An Escape to the Eagle’s Nest: Hitler’s Secluded Mountain Retreat

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For many World War II buffs, a visit to the Eagle’s Nest in Germany (or Kehlsteinahus in German) is not just a check off the bucket list, it’s the dream trip of a lifetime.

Perched up in the clouds on the Kehlstein peak of Berchtesgaden National Park, this mysterious house, once a private meeting place for members of the Nazi Party, is one of the few remaining monuments that stand undestroyed as a legacy of Hitler’s reign.

It’s known by Americans as the Eagle’s Nest. Otherwise, it’s known best as the Kehlsteinhaus or, as written in some imaginative guidebooks, “Hitler’s teahouse”.

Today, the Eagle’s Nest is a top attraction for those visiting Berchtesgaden National Park… and of course, I had to see it for myself.

Save this guide to visiting Eagle’s Nest in Berchtesgaden for later!

You’ll be very glad you did.

It’s a little odd to think this once peaceful retreat for Hitler is now the trampling grounds for thousands of tourists daily, all slurping beer and wolfing down hearty Bavarian calories on the same scenic terraces where he’d planned some of the worst ever crimes against humanity.

Nonetheless, it’s a fascinating visit in a stunning natural setting, and I highly recommend it as a must-do in Berchtesgaden!

So, are you planning your own visit to the famous Eagle’s Nest? This guide will go into detail about everything you need to know about visiting Eagle’s Nest without a tour, how to get Eagle’s Nest “tickets”, along with a full story on how my visit went, and the lessons I learned along the way.

Eagle’s Nest Hotel Options

First – if you’re planning to stay overnight in Berchtesgaden, I’d advise you book your accommodations a soon as possible.

This is a very popular area for both domestic and international tourists, and there aren’t that many hotels so prices get really crazy in peak season. I’ve previously stayed in this Berchtesgaden hotel and loved it, but it’s not that close to the Eagle’s Nest.

Here are three hotels VERY close to the departure point for all the buses up to the Eagle’s Nest.

Kempinski Hotel Berchtesgaden ***** – A 5 star hotel a 5 minute walk from the Eagle’s Nest bus stop. Chalet chic furnishings, indoor/outdoor pools and professional staff/service. Click here to check reviews and availability.

Hotel Bavaria – A charming, affordable, and centrally located hotel within walking distance to the main Berchtesgaden town/train station. Most importantly, it’s less than 5 min on foot to a Bus 838 stop which would take you easily to the Eagle’s Nest bus stop. With a buffet breakfast, spa area and cozy homey feel, this is definitely a great base near Eagle’s Nest. Click here to check reviews and availability.

Hotel zum Türken – A historic alpine hotel furnished in 50s/60s style with splendid views and a perfect surprise for history buffs: underground bunkers that once connected to Hitler’s Berghof residence next door. The Berghof no longer exists (it was destroyed by bombs), but staying at this hotel is as close as you can get.

View of Hitler's Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden National Park

What is the Eagle’s Nest?

Known among the German-speaking world as the Kehlsteinhaus, the Eagle’s Nest is an iconic mountaintop retreat in the Obersalzburg that was built in 1938 for Adolf Hitler.

Today it’s one of the most scenic beer gardens in Germany (yes, it’s a beer garden/restaurant now!) as well as a buzzing tourist site accessible to the public from mid-May to mid-October.

While many sources claim that the Eagle’s Nest was a 50th birthday gift to Hitler from prominent Nazi official Martin Bormann, the attraction’s official website refutes these claims.

Rather, no grand justification was needed to build this impossible retreat besides the fact that they wanted to.

In fact, many consider the retreat to have been more a symbol of absolute power, the crown jewel of the Nazi empire, rather than a practical getaway.

After all, it’s built on one of the steepest roads in Germany, a feat which required 3800 workers working around the clock for 18 months, pressing on even during harsh winter conditions like actual avalanches and rockfalls.

