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Is Eagle's Nest Worth It?

First, thanks to all who have responded to my previous requests for guidance. We are more than half way through the planning process for our September Austria trip. I have always wanted to see the Eagle's Nest but have read some mixed reviews about whether it's worth the time. Is it, and can anyone recommend a tour company for that and a Sound of Music Tour; and ditto thoughts on the Neuschwanstein Castle? Thanks to all in advance.

Posted by
996 posts

It depends on your interests. We visited it as part of a larger tour, but I honestly could have skipped it. The best part for me was the guide's description of the elevator and why it was designed like it was.

Posted by
703 posts

also depends on your expectations, do you want to look at a 'pretty' modern castle (Neuschwantein) or a 'real' old castle ( where you can 'wonder' about its age and what went on there) you need to decide for yourself and not be lead by what others have done.
we visited eagles nest on a picture perfect day and it was great ( very few people), but there are other , non touristy things to do , in the surrounding area ( literally just up the road) that you could also find worth doing, depends on how much time you have and how many tourists you are willing to fight past.

Posted by
471 posts

As the others have said, it really depends on your interests. If you've read about it, or watched a documentary where it was mentioned, and that piqued your interest to know more about it and see it first hand, then there's your answer. Also, my opinion is that you really don't need a tour to go there and see it and understand it. Just research the transport route on Google Maps from your location just prior to the Eagles Nest and make your way there.

As for Neuschwanstein, authentic or not, it's still an architecturally interesting site. And it is still part of the story of Ludwig's life.

When faced with a similar dilemma, I ask myself...would I later regret not going? Invariably, the answer is yes.

Posted by
15035 posts

Eagle's Nest has two separate parts. There is the bus that goes to the peak where there's little left of the original buildings It's a special bus that can negotiate the very steep road (an engineering marvel), a restaurant and scenic views. The day I visited, it was totally overcast when I arrived so I decided not to spend the hefty fee to go up. The other part, which was very interesting was the Documentation Center, across the parking lot from the bus tour. There is a museum explaining in great detail (also in English) the history of the town, its connection with Hitler and how it was slowly transformed from a summer resort to nazi HQ, including a film (about 30 minutes) with interviews of residents who lived through those years. It also gives a great deal of detail of the many insidious methods the nazis used to promote their ideology and anti-Semitism. Then you go into the bunkers which are mind-boggling. The audio guide was good too. BTW when I left the museum/bunkers, the fog was so thick that visibility was down to maybe 15 meters (early June). If you are staying in Salzburg, it's easy to get there on your own. There's a bus from the train station that makes 2-3 stops in/near the old town center on the way to Berchtesgaden. There you change to a bus to get to the Center.

I went to Neuschwanstein from Fussen by bus (still on that early June visit) and toured both castles. Tons of people, lots of waiting and lots of walking. My best memories - a short walk to the lake before the first castle and listening to a fellow who was playing his hurdy gurdy (built it himself) and conversing with anyone interested in the music or the instrument.

Posted by
593 posts

The four of us (adults in early 60s) were very pleased we took the Eagle's Nest tour with David and Christine's company. The views from the top were stunning, but we also appreciated the historical aspects. We believe we gained more information by taking the tour. If you are not particularly interested in history, then you might not want to go to the Eagle's Nest.

My sister and I took the Panorama big bus Sound of Music Tour and it was perfect for us -- somewhat kitschy, but that's what we expected. We are singers and grew up with the music, so we liked singing along while seeing gorgeous scenery. Again, other tours (smaller van or bicycle) might be more to your liking; you need to research and decide.

At Neuschwanstein, we did not go inside, but enjoyed the views from the famous bridge, and walked up to the castle for close-up views. Some that went inside were glad they did.

Posted by
35 posts

Stunning beauty on a clear day. Tours were not available the day that I went. Would have liked that aspect, but not disappointed. All depends on what you are looking for.

Posted by
446 posts

We opted for Fraulein Maria's Bicycle Tour of Salzburg and thoroughly enjoyed the time. The guide was very good and you do not need to be an avid cyclist, as the tour is not strenuous. Great way to see the city! As for the Eagle's Nest, we used Christine and David Harper's company. The guide was knowledgeable; documentation center was very interesting and it was a clear day, so our time at the top of the mountain was well spent. With that said, we both have a keen interest in history. Neuschwanstein Castle was a portion of our trip that I wish we had skipped. The best part was the view from the car park. The tour of the "castle" itself is very short, packed with other tourists and you are herded like cattle. Underwhelming and our time would have been better spent seeing other things. Linderhof Palace was much more enjoyable and you may want to consider that as an alternative if it is not already in your plans. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
874 posts

I have never understood the fascination for the Kehlsteinhaus. I think many people do not understand that Hitler stayed/lived in the bombed out and now almost obliterated Berghof site on the Obersalzberg and only visited the Kehlsteinhaus a handful of times. Yes the view from above the Kehlsteinhaus is great and it is an engineering marvel, but you can drive the Rossfeldpanoramastrasse or get a similar view from the Jenner (Jenner Bahn/gondola). The bunkers below the Obersalzberg really offer nothing other than dark, stripped bunkers and a bazooka'd safe. 30 Years ago I toured these when under US Army control and was told the locals stripped all the wood flooring and anything left of value for their homes. Rather then waist time waiting in line for a Kehlsteinhaus bus, personally with good weather time is better spent with the electric boat on the Königssee in the fantastic Nationalpark Berchtesgaden and surrounding areas. I guess it boils down to what you want to do...

Posted by
4370 posts

I did the Panorama tour (ask for the Rick Steves' discount) and I thought it was pretty good. I might have been interested in the bike tour, but I was there in January. I'm guessing, but the bike tour can probably get closer to points of interest and has ability to stop for a few minutes. On the other hand, I LOVED going to the wedding church in Mondsee and I would guess the bike tour would skip that?

Posted by
4370 posts

If you go to Neuschwanstein, I would recommend going to Hohenschwangau as well, and do it first since they provide some background of the family and "Mad King" Ludwig. Hohenschwangau was actually lived in, and I thought lovely. After seeing Neuschwanstein, I wonder if a good stratedy might be to visit Hohenschwangau and view just Neuschwanstein's exterior from various vantage points.

Posted by
139 posts

We did all those things and thought them all worthwhile. Did the Eagles Nest a little for the history but also for a unique way to go up in the Alps. We did the big bus Sound of Music and it was tacky and fun. Neuschwanstein was also good for us, we aren't yet castle snobs.

Posted by
122 posts

I did everything you said.

Eagle's Nest- Imo yes. I didn't know come in by way of Salzburg. I paid $$$ to be walking distance to catch the bus to go up the EN and it was a great experience for me with no regrets.

Sound of Music Tour- I did the hop on hop off because I didn't want to spend the $$$ to do a 4 hour tour based on the movie. I just wanted to get my cliche pictures in. It worked out perfectly for me. Also you don't get to actually see the field where she says "the hills are aliveeeeeeee with the sound of musiccccccccccccccc"!

Neuschwanstein- Yes! It actually surpassed my expectations (but they were low). I would though spend the night in Fussen which is actually a cute little town well worth spending a day or two in. You could though just take the early bus up from Munich (takes 2 hours) spend a full day there, and come back at night. I took Flixbus because when I was there they were doing work on the route I needed and it would have been a pita. I've had great experiences on Flixbus and it has been cost affective as well.