Located in Berchtesgadener Land in Germany’s deep south, Bad Reichenhall enjoys an envious position in heart of the Alps. The Bavarian spa town enjoys mild summers and snowy winters, making it an ideal spot for visitors to enjoy the beauty of nature all year round. With 5 airports located within a 2 hour drive, the town is easily accessible for international guests.
What to see
- Alte Saline
The old salt works offers visitors a fantastic opportunity to step back in time and experience the history of the area. A guided 45 minute tour will take you through an array of exhibits, allowing you to explore the mines and their intricate operating machinery. While this is not suitable for guests with mobility problems due to the large number of steps, the venue offers an accessible tea room where guests can wait.
This indoor attraction is great for the days when the weather doesn’t fall in your favour, but on fine days the gardens outside offer the perfect spot for a relaxing picnic or ice cream. Be sure to check out the extensive gift shop, with an array of traditional salt based products available for you to take home.
- Karlstein Castle
The ruins of Karlstein Castle are located at the top of a steep trail, offering a spectacular view overlooking the city of Salzburg in neighbouring Austria. While you have to be mobile to appreciate this attraction, the climb up 360 steps is well worth it, with visitors enjoying the small on-site restaurant, serving an array of local delicacies. The site also contains a traditional Bavarian church, which can be accessed by a steep path from the ruins.
- Spa und Familien Resort Rupertus Therme
Bad Reichenhall became famous as a luxury alpine spa town, and Spa Familien Resort Rupert’s Therme is the premier place to head to when you want to indulge. With a network of hot indoor and outdoor pools, sauna and massage facilities it makes the perfect spot for an afternoon or evening of pure relaxation. The premier on-site restaurant offers guests the chance to indulge in gourmet treats, allowing you to spend the full day in glorious decadence.
- Parasailing and paragliding
Bad Reichenhall is well known for its array of adrenaline sports, including parasailing and paragliding. With stunning views across the Alps the town is the perfect place for beginners to learn the ropes. Reputable companies such as Cumullus operate in the area, offering new flyers an opportunity to paraglide in tandem with an experienced instructor. Due to the weather conditions in the area, these services are only available during the summer months.
Listsee is a stunning aquamarine lake in the heart of the mountains. Although only small, the lake can be found on the hiking trail between Thumsee and Bad Reichenhall. It provides the perfect place to stop to soak your feet and enjoy a picnic. Be sure to keep an eye out for wild Ibex and Chamois, which are regularly spotted by walkers in the area.
Bad Reichenhall and the surrounding area offer a prime location for hiking. With such rich natural beauty right on your doorstep, even the most committed couch potato will be eager to explore this alpine paradise. Popular trails for beginners include the relatively flat 5km route to Kirchholz, but those seeking more challenging routes will be tempted by the scenic trail to St. Pankraz.
- Cross-country skiing
In the winter months snow is guaranteed and visitors flock to enjoy the winter wonderland. Although the main downhill skiing pistes are located outside of the town, cross-country skiing is a popular pastime amongst visitors and locals alike.
Ortovox Avalanche Park
The Ortovox Avalanche Park offers visitors a chance to experience an avalanche in controlled conditions. Skiers and snowboarders from around the world flock here to receive state of the art training in avalanche survival.
Best time to visit
While Bad Reichenhall is typically a winter destination, the town attracts tourists all year round. The summer months are typically mild and wet, but if you don’t mind the rain you’re in for a treat. At this time of year you’ll have the trails largely to yourself and the lush vegetation and mountain air makes for a relaxing break from hectic city living.
Typical regional dishes
Bavarian food is rich and hearty, ideal to help give you energy for the days spent skiing or hiking. A typical Bavarian breakfast will set you up for the day ahead, with a large portion of Weisswurst (white sausage) and large salted pretzels, often served with lashings of beer.
Leberkäse is a local delicacy that literally means ‘liver cheese’, but don’t let this put you off – the dish doesn’t contain either liver or cheese! This delicious mix of corned beef, pork, bacon and onions is baked in a load tin until hot, then sliced up and enjoyed in a sandwich with fresh bread. It makes the ideal traditional packed lunch, and a morning stop at the local bakery will ensure you can pick up a freshly made Leberkäse for the day ahead.
In the evening you’ll be spoilt for choice with a huge range of local dishes vying for your attention. If you’ve got a big appetite be sure to try schweinshaxe, this roasted pig knuckle is fall-off-the-bone tender and enriched with a flavoursome mix of traditional spices. Generally served with a large dumpling, this delicious dish is the ‘Sunday dinner’ of Bavarian cuisine.
Vegetarians need not fear, although meat dishes dominate in this area, there is something for everyone. Why not indulge in Allgäuer Käsesplätzl? This rich cheesy pasta is a favourite of the locals, served with spinach and caramelised onions.
Where to stay
Bad Leichenhall has accommodation options to suit any taste or budget. Self catering is popular with families and the Gästehaus Scheil Apartments in particular is rated highly. This gorgeous chalet has been transformed into spacious apartments, with good access to local amenities, free parking and a huge garden to enjoy, you won’t be disappointed with a stay here.
If you’re after hotel accommodation Hotel Garni Gablerhof is a mid range option that punches above its weight when it comes to guest experience. Located on the edge of town beside a small lake, all rooms provide terraces with scenic views of the mountains.
For those in need of some pampering, the four star Parkhotel Luisenbad offers the perfect fit. Located in the centre of town near to the spa gardens, you’ll be handy for everything. With a large indoor swimming pool, spa and wellness centre, bicycle rental and bar available you’ll be spoilt for choice during your stay.
For an alpine town Bad Reichenhall is extremely accessible, with an incredible five airports located within a two hour drive. The closest is Salzburg airport, which is only an hour away and offers an extensive range of national and international flights.
Bad Leichenhall is connected by rail, with trains departing every 30 minutes to the local hub of Freilassing, from where trains across the country can be caught. The German rail network is famous for its reliability and efficiency, helping you easily plan your downward journey and connections.
Local busses operate extensively in the region, offering the cheapest way to get around and experience the local area on a budget.
As a small alpine town you won’t find extensive shopping centres in Bad Reichenhall, but shopaholics do not despair. A rich array of traditional craft shops ensure you’ll be able to bag a great souvenir from your trip. Clothes shops are generally high end, conservative and focussed on the outdoor clothing sector, but surprisingly the town is home to a Nike factory outlet, where you can find some great bargains.
You won’t find a huge range of clubs in Bad Reichenhall, but the town has a vibrant pub scene, where visitors can indulge in a huge range of Bavarian ales. If you’re after something a bit more upmarket consider hitting the Bayerische Spielbank Casino, here you can enjoy blackjack, roulette and the usual slot machines. Just be sure to wear a jacket and tie for men, and remember your passport if you fancy doing any gaming.
The local theatre offers a wide range of performances to suit the tastes of a diverse range of visitors, including operas, operettas, plays, ballets, musicals and folklore. Weather permitting, in summer performances are set in the open air pavilion, allowing you to enjoy your favourite productions under the stars.
If you’re staying in Bad Reichenhall for longer than a few days, consider going further afield and exploring the delights of the region. The city of Salzburg is only 45 minutes away by train, and offers guests a whole host of attractions from the Sound of Music tour, trips on the river and a more extensive selection of restaurants and bars.
History buffs will jump at the chance to visit Berchtesgaden and the famous Eagles Nest. Hitlers alpine retreat offers a window back in time, with tours of the site available from experienced guides. Be sure to check the precise opening times of the site as opening is seasonal and weather dependant, usually from mid May until October.