Should You Visit Berchtesgaden? 12 Reasons Why You Should

Do you also believe that Bavaria has the most beautiful places in Germany? Maybe it’s yes, Maybe it’s no. But I’m sure Berchtesgaden is one of the places in Bavaria that will convince you why it should be a yes!

In Fact, Berchtesgaden is one of these destinations in Germany so worthy of visiting. Situated in the Bavarian Alps, it is surrounded by awe-inspiring natural scenery to fill your cameras with countless photos and your mind with unforgettable encounters with nature. Yet, there are more!

If you’re wondering what more makes Berchtesgaden worth visiting, you have arrived at the right place. In this post, I give you 12 reasons why you should visit Berchtesgaden – the things and places you must experience and see at least once in your life!

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a tiny commission at no additional cost to you. They will help me maintain this blog and create posts to fulfill the mission of this blog.

This post will basically introduce you to the unmissable tourist attractions, most beautiful places, and best things to do in Berchtesgaden. I added tips for visiting Berchtesgaden, scattered in the discussion below. In case you want to visit Berchtesgaden, they should be helpful.

Before we go to the 12 reasons, I want to ask you one question: Why do you like to travel? In my case, I travel because I want to relax, see spectacular places, fill myself with awe, live life, create fun and lasting memories, and, most importantly, do self-improvement. 

Do you aim for them too? Well, if you do, then you should visit Berchtesgaden. Although there are other places you can see breathtaking places, have fantastic nature experiences, etc., destinations in Berchtesgaden are distinctive enough to be a reason to go.

Here is a list summary of the 12 reasons to visit Berchtesgaden:

  1. Berchtesgaden’s Accessible Location 
  2. Salt Mine Berchtesgaden
  3. Historical Landmark in Berchtesgaden
  4. Berchtesgaden’s Breathtaking Mountain Views
  5. Blissful Lakes in Berchtesgaden
  6. Berchtesgaden has Picturesque Chapels
  7. Watzmann Therme Berchtesgaden
  8. Germany’s Tallest Waterfall is in Berchtesgaden
  9. The Beautiful Gorge in Berchtesgaden
  10. Berchtesgaden’s Spectacular Ice Cave
  11. Scenic Drives in Berchtesgaden
  12. Beer Fests and The Beautiful Bavarian Culture

Hey, before we dive deeper into the discussion of the 12 Reasons To Visit Berchtesgaden, I would like you to know that Berchtesgaden is also included in my Bavarian Alps Itinerary (3, 7, or 10 Days). (Links open the articles in a new tab so you may read them later)

I also have an article about the most beautiful places in Southern Germany. In summary, it discusses the region’s scenic, historical, and magical places. 

Aside from Berchtesgaden, that article talks about the places which you can have day trips from:

  1. MunichOberammergau, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and Mittenwald
  2. NurembergBamberg, Wurzburg, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber
  3. Stuttgart — the Black Forest and Lichtenstein Castle.

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Reason no. 1 Berchtesgaden’s Accessible Location 

Berchtesgaden will make you think that it takes effort and so much time to reach if you look at the map of Germany alone. Located in the southeasternmost part of the country, surrounded by mountains, and a few hundred kilometers away from Berlin – I bet sure it will.

But don’t let it give you a false impression. Because Berchtesgaden is so simple to visit, actually. Especially if you are coming by air from abroad. Berchtesgaden’s accessibility, when you compare it with other similar beautiful places, is definitely a reason to visit Berchtesgaden.

Although Berchtesgaden is located at the edge of Germany, it is just 154 kilometers from Munich, only a 2-hour drive in between. Most importantly, Berchtesgaden is just 26 kilometers from Salzburg, Austria, which is only a 45-minute drive or bus ride.

If you’re like me, who doesn’t want to drive and choose Munich as your jump-off location to Berchtesgaden, the train would be the best option, although it takes 2 hours and a half plus 1 transfer.

Parking can be a problem in Berchtesgaden, especially during peak season. Since there are limited parking lots, you should consider using the train instead of renting a car.

However, if you’re coming from Salzburg, the bus (bus no. 840) is your best and fastest option. It is a direct connection between Salzburg and Berchtesgaden and 20-ish minutes faster than trains.

