An Unmissable Day Trip from Munich to the Eagle’s Nest – Hitler’s Mountain Retreat in the Alps

An Unmissable Day Trip from Munich to the Eagle’s Nest – Hitler’s Mountain Retreat in the Alps
The Eagles Nest in the Bavarian Mountains south of Munich

You’ll find this place a hop and a jump over the border from Austria. Or a quick two hours by car from the center of Munich. It’s the Eagle’s Nest, Bavaria. Known as Kehlsteinhaus in German. And a visit to Eagle’s Nest means a trip to the Bavarian Alps.

Settled righ in the heart of the Bavarian Alps, you’ll find the Eagle’s Nest close to the town of Berchtesgaden. Sadly, the beauty of Obersalzburg has been overshadowed by its infamous past as the Nazi Party mountain retreat. And has, on occasion, been called “Hitler’s Mountain”.

View of Berchtesgaden near the Eagles Nest, Bavaria

The Eagle’s Nest sits atop the Kehlstein mountain and above the town of Berchtesgaden. The area of Obersalzburg by Berchtesgaden was once used exclusively by the Nazi Party, but today it is open seasonally as a tourist destination.

Although the Eagle’s Nest’s links with Hitler are well-known, he actually spent little time at the Eagle’s Nest, Berchtesgaden. When in the area he preferred to stay at Berghof nearby.

The Hotel zum Turken is right next door to where Berghof once stood. If you’re looking for an extra historical place to stay, Hotel zum Tuerken the place to head to (once it reopens, of course).


We’ve rounded up the details into a series of questions. Feel free to “skip to the good part”.

Why visit “Hitler’s Mountain Retreat”?

Why would you visit somewhere with such a sordid past, I hear you ask. After the war unfortunately this place had become something of a shrine. Members of the far right would visit and light candles.

The site had been abandoned and left to ruin.

That is until 1999 when the Dokumentation Obersalzberg museum opened. The focus of the museum was to document the evil executed by the Nazi regime.

The thought process behind creating the museum was that members of the far right would be less likely to visit as they prefer to keep hidden away.

A view of the Eagles Nest from above

A museum to document evil

The museum tells the story of a local Jewish woman called Dora Reiner. The story of her experiences and death at the hands of the Nazi Party members connects the visitors with the area and the crimes that were committed and planned in Obersalzberg.

Visiting the museum along with the Eagle’s Nest keeps people talking about the atrocities that have occurred and could occur again if left unchecked. It is something that should not be forgotten.

The museum and the Eagle’s Nest are far from shrines. Obersalzberg is a place to think and be reminded of the evil people can be capable of.

Hiking in the Bavarian Alps near Munich

A Trip to the Bavarian Alps

Putting the history of Obersalzberg aside, the location alone is worth a visit. It is located in the Bavarian Alps. The Bavarian Alps is a name given to the Bavarian Mountains. This mountainous area is south of Munich on the border of Austria.

It’s understood that the wider sense of the term “Bavarian Alps” refers to the Eastern Alps that lie in Germany. The more specific term refers to a smaller region that does not include the Berchtesgaden Alps. We’re using the wider sense of the term.

Arriving in the area, you’ll understand why many people (unfortunately Hitler included) become so enamoured with the Bavarian Alps and Obersalzburg to be more specific. Even from your armchair, it doesn’t take much to work out what that is. The mountainous region is sensational.

On a good day in the Bavarian Alps, you can see up to 200km away when stood at the Eagle’s Nest, Bavaria.

A trip to the Bavarian Alps offers hiking trails galore, climbing oppotunities, mountain biking and, during the right season, a spot of skiing.

But it’s not just the location, outdoor activities, and scenic views  that draw the crowds.

Hitler's Eagle's Nest in the Bavarian Alps above the town of Berchtesgaden

A Feat of German Engineering

The building work that went on in Obersalzburg is a feat of engineering. The rocky, mountainous landscape is littered with a complex system of bunkers and tunnels.

The journey to Kehlsteinhaus takes you along Germany’s steepest road. A road that is navigated only by the RVO busses. The bus line is considered Germany’s highest bus line.

The bus drops you off at a long tunnel leading you to the elevator. And this is not your average elevator. A brass and mirrored capsule shoots you 124 meters up to the summit.

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Does Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest near Berchtesgaden still exist?

The original form of the Eagle’s Nest in Bavaria exists today exactly as it did before the airstrike in 1945. Other buildings close by did not survive bombings. These included the houses of senior Nazi Party leaders and barracks used by units of the Waffen-SS.

The bombing of Obersalzberg took place on 25 April 1945, the last few days of WWII. A whopping 359 heavy bombers participated in the airstrike.

The targets were the bunkers and residences that had been purpose built and used as the Nazi Party mountain retreat.

