Berchtesgadener Land: breathtaking beauty in the Alps

A few weeks ago, I discovered one of the most beautiful places in the world. Tucked in the far southern corner of Germany, surrounded by beautiful forests, crystal-clear lakes and rivers, and crowned by the spectacular Bavarian Alps, Berchtesgadener Land simply took my breath away.

Berchtesgadener Land

The countless hiking trails, fresh alpine air, sunshine and wonderful warm Bavarian hospitality bowled me over completely; and, when the day arrived that I had to say goodbye, I left with a very heavy heart.

Piece of heaven

Map showing Berchtesgadener Land in Bavaria
A map of Germany showing Berchtesgadener Land in the far south (in red).

Berchtesgadener Land is a little piece of heaven, located about 135km south of München, in the district of Upper Bavaria (“Oberbayern” in German) – so-called as it is much higher above sea level that the rest of Bavaria. Its unique geographical setting at the most southern point of Bavaria, bordering the Alps and Austria (it’s very close to Salzburg), has blessed this area with the most extraordinary beauty Nature has on offer. So much so, that it also is home to the spectacular Berchtesgaden National Park, one of the oldest protected areas in the Alps, and the pristine fjord-like Königssee, Germany’s deepest and cleanest lake.

With all these credentials, it is no wonder that I am unable to describe this place without the use of countless superlatives! Only if you have visited this area for yourself, you will know that I am not exaggerating.

The Königssee in Berchtesgadener Land, Bavaria, Germany. (Credit:
The spectacular Königssee in Berchtesgadener Land.

I have been lucky to visit Bavaria and Austria a number of times in the past, but somehow this little corner had always escaped me. Little did I know what I was missing! In the summer, nature lovers come from all over Germany to enjoy the healthy fresh mountain air while hiking, mountain biking or simply relaxing in the beautiful surrounds. And in the winter, when the area is transformed into a snowy white wonderland, it becomes a fun playground for alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and sledding.

The beautiful 'Königlicher Kurgarten' (Royal Spa Garden) in Bad Reichenhall. (Credit:
The beautiful ‘Königlicher Kurgarten’ (Royal Spa Garden) in Bad Reichenhall.

Berchtesgadener Land is well-known for its many spa resorts (“Kurorte”), especially in the towns of Bad Reichenhall (the administrative centre of the Berchtesgadener Land district) and Berchtesgaden. The area’s fresh spring waters, pure mountain air, mineral-rich soil and salt are the perfect ingredients for natural health treatments and recuperation. However, long before it was cool to go to spas; or hike and ski for exercise, this region was famous for something else: precious salt!

The Old Salt Works Museum ('Alte Saline') in Bad Reichenhall. (Credit:
The Old Salt Works Museum (‘Alte Saline’) in Bad Reichenhall.

From the early Middle Ages, salt has been extracted from the saline springs in the Bavarian Alps – this “white gold” which was so much more important for survival than gold, brought great wealth to the region. No visit to Berchtesgadener Land is complete without a tour of the Berchtesgaden Salt Mine and the Old Salt Works Museum in Bad Reichenhall.

Beautiful Bavarian house and flowers in Berchtesgadener Land. (Credit:
Bavarian architecture with pretty flowers on the balcony.

Exploring Berchtesgadener Land is really easy by use of the local trains, buses and clearly signposted hiking trails. The towns are rich in history, culture and beautiful Bavarian architecture, offer fantastic food and beer (of course!) and it is such a delight to listen to the charming Bavarian dialect.

Hiking trails

If you’re up to it, you could walk to all the beautiful towns and villages along the most scenic trails, with the clear waters of the river never far. Feed your soul with long walks in the forest, swim in the lakes, listen to the birdsong and the bells of the cows on the green pastures and admire the majestic Watzmann mountain, which, at a height of 2 713m is the tallest in the area.

Beautiful river Berchtesgadener Land. (Credit:

Cows near Ramsau in Berchtesgadener Land, Germany. (Credit:

Berchtesgadener Land is nicknamed “The Pearl of the Alps”, and rightfully so. I could happily live there for the rest of my life.

Look out for my next blog posts where I will share some more photos and stories about the gems I discovered in Berchtesgadener Land during my recent visit.

(Frame weekly photo challenge)

14 thoughts on “Berchtesgadener Land: breathtaking beauty in the Alps

  • Oct 28, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    It looks just like I would have imagined. That whole area – as the Alps extend into Austria, Switzerland, pieces of France and Italy – has its own unique personality with those endearing timbered houses with their overflowing power boxes, the soft, brown cows, the green hills, and of course, the almost fake blue water of the mountain lakes. I know what you mean when you say how hard to was to drag yourself away. I find myself going back time and again also, and next time, Berchtesgaden will be on my list!

    • Oct 28, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      I agree. The entire Alpine Region is a separate fairytale world. (The political borders are just something on a map.) Love it! Next time, I’ll cross the border into Austria to visit Hallstatt. I’ve visited other places in Salzkammergut Region but have been avoiding the throngs of tourists in Halstatt. I’ll just follow your example and start the day very early 🙂

    • Sep 11, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      What a wonderful adventure it must have been! And rowing out together on the Königssee. So magical… I plan to write another post specifically about the Königssee soon. Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories with me!

  • Sep 5, 2016 at 12:28 am

    I’ve always said I have no desire to travel to foreign countries (except to return to Italy) but you are possibly changing my mind. This part of the world looks so beautiful.

    • Sep 6, 2016 at 6:41 am

      Maybe on your way to Italy, you could stop by in Berchtesgadener Land 🙂 You definitely won’t regret it!

    • Aug 30, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      Oh wow! I see you live in Bavaria – how lucky you are! You should definitely go, yes…you won’t regret it 🙂

  • Aug 30, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Oooh, it’s stunning! I’ve heard about how amazing this area is but never actually made it there.


    • Aug 30, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      It really is 🙂 It also took me far too long to visit this stunning corner of the world. Too much to see, too little time!

  • Aug 30, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Gorgeous pics. I haven’t been deep into the Alps but have driven from Zurich to Venice, through the San Gotthard Pass and it was also exquisite! Shall add to my “visit Germany” bucket list 🙂

    • Aug 30, 2016 at 11:30 am

      Ah, I have only seen pics of St Gotthard Pass and it looks amazing! Thanks for the visit 🙂

  • Aug 28, 2016 at 6:59 am

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful corner of the world, Birgit. Reminds me of views from the train trip from Munich to Salzburg, but you were able to take it slowly 🙂
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    • Aug 29, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks! That stretch between Munich and Salzburg really is one of the most scenic 🙂 So glad I could take it in slowly!


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