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Reason no. 2 Salt Mine Berchtesgaden

Uniqueness is one of the qualities of a destination that most travelers look for when searching for a new place to visit. Are you wondering what makes Berchtesgaden different from other towns and nature destinations? It’s no other than its salt mine.

Do you know that mining salt has been a part of Berchtesgaden’s identity for centuries? Residents of this town have been mining salt since the 12th century. 

By the early 16th century, a salt mine was founded. Now, it is considered Germany’s oldest active salt mine. The salt mine’s operation in Berchtesgaden was never interrupted, evolving over time.

Believe it or not, this salt mine is now a primary tourist attraction in town, and it is the second reason you must visit Berchtesgaden. The adventure into a salt mine combined with the breathtaking scenery of the Bavarian Alps is the unique experience package Berchtesgaden has to offer you.

Berchtesgaden’s Salt Mine is like no ordinary salt mine. It is a whole new world underneath. Fun, learnings, and entertainment await you inside. 

Visiting Berchtesgaden Salt Mine is a tour to bring you 650 meters into the mountain. You will be taken to a salt cathedral, a stone salt cave, and a salt laboratory. It ends with an epic, otherworldly rafting on a salt lake reflecting the cave’s ceiling.

This activity is one for the family, actually! Adults will learn so much about making salt process and the machines. Kids? They will enjoy the slides and trains. Young and old will be fascinated by the laser shows and spectacles seen underneath the earth.

The tour inside the salt lake lasts approximately one hour. However, you should allow additional 30 minutes to one hour to line up, change clothes, and return the miner’s clothes. 

Berchtesgaden Salt Mine tours run every 10 minutes from 9:00 am until 4:30 pm, April to October. Then, every 25 minutes from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, November to March. The salt mine is closed on holidays. 

Don’t forget to check Berchtesgaden Salt Mine’s Website for announcements before you visit. You can get your skip-the-line tickets below:

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Reason no. 3 Historical Landmarks in Berchtesgaden

The Salt Mine discussed previously gives visitors insights into Berchtesgaden’s centuries-old industry in a fun and enjoyable way. It is one of the two unique things you can find in Berchtesgaden.

The other one is Eagle’s Nest, and it’s absolutely another reason to visit Berchtesgaden. So, what exactly is the Eagle’s Nest? 

Eagle’s Nest is a historical place in Berchtesgaden which was used by the Nazi Party as an event place for their social and official government meetings. Its name was coined by a French ambassador who described the site as similar to an “eagle’s nest” during a rare diplomatic meeting with Hitler.

With that said, and based on its name and the geography of Berchtesgaden, I believe you now have an idea of what experience awaits you in Eagle’s Nest. Yes, it is a structure on top of a mountain, and it offers you phenomenal scenery of the Bavarian Alps.

Eagle's Nest, Berchtesgaden, Germany
Eagle’s Nest (Drone West View)
Eagle's Nest Berchtesgaden, Germany
Eagle’s Nest (Drone North View)

Perched on the ridges of the Hoher Goll mountain range, 1,834 meters above sea level, you can expect to see views that stretch from Jenner to Konigsee, Berchtesgaden to Salzburg, in Eagle’s Nest. 

The Eagle’s Nest was converted into a restaurant with a beer garden after the war. Come and eat here so both your eyes and tummy will be satisfied!

Visiting Eagle’s Nest is more than just sightseeing, though. Going means getting a ride on its golden brass 124-meter-long elevator, a look at its famous fireplace, Graffitis by Allied forces, and Hitler’s small study room.

There are two ways you can reach Eagle’s Nest from Berchtesgaden, hiking and bus ride. Although Eagle’s Nest is linked to the town with roads, only public transportation is allowed to use them. So, if you have a car, you have to park and leave it at the Busbahnhof Kehlsteinhaus, and from there, take the bus to reach Eagle’s Nest.

