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Eagles Nest or Mt Pilatus, or both?

My family of 7 (my husband and I, kids 11, 10, and 7 years and our mothers, both well fit in upper 60s) are taking my Mother-in-law's "bucket list" trip August 2020 and will be visiting Salzburg for 3 nights and Luzern for 3 nights. I am aware of the drive time- we have tickets to the Passion Play in Oberammergau so will do a few days in that area in between. I am doing all the planning. We will have a van. In Luzern I have us reserved to stay at the Platus-Klum on Mt. Pilatus for one night and expecting a beautiful time there.

Would a visit to the Eagles Nest be a good idea or redundant as far as views go? We are considering Dachu concentration camp as we fly in/out of Munich, too. Between Eagles nest and Dachu does anyone have a preference? Looking for experience, education, and the "most bang for our time" if that makes sense. (We will be in Washington DC a few months after this trip and go to the Holocaust museum if that is helpful info.) Any helpful insights or helping to prioritize would be great. Thanks!

Posted by
12040 posts

With two days in Salzburg, I guess it depends if want to subtract from your time there to visit Bertchtesgaden. I personally found a few hours in Salzburg adequate (I didn't take a Sound of Music tour).

You might want to let the weather decide for you. If the forecast calls for cloudy skies, there's not much reason to go to Kehlsteinhaus (the actual name of the building in German).

Posted by
161 posts

It’s all about you - what do you want to see? Eagles Nest was the most crowded tourist site I saw over 14 days last summer. Worse than Füssen, although there’s more space to spread out at Fussen. Go and see what you want to see. As for the views, they were fine but not the best ever ever. And then there were the multiple drone-flying dipsters navigating their toys, which was pretty annoying.

Posted by
3489 posts

Is Dachau for the adults or are you planning to take an 11-, 10-, and 7-year-old there?

If the kids are part of the plan, I would vote for almost anything over Dachau.

Posted by
5697 posts

Agree with Dave about Dachau for kids -- even for adults it can be heavy. What do your mothers think about it ?

Posted by
1062 posts

I concur on weather being a deciding factor. The one time I was on Mount Pilatus (in August) the fog/cloud was so thick we could not see anything below the summit. With the van you could drive the Rossfeldpanoramastrasse (toll) in lieu of the Kehlsteinhaus. I also think visiting the Königssee and Nationalpark Berchtesgaden is time better spent than the Kehlsteinhaus. Another option would be the cog railway from St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut (Wolfgangsee) to the Schafbergspitze Summit. Make sure you walk to the very summit of the Schafbergspitze for the widest view if you chose that route. Watch the height of the van when/if trying to park in any parking garage.

Posted by
31820 posts


I think the answer might depend to some extent on whether you're interested in the historical aspects of the Eagle's Nest and some of the nearby sites. If anyone in your family is interested in WW-II history, there are a couple of interesting sites in Berchtesgaden. You could also visit the Dokumentation Centre and Bunkers, and there's also a Salt Mine in that area that provides tours.

The views are spectacular at both locations, but somewhat different. The views from Pilatus have great views of Lucerne, the lakes and surrounding countryside. You might consider taking the historic old Funicular to Pilatus, and the Cable Cars from Pilatus. The view from the Eagle's Nest is more of the surrounding Bavarian countryside. If you decide to visit there as well as Pilatus, you might consider taking the excellent Eagle's Nest Historical Tour as that will provide a very good view of the history, and will make for a much more interesting experience.

As you may be aware, for driving in Austria each driver listed on the rental form must have an International Driver's License, which is used in conjunction with your home D.L. If you're renting the vehicle in Germany, you'll need to obtain the compulsory Highway Tax Vignettes for both Austria and Switzerland (hefty fines if you're caught without out, collected on the spot!).

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you all for the input. My 11 year old has expressed interest in WWII through some of the books he has read and my 10 year old and I are reading the Diary of Ann Frank currently. From what I have recently read the museum part of Dachu would not be something I would likely take them into but the grounds and bunkers, however somber, would be good for discussion and education. Someone made a good point and I will ask the moms what they think. My husband is more on the side of "this may be our only chance to see it, so lets try". We have talked about pre-touring the area without the kids for a short time to be able to steer them in the direction we see fit. Anyway, thank you for your help. I will spend some time now looking into the other comments, I do not have the German names for these places down and need to look all that up! :)

Posted by
6 posts

And thank you Ken for the tips for getting up and down Mt. Pilatus- that must be the best way then? I knew of those two "routes" but didn't know how to do it and in what order. If we go up with the one and down the other, how do we get back to the rental car? (I read there was a parking lot you could leave your car at overnight while we stay). And thank you for reminding me about the stickers, but I thought I had seen that we wouldn't need a special driver's license so I definitely need to check into that!

