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Essential tips for visiting the Eagle’s Nest

Can I drive all the way up to the Eagle’s Nest? Do I need a tour or can I take care of myself? Can I pre-book tickets online?

Don’t worry! Undiscovered Berchtesgaden has distilled all the essential tips for your visit to the Eagle’s Nest. Scroll down to find out more.

A. The Eagle’s Nest (or ‘Kehlsteinhaus’) is tea-house perched on mountain in the Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, Germany. It was originally built by the National Socialists (Nazis) in 1938 and sits atop the Kehlstein mountain at 1834m (6017ft) above sea level, along with a jaw-dropping 17 kilometres (11 miles) of alpine access roads. It is now a restaurant that can be easily visited with some of the best views of surrounding Germany and Austria.

The original use of the Eagle’s Nest was as a diplomatic house for Hitler and the National Socialist administration to receive and impress their VIP guests. This ended with the dawn of the Second World War and official visits by Hitler himself total just 14. The Eagle’s Nest was, however, used extensively by Eva Braun right up until 1945.  Eva Braun was essentially Hitler’s secret lover and had to be kept away from the public eye to preserve Hitler’s public image. 

Having escaped heavy allied bombing in April 1945, the Eagle’s Nest and Eagle’s Nest road were seized by the US armed forces and became part of their secure area on the Obersalzberg from June 1945. It was only in 1949 that German civilians were finally able to visit the Obersalzberg and 1952 when that the state of Bavaria was able to take control of the Eagle’s Nest and it’s road. Whilst many ruins of the National Socialist era on the Obersalzberg were destroyed at this time (including Hitler’s home, The Berghof), the Bavarian state put the Eagle’s Nest and Eagle’s Nest road to use as a tourist attraction. 

From 1952 right through to today, a specialised bus service has run on the mountain to The Eagle’s Nest which now functions as a restaurant with some of the best views in Germany. For those expecting a museum, the Eagle’s Nest will require a little imagination owing to its primary use as a tourist restaurant. Some reading beforehand (like our background story or self guided tour) will enhance your experience tremendously as information about its history in the house itself is lacking.

A. In short, yes you can. It is possible to visit two of Berchtesgaden’s three main attractions in a day, but you must start as early as possible in the morning to manage it. A visit to the Eagle’s Nest in the morning followed by the Berchtesgaden salt mine in the afternoon is a popular combination, as is visiting lake Königssee after a morning exploring the Eagle’s Nest. 

Combining two of the main sights lends itself to those travelling by car. If you haven’t made a start by 1100 in the morning, it will be too tight to manage and many public transport routes from Munich and Salzburg struggle to meet this requirement. If you’re entirely reliant on public transport, our advice would be to experience one attraction per day and take your time enjoying it. 

A. The Eagle’s Nest can only be reached by a special bus route that begins next to the main car park by the Documentation Centre on the Obersalzberg. If you’re driving you will need to drive to the Obersalzberg, park up and take the special bus to reach the Eagle’s Nest.

The Obersalzberg is just east of Berchtesgaden and a two-hour drive from Munich on the A8 in good traffic conditions. To get to the Eagle’s Nest from Salzburg, it’s only a 40-minute journey over the border. Pop the following address (the Documentation Centre Obersalzberg’s main car park) into your phone or car navigation system:

Salzbergstraße 43
83471 Berchtesgaden
Germany / Deutschland

A. You can get to the Eagle’s Nest from Salzburg by taking Bus 840 from the Salzburg main train station (Hauptbahnhof) to the Berchtesgaden main train station (a duration of around 50 minutes). From there, you can take Bus 838 from Berchtesgaden main train station to the Dokumentation Obersalzberg stop (15 minutes).

If coming from Salzburg and using the 840 bus, it’s best to buy a day ticket for €12 per adult as this will also then cover your onward travel to the Dokumentation Obersalzberg stop. For those who are already staying in Berchtesgaden, your host should have provided you with a guest card that will give you free travel on Bus 838. Up to date timetables for all busses can be found here by entering the required bus number. Watch out as the timetable changes between the winter & summer seasons. 

From the 838 Bus stop for Dokumentation Obersalzberg, you’ll be able to see the two large blue flags in the car park with “Kehlsteinhaus” written on them. The Eagle’s Nest can only be reached by a special bus route that begins down the steps next to these flags. 

Please note that the 838 bus can be extremely busy in the summer and it may be necessary to take a taxi if you have an unmissable connection or commitment in Berchtesgaden as you may find the bus is full on your return journey. Alternatively, if you’ve the time, the hiking trail from the Dokumentation Centre car park takes you through the beautiful scenery of the Obersalzberg and back to Berchtesgaden in around 2 and a half hours. Head down the slope past the bus stop and pick up the route where you see the yellow sign posts on the left-hand side of the corner. 

A. There is a reasonable amount of parking at the Documentation Centre Obersalzberg’s main car park, however, in the summer things can get quite busy as the day progresses. Our tip is to arrive as early as you can in the morning. 

