Mountain staycation at the luxury Kempinski Berchtesgaden
Updated: Aug 10, 2020
Thanks to Covid-19, travel options this summer are very limited and many of us will opt for a holiday within our own country or maybe several shorter staycations closer to home. As all my life is basically around traveling the current situation feels at first like being imprisoned for me. But hey, then I have to remind myself that I am actually living in one of the most popular tourist destination within Germany – millions of foreigners are visiting Munich and the surrounding mountains every year and fall in love with this friendly and almost Italian styled city plus the picturesque countryside around. So better to stop complaining, but as always in life the most beautiful things that are the closest to us we often don´t appreciate. So I will take the positive side out of this situation and I will start to explore my home country within the next weeks, so watch out for further Blog posts and Social Media feeds….and in the end after 16 years abroad, Germany and especially Bavaria deserve some attention now from me.
Talking about attention – that is what our tourist hotspots in the South of Germany are getting a lot these days. As I mentioned above some of the places have been popular since long, but since the Corona restrictions these regions are facing a new super boom – which is actually not always a good thing and a lot of communities are already trying to find their way out of this mass tourism. Words as #overtourism are common these days and to be honest, I can understand the local communities as they have to deal now not only with the tourists, but also with the stressed and confined city people longing for a day in the outdoors.
Therefore I won´t be able to tell you that you will be alone in the tranquillity of nature, enjoying the lush green environment on your own. However we still have lot of spots around, which are less popular and maybe you can avoid weekends and the peak holiday season for a visit.
For my staycation I chose, different from what I suggested above, one of the major tourist hotspots (yes, also travel experts have to go sometimes to the major hubs 😊) – Berchtesgadener Land, which is indeed one of the most beautiful regions that we have close to Munich. A breath-taking mountain scenery, green forests and vast fields of grass land with all kind of wild flowers. Of course in a mountain region like that you have almost unlimited possibilities for nature hikes, trekking tours, mountain biking and real challenging mountain or climbing trails. I will come to these activities again later on.
Berchtesgaden is easily accessible by train from Munich or by car through the A8 highway. Closest international airport would be Munich in Germany or Salzburg in Austria.
Thanks to the help of a very respected friend, I was able to secure one of the last free rooms (due to the Corona restrictions they can´t run a full occupancy) at the Kempinski Hotel Berchtesgaden www.kempinski.com
This resort is a real jewel under all the mountain get-a-ways of this region. Located a bit out of town on the Obersalzberg it is surrounded by a stunning panorama. The ones of you who are interested in history might be familiar with the Obersalzberg, as Hitler has spent a lot of time here as well, which is documented in the interesting Obersalzberg Museum (www.obersalzberg.de).
But back to the hotel now – which has a rustic feel and fits perfectly in the surrounding nature with its low-styled building complex. Check-in service was with a smile and very sufficient and already here you can see that the hotel is taking all health and safety rules seriously as the reception desks have been separated with plastic walls and all staff is wearing face masks – which is required from you as well in all public areas.
Rooms are very spacious with a rustic and modern Alpine style. I would recommend rooms facing the outside overviewing the mountains and not to the courtyard and garden side (however these have balconies as a plus).
Due to its warm wooden colours you immediately get a feel-good atmosphere within your room. For a more cosy ambiance you can even switch on the electric fireplace at night. Below is our Deluxe Panorama View room.
Super yummy surprise were the nicely arranged welcome sweets, which didn’t last more than a few minutes 😊
In terms of cleanliness all was up to the already high Kempinski standard and in regards to the current requirements even extra disinfection was taking place, which we could still smell when entering. Gives you a very secure feeling.
The Kempinski Spa and outside swimming pool we didn’t try as we were only here for one night and hadn’t enough time for it. At the activity desk you can book any activity that you like in the region.
The hotel also offers guided walks and hikes and they can give you many ideas for hiking tours through the Nationalpark Berchtesgaden for all levels and abilities. Apart from the sport activities you also have some other well-known attractions in Berchtesgaden as the salt mine (www.salzbergwerk.de), the Königsee (www.koenigssee.de) - a lake that looks like out from a fairy tale (if you minus the crowds there 😊) and the historic lookout point of Kehlsteinhaus or better known as the Eagles Nest (www.kehlsteinhaus.de). All the adrenalin junkies among you shouldn´t miss a ride in a race bob through the speed channel (www.berchtesgaden.de/rennbob-taxi).
For the culinary delights the hotel is very popular for its Kempinski breakfast buffet, which unfortunately doesn’t happen at the moment due to the Corona restrictions. But the hotel does its best to make it up and you get to choose from a wide a-la-carte menu. All our chosen items tasted excellent. Best place to enjoy your breakie is on the scenic outdoor terrace, but unfortunately at our morning it was a bit too chilly for that.