Eagle’s Nest is one of the best scenic spots in Berchtesgaden. I have another article discussing all of them. There, I tackled how you can get to each scenic spot and what scenery you’ll see from each. Anyhow, here’s a list of guides and tours which can help you visit Eagle’s Nest: 

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Reason no. 4 Berchtesgaden’s Breathtaking Mountain Views

Literally surrounded by mountains, Hochkalter, Wattzman, Jenner, Untersberg, and many more, Berchtesgaden is undoubtedly for every mountain lover to try. Pacifying sights are just everywhere, and they are enough to be a reason to visit Berchtesgaden. People who seek peace of mind and breathe new life into themselves should come here.

The stunning scenery of the mountains starts on the road to Berchtesgaden, either from Salzburg or Munich. They get better as you come closer and closer to Berchtesgaden. You’ll pass alpine meadows and thick forests – pictures of life that people who have had enough of living in an exhausting city or bustling concrete jungle hardly desire.

Jenner, Berchtesgaden, Germany

If you’re traveling in summer, you can totally immerse yourself in the mountains by going to Berchtesgaden National Park. It has over 260 kilometers of hiking trails where kids and adults, newbies, and expert hikers are welcome to hike and have their revitalizing adventure in the wilds. There are also Via Ferrata routes if you want a more challenging mountain experience!

There are 26 mountain huts & alpine pastures in Berchtesgaden National Park, positioned in tranquil scenery, offering warm accommodation and delicious mountain food for a wholesome hiking experience. You can learn more about the park’s hiking trails, flora, fauna, and history through this flyer from Berchtesgaden National Park.

Some of us don’t prefer hiking or do not have time to hike. If you are one of those, you do not need to worry about missing seeing the best mountain views in Berchtesgaden. Because Bercherstegaden has facilities and services to bring you to those scenic places or vantage points right away in just minutes.

One of these spots with breathtaking mountain scenery in Berchtesgaden is the Eagle’s Nest, which we discussed earlier. Another is Jenner Aussichtsplattform, serviced by a cable car starting from Schönau am Königssee (Berchtesgaden’s neighboring town to the south).

Jenner is a mountain peak belonging to Goll massif, which throughout the years, has become a famous ski resort and hiking destination for tourists and travelers alike. At 1,874 meters above sea level, Jenner offers a panorama of the Watzmann Massif, overlooking Konigsee below. 

If the weather favors you, not only will you see the impressive landscape of the entire Berchtesgadener Land in Jenner but also a sea of clouds overcast Konigssee and Schönau. It’s so spectacular and otherworldly that it should make you think you’re already in heaven.

If you’re interested to learn more about Jenner and how you can get to this fantastic viewpoint, go and check my article about the scenic spots in Berchtesgaden

Hey, I just want to share that if you want to see spectacular views of the Alps like Berchtesgaden in Switzerland, France, and Italy, see my other blog posts:

A sample Switzerland Itinerary to the Swiss Alps (1 to 14 days) may also be helpful.

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Reason no. 5 Blissful Lakes in Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden is worth visiting because it’s a fantastic package deal. Being an alpine destination, it’s not only the mountains you can expect to see. Blissful lakes can be found here, and they’re a beautiful reason you should visit Berchtesgaden.

There are tens of lakes in Berchtesgaden. Most are small and are hidden in the mountains. But there are two or three that you can quickly visit from the town.

The name of Berchtesgaden’s three lakes is Konigsee, Obersee, and Hintersee. They are incomparable to each other – each is beautiful in its own way. However, Konigsee is deemed the most famous and most visited because of its accessible location and fascinating facts.

Obersee, Berchtesgaden, Germany
Hintersee, Berchtesgaden, Germany
Konigssee, Berchtesgaden, Germany

Do you know that Konigsee’s lake water is Germany’s cleanest? Its quality is said to be almost at the level of drinking water! For more than a century now, only battery-operated boats have been allowed to transport people across the lake to avoid oil spillage and cause damage.

The scenery on the boat, from Konigsee’s glittering crystal clear water to lush pine trees and spectacular mountains, is absolutely remarkable. The “longest” mountain face in the Eastern Alps, Watzmann’s, can be seen while on the boat traversing the lake from north to south.