Add on a lengthy mountain-carved tunnel and a shiny brass-coated elevator, and you see it was all the definition of unnecessary.

Nonetheless, the Eagle’s Nest in Berchtesgaden has actually been open for tourism since 1952, which is when the mountaintop restaurant opened, and remains open today for all the curious visitors who want to see it for themselves… hands down, it’s one of the most interesting things you can do in Germany.

Where is the Eagle’s Nest?

Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest location is the Kehlstein peak in Berchtesgaden National Park (hence the German name, Kehlsteinhaus).

While it’s pretty much hugging the border of Austria, it’s technically part of Germany’s state of Bavaria nearby other touristic sights such as the Berchtesgaden Old Town and Königssee.

That didn’t stop me from getting a “Welcome to Austria!” text from my phone company when I reached the top though!

View from the Eagle's Nest in Germany, AKA the Kehlsteinhaus
Beautiful autumn foliage during my Eagle’s Nest visit in October

Hitler at the Eagle’s Nest

Visitors are perhaps most intrigued by the connection between the Eagle’s Nest & Adolf Hitler. A few things need to be made clear about Hitler’s relationship with it though:

First – Hitler didn’t ever sleep at the Eagle’s Nest, rather, his actual vacation home was at the Berghof farther down the mountain, which was heavily bombed around the time of Hitler’s suicide, and completely destroyed by explosives in 1952 by the Bavarian government.

Second – while in theory, the Eagle’s Nest was meant to be where Hitler hosted and entertained special guests of state/other influential figures, rumour has it that Hitler didn’t actually like going up there too much thanks to his vertigo.

This might explain why there are only about a dozen documented visits to the Eagle’s Nest from Hitler, and only a few known visits from high-ranking guests of state (including Italian princess Maria-José and Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano).

Don’t worry though – Hitler may not have used it much, but it was put to good use by many other high ranking Nazi leaders, who apparently treated the Eagle’s Nest as their own private party house, including Eva Braun’s sister Margarete who got married here in 1944 to Hermann Fegelein, a high ranking SS officer.

The Eagle's Nest sun terrace
The Eagle’s Nest sun terrace

So why is the Eagle’s Nest such a big deal?

You might be wondering then… if Hitler didn’t spend that much time at the Eagle’s Nest, and the property didn’t actually host that many heads of state, then why is it such a popular place to visit?

Well, two reasons: Firstly, it’s pretty much the only surviving Nazi building in Obersalzburg, outlasting dozens of others that were destroyed during/after the war, including Hitler’s Berghof residence down the mountain.

And secondly, 2) the taking of Eagle’s Nest was seen as one of THE most symbolic and important captures for the Allies as World War II drew to a close.

It was not only one of the last remaining Nazi strongholds besides Berlin, but Allies saw it as Hitler’s little dreamhouse, where all his most important meetings and plans were hatched.

This made the capture of Eagle’s Nest a massive priority, like the seizure of the Nazi empire’s crown jewel. The eventual capture of Eagle’s Nest therefore became this big symbol of the Allies’ victory, one that has been cemented in our minds thanks to popular films and television like Band of Brothers.

Path leading to the Eagle's Nest in Germany with Fall foliage

The Capture of Eagle’s Nest and the Most Expensive Booze Binge in History?

One last thing: shortly after Hitler’s suicide, French and American troops raided the Eagle’s Nest, Berghof and its surroundings.

Their most precious discovery? A bunker full of hundreds of thousands of bottles of expensive wine and liquors – Hitler’s private collection.

And according to the book Wine & War, although German troops had bombed the elevator when they left (meaning no easy way to transport all that world class booze), resourceful soldiers relied on medical stretchers to transport their precious cargo.

The subsequent liquor binge that occurred is often billed as (probably) the most expensive boozefest in history. Whether that’s true or not, it’s an incredible story.

You can even see some glorious photos of troops enjoying the wine here.

