This wonderful area of southern Germany and Austria is renowned for its fabulous mountain scenery, Baroque churches and mediaeval towns set in dramatic situations. Our hikes will range from easy low level trails to the occasional more strenuous hikes on narrow mountain trails.
Day 1: Arrive into Munich airport and meet at a nearby hotel. We'll depart at 12 midday for our first inn (three nights) near the Bavarian town of Berchtesgaden.
Day 2-3: Surrounding the pretty town of Berchtesgaden, the German alps rise to around 9,000', offering aseries of wonderful low and high level hikes. The principal site in Berchtesgaden is the impressive "Hohes Schloss", the former summer residence of the prince bishops of Augsburg. The castle is home to a section of the Bavarian State Collections of Paintings.
The surrounding high peaks and valleys can be accessed by skilifts. The mountain trails are generally good though some have steep-sided drop-offs. Our afternoons will be spent exploring some of the local sights.
Above Berchtesgaden lies the village of Obersalzberg, made infamous as Hitler’s summer retreat during WW11. One of our day’s hiking will be spent exploring this area formally known as the Eagle’s Nest, though the Bavarian government has removed most of the war-time buildings. One of our side trips will be to the heights of the Kehlstein, the mountaintop retreat built by the nazis for Hitler.
Day 4-6: We'll move east into Austria and take a short tour of Salzburg before moving on to the important Celtic site at Hallstatt, discovered by Ramsauer in 1846. The distinctive style of grave goods excavated from the 1045 burials led to an important understanding of Celtic culture in pre-Roman Europe. Above the village can be seen the magnificent Dachstein glacier, from where cold waters drain into Halstatt lake (photo).
Surrounded by 9,000’ mountains, thisbeautiful village has Europe’s oldest salt mines, which we shall tour by riding a train into the mountain.
On another day we'll take a high level trail to enjoy the dramatic scenery of this region, followed by a visitto the unusual ossuary, located in the village chapel.
Day 8: To Munich airport for flights home.