Panorama Tour to the Salt Mine in Berchtesgaden
The mine railcars clatter more than a kilometer through the mining tunnels deep into the mountain. Here, where the thermometer measures a constant 12 degrees Celsius year round, another world lies - one of myth and legend, and one also of deprivation and labour. Around one thousand years ago, people began mining salt in Berchtesgaden, gaining the "white gold" for their state princes who secured their independence and riches with it. The excursion by Salzburg Panorama Tours to the salt mines of Berchtesgaden is not only a voyage into the world of moutain haunts, but also a detour into Bavarian history.
The chronicles of salt mining in Berchtesgaden exist as far back as in the 12th century. The Berchtesgaden salt mine itself has been continuously active since 1517. That was when work began on the Petersberg mining tunnel, which aided the ruling priors of Berchtesgaden to financial independence. Thanks to the riches gained from the salt mining, the ruling Priors of the Augustine Monastery ruled in Berchtesgaden from 1559 until 1803, defying their strong neighbors Bavaria and Salzburg. It wasn't until 1816 that the country, and with it the rights to the salt minings, fell to Bavaria.
Even back then, the ruling priors invited their guests into the depths of the mountains. What back then was a dangerous and strenuous venture is today a merry slide party combined with a lot of interesting information about mining. Climb into the old protective clothing of a miner and listen to the fascinating history and mythical legends of the world without sunlight. Using the same slides as the miners, slide further and further into the magic of the tunnels and galleries and their subterranean beauty. An underground boat ride on the mysterious salt lake and a ride on the mining train complete the romantic and educational excursion.
Today, the salt mine in Berchtesgaden is still an important industry, in which 20 modern drilling mines are operated on five excavation levels. Every year approximately 600,000 m² of brine is extracted. About 400,000 visitors cannot resist a voyage into the middle of the mountain. The visitor's pathway was modernized in 2007 and reopened in the form of a multimedia edutainment show named the "SalzZeitReise" meaning "SaltTimeTravel" in English. Since then, Berchtesgaden is seen as a showcase for salt mines.
The beauty and romance of the Bavarian Alps are experienced on the drive along the Königseearche during the half day excursion by Salzburg Panorama Tours. Before reaching the salt mines, another additional historical witness is visited: the remains of Adolf Hitler's mountain residence. The "Saltmine Tour" begins daily at 8.45 am and 2.00 pm at the Panorama Tours terminal at Salzburg's Mirabell Square. Pick-up at the hotels within the city of Salzburg is included in the rate of Euro 48,00. The tour takes approximately 4 hours.