Black and white photo of US soldiers drinking wine in Berchtesgaden
US Army photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

How to Reach the Eagle’s Nest

While visiting the Eagle’s Nest is a popular activity of choice for those staying in the Berchtesgaden National Park, it is also do-able as a day trip from both Salzburg and Munich. Here’s how.

Salzburg to Eagle’s Nest

Salzburg is a very common base for a day trip to the Eagle’s Nest.

You can get to the Berchtesgaden HBF in less than an hour, and have the entire day to enjoy the area! Here are some options if you’re planning your own Salzburg to Eagle’s Nest trip.

OPTION A: Book a Salzburg to Eagle’s Nest Tour

The easiest and simplest option would of course be to book a tour.

While there are options for public transportation, sometimes the ease of mind of having a guide with you to help navigate is priceless, and I would argue this is one of those cases.

Click here to browse prices and reviews for Salzburg to Eagle’s Nest Tours

View of the mountains from the Eagle's Nest
View of the mountains from the Eagle’s Nest

OPTION B: Go from Salzburg to the Eagle’s Nest with Public Transportation

To get to the Eagle’s Nest from Salzburg, there are basically three “steps”:

STEP ONE: Get from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden HBF. The most common way to do this is taking Bus 840, AKA the Watzmann-Express, which leaves once an hour and takes about 50 minutes to get to Berchtesgaden HBF.

STEP TWO: Get from Berchtesgaden HBF to the Eagle’s Nest Bus Stop (Kehlstein Busabfahrt), near the Obersalzburg Documentation Center.

You can either take the local bus 838 which leaves once an hour and takes 15 minutes to get there OR if the times don’t match up, catch a quick 7 minute taxi ride that will cost about 12 euros.

STEP THREE: Take the bus from Eagle’s Nest Bus Stop (Kehlstein Busabfahrt) up to the actual Eagle’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus).

This trip is NOT covered by the Bayern Ticket.

The first bus up is at 7:40am and the last bus down is at 4pm. Click here for more info.  

This is the only way to get up there besides a gruelling hike, and trust me, as soon as the bus starts moving up the mountain, you’ll be very glad you paid for the bus!

STEP FOUR: Once you disembark the bus, make sure to reserve your return time at the ticket window.

Then, head into the tunnel and take the elevator up to the Eagle’s Nest (or hike up for 30 minutes).

STEP FIVE: Yay! You’ve made it. Enjoy the views and the beer, my friend.

Munich to Eagle’s Nest

A day trip from Munich to the Eagle’s Nest is doable, but be warned that it will be a veryyyy long day. For a detailed step by step, you can read my full day trip guide from Munich to Eagle’s Nest.

I’ve done it independently on public transport myself, and while I’m still alive (and admit it was a super worthwhile trip), I was exhausted!

If you’re travelling with kids or a big family, I’d look into booking a tour so it’s a more relaxed day. Regardless though, here are your options.

OPTION A: Take an Eagle’s Nest Tour from Munich

There are many Eagle’s Nest Tours from Munich that you can take advantage of, so if you are visiting on one of the days where the tour is running, I recommend you go with this option.

While public transport might be marginally cheaper, there are so many transfers involved that the stress isn’t worth it, especially if you’re not well acquainted with the German language/train system.

This tour for instance is less than 60 euros, a bargain when you consider that a comfy coach ride is involved, rather than 2 train/bus transfers).

Here is a table with some other Munich to Eagle’s Nest tour options:

Name of TourDurationCostEagle's Nest Bus Fare IncludedOther PerksReviews
Eagle's Nest Tour from Munich: Groups of 4 or More8-9 hours$$NoFree cancellation up to 24h before
Includes free time to visit NS-Documentation-Center
Check Reviews & Availability
Day Tour to Berchtesgaden Foothills & Obersalzberg
10 hours$NoLuxury Bus
Free cancellation up to 24h before
Runs year round (salt mine visit instead of the Eagle's Nest when it's closed)
Check Reviews & Availability
Berchtesgaden Town and Mountains and the Eagle's Nest from Munich11 hours$NoFree WiFi on the bus
Soft drinks included
Free cancellation up to 24h before
Check Reviews & Availability
Berchtesgaden Town and Mountains and the Eagle's Nest from Munich8 hours$$$Yes*** Pick up in Munich, drop off in Salzburg
Private tour
Hotel pick-up/drop-off
Check Reviews & Availability
Train views from Munich to Berchtesgaden for a visit to the Eagle's Nest
INCREDIBLE train views…!