Another prime target was the Kehlsteinhaus pavilion and also Hitler’s Berghof – which happened to survive the air raid but was since razed to the floor. The Dokumentation Centre is now found where Berghof once stood.

During the construction to extend the museum, an undetonated bomb from the airstrike in 1945 delayed building works. This bomb can now be found as part of the exhibition.

The Eagles Nest in the Bavarian Mountains south of Munich

The History of the Eagle’s Nest near Berchtesgaden

The mountaintop chalet was built for Hitler’s 50th birthday. Designed by Bormann, head of the Nazi Party Chancellery, and Hitler’s biggest sycophant.

Construction of Kehlsteinhaus was no mean feat. The ridge the Eagle’s Nest sits on is over 1800m above sea level, or roughly 6000 ft. Over 13 months, the mountain was cut into with a submarine engine. Methods like that used to carve roads into the Alps.

Kehlsteinhaus was the Nazi party mountain retreat, used for official government meetings and social events.

However, Hitler only visited the Eagle’s Nest a few times. It is documented that he visited just 14 times. He didn’t have an appetite for heights or small spaces.

Hitler preferred to stay at Berghof. A chalet that was renovated into a large holiday home, which sat beside the famous Hotel zum Tuerken until it was destroyed.

Why was the Eagle’s Nest not destroyed?

An airstrike on 25th April 1945 caused a lot of damage to the area. Many of the original Third Reich buildings were damaged by this allied bombing. Today, only a few buildings from before 1945 are still standing. However, the Eagle’s Nest along with Hitler’s Berghof remained unaffected.

After the war, plans were made to destroy all buildings including the Eagle’s Nest, but an intervention by Governor Jacob saved the Eagle’s Nest from being destroyed.

Getting to the Eagle’s Nest near Berchtesgaden

If you are visiting on a day trip from Munich or any other local town you will need to make your way to the Obersalzberg car park. The location is Salzbergstrasse 45, 83471 Berchtesgaden.

If you are visiting by train, the closest station to the Eagle’s Nest is Berchtesgaden Hauptbahnhof. From here, a regular bus service takes tourists to the Documentation Center. 

The Bus 838 takes you from Berchtesgaden Hbf to Obersalzberg Bus Station. Here you can buy tickets for the Eagle’s Nest, Berchtesgaden.  

If travelling within Bavaria, make sure you pick up a Bayern ticket to save money on the train and bus journeys (check that the times are suitable for when you want to travel).

From the Obersalzberg car park (by the Documentation Center Museum) the 849 bus will take you to the Kehlsteinparkplatz. The road from the Obersalzberg car park to the Kehlstein car park is only open to the 849 bus.

It is also possible to hike up the entrance to the tunnel. The hike takes about two hours from Obersalzberg.

When should I visit the infamous Third Reich building?

Early in the morning. Whichever season you visit, the earlier you turn up the better. The place can get crowded. Queues for the elevator can be 1000 people strong at peak times. Head out early to avoid the queues.

The tourist destination is open from mid-May 2023. The season closes in October. The winter months are never a good time to drive bus-loads of tourists up tricky terrain in the Bavarian Mountains.

Where can I buy tickets for the Eagle’s Nest in Bavaria?

Tickets can be bought at the Obersalzberg Bus Station by the Documentation Center. From here a bus takes you to the entrance to the tunnel.

At the end of this 124-meter tunnel you arrive at to the Eagle’s Nest elevator. The elevator takes you right up to the Eagle’s Nest.

What else can you do near to Kehlsteinhaus?

Visiting the Dokumentation Obersalzberg museum is strongly recommended. It’s important to understand the significance of the decision that were made here by Hitler and senior members of the Nazi Party.

The museum educates the visitor. And reminds us all of what happens when populism goes unchecked and crosses the line into fascism.

Whilst you’re in the Bavarian Mountains, you should make good use of this rocky region. The Bavarian Alps have hiking, cycling, rock climbing and skiing opportunities galore.

Where to stay close to Kehlsteinhaus, Bavaria?

Hotel zum Turken. The history of this hotel should be enough to sway any history buff to stay here. The location of the hotel is second to none. It sits right beside where Hitler’s Berghof residence was located.

Hotel zum Turken dates back to 1630. In 1933 the hotel was seized by Nazis along with the rest of Obersalzberg. The hotel has its own private entrance to Hitler’s bunker system.

It was sold recently and is undergoing construction. No official reopening date has been announced.

Kempinski Hotel, Berchtesgaden. Just 0.2 miles from Berghof. This hotel is an expensive option but the location, views of the Bavarian Mountains, facilities and comfortable rooms are worth the price. Swimming pools, golf opportunities and a well-equipped gym await guests who have energy to burn.

Why visit the “Nazi Party Mountain Retreat” in one sentence?

“We have an obligation to remember and take warning”. Dr Mathias Irlinger, The Guardian, 2018.

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