Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Soumya
Once I came back from my wonderful 10-day trip to Germany, many readers and friends asked me if it was possible to visit Eagles Nest without a tour. My answer was a big, resounding YES!
I had just done that – visited Hitler’s Eagles Nest without a tour and by public transport.
With only a Bayern Ticket in hand, we had successfully done a day trip to Berchtesgaden from Munich.
We had seen the best of Berchtesgaden and that included an Eagles Nest visit too.
Eagles Nest or Kehlsteinhaus, an iconic German landmark, is one of the most visited places in Germany today.
Apart from being a must-have in every history lover’s itinerary, Kehlsteinhaus is also an architectural masterpiece that comes with more-than-stunning views.
The Nazis built Eagles Nest to flaunt their power to the world. And what a way to do that!
In this detailed guide for visiting Eagles Nest, you will learn everything about how to plan your trip, how to get to Eagles Nest without a tour, opening hours, as well as a peek into the history of this powerful symbol of Nazi regime.
Be sure to check out my special travel tips that will make planning a trip to Hitler’s Eagles Nest an absolute breeze.
- What is Eagles Nest?
- Where is Eagles Nest?
- Visiting Eagles Nest without a tour
- What to see at Eagles Nest?
- Practical information for visiting Eagles Nest without a tour
- Eagles Nest Travel FAQ
- Thinking of a DIY tour of Eagles Nest? Pin this for later!
What is Eagles Nest?
Eagles Nest, officially Hitler’s infamous mountain home, is a small chalet perched atop the Kehlstein Mountain in the middle of Germany’s Bavarian Alps near the alpine town of Berchtesgaden.
Locally, the chalet is known as Kehlsteinhaus (house on the top of mount Kehlstein).
It was named Eagles Nest by the Allies. Honestly, it looks quite the same when seen from below – an eagle’s lonely home on the top of a tall, rugged tree.
The picture below that I took from Lake Konigsee will tell you exactly what I mean.
It is interesting to note that the Eagles Nest was actually a part of a much bigger Nazi complex that Obersalzberg commune had been turned into in the 1930s.
Often referred to as Hitler’s Mountain, Obersalzberg included a complex system of bunkers, tunnels, and galleries (a part of which you can stil see at the Obersalzberg Museum), The Berghoff – Hitler’s residence in the mountains, and the high & mighty Eagles Nest.
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How did Eagles Nest come into existence?
Eagles Nest was Hitler’s 50th birthday present from the Nazi Party.
It was conceived and designed by Hitler’s biggest sycophant, Martin Bormann, the head of Nazi Party Chancellery.
The mountain retreat was built by cutting through a steep mountain in less than 13 months.
Apparently, a submarine engine was used to supply electric power to architects and engineers who were experts in carving roads through the Alps.
Even today, you arrive at Kehlsteinhaus through what is known Germany’s steepest road that can only be navigated by expert drivers on special RVO buses.
Then you walk through a cold, damp tunnel that reminds you of the most bone-chilling period in world history.
Finally, you climb to the summit in a shiny brass elevator that could have easily fit into one of Germany’s opulent palaces.
The chalet, itself, is nothing extraordinary. Yet, all these experiences that lead up to it make Hitler’s Eagles Nest a formidable mountain fortress.
No doubt, it went on to become a powerful symbol of the Nazi regime.
The Nazi Party not only hosted important state guests here but also made crucial decisions that changed the course of the world forever!
What is so special about Eagles Nest?
- The entire thing is an architectural wonder. Starting with the steep mountain road, a fit-for-royalty elevator that was powered by a submarine engine, and the very precariously perched chalet – everything about the place speaks lots about local engineering prowess.
- Views from the Eagles Nest are absolutely stunning. The best part is that this is the only place where you can get such amazing views of the Alps and valley below unless you decide to hike up, of course.
- Another interesting point to note is that even though the house was built for Hitler, he never spent much time here. Hitler was scared of heights. He visited only 10-12 times and never stayed overnight. What is often touted as Hitler’s mountain home was never really so!
Where is Eagles Nest?
Hitler’s Eagles Nest is located on the top of Kehlstein Mountain in Obersalzberg, a small mountain retreat near the Bavarian town of Berchtesgaden.
Visiting Eagles Nest without a tour
You can visit Eagles Nest without a tour by car or public transport.
And it is possible to visit Eagles Nest from both Munich and Salzburg.
If you are thinking of public transport, be sure to get a Bayern Ticket.
Bayern Ticket makes traveling in Bavaria extremely convenient and cheap. The best part is even Salzburg Hbf is covered under Bayern Ticket regions.