Posted by
27 posts

I can only speak to Mt. Pilatus but take the long hike all the way around, it's fabulous, and the views .... spectacular! One thing my husband and I really enjoyed is the Frakigaudi Toboggan. We stayed in Luzern and did this in one day with plenty of time to explore and enjoy:
—> Mount Pilatus: Golden Round Trip
1. From the Luzern valley station, walk (5 min) to the bus stop for Bus no.1. Take Bus no.1 to Kriens (15 minutes)
2. From Kriens take aerial cable car to Frakmuntegg for Frakigaudi Toboggan (30 min trip)
3. From there you can reach the summer toboggan in a five-minute walk.
4. Take cogwheel railway down to Alpanchstad
5. Take boat from Alpanchstad to Luzern

Posted by
2 posts

I did both with my son last summer (he was 7 at the time). I felt it was important for him to visit Dachau, even if he didn't understand the extent of it at the time. We did not spend long in the exhibit; he was not old enough for that. Eagles Nest was well worth it. There were a lot of tourists but, as we found with other German tourist attractions, it was very well managed. The views were incredible, and the experience on the bus ride up was unforgettable. I would go again, and I think both warrant a visit. Salzburg was the highlight of our trip; have fun!!

Posted by
6670 posts

The Eagles Nest near Berchtesgaden is amazing.

Dachau concentration camp is worth a visit, but after visiting Auschwitz, in Poland, it didn't compare. Auschwitz was chilling. Everyone should be aware of the holocaust and its crimes against humanity.

It is hard to decide between Eagles Nest and Dachau. With young kids, I would say perhaps not best to take young kids to Dachau.

Posted by
1253 posts

Three years ago I had to make the choice of Dachau or the Eagles Nest. My 18 year son and I visited Dachau. It was somber and sobering but not necessarily upsetting. We're glad we visited. I'm guessing that younger children may have more fun at the Eagles Nest; however, scenic views are easy to come by in Europe and places like Dachau are more meaningful.

Posted by
6 posts

I'm a big fan of Austria and Salzburg is my favorite city that I know. It's a great walking town, in fact I've walked the entire top of the Mönchsberg, the mountain the castle sits on. Wonderful views of the city and behind the city where you actually can see the real mountains. For the kids, the castle is great ... just the hugeness of it is worth seeing. Take the Bahn up and walk down. Go to the Marionette Theater ... it's absolutely awesome! Well worth the time and money. Hellbrunn Palace would be great for the kids, especially the tour through the "water gardens" ... where they're likely to get a surprise shot of water from a deer antler or a stool. There's a magnificent "machine" that they would be fascinated by. Mirabell Gardens is always worth a visit, especially if you've seen Sound of Music ... the kids could dance under the arched greenery singing do, re, me. :-)
Eagles Nest is worth seeing, in my opinion, but the house, Kehlstein, can only be visited if you eat there, as it's a restaurant. But the bus ride up the mountain, the elevator, and the spectacular views are great. A lot of history down where you buy bus tickets and would suggest seeing the bunkers.
Dachau ... I guess it depends on how interested the kids are in history. It would be good to walk the grounds, see the barracks, the ovens, etc. The museum has tons of displays and it takes a long time to read everything and look at the displays. But if they're interested in it, maybe a quick walk through, picking out a couple exhibits that they should see/could handle, might be good.
Just a few miles from Innsbruck is the Swarovski Kristalwellen ... their museum. I thought the $20 entry fee was a bit stiff, until I got inside. Your kids would love it ... animals made of crystal, an entire bearing wall of the buidling is lined in crystal; there's a room that's like a geode and you can see yourself everywhere you look. Lots of reflection exhibits and just a really really fun museum. Well worth the price.
If you like oompah music, go to Zillertal ... it's a valley about halfway between Innsbruck and Küfstein that has all kinds of oompah bands. They even televise shows from some of the locales. And it's beautiful! Though it sounds like you're time might now allow for that. But wanted to throw it out.
Enjoy! No matter where you go in Austria, southern Germany or Switzerland, it's all like eye candy. And smart to stay in one place for a few nights, especially with kids. Take time to get out of the van and just walk to a stream or up a hill to a cross ... enjoy the beauty of it.