Pricing is at €3 per day, although if you’re staying locally your host should have provided you with a guest card that will provide a discount from the parking machine. As of early 2020, none of the machines yet take credit card, so make sure you have some euro change with you. If you don’t have change, there is a souvenir shop next to the car park to break into euro notes for change. 

Once parked, there is a restaurant alongside the souvenir shop at the car park in case you need to visit a WC or want something to eat or drink. The Eagle’s Nest bus departure point can by identified by the two large blue flags in the car park with “Kehlsteinhaus” written on them. 

A. You can walk or cycle from Documentation Centre Obersalzberg’s main car park up to the Eagle’s Nest thanks to the 17 kilometres (11 miles) of alpine access roads that were commissioned in 1938 when the Eagle’s Nest was built. 

Our tip is to start early in the morning and hike the beautiful trails that will (in around 3-4 hours) take you all the way up to the Eagle’s Nest and entitle you to as much schnitzel, beer and cake as you can devour.  The beginning of the trail is marked with yellow way markers that direct you towards the Kehlsteinhaus from the main roundabout at the Documentation Centre Obersalzberg’s main car park. A large-scale map next to the bus departure point flags gives you an overview of the route. Make sure you’re equipped with hiking boots, waterproofs and lots of water as this is a mountain route where the weather can change quickly.

A. You can avoid taking the Eagle’s Nest lift by walking 20-30 minutes up from the Eagle’s Nest entrance tunnel.  To get to the asphalt/gravel path that snakes up to the top, head back down the Eagle’s Nest Road from the entrance tunnel for around 200m (650ft) and you’ll see a yellow signpost and path to your left showing you the way up. 

A. The Eagle’s Nest was not Hitler’s home; the Berghof was Hitler’s home on the Obersalzberg, however it was damaged in the April 1945 Allied bombing raid on the area and totally destroyed in 1952. The site of the Berghof is a few minutes’ walk north of the Documentation Centre and is marked with an information board.

A. Yes, the Obersalzberg Documentation Centre is just a five-minute walk from the Eagle’s Nest bus departure point and is the perfect companion to a trip up to the Eagle’s Nest. The Eagle’s Nest busses essentially depart form right next door to the Documentation Centre. 

As well as a well-curated exhibition handling broader National Socialist themes, the Documentation Centre also gives access to some of the underground tunnels that were built in the early 1940s as allied bombing raids became a real threat in south Germany. 

A. New for 2024, you can now pre-book tickets for the Eagle’s Nest using the Berchtesgaden Tourist Board website.

When you buy a ticket, you’ll be allocated to a specific time of departure and bus number. Your ticket is only valid for the time and bus number shown, so make sure that you arrive at your bus (waiting opposite the ticket kiosk) with 10 minutes to spare. The ticket covers a return journey to the Eagle’s Nest, a ride in the original 1938 lift (elevator) that runs within the Kehlstein mountain and access to the Eagle’s Nest itself. 

The tickets cost €31.90 for adults and €16.50 for children between 6-14. Children under 6 are free of charge. 

You can visit the Eagle’s Nest without a tour and our self guided tour will help you navigate around the history of the building.

Once you’ve arrived at the Eagle’s Nest you will need to reserve your place on one of the return journeys by taking your ticket to the kiosk just outside the entrance to the lift tunnel and asking one of the clerks to stamp your ticket with your desired return time. We recommend to spend at least two hours at The Eagle’s Nest, more if it’s a sunny day and you’d like to make use of the sun terrace and have something to eat. If you don’t get your ticket stamped at this point you may have to wait for a while to find space on the busses once you’ve finished your visit and want to return down to the bus departure point. 

If you lose your ticket, go and speak with one of the clerks at the ticket kiosk next to the entrance tunnel, who’ll do their best to squeeze you on a return bus as soon as they can. 

Please note that tickets for the Eagle’s Nest are entirely separate from your ticket to the Documentation Centre and that day tickets for the regional bus network do not cover the special line (bus number 849) up to the Eagle’s Nest. For those who are already staying in Berchtesgaden, your host should have provided you with a guest card that will give you a discount on tickets for the Eagle’s Nest. 

A. Normal opening times for the Eagle’s Nest are mid-May to Mid-October each year, however, this is at the discretion of the team that maintain the Eagle’s Nest road and when they consider it safe from snow & ice for the busses to make the journey up to 1834m (6017ft) above sea level.  July, August and September are almost guaranteed to be fine for visiting the Eagle’s Nest, but if you’re visiting in May, June or October check directly here to avoid disappointment. 

A. The Eagle’s Nest is open daily from mid-May until the end of October from 0830 – to around 1600.

Exact opening times for the Eagle’s Nest are determined by the bus schedule; the first bus of the day departs at 0830 from the ticket kiosk/bus departure point and the last sets off at 1600, although this final bus only gives you around 30 minutes at the Eagle’s Nest itself. 