For the uninitiated: A Bayern or Bavaria ticket allows you inexpensive & unlimited journeys on Bavaria’s public transport (regional trains, buses, and trams). For example, Bayern Ticket will cover your transport from Munich hotel to Munich Hbf, Munich Hbf to Berchtesgaden Hbf, Berchtesgaden Hbf to Eagles Nest Bus Stop. Read my detailed guide on Bayern Ticket to figure out the nuances and several ways to purchase the ticket.
To get to Eagles Nest from Munich or Salzburg, you will first need to get to Berchtesgaden, the closest town.
And then make your way to Eagles Nest.
The journey from Berchtesgaden to Eaglest can be broken down into 4 simple steps.
- Get to Berchtesgaden Hbf from Munich Hbf/Salzburg Hbf (covered by Bayern Ticket).
- Travel to Eagles Nest Bus Stop or Kehlstein Busabfahrt from Berchtesgaden Hbf (covered by Bayern Ticket). This is where you can park your car and board RVO Bus 849 to get to Eagles Nest.
- Board RVO Bus 849 to get to the Eagles Nest Tunnel or Kehlsteinparkplatz from the Eagles Nest Bus Stop. Tickets are to be purchased separately for this bus. You cannot drive your car on this route. This leg of the journey can only be covered by Bus 849.
- Walk through the tunnel and ride the elevator to get to Eagles Nest.
I have explained each of these steps in detail below.
1. How do you get to Berchtesgaden Hbf from Munich/Salzburg?
How to get to Berchtesgaden from Munich?
We traveled to Berchtesgaden as a day trip from Munich by train and bus.
Even though it did not allow us to see all the wonderful things in Berchtesgaden, it did allow us to explore Eagles Nest and Lake Konigsee.
If you want to see more, plan to spend two complete days at Berchtesgaden.
If you are traveling from Munich to Berchtesgaden as a day trip, be sure to get a Bayern Ticket.
Check for train times on official Germany Railways website before planning your day. Note that you can only ride regional trains with the Bayern Ticket, not ICEs/high speed trains.
Train journey from Munich to Berchtesgaden is a longish one (almost 2.5 hours).
Plan to leave early if you wish to see a lot. Either way, be prepared for a long day.
Pro-tip: Plan a Berchtesgaden day trip on the weekend. That is because Bayern Tickets are valid between 9am – 3am on weekdays whereas on weekends, they are valid throughout the day. So, if you plan it over the weekend, you can leave early!
How to get to Berchtesgaden from Salzburg?
The easiest way to get to Berchtesgaden from Salzburg is to take Bus 840 from Salzburg Hbf.
The bus takes only 40 minutes. Check Bus 840 schedules and stops here.
You can also take the train but a that takes longer than a bus (slightly more than 1 hour).
If you wish to buy a Bayern Ticket for the day, you can do so at the Salzburg Hbf or online. Like I said earlier, Bayern Ticket works for Salzburg too.
2. How to get to Eagles Nest Bus Stop from Berchtesgaden Hbf?
Once you arrive at Berchtesgaden Hbf, board RVO Bus 838 to get to the Eagles Nest Bus Stop (Kehlstein Busabfahrt).
This journey is covered by the Bayern Ticket. Takes about 15 minutes to get there.
You can find all the details and times of RVO buses on the Regional Bavaria Bus website.
RVO buses are usually timed to match the arrival of trains from Munich.
However, if you happen to miss the bus, consider taking a cab. Will get you to Kehlstein Busabfahrt in under 10 minutes and cost you less than 15 euros.
That way, you won’t miss the earliest RVO bus departing for Eagles Nest.
At Kehlstein Busabfahrt, there are parking lots where you can park your car if you’re driving.
3. How to get to Eagles Nest from Eagles Nest Bus Stop?
Use the Eagles Nest bus
After you get to the Kehlstein Busabfahrt, you will have to purchase a ticket for the Eagles Nest bus.
This is a special RVO bus 849 that will take you all the way up to the Eagles Nest Tunnel or parking area (parking only for RVO buses, cars cannot come up here) known as Kehlsteinparkplatz.
This journey is not covered by a Bayern Ticket.
If you wish to buy your Eagles Nest bus ticket online, you can do so now on their official website here.
You can book both individual and family tickets. If you’re a family of 3 or more, it might be cheaper to book a family ticket, in fact.
Online ticketing is a new service that the official website has started offering and sometimes the desktop version may be a little glitchy. Try the mobile version instead if that is the case.
Buses start at 8:30 in the morning. The last bus leaves at 4pm. Last bus from Kehlsteinparkplatz back to the bus stop leaves at 4:50pm.
Check for bus times and ticket prices here. Be sure to reach at least 15 mins before the bus departs from the bus stop.
Get a round trip ticket because you will need it to come back down. Round trips (30.80 euros) are much cheaper than 2 one-ways (24.20 euros each) put together.
Once you arrive at Kehlsteinparkplatz, go to the ticket counter there and get your return ticket stamped with your preferred return time so that you are assured of your ride back.