The boat ride in Konigssee starts in Schönau, the village north of the lake. It has three stops before it completes the round trip. Disembark at the Hirschau peninsula to visit the Saint Bartholomew Church, Kassel to visit a small Alpine Pasture, and Salet to another lake called Obersee.

Obersee is the second most beautiful lake you can visit from Berchtesgaden. It’s located near the southern shores of Obersee, a few-minute hike after you disembark from the boat in Salet.

Though Obersee is 10 times smaller than Konigssee, Obersee’s appearance would set you on a picture-taking spree. It’s encircled by mountains, and the lake’s calm and crystal clear water creates a mirror view of these mountains. Staring at Obersee would seem like a look into a portal to another dimension.

The third lake is called Hintersee, and it’s Berchtesgaden’s another picture-worthy destination 12.9 kilometers away from the town. Hintersee is another reason to visit Berchtesgaden for its indescribable splendor.

Did you know? This 16-hectare lake is said to have inspired thousands of artists and photographers since 1850 because of its idyllic postcard-perfect image reflecting the Watzmann massif. Many describe it as the “true” romantic lake.

In my article about the scenic spots in Berchtesgaden, I share more information about Konigssee, Obersee, and Hintersee. The instructions and steps to visit them are included in that post.  

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Reason no. 6 Berchtesgaden has Picturesque Chapels

Are you an Instagram influencer, a professional photographer, or just an enthusiast? The lakes we discussed earlier are not the only places to make you feel excited to visit Berchtesgaden. 

Berchtesgaden has churches perched on so-scenic, picture-perfect locations, and yes, they are another reason to visit Berchtesgaden. There are three churches I am so excited to share. The church of Saint Bartholomew, Wallfahrtskirche Maria Gern, and the Parish Church of St. Sebastian.

Saint Bartholomew Church, Berchtesgaden, Germany
Church of Saint Bartholomew
St. Sebastian Church, Berchtesgaden, Germany
Parish Church of St. Sebastian
Maria Gern, Berchtesgaden, Germany
Maria Gern Chapel

For me, these churches in Berchtesgaden are true gems you find when traveling. They seem to serve as a surprising factor for those who love to wander, hike, or explore. Yeah?

The most famous church among the three churches I mentioned was built in Konigssee’s Hirschau peninsula. It is called the Church of Saint Bartholomew, and it’s the church perched beside a lake that we often see on social media’s travel pages and groups.

What makes the Church of Saint Bartholomew a must-see in Berchtesgaden are its eye-catching white-painted walls and red onion-shaped roofs that are often reflected on Konigssee’s glittering water. It has this fairytale appearance that is just crazy stunning. 

Not to mention the spectacular face of Watzmann mountain in the backdrop of Saint Bartholomew’s Church. Seeing these, together with the glittering water of Konigssee, should be one of the most unforgettable moments you’ll have in Berchtesgaden.

The Church of Saint Bartholomew is also a Roman Catholic pilgrimage church dating back to the 12th century. If you visit Berchtesgaden on the Saturday after the 24th of August, you might see pilgrims who have crossed the Berchtesgaden Alps all the way from Maria Alm in Austria.

On the other hand, the Parish Church of St. Sebastian, constructed way back early 16th century, is simpler to visit. Located in Ramsau, along the road to Hintersee, no boat ride is needed just to see it. Just hop on bus no. 846 in Berchtesgaden central station, and you’ll be at the site within 20 minutes. 

Though the Parish Church of St. Sebastian was not built beside a lake, it has a river near it, however. The mountains are also in their backdrop. A quick stop at the church is a glimpse into the beautiful German countryside in the alps. 

The third church in Berchtesgaden, Wallfahrtskirche Maria Gern, is not located near a body of water but in a small village north of the town called Maria Gern. This town is just below Kneifelspitze, a beautiful mountain whose peak offers panoramic views of Berchtesgaden with Watzmann massif.  

Perched on a hill, surrounded by thick forest, and with the image of Watzmann mountain in the backdrop, this quaint church has everything to make itself straight out of a fairytale.

A little north of the Wallfahrtskirche Maria Gern, you can photograph the church together with the iconic saddle made by the peaks of Watzmann massif. You’ll love how the church pops up from the scene because of its white walls, making fantastic contrast with the vistas around it.

