgaden Altstadt

Grüezi! (God’s greetings)

We had a quiet day today, still catching up from jet lag. With the drizzle, we waited until afternoon to go out and decided to walk through the altstadt (old town) section of Berchtesgaden. The first two times we came to Berchtesgaden, it was to stay up on the mountain at the resort (at the time an Intercontinental) and driving along the river road, it wasn’t at all apparent how much more to the city of Berchtesgaden there was. You could see houses, church spires, some hotels and such up higher on the hills, but not appreciate how much you could not see. We spent some time in the Altstadt last visit to the city, but went exploring a bit more today.

Rather than describing all that you could see, view this link for a walking tour. Other posts about our visits to Berchtesgaden are here , here , here , and here.

I’ll outline our walk through some of the photos. From our hotel, we walked up the steep, narrow, mostly one lane wide “road” leading up to the city. I say mostly one lane because traffic can go up and down this road, but only one way at a time. Yesterday when we arrived, you have to make a sharp right turn from the main road to go up to the parking lot for our hotel, which is up and behind the building. There was no way for me to know that coming down the road, at the same time I turned to go up, was another car. They weren’t stopping and I had to quickly reverse and back into traffic.

Not visible here to the left and built into the mountain is a rail tunnel. This tunnel was built by the Nazis to enable the trains to be hidden inside in the event of an air raid; now it’s used for storage.

The German people have worked hard to erase all mentions of the Nazi occupation of this area (Obersalzberg) during WWII. You will not see any overt mention of that era. There is a “Documentation Center” up on the mountain near where the Intercontinental (now Grand Kempinski) resort is situated. The center describes the events that took place in this area by the Nazis and you can even go through some of the underground tunnels and bunkers that still exist. We stayed in a B&B that adjoined Hitler’s summer home (it was actually”stolen by Hitler). His home completely was destroyed when the Allies occupied Berchtesgaden, and we visited his “Eagles Nest” (though again, no mention of the Nazis). Seventy years later, this area remains the same beautiful area it was before that awful period of history.

I’ll describe where else we walked, but on our way back to the hotel, we found a tour bus must have come up this road to deposit their guests at a hotel further up. I wouldn’t have enjoyed seeing that coming down the road at me!

Following the road up, we’ll pass the Kongresshaus (convention center) and walk up to the old town.

Many of the buildings around the central market are dated from the 14th-17th centuries, with later renovation dates. A number of them are decorated with illustrations.

There are a number of open air cafes and we stopped at one for an afternoon snack.

Across the way is a Holzschnitzerei (holz = wood schnitzerei = carver/cutter) with a shop full of intricately carved items, Christmas religious figures (weihnachtskrippen) and large historic figures.

There are a few fountains placed around this area

Walking across the street, there is a garden, the Kurgarten with fountains lined by trees on each side.

We’re going to walk back down the same road on which we walked up, as it’s the least “vertical “.

The rock wall, hallmarked with a construction date of 1765, has flowers growing between the rocks.


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