OPTION B: Go from Munich to Eagle’s Nest by Public Transport

To get to the Eagle’s Nest from Munich, there are basically three “steps”:

STEP ONE: Get from Munich to Berchtesgaden HBF.

There are no direct trains, so you’ll be transferring in Freilassing.

This trip is offered once an hour and takes about 2.5 hours total to reach Berchtesgaden HBF. (The cheapest way to do this as a day trip would probably be to purchase a Bayern ticket which covers your transportation all day on regional transport in Bavaria)

STEP TWO: Get from Berchtesgaden HBF to the Eagle’s Nest Bus Stop (Kehlstein Busabfahrt), near the Obersalzburg Documentation Center.

You can either take the local bus 838 which leaves once an hour and takes 15 minutes to get there OR if the times don’t match up, catch a quick 7 minute taxi ride that will cost about 12 euros.

STEP THREE: Take the bus from Eagle’s Nest Bus Stop (Kehlstein Busabfahrt) up to the actual Eagle’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus).

This trip is NOT covered by the Bayern Ticket.

The first bus up is at 7:40am and the last bus down is at 4pm. Click here for more info.  

This is the only way to get up there besides a gruelling hike, and trust me, as soon as the bus starts moving up the mountain, you’ll be very glad you paid for the bus!

STEP FOUR: Once you disembark the bus, make sure to reserve your return time at the ticket window. Then, head into the tunnel and take the elevator up to the Eagle’s Nest (or hike up for 30 minutes).

STEP FIVE: Yay! You’ve made it. Enjoy the views and the beer, my friend.

Meridian train in Munich
The Meridian train that you’d catch towards Salzburg

Important Must-Knows Before You Visit Eagle’s Nest

Alright, so with all that history and context out of the way, let’s talk you through how to see this amazing place for yourself.

I know that thorough information and resources for visiting Eagle’s Nest are quite scarce, so here are some must-knows/tips based on my personal experience visiting in October 2018.

The Eagle’s Nest is only open from mid-May to mid-October (depending on the weather)

People often get confused about the Eagle Nest in Germany’s opening times. Contrary to popular belief, this is not an attraction that is open year-round.

If you want to visit the Eagle’s Nest for yourself, you should know that it’s only open from mid-May to mid-October.

So, if you’re wondering “Can you visit the Eagle’s Nest in winter time?:” – the answer is no (unless you pursue a dangerous hike!)

To get an update on whether or not the Eagle’s Nest is open, visit the official website’s GERMAN page.

The English site isn’t updated as often and is more vague, but if you scroll down to the bottom of the German page here (use Google translate!), then you’ll find the dates for this year. (Checking the German version of sites is a great general Germany travel tip by the way!)

Fall mountain views in Berchtesgaden, Germany
PRO TIP: Visit in October and you get THESE colours!

The Eagle’s Nest is known locally as the Kehlsteinhaus

One important thing to remember if you visit the Eagle’s Nest is this: if you are looking at any official transportation timetables or even using the DB App, you won’t be finding the English name “Eagles Nest” anywhere.

Rather, everything will be using the local German name – Kehlsteinhaus (pronounced Kelsh-tie-n-house).

Many locals don’t know even know it as the Eagle’s Nest, so to make things simpler for you (if you choose to ask for directions or anything), remember that the locally recognized name is Kehlsteinhaus, and not Eagle’s Nest.