To get to Maria Gern, all you need is to get to Berchtesgaden Rathaus (town hall) and catch a ride on bus 837. You shall arrive at Maria Gern in less than 10 minutes after the bus departs the town hall. The bus leaves the town hall every hour.  

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Reason no. 7 Germany’s Tallest Waterfall is in Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden has the most spectacular mountains, beautiful lakes, and picture-worthy chapels in Germany. But the list of beautiful places does not end there. Berchtesgaden has more natural wonders you must discover, and they’re a reason to be in Berchtesgaden.

One of them is the Rothbach waterfall, situated near Obersee. It’s the gorgeous white line you’ll find on the corner of the valley where Obersee is. Cascading from a 470-meter cliff, Rothbach is considered the tallest waterfall in Germany. 

Rothbach, Berchtesgaden, Germany
Rothbach Waterfalls

Rothbach waterfall is pretty isolated compared to the destinations mentioned previously. This is why many people, including myself, are unaware of Rothbach waterfalls and think it’s the Triberg waterfall in the Black Forest as the country’s tallest.

There are two ways you can get to Rothbach waterfalls. You can either hike from Jenner or take a boat ride in Konigssee and hike to it. You can check my article about the 10 scenic spots in Berchtesgaden to learn more.

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Reason no. 8 The Beautiful Gorge in Berchtesgaden

Previously, I mentioned that Berchtesgaden is a worthy package deal destination you must visit. Aside from graceful waterfalls, fairytale lakes, and stunning mountains, you can also see a gorge in Berchtesgaden that is still a work in progress yet already a masterpiece of nature. 

The name of the gorge in Berchtesgaden is Wimbachklamm. This 200-meter-long gorge is the eighth reason you should visit Berchtesgaden.

Wimbachklamm, Berchtesgaden, Germany
Wimbachklamm Wooden Foot Path, Berchtesgaden, Germany

Visiting Wimbachklamm is a visit to some of nature’s spectacular works of art. It has wooden pathways to bring you to different rock formations with water flowing out. Some rocks even have fossils dating from the Late Triassic period.

It’s another fantastic immersion in nature, I would say. You’ll be amazed by the milky blue water flowing in the middle of the gorge. Somehow it soothes us inside through the thundering sound they create.

If you are staying in Berchtesgaden for days, I suggest that you visit Wimbachklamm together with Hintersee and the Parish Church of Saint Sebastian. These three destinations are serviced with the same bus following route 846. 

Learn more details about Wimbachklamm and how you can visit through my post about the scenic spots in Berchtesgaden.

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Reason no. 9 Berchtesgaden’s Spectacular Ice Cave

If you’re the type of traveler who likes seeing natural wonders, Ice Chapel is yet another reason to visit Berchtesgaden. No, it’s not another church, but a rare natural occurrence whose appearance is truly a marvelous work of nature.

So, what is Ice Chapel all about? Ice Chapel is the lowest-lying snowfield in the alps. Situated at only 800 to 1000 meters above sea level, it is incredibly existing below the freezing altitude of 2000 meters. 

Ice Chapel, Berchtesgaden, Germany

Ice Chapel is frozen all year round, even during the summer. However, it is not yet considered a glacier but is still just firn. Firn is the intermediate stage before the snow completely turns into a glacier.

Though it looks like an ordinary block of ice forming an ice cave from afar, the “real” spectacle is seen when you come closer and enter. It’s an otherworldly scenery – so overwhelmingly unbelievable to see.

Going inside Ice Chapel is like entering a cave, but instead of rocks and soil above and beside you, you’ll see carved ice of different shapes forming irregular blue lattices. It’s really spectacular.

However, it is recommended that you go deep inside Ice Chapel as it is always on the verge of collapsing due to the warming climate. Be cautious when going inside.

The way to the Ice Chapel starts in Konigssee on Hirschau Peninsula. From there, you’ll find a hiking trail leading to the Ice Chapel. The hiking trail to the Ice Chapel is about 3.3 kilometers long, or a 1.5-hour trek. See my article about 10 scenic places in Berchtesgaden to learn more.