Please note that you cannot visit the Eagle’s Nest outside of its official opening schedule. The schedule is determined purely by the safety of the Eagle’s Nest road and is monitored by alpine road experts. Please respect their advice. The Documentation Centre is open year-round and is worth a visit, even in bad weather.

A. As a minimum, we would recommend at least two hours at the Eagle’s Nest: an hour to explore the building (even if it’s raining) and then another hour if you fancy something to eat or a drink with a phenomenal view. Add a third hour if you’d like to explore the mountain ridge behind the Eagle’s Nest and take the footpath back to the tunnel entrance. 

The best tip for visiting the Eagle’s Nest is to start the day as early as you possibly can. The first bus up to the Eagle’s Nest departs at 0830 from the ticket kiosk/bus departure point and will give you optimum conditions for photos and exploring.

A. As of early 2024, no audio guide exists for the Eagle’s Nest.  The Eagle’s Nest busses provide a brief commentary in German and English, but it’s only a 3-4-minute overview. Your best bet is to head over to our story of the Eagle’s Nest and self guided tour of the Eagle’s Nest, to truly delve into the fascinating history of the Eagle’s Nest. 

A. Dogs are welcome on board the busses and in the Eagle’s Nest and don’t require an extra ticket. Drinking bowls for dogs can be found in the Eagle’s Nest restaurant outdoor seating area.  

A. If it’s raining you can still enjoy the trip to the Eagle’s Nest as the busses still run in rainy weather. This offers the chance to explore the Eagle’s Nest with lower than normal visitor numbers, great for history buffs. 

To see the latest weather at the Eagle’s Nest, check out the Eagle’s Nest Weather webcam

A. As with any trip into the mountains, you need to take plenty of layers to the Eagle’s Nest and make sure one of them is waterproof. Regardless of the season, alpine weather can change quickly and it’s best to not be caught off guard. You will be reaching 1834m (6017ft) above sea level, so expect it to be several degrees cooler than in Berchtesgaden town.  

We strongly recommend you wear hiking shoes since it can be extremely slippery underfoot, especially around the Kehlstein mountain peak and path back down to the tunnel entrance.

A. The best photos of the interior of the Eagle’s Nest are taken as early as possible on a sunny day when the restaurant is only operating outside seating. Scroll down to the step by step guide section to learn more about what you’ll find – including the Mussolini fireplace and Eva Braun’s tearoom. 

If it’s mountain views you’re after, make sure you pick a clear day. From atop the Kehlstein mountain you can capture beautiful vistas across lake Königssee into the Berchtesgadenerland National Park and views to the north of Salzburg and the distant mountains. 

Make sure you take the path back down to the tunnel entrance rather than the lift if you’d like to take a photo of the Eagle’s Nest from its much less photographed west face.

A. The primary use of the Eagle’s Nest today is as a restaurant, serving hearty traditional Bavarian dishes, healthy portions of cake and plenty of beer. The restaurant serves exclusively outside in good weather, whilst service migrates to the Great Hall should it start to rain/snow/hail/thunder. There’s no need to book to eat at the Eagle’s Nest restaurant and an up to date menu can be found on the restaurant’s website here.

Vegetarians and vegans should note that there is limited vegetarian or vegan food at the Eagle’s Nest as hearty traditional Bavarian dishes are essentially all meat-based. If you’re tired of eating overpriced chips as the only vegan option, we recommend you bring some good snacks with you to the Eagle’s Nest.

A. Yes. Under 6’s travel free and 6-14-year olds (with ID) can travel for almost half the adult price. Prams/buggies/strollers can be taken on-board free of charge and the bus crew can deploy a ramp to help with boarding. Both the main Eagle’s Nest ticket office and the departure point up at the Eagle’s Nest itself have accessible WCs/restrooms with baby change facilities. 

A. There are step free and baby change facilities along with regular toilets at both the main Eagle’s Nest ticket office and the departure point up at the Eagle’s Nest. The toilets in the Eagle’s Nest building itself are not step free, nor do they have they baby change facilities. 

A. All Eagle’s Nest busses are wheelchair accessible and bus crew will happily deploy ramps to help you aboard. The Eagle’s Nest Tunnel, lift and dining room are all step free, but you will have to tackle two sets of seven steps to visit the Great Hall and Eva Braun’s Tearoom (Sharitzkehlzimmer). As of 2024 there are, unfortunately, no ramps to assist with these steps. There are step free toilets at the Eagle’s Nest next to the bus drop-off point, on the left hand side of the entrance tunnel.

A. Don’t forget the obligatory gift shops (!). At nearly all times during your visit to the Eagle’s Nest you’ll spot kiosks selling everything from beer steins to aprons. Useful items like maps and detailed Eagle’s Nest guidebooks are also available. 

A. There is no wi-fi at the Eagle’s Nest itself, but there is at the main ticket office. Look for the “Bayern WLAN” network. There is also no phone signal or cellular data for most of the bus ride or at the Eagle’s Nest itself.