Sign at Kehlsteinhaus, AKA the Eagle's Nest in Germany

The only way up to the Kehlsteinhaus (apart from hiking) is by bus

The long road up to the Eagle’s Nest can only be accessible by the Regionalverkehr Oberbayern (RVO) bus number 849, which has departures every 25 minutes from the Kehlsteinhaus Bus Stop, very close to the Documentation Center.

Private vehicles aren’t allowed to drive up this long winding road, which means no matter how you get to the Eagle’s Nest Bus Stop (whether by public transportation, car, or private tour) you will ultimately still need to take the RVO 849 up to the actual Eagle’s Nest.

This is a very scenic ride that winds for 7km, rises 800km and passes through 5 tunnels. On the way up, sitting on the right side of the bus will give you scenic views first, but as the bus turns, eventually those on the left side will get the views for a longer period of time.

Note that many private tours often do NOT include the price of this bus ticket in their tour price, so factor that into your costs.

Red buses at Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden, Germany
These special red buses are the only way up/down

Admission is free, but you must pay for the bus ride up

Visitors often wonder if they need to buy Eagle’s Nest tickets. The answer is kind of complicated.

While it doesn’t cost anything to visit the actual Kehlsteinhaus, again, the bus ride is pretty much mandatory unless you decide to hike (in which case, yes, you’ve totally earned your free admission).

You can also buy one way tickets if you want to hike up, then take the bus down, or vice versa.

UPDATE: While the price was only 16.60 euros for a roundtrip ride when I visited, the official Eagle’s Nest website seems to now list the price at 28 euros for a roundtrip ride without a guest card. That to me is wildly expensive, but it’s possible the increased cost is due to renovation works and lost income during the 2020 season.

Eagle's Nest bus ticket prices, October 2018
Ticket prices for the bus (from October 2018)

There are lockers at the Kehlsteinhaus bus stop

If you are carrying a heavy backpack or something else that you’d rather not lug all the way with you to the Eagle’s Nest, I spotted these small lockers that you can use for only a 1 euro deposit.

You can find them at the Eagle’s Nest bus stop, right by the ticket office. These will definitely not fit any large luggage cases, but definitely smaller backpacks.

There are slightly larger lockers available at the Berchtesgaden HBF as well, which charge a small fee (usually 3 euros for a small locker, 5 euros for a big one for the day).

Nonetheless, I’d recommend you pack light if possible.

Lockers at the Eagle's Nest bus stop in Berchtesgaden, Germany
Lockerrrrrs!

Remember to reserve your bus on the way down upon arrival

They’ll remind you of this plenty of times on the bus (plus you can just follow the mob of people), but once you get off the bus, it’s very important that you go up to the ticket window and reserve your ride back down. This is important for crowd control purposes.

How do you reserve your time? All you need to do is strut up to the ticket window, tell the employee which bus you would like to catch down (there’s a timetable at the window), then they will stamp your ticket with that time… and you’re all set!

Eagle's Nest bus ticket in Berchtesgaden, Germany
The blue ink “16.00” at the bottom = my return time

You are welcome to try to catch an earlier bus, but this will depend on availability and inquiries can be made with the driver.

No reservations are required, but arrive early and expect crowds

Having gone on a weekday in October, I didn’t encounter any line-ups at all apart from when we were waiting for our bus down.

The same can probably NOT be said for peak season, so do prepare for long line-ups and either plan your visit for the early morning (catching the first bus up) or for the late afternoon (catching the last bus down).

Cross on top of Eagle's Nest in Munich with a performer playing accordion surrounded by spectators

The Eagle’s Nest is dog-friendly

If you’re travelling with a dog, don’t worry, the Eagle’s Nest has no problem with your best friend tagging along.

They’re allowed everywhere on site, including the buses and elevator. And no, they don’t cost anything extra!

Mountain path in Berchtesgaden surrounded by Fall foliage

The Eagle’s Nest bus and elevator are wheelchair accessible, but there are no ramps inside the actual house

All the public RVO buses have ramps and are wheelchair friendly, but once you get to the actual Eagle’s Nest, there aren’t any ramps in the area, which means you’ll be limited to the restaurant.