After an Aperitivo in the garden bar, we enjoyed dinner at the Johan Grill restaurant with a great view on the sunset combined with delicious food.
A drink at the cosy Kamin Bar was then just the right ending to a perfect day.
So all in all it was a very short stay at the Kempinski Berchtesgaden Hotel, which we enjoyed to the maximum. For all the Insta freaks among you, don´t miss a picture at their giant swing 😊
And if you have already read some of my previous Blogs, you know that I am always also mentioning the points that I didn’t like in a place. So well, here is not much to say for the Kempinski Berchtesgaden in that aspect. The only point of criticism would be the parking garage, which is charged with 20 EUR per day, which I find a bit too much as there are no other alternatives. Should be provided free of charge for in-house guests. The other little negative point was the carpet inside the room, which I don’t like much in hotels out of hygienic reasons – but that´s more a personal taste. However I know that for example for most of my Scandinavian readers that´s indeed an important point when choosing a hotel.
What to do around
As I said there are so many sportive and not-so sportive activities to choose from. The region is also very family and kids friendly and you will find plenty of things to do if you are coming with the little ones. Here are some useful links that can help you to plan your activity program:
Town of Berchtesgaden
Don´t miss a walk through the cute little town of Berchtesgaden with its historic painted houses. In the pedestrian area you can find a couple of Cafes and restaurants with nice outside seating areas for sunny days.
The impressive church of St. Peter is worth a visit as well as the neighbouring St. Andreas church.
For some tranquil rest within the city you can make a stop at the small “Kurgarten”.
Opposite of the garden you can see the Hotel Edelweiss – which is actually another recommended address for a luxury stay in Berchtesgaden or at least a sundowner drink in their rooftop restaurant (www.edelweiss-berchtesgaden.com)
We also went up on the Jenner mountain during our stay – well, what should I say….I have been on this mountain many years ago when nobody knew it and a super old, almost historic cable car brought you up on top. So no comparison to the super modern cable car nowadays (www.jennerbahn.de) - Jennerbahn Tickets are 32,- EUR per adult for a round circle trip and I would recommend to get them online in advance to avoid the queues at the ticket counter. In Corona times it is required to wear a face mask throughout the ride.
From the Jenner peak you have one of the most panoramic views over the Berchtesgadener Nationalpark and the famous Königsee with hardly any efforts, thanks to the cable car, therefore expect huge crowds up there. Your first challenge will be to find a parking as there is only a limited number of paid parking spots that serve for visitors of the Jenner as well as the Königsee. I was quite shocked to find an almost full parking area at 11.00 am on a Monday! (in July)
Once you have made your way up to the top (if you want you can break your ride on the midway station), you can stay at the newly built Jenner Restaurant (Jenner Alm) on the sun terrace. Lucky are those who get a sun chair in the first row!!!
Alternatively you can take a 15 minutes’ walk to the peak from where you get that unique views I have talked about.
If you just take a one-way ticket for the cable car, you can walk down which is an approx. 3 hours hike. As it steadily goes down on a wider forest road, you should have good knees and out of experience: there are much better hikes in the region. You can see other routes on the cable car´s website.
The Jenner webcam is a good way to check out the weather conditions beforehand and to get a glimpse what is expecting you up there.
The Jenner mountain is also very popular among paragliders / hang gliders, so if you are looking for some adrenaline kick, book yourself into a tandem flight with:
Another place to check out is the lake of Hintersee. This small lake is of course not that popular as its bigger brother the Königsee, but it is equally picturesque. You can rent a boat here or venture out for a walk through the so-called Zauberwald (Magic Forest) nearby. This area of ancient forest seems like out of a fairy tale with many mysterious stone structures and romantic forest walks. Be aware that in the whole area of Hintersee, parking possibilities are very limited.
When you approach Hintersee through the main road, make a stop at the church in Ramsau. Nestled on the shores of a wild river and with the dramatic panorama in the backdrop, this little church has made it to one of the most famous churches in Bavaria - a real picture postcard motif. Why I don´t have it here??? Because I was too lazy to stop :-) :-) - check it out on www.berchtesgaden.de/pfarrkirche-ramsau
So that´s my tip for a nice mountain get-away not far away from Munich. In case you have any questions about Berchtesgadener Land or require further recommendations in the region, please reach out to me at any time.
Also keep an eye on www.traveltreasuresbymarion.com for further exciting things to do in and around Munich.
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For more travel inspirations to the region of Berchtesgaden watch: