From underground brine springs to high up on the summit of the Predigtstuhl: the small town of Bad Reichenhall is located in the Berchtesgaden Alps at the southeasternmost tip of Bavaria and surprises with its own philharmonic orchestra, the oldest large cable car in the world preserved in its original form, the most beautiful fashion house in the republic and many free wellness options.

Bad Reichenhall

The town of 18,000 inhabitants is located in the Reichenhaller Basin on the Saalach River. Its history is closely linked with the extraction of salt from brine. Local mountains are the Predigtstuhl and the Hochstaufen.

Saturday morning: nostalgia and breakfast on the mountain

The Predigtstuhl is Bad Reichenhall's local mountain and with its 1584 meters it is very close to heaven. You can save yourself the three- to four-hour, demanding hike to the summit by taking the world's oldest, original large-cabin cable car - the "Grande Dame. Built in 1928, the Predigtstuhl lift with its red "saloon cars" in the shape of a pavilion is a nostalgia lift straight out of a picture book. It is the only cable car in the world to be listed as a historic monument.

At their commissioning it surpassed all cable cars built up to that time in elegance, speed and boldness and was considered the perfect cable car. Its entire drive and machinery system has been operating purely mechanically since 1928 and is still in perfect working order today. Everything is still in its original condition. At a speed of 18 kilometers per hour, it will take you up to the Predigtstuhl in eight and a half minutes over a partial 75 percent incline. Even during the ride you have a spectacular view of the rugged rocks of the Predigtstuhl and the Chiemgau mountains. Once at the top, a breakfast in a very special ambience awaits you: The mountain restaurant was built at the same time as the cable car and exudes the charm of the golden 1920s. On the sun terrace as well as on the hiking trails up to the summit you have a fantastic view far into the Austrian Alps.

Saturday noon: shopping in the most beautiful fashion house in the republic

After so much nature it is time for a stroll through the city: When strolling through the historic city center, you will automatically encounter the two-kilometer pedestrian zone. This is where you'll find the "Juhasz" department store, which was voted Germany's most beautiful fashion store and one of the top 5 in the world (opening hours on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The interior design alone is eye-catching - the interiors have exposed concrete ceilings, oak-paneled walls and a designer screed with etched patterns. Also contributing to the stylish shopping atmosphere is the incorporation of Bad Reichenhall's old city walls into the fashion house's modern architecture.

Saturday afternoon: Off to the alpine brine!

Heavy legs after the shopping trip? Yes, now comes relaxation! This is called Rupertus Therme in Bad Reichenhall - after the patron saint of salt mining