The sun room and dining room have steps, so guests are advised to bring a companion to help them navigate.

From the parking lot, you either take an elevator up to the Eagle’s Nest or you can hike

The RVO Bus 849 drops you off at the Kehlsteinhaus parking lot, and from here, you’ll have access to some incredible views. BUT, you’re not quite at the actual Eagle’s Nest yet.

To get to the very top where you find the house, you need to walk through a chilly tunnel and take an elevator 130m up.

Before entering the elevator, you’ll be in the waiting area which is where any visitors (including Hitler himself) would have stood. It’s a pretty eerie feeling, not gonna lie…

Alternatively, the hike up will take about 30 minutes.

Hiking and trail signs in Berchtesgaden near Eagle's Nest

It’s a scenic walk with many switchbacks, but it is still steep so I would only go this route if you have proper shoes.

I also think the elevator is a highlight of the visit so I wouldn’t miss it. If you want the best of both worlds, just take the walk down like I did, so you can get all the views with half the work 😉

Girl walking down mountain path in Berchtesgaden surrounded by Fall foliage
♫ Makin’ my way downhill, walkin’ fast, tourists pass and I’m homebound ♫

Remember to dress appropriately – it gets chilly!

Remember, you WILL be on top of a mountain, so depending on the time of year, it’s wise to bring some extra layers.

It’s especially cold during the 100ish metres where you’re walking in the tunnel, although in peak season this might be some welcome respite from the heat.

Also, bring good walking shoes if you intend to explore.

Know that there is not a lot to do once you’re up at the Eagle’s Nest

The main function of the Eagle’s Nest today is it’s a restaurant, so don’t expect a lot of different exhibits and activities. 

There’s a few dining spaces (one which features a fireplace potentially gifted to Hitler from Mussolini) and my favourite part: the sun terrace, which now houses a few displays documenting the history of the Eagle’s Nest.

That’s kind of it. SO, don’t expect a big museum once you get up there, it’s really mainly a restaurant with a few informative plaques, and some scenic viewpoints.

Eagle's Nest cross with an accordion player
Bavaria in a photo: a lederhosen-wearing accordion player on top of a mountain

Eagle’s Nest Tours: Are They Worth It?

While it’s not too tough to do the trip yourself following the instructions above, there are (quite frankly) a lot of benefits to doing an Eagle’s Eagle’s Nest Tour vs the DIY route.

This is coming from someone who stubbornly did everything independently, and I’ll tell you why a tour might be a good idea.

For one, the ease of mind you get is priceless.

My friend and I have both been living in Germany for three years but still managed to mess up a little bit and miss our stop, which delayed our trip by about an hour.

It was also kind of stressful trying to coordinate our own transportation for so many legs of the trip (from Munich, we took a 2.5 hour train with one 7 minute connection in the middle, then had to take a taxi to the Eagle’s Nest bus stop, then one last bus from the Eagle’s Nest bus stop to the top).

Had we booked a tour, the day would have probably been way less stressful!

Crows at the Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden, Germany
WARNING: the beer garden is terrifyingly popular with crows

Visiting the Eagle’s Nest Without a Tour: My Experience (2018 Season)

My friend Susanna and I ambitiously decided to tackle the Eagle’s Nest as a long day trip from Munich last October.

It was the last possible week to visit before they closed up for the season, so we got lucky with some crystal clear blue skies, minimal crowds, and the bonus oh ahh-worthy autumn colours.

Armed with a Bayern ticket, we were able to score unlimited regional transport for the both of us for only 32 euros, a huge steal considering how far we were going.

The plan was to take a Meridian train to Freilassing (the stop before the terminus, Salzburg HBF), then transfer there to get to Berchtesgaden HBF and then take public transport from there to the Kehlsteinhaus Bus Stop, at which point we’d catch the bus up to the top.

