While visiting the Kehlsteinhaus, aka Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, an idea struck me that made me ponder how over time a place can change its intention and the energy it holds. Let me break that down a bit more, as it may sound rather woo-woo. As I was taking the above photo of the bleak building with it’s incredible views of Bavaria, I thought how odd. How odd that a building that was once built by the Third Reich, with their heinous intentions was now an enjoyable tourist destination. A place that once held Nazi mindset energy was now selling postcards, tour books, had a delicious restaurant and hikers who were reveling the views and lovely weather.
I watched as visitors from around the world freely walked about the mountain top and as the Californian in me would say, “I was totally tripping out!” At that moment I found it amusing (for the lack of a better word), that this was an “In your face” moment to Hitler and the Third Reich. I am quite sure that they did not envision their Kehlsteinhaus to be riddled with visitors, purchasing tourist books about their failed glory and eating tasty potato pancakes topped with sour cream.
The Kehlsteinhaus or to us English speakers “The Eagle’s Nest” was a Third Reich era building which was completed in 1938, but inaugurated by Hitler on his birthday- April, 20, 1939. Although the Kehlsteinhaus had fouteen documented visits by Adolph Hitler, he was less than fond of its location. From what I learned on my tour of the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler was afraid of heights and the elevator ride up would make him very anxious.
Kehlsteinhaus was erected on top of the Kehlstein summit in southeastern Germany. The rocky peak above Obersalzberg and near the town of Berchtesgarden, which this haus is built upon, offers overlooks that are breathtaking.
Getting to the top for a visit to Kehsteinhaus, is controlled due to the narrow road passage that hugs the side of the rocky mountain. There are buses that will take you both up and down the mountain for the sake of safety, road preservation and traffic build up.
There are a few ways of arrival to Kehsteinhaus:
If you travel by car, take the A8 and exit at Bad Reichenhall or at Salzburg Süd to Berchtesgaden and from there the Obersalzberg road to the Hintereck parking area at Obersalzberg.
Possible ways of reaching Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle’s Nest)
- RVO-Bus from Hintereck parking area to the Eagle’s Nest parking area
- Or hike from Ofneralm up to the Eagle’s Nest parking area (approx. 1½ to 2 hours)
- Or hike from Scharitzkehl parking area to the Eagle’s Nest parking area on a trail that offers beautiful panoramic views. (approx. 2 ½ to 3 hours)
As for myself, I booked an online coach day tour that left from Munich. There are several tour companies that you can find online that will suit you needs and price point. Look at Viator or Trip Advisor for well reviewed and legitimate tours.
Once you are shuttled up the summit to a car park, the final ascension to the Eagle’s Nest is by a golden brass elevator that is taken from the heart of the mountain. The ornate tunnel (above) leads you to that gilded-mirrored elevator. At the time of my visit, I was not allowed to take elevator photos but you can now google to find pictures and videos.
The tunnel that leads to the elevator, which ascends the final 124 m (407 ft), is lined with marble. The tunnel was originally heated for those passing through it. Although it was typical for high-officials who visited, to be driven through the tunnel directly to the elevator. Afterwards the driver would reverse the car all the way to the end of the tunnel, since there was no space to turn.
Hiking Trails and Restaurant:
Behind the haus there is hiking path that leads further up to an Alpine cross, as well as more outstanding views. I would suggest to give yourself enough time to explore the hiking paths, as well as visiting the building itself.
There is much to see and do at the Eagles Nest, especially their on-site Berg-Restaurant Kehlsteinhaus. I had lunch here on my visit and decided to try their German-style potato pancakes, topped with sour cream and chives, and accomponied with a side salad. It was good and a God send especially during a day of travel and touring. There are other German favorites offered such as schnitzel, strudel and of course, beer!
Kehlsteinhaus is opened seasonally from May until October. For dates and admission prices, please visit their website- Kehlsteinhaus
Enjoy your visit!
Live you life by a compass, not a clock…– Steven Covey
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📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property- Trixie Navarre