Hike to Eagles Nest
Alternately, you can hike up to Eagles Nest. But it is a long and tough hike (2-3 hours minimum).
Note that you cannot drive on this road. If you aren’t much of a hiker like me, then the RVO bus is the only option.
4. Final step: Tunnel and Elevator
The final step includes walking through a cold, dark tunnel from Kehlsteinparkplatz and then riding a gleaming, brass elevator all the way up to Eagles Nest.
As far as I remember, photography is not allowed inside the elevator.
While the tunnel gives you a chilly WW II feeling, the elevator speaks of power.
Imagine it is the same tunnel and elevator that the Nazi biggies including Adolf Hitler must have used not very long ago!
What to see at Eagles Nest?
Even though Eagles Nest is an iconic German landmark, there isn’t a whole lot to see and do here.
I mean the house has not been converted into a WW II museum or anything.
There is a sun roof outside which has a series of display panels that speak about the history of the place. History lovers like us will love those.
It is worth mentioning that Eagles Nest did not suffer any damage during the Second World War which means all that you see here is original and not reconstructed.
Apart from the building, you will also see a lederhosen-dressed Bavarian guy playing his accordion on a small hillock. Just sitting down beside him to enjoy the music is an experience in itself.
I also encourage you to walk a little further (like 5 minutes ahead) and perch yourself on one of the benches or rocks. There are some stunning views of the Alps and the valley to be had from here.
Practical information for visiting Eagles Nest without a tour
Tickets & admission
There is no admission ticket for Eagles Nest. However, the cost of the bus ride is so high that it can very well count for admission.
28 euros is a pretty large amount to pay for a 15-minute (30-minute return) bus ride.
Everyone arriving at Berchtesgaden (including guided tours and tour groups) has to ride Bus 849 unless you decide to hike up.
Then, you can explore Eagles Nest for free. But this is no simple hike – needs a lot of time, energy, and stamina!
The most important thing about Eagles Nest is that it is not a year-round attraction. It is open to visitors only between mid-May to October.
Every winter, walls of the steep mountain road get damaged by falling rocks. These are cleaned in early spring and then Eagles Nest opens up to visitors.
Between May – October, Kehlsteinhaus is open from 8:30am – 4:50pm. Last bus from Kehlsteinparkplatz leaves at 4:50pm.
What if you need a guided tour?
Well, there are several high-rated guided tours of Eagles Nest both from Munich and Salzburg.
Even though visiting Eagles Nest without a tour is absolutely doable (as you have seen in this DIY post), here are some good tour options if you ever feel overwhelmed by the whole planning process.
Note that some of these tours may not include the fare for RVO-bus 849. Be sure to check that before booking.
Also, everyone needs to board Bus 849 for the last leg of the journey – tour or no-tour.
No private vehicles are allowed on the steep mountain road that leads up to Eagles Nest.
If you want a more in-depth historical tour of Eagles Nest, I highly recommend doing this one with David and Christine Harper. This tour, however, is not suitable for kids under 8 years of age.
Eagles Nest Travel FAQ
Can I visit Eagles Nest?
Yes, you can visit Eagles Nest in Berchtesgaden, Germany. Eagles Nest is open between mid-May to October every year.
Is Eagles Nest worth visiting?
Yes, Eagles Nest is absolutely worth visiting. It is not just a great place to learn about the history of WW II and the Third Reich but also the perfect place to steal some stunning views of the Bavarian Alps.
How much does it cost to visit the Eagles Nest?
Even though Eagles Nest is free to visit, the bus ticket to get there costs 30.80 euros (adults) and 16.00 euros (kids: 6-14) for a round trip. Family tickets are also available and turn out to be cheaper. Everyone, literally everyone, has to take the bus to get there unless you opt for a tough hike of 2-3 hours. For more details, check here.
Does Hitler’s Eagles Nest still exist?
Yes, Hitler’s Eagles Nest still exists. It did not suffer any damage during the Second World War owing to its location on a high, most difficult-to-navigate mountain. However, the chalet has now been converted into a sunny, hill-top restaurant. Even though there is a small display on the history of Eagles Nest, there isn’t any museum here.
How do I get to Eagles Nest?
You first need to get to Berchesgaden town in order to visit Eagles Nest. Then, travel to Eagles Nest bus stop from Berchtesgaden Hbf (RVO-bus). From there, you can take RVO-bus 849 (15 minutes) to get to Eagles Nest parking area. After that, you need to walk through a tunnel and ride an elevator to finally reach Eagles Nest. All details here.
Can you drive up to the Eagles Nest?
You can drive up to Eagles Nest bus stop at the foot of the Kehlstein mountain where you will need to park your car. You won’t be able to drive until Eagles Nest parking lot which can only be accessed by a RVO-bus 849. For details, check our section on getting to Eagles Nest from the bus stop.