Restful and historic Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden is good for the soul. 

This picture-postcard region, set amid the Bavarian Alps, in south-eastern Germany, is quiet, historic and scenic.

In the late afternoon, about the only sounds from the quaint villages are faint traces of Bavarian music,the pearling of church bells and the trickle of running streams.

The people are particularly welcoming, considering the World War II devastation suffered by the Berchtesgaden only a generation or so ago.

We wandered to beer halls unannounced to sample the local product – and were accepted warmly. 

A highlight of Berchtesgaden is the emerald-coloured Lake Konigssee, which a spectacular fjord set in the Bavarian Alps.

The eight- kilometre long lake nestles between mighty Alps from which tumble spectacular waterfalls.
Internationally recognised

Partway along the Konigssee sits one of the world’s most-photographed structures, the chapel of St Bartholoma, which has been the site of a church since 1134.

The red-domed chapel, as it currently exists, was built in the 17th Century.


Until the start of the 19th Century, it was the summer seat for the Prince Abbott’s of Berchtesgaden.


Later, the Bavarian kings designated it as their hunting castle.

We’ve always wanted to visit the Konigssee; hear its famous echo-chamber between the Alps; and photograph St Bartholoma.

So, it was a special treat to be taken on an electric boat cruise, where we marvelled at the clear waters, up to 150 metres deep on average.


We also found the view of the church – set against the backdrop of snow-tipped alps – to be as beautiful as anticipated.

As the boat glided across the water between massive cliff faces, its captain paused to play a note on a type of trumpet. 

The sound hit the nearest cliff, known as Echowand and then bounced around the lake like a gunshot. Back in the day, boats apparently did fire a pistol, which echoed up to seven times around the mountains.


On top of one of the Alps at 1843 metres, is the Kehlsteinhaus – or Eagle’s Nest – which was Adolf Hitler’s diplomatic house.


But that’s another story and another destination for us to explore. 

Stay tuned

Note: the writer flew to Europe courtesy of Scoot Airlines

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