Perched high above Obersalzburg and Berchtesgaden, stands the Kehlsteinhaus, or the Eagle’s Nest. Once an important venue for Nazi Party government and social meetings, today the building operates as a restaurant and tourist site. Somewhat miraculously, the building itself was never damaged during the war and remains unchanged. There are only 14 known visits of Hitler to the Eagle's Nest, but the fact that it is still standing today is very unique as most sites directly linked to Hitler were detroyed after the war.
After taking the bus, you walk through the 124 meter-long arched stone tunnel, enter a circular lobby, and board an ornate brass, Venetian-mirrored elevator cab and ascend an additional 124 meters to the Kehlsteinhaus / Eagle’s Nest.
We can’t vouch for the restaurant as we didn’t eat there, but history buff or not, the views from the top of the Eagle's nest are stunning - especially if you're lucky enough to catch it on a clear day!
Today there are few traces of the building’s past as an Third Reich building (likely to evade neo-nazi's and post-war nazi sympathizers), but there is a small exhibition wall with photographs and a timeline of the Eagles Nest from its construction in 1937 until it was captured by allied troops in 1945.
Unfortunately, all period furniture has been removed, though the red Italian marble fireplace, presented as a gift from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini remains. You can still see the graffiti and chips missing from allied troops in search of a souvenir.
Today, multiple military units still claim to be first to capture the Eagle’s Nest. Following it’s capture in 1945, the Eagle’s Nest remained in US possession as a military post until 1960.
Know Before You Go!
- The Eagle’s Nest is an easy day trip from Salzburg (40 min) or Berchtesgaden / Königssee (10 min)
- The road to the Kehlsteinhaus / The Eagle's nest is closed to the public. It can be reached on foot (1.5-3 hrs) by various hiking trails, or by bus from the Documentation Center.
- Due to a tight schedule, we opted to take the RVO-bus. Buses run from mid-may until the end of October and leave every 25 minutes. Our tickets were 16.60 euro each. Check the bus website to verify timetables, cost, etc.
- We parked in the paid lot at the Documentation Center Obersalzburg.
- The Documentation Center Obersalzburg has a separate entrance fee (3 euro), and was partially under renovation while we were there, so we did not visit that site.
- It seems to get quiet busy in the afternoon, so if your schedule allows, head up in the morning. Despite crowds, weather is perhaps an even greater issue to consider. Views from the top are stunning, so be sure to check the weather forecast to ensure you can catch it while it's clear.