NOTE: Because the Bayern ticket is only valid from 9am onwards on weekdays, and the train was leaving Munich HBF at 8:56, we found a little loophole! The train actually passes through Munich OST (East) Station at 9:03, so used our regular Munich transport passes to commute to that stop, then hopped on there instead with our (now) valid Bayern ticket.

The journey (including the switch at Freilassing) takes 2.5 hours total. This would have been straightforward except we got lost gossiping and before we knew it, boom – we were in Salzburg.

… The last stop of our train.

Oops!

Pride shattered, we calmly waited for the train to start up again and go back to Freilassing. This mistake set us back a bit time-wise, but nothing some sassy self-loathing couldn’t fix.

That’s the beauty of the Bayern ticket – unlimited rides means you’re covered for silly mistakes like these.

This short stumble later, we soon found ourselves at Berchtesgaden HBF. We immediately saw this sign for taxi prices, which was our Plan B if we didn’t catch the public bus (included in our Bayern tickets) to get to the Kehlstein bus stop.

Taxi prices at the Berchtesgaden HBF
Taxi prices at the Berchtesgaden HBF

We checked the timetable at the bus bay outside, and realized we’d have to wait about half an hour for the bus… or we could just splurge a little and get a 7 minute taxi. So we did!

The taxi dropped us off at the Kehlsteinhaus Busbahnhof, AKA the Eagle’s Nest Bus Station, where everyone (guided tours, DIYers, etc.) MUST catch a bus up to the Eagle’s Nest.

We bought roundtrip tickets for 16.60 (a little steep, yes, but not as steep as that MOUNTAIN you’re paying to not walk up). We loaded onto one of the buses waiting and we started moving almost immediately after.

Red buses waiting at the Kehlsteinhaus Busbahnhof
Red buses waiting to take us up to the Eagle’s Nest

The drive up was ridiculously scenic, and we almost immediately realized how horrible it would have been to hike this thing.

The roads are SO STEEP and the only way up is either taking the bus or hiking. I’m glad we opted for the former.

Along the way, there’s a bit of generic commentary about the attraction in both English and German. We went through a few tunnels, and because the roads were winding, both sides of the bus got nice views while driving up.

Soon we were dropped off and reminded to go to the ticket office to reserve a time for our bus back down.

This didn’t cost any extra – I think it’s just to make sure there’s enough space on each bus for people to get down.

We took some photos at this viewpoint, but the real attraction was waiting an elevator ride away…

Tunnel leading to the brass elevator at the Eagle's Nest
The chilly tunnel leading to the elevator

To access the Eagle’s Nest, you have two options: a 130m elevator ride up, or a 30 minute hike.

We opted to get the best and laziest of both worlds – riding the elevator up then hiking down.

The tunnel leading to the elevator was FREEZING, and no photos of the elevator itself were allowed (it’s brass!) but it felt eerie knowing I was standing where Hitler had stood decades ago, along with all his visitors and other Nazi officials…

Tunnel at the Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden, Germany
Spooky…

The elevator was unexpectedly beautiful and luxurious, with mirrored brass plating all around, and even a folded-up emerald green seat.

It’s a bit claustrophobic because of all the people they try to cram in at once, but nonetheless, stepping in is like being warped into a time machine.

And of course, upon exiting and turning into the beer garden, this was the kind of view awaiting us:

Eagle's Nest beer garden views
Imagine drinking a beer with THESE views!

While we weren’t equipped to do any real hiking, we did have a walk around to get a better vantage point over the Eagle’s Nest and the surrounding mountains. Pretty jawdropping stuff.

Hiking around the Eagle's Nest
Hiking around the Eagle's Nest
Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden National Park, Germany

And while the Eagle’s Nest may be one of the biggest attractions in the area, truth be told, there’s not a lot to do once you get to the top.

We admired the views and hiked a tiny bit just to see around, then headed into the building to explore.

If you’ve always dreamt of seeing Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest inside, I want to set your expectations straight.