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Reason no. 10 Watzmann Therme Berchtesgaden

Visiting Berchtesgaden is also about improving your overall well-being, not only having fun in adventures and filling yourself with awe, which by the way, is good for our physical and mental health. I’ll tell you how later on, but certainly, it is enough to be considered another reason you should visit Berchtesgaden.

With everything that we discussed previously, I know that you already know that visiting Berchtesgaden may involve lots of adventurous activities like hiking and lots of exploring. Though it’ll be fun and unforgettable, tiredness after is definitely inevitable.

Imagine spending all day in the mountains and lakes, hiking for hours, and visiting natural wonders. I’m sure your feet will hurt. Honestly, that’s one of my problems every time I travel!

If you’re visiting Berchtesgaden and planning to do all exciting yet energy-demanding activities, you have an incredible option to relax after. Check out Watzmann Therme, Berchtesgaden’s thermal spa that is great for all ages and best for family travelers. 

Well, Watzmann Therme is not only a spa but an overall wellness center. It offers a wide range of facilities which everyone can enjoy. Additionally, you can see lovely scenery as you relax in their wellness facilities. 

Watzmann Therme offers pools designed for sports, fun 80-meter waterslides with light effects, themed saunas, brine pools, massages, and many more! Learn more about Watzmann Therme from their official website.

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Reason no. 11 Scenic Drives in Berchtesgaden

In the beginning, I said it’s preferable to use public transportation more than renting/bringing your own private vehicle when visiting Berchtesgaden – all because of the limited parking space. But it is not the case if you’re traveling during non-peak season.

It’s better to rent/bring a car to be more flexible with your time. But most importantly, you will choose to drive because Berchtesgaden has scenic roads that await you. The experience of driving on such beautiful roads is another reason you should visit Berchtesgaden.

Rossfeld, Berchtesgaden, Germany

Situated in the alps, one of the most beautiful regions of the world, you are guaranteed that the roads to and within Berchtesgaden have scenery you won’t regret seeing.

There are two roads in Berchtesgaden that you should not miss to see when you drive. The first road is called Rossfeld Panoramic Road. The second road is called the German Alpine road.

The Rossfeld Panoramic Road lies northeast of Berchtesgaden, near the German-Austrian border. It is Germany’s highest panoramic road. Here, you’ll witness the breathtaking scenery of the Berchtesgaden Alps, overlooking Salzburg and Salzach Valley.

On the other hand, the German Alpine Road, the oldest tourist route in the German Alps, is located west of Berchtesgaden. German Alpine Road is the road that links Berchtesgaden with Germany’s largest lake, Bodensee, in southwestern Bavaria.

This beautiful road passes through the charming towns in the region, such as Oberammergau and Garmisch Partenkirchen. If you plan to see more beautiful parts of the Bavarian Alps by car, this is just the way you must take.

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Reason no. 12 The Beautiful Bavarian Culture in Berchtesgaden

The last reason to visit Berchtesgaden is the Bavarian Culture. Starting from quaint preserved towns and adorable houses to festive beers festivals and so on – they will just fascinate you very much. 

We can start with the culture embedded in the streets of Berchtesgaden. You would not believe how charming Bavarian towns are. A visit to each is like going inside a colorful book and marveling at the beautiful artwork.

Berchtesgaden Old Town, Berchtesgaden, Germany
Berchtesgaden Old Town

Houses in a Bavarian town like Berchtesgaden have Luftmalerei in their facades. They are beautiful and colorful murals that depict various things, from biblical stories to the patron saints of houses and the livelihood or work of the house owner. 

Because of Luftmalerei painted in the houses, these Bavarian towns are now like open museums where you discover new things and culture by just leisurely strolling around. Most Luftmalerei applies trompe-l’œil style, making the townscape even more captivating.

What’s more compelling about visiting Berchtesgaden? It has numerous engaging cultural events spread all over the year. To witness them is such a memorable experience. Here is the calendar of events to learn more.

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Is Berchtesgaden Worth Visiting 10 Reasons Why Should Visit
Is Berchtesgaden Worth Visiting 10 Reasons Why Should Visit

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