Kehlsteinhaus and Obersalzberg

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History of the Kehlsteinhaus

With probably the most stunning panoramic views in Germany, the Kehlsteinhaus is one of the most beautiful excursion destinations in Berchtesgaden. Perched 1834 m above the rooftops of Berchtesgaden, you can see up to 193 kilometers away on a clear day! To this day, opinions differ on the question of whether the entire Kehlsteinhaus project from the mountain road to the mountain hut on the summit was a gift for Hitler's 50th birthday on April 20, 1939 or not. What is certain is that it is and remains one of the most impressive buildings in the world.

Nazi engineer Martin Bormann chose the site carefully because he knew Hitler loved the view at the teahouse, which he visited daily. It was a huge achievement as the road required 3000 workers to work around the clock in dangerous conditions. While it took around 13 months to build the 6,5 kilometer road, the house on the summit was completed a year earlier, in the fall of 1938.

The interior of the house was lavishly decorated, including a marble fireplace that was a gift from Italian dictator Mussolini. However, despite its beauty and unique location, Hitler only made 13 official visits to the Eagle's Nest, most of them in the first year. This is quite strange considering that he spent almost 1/3 of his time in power at his mountain farm at nearby Obersalzberg. He visited the Kehlsteinhaus for the first time on September 16, 1938 and the last time on October 17, 1940.

The most common reasons known today are that Hitler did not like the change in air pressure caused by the altitude in the Eagle's Nest and that he was afraid of being struck by lightning in the elevator or being assassinated. Although Hitler himself did not often visit the site, his lover Eva Braun visited the Eagle's Nest. Eva's sister Gretl even held her wedding reception at the Kehlsteinhaus in 1944.

During the Allied conquest in 1945, the Eagle's Nest was spared from bombing by the British. In contrast to many other buildings on Obersalzberg, this one was not demolished, but was converted into a restaurant in 1952. The Kehlsteinhaus restaurant offers good food and a beautiful, sunny terrace.

Click here to go to the official website of the Kehlsteinhaus:

Entrance fees Kehlsteinhaus 2024

Return journey including lift: 
Adults: EUR 31,90
Family ticket: Parents with their own children or grandparents with their own grandchildren in an unlimited number: EUR 65,20
Family ticket for single parents: EUR 34,10 (25% discount on Fridays)
Children 6 to 14 years: 16,50 EUR
Children 0 to 5: Free
Discounts for families, groups, single parents, and upon presentation of the guest card.

Opening times Kehlsteinhaus 2024

In summer, from May until October The bus runs every 8 minutes from 30:16 a.m. to 00:25 p.m.
Planned opening: May 16.05.2024, XNUMX
On this day the first bus leaves at 11:00 a.m.

Last descent 16:50 p.m

The Kehlsteinhaus is closed in winter from November to April!

The path to the Kehlsteinhaus

In order to preserve the beauty of the Kehlstein and the surrounding nature, the architect Roderich Fick decided back then to overcome the last few meters up to the Kehlsteinhaus using an elevator inside the mountain.

You get to this elevator through a tunnel. This is largely original. Mirrored, gilded and equipped with green leather armchairs, which are usually folded up due to the high number of visitors. After about 124 meters in the elevator you will reach the inside of the Kehlsteinhaus.

If you don't want to take the elevator, you can also hike up. You will reach the summit in about 20 minutes.

What you definitely have to do is the “hike” to the summit cross. From here you have the most beautiful view of the Kehlsteinhaus and you can also take one of the postcard photos with a view of the valley.

The Kehlsteinstrasse

After only 13 months of construction, Kehlsteinstrasse was completed in 1938 and is a masterpiece by the Nazi engineer Martin Bormann and the builder of the German highways Dr. Dead. The 6,5 kilometer long road with a height difference of 700 meters and 5 tunnels is overcome with just a single bend. Because of the steep cliffs, there was simply no room for any more bends, which makes the road even more impressive.

The mountain road bus ride is exciting (not scary) and offers beautiful views. Since most of the road is only one lane, the bus stops a few times to wait for oncoming buses. The steep, single-lane mountain road is closed to the public.

The entire route is closed to public transport. The only way to reach Hitler's famous Kehlsteinhaus, apart from a 2-hour hike, is to take the Kehlstein bus. To do this, you have to get a special ticket at the ticket office at Obersalzberg.

Documentation Obersalzberg

The documentation at Obersalzberg was commissioned by the Free State of Bavaria in 1999, designed and realized by the Institute for Contemporary History and finally opened on October 20, 1999. The museum was built on the ruins of the former Hoher Göll guesthouse, primarily so that citizens can learn from the past and never repeat it. Historians were happy with this decision because when the city gained control of six more former Nazi buildings in 1952, they tore them down for fear of glorification.

The original foundation of the former Hoher Göll guesthouse and large parts of the Nazi underground bunker system were integrated into today's Documentation Center museum, as tastefully as one can get with such a sensitive topic. You can go underground independently Bunker facilities Visit and really feel like you've been transported back in time. We find the museum's information exhibits fascinating and very educational and highly recommend that you visit the Eagle's Nest with a visit to the Documentation Obersalzberg connect to. The documentation at Obersalzberg was built to receive 30.000-40.000 visitors annually, but is currently being expanded and redesigned due to the constant increase in the number of visitors due to space problems.