Hitler didn’t actually ever spend the night here, and it’s a pretty small space that you can walk through in about 30 minutes… so don’t expect anything grand!

The former dining area has now taken on new life as additional seating for the restaurant.

Most notable here is the fireplace, decked out in Italian marble.

Some guides say this marble was gifted to Hitler by Mussolini but it’s unclear where this story stems from.

See how chipped it is? This is presumably from soldiers who wanted some marble souvenirs…

A fireplace at the Eagle's Nest with marble supposedly gifted by Mussolini
A fireplace with marble supposedly gifted by Mussolini
Dining Room at the Eagle's Nest
Dining Room

There’s also the Sun Terrace which is decked out with 14 new info boards containing historical photos and explanations of the Eagle’s Nest, its use and its construction.

I highly recommend you read each panel – the information they give is fascinating.

Info panels on the sun terrace at Eagle's Nest
Info panels on the sun terrace

After this short jaunt, we had already explored all the available parts of the Eagle’s Nest, so the next order of business was lunch!

We were lucky to snag a table with a view, so I got to inhale my very Bavarian lunch while looking over both Germany and Austria. ‘Not a bad place to over-eat!

Delicious Bavarian food at the Eagle's Nest beer garden
*drooling*

And then, after fuelling up, we began the hike back down, which was absurdly scenic and very easy downwards… despite the many switchbacks.

I’d definitely recommend taking the elevator up rather than hiking, because the elevator itself is one of the most interesting parts of the visit.

Hiking downwards is beautiful though, and well worth it if you have the time and energy.

Hiking down the Eagle's Nest

We made it down in time to catch the bus we reserved and even had some extra time to explore Berchtesgaden before heading back to Munich. All in all, a long day, but a great one too.

Eagle's Nest bus

The Eagle’s Nest/Kuhlsteinhaus Restaurant, Beer Garden and Food Options

If you’re looking for an estimate of the dishes/prices available at the Eagle’s Nest restaurant, here are some photos I took of the menu:

Menu at the Eagle's Nest beer garden
Menu at the Eagle's Nest beer garden

Live Eagle’s Nest Camera

If you’re curious about what it’s like up at the Kehlsteinhaus, or just feel like spying on your fellow tourists, you can access to a live Eagle’s Nest cam here. Just scroll down and click on the “Kehlstein” thumbnail.

Is the Eagle’s nest Open?

Last but not least, if you want the most up-to-date news on whether or not the Eagle’s Nest is actually open, the only source you should trust is the official website here.

Any other questions about the Eagle’s Nest and Kehlsteinhaus?

I hope you enjoyed this thorough guide to visiting the incredible Eagle’s Nest in Germany! Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments below, and have a great trip!


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7 thoughts on “An Escape to the Eagle’s Nest: Hitler’s Secluded Mountain Retreat”

  1. First of all, I just have to say “I love your writing” it’s so damn entertaining! I can read your articles for days! (but there is only so many hours in a day!)

    Thanks for the Eagle’s Nest guide, I have yet to go to Germany, but this trip will for sure be in my Husband “To DO List”. He loves history

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  2. This is amazing. I’m planning a trip to Salzburg & the Eagles Nest in September and this is EXACTLY the kind of guide I was looking for. Thank you so much!

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  3. Thank you!! You are the first blog I have seen to actually show how to get to Eagles Nest from Munich by public transport! I really appreciate it!

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  4. I visited the eagles next in 2000, and found the whole experience fascinating. A walk back through time.
    It was a day I will never forget. It inspired me do some reading about Hitler and Eva Braun.
    I am so glad that I had the opportunity to visit.

    Reply
  5. Planning a trip to Bavaria and Berchtesgarden this summer and the Eagles Nest are one of our priorities. This was great info and now I feel confident we can get there and have a wonderful visit!

    Thanks for your blog! We plan a 6 week trip to Italy after I retire and I will definitely be checking into your reviews for planning.

    Reply

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