Here you can access the official website of the Obersalzberg documentation:

Opening times documentation Obersalzberg 2024

April to October:
Monday to Sunday 9 a.m. – 17 p.m. (last admission 16 p.m.)
November to March: Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m. – 15 p.m. (last admission 14 p.m.)
Closed: on November 1st, December 24th, 25th and 31st and January 1st

Entrance fees documentation Obersalzberg 2024

Adult: 3 Euros
Children (up to 18 years): Free
Also free of charge (with valid proof): Trainees, teachers, pupils, students, severely disabled people, those doing voluntary service, holders of a volunteer card, police officers and soldiers on active duty
Discount with guest card: 0,50 Euros

Hotel for Turks

A cozy country house has stood in this unique location since the Türkenhäusl was built in 1630. It is said that the name “Türkenhäusl” comes from the original owner, who was a veteran of the Turkish sieges of Vienna in the 16th century. The view from the hotel to the Turk, as it is called today, is unique and its history is just as unique.

In 1903, Karl Schuster bought the Türkenhäusl and within eight years converted it into the Hotel Zum Türken with its own butcher shop. Schuster was previously also an innkeeper at the Purtschellerhaus on Hohen Göll, which is still located on the German-Austrian border, offers an incredibly beautiful view and is served throughout the summer months. The Hotel Zum Türken turned out to be a great success and attracted world-famous guests. Among others, Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria, Crown Prince Wilhelm & Princess Cecilie of Prussia and the German composer Johannes Brahms resided there.

When Hitler moved in next door in 1928 and began buying up all the buildings on the Obersalzberg near the Berghof, Schuster refused to sell the Hotel Zum Türken. Karl Schuster spoke out openly against the Nazis and was not happy that the presence of SS troops in the building next door was damaging his hotel business. To force him to sell, Hitler sent Schuster to the Dachau concentration camp for 3 weeks and the property was forcibly confiscated by the Nazis. During World War II, a Nazi guard post and an SS gate were set up at the edge of the parking lot. The Hotel Zum Türken was used as military accommodation during this time.

Beneath the hotel is a large portion of the still intact underground bunker facilities, which were built as air raid shelters in 1943 and were open to the public for viewing until the hotel was sold in 2021.

This part of the bunker complex was once associated with Hitler's and served as a secret escape route. When you take a tour of the underground bunkers, you can see at the end the bricked-up entrance that once led to Hitler's Berghof.
You can also look through the gun windows and see three underground prison cells.

In total, there were six separate federal systems on Obersalzberg with over 6,5 kilometers of tunnels, all of which were 30 to 90 meters underground. Tunnel network provided protection from air raids for thousands of people when needed. These deep bunkers protected around 3.000 people during the British bombing raids on Obersalzberg.

The property was heavily bombed at the end of World War II and the owner Karl Schuster was previously expropriated.

After World War II, the Schuster/Scharfenberg family had to fight to buy back their damaged house so that it could not be demolished by the government. It's crazy to think that they had to buy their own house again even though it had been taken from them just a decade before.

The family then completely renovated the house and was the fourth generation to run the hotel until 2021.

The Hotel zum Türken was sold in 2021 and now has a new owner. It has been closed indefinitely since the sale.

Hiking to the Kehlsteinhaus

Hike from Hintereck

Start: Hintereck car park (near the Obersalzberg documentation)
Walking time: 2 – 2 ½ hours

First you follow Kehlsteinstraße a bit uphill. The access ban only applies after 2 km, so don't be put off by the prohibition signs. Every now and then you can also take a few shortcuts to overcome the winding roads. After about half an hour (from the point where access is banned) you turn left from Kehlsteinstrasse. Along the way you can also see some of the small tar roads that cross the forest everywhere. These served as supply routes during the construction of the Kehlsteinhaus. About half an hour later the path joins a tarred road coming from Ofner Boden. The route now zig-zags, completely asphalted and with a moderate gradient, uphill for about an hour to the bus turning point directly below the Kehlsteinhaus.

You can climb the last hundred meters in about 20 minutes on a promising, tarred zigzag path.

Hike from Ofnerboden

Start: Ofnerboden (on Rossfeld Panoramastrasse)
Walking time: 1 1/2 – 2 hours

The starting point here is the Ofner Boden. Reachable in about 2,5 km from Maustelle Süd on the Rossfeld Panoramastrasse. The hiking trail up to the Kehlsteinhaus begins right next to the hut. After just a few minutes it leads into a small tarred road that is closed to public traffic. After about half an hour, the path leading up from the Hintereck car park joins you from the right. It continues as described above.

Remnants from the “Brown Past”

Although it is reminiscent of the darkest era in German history, the former Hitler site and the documentation on Obersalzberg are still high on the visitor list for Berchtesgaden's guests.

The Americans did a great job with their bombing raid on April 25, 1945. Only a few relics from the Hitler era remain. The return of large parts of the American restricted area to the German authorities in 1952 was tied to the condition, among other things, that the ruins of Hitler's Berghof and the country houses of Göring and Bormann were removed and the huge underground bunkers were bricked up. The aim was to ensure that Obersalzberg did not develop into a place of pilgrimage for right-wing extremists.

Today, trees and grass grow over most of the building remains from the Third Reich. Apart from the Kehlsteinhaus, which was spared from the air raid, there are still a few buildings that were badly damaged in the bombing but have since been rebuilt. The former, huge Bormanns estate on the access road from Berchtesgaden to Obersalzberg now invites you to play golf in summer and ski in breathtaking scenery in winter.

So today there is not much left to see of Hitler's former impressive mountain fortress.

However, this does not seem to affect tourist interest. Many people still flock to the Obersalzberg and the Kehlsteinhaus during peak travel times, and certainly not just because of the beautiful view. The mountain simply has its “brown past”.

For the Berchtesgadener Land, the current popularity of the mountain is a very rich source of income - in a sense, a contribution to making amends for the destruction of the former holiday paradise by the Nazi rulers and for the bad reputation that the Obersalzberg has acquired through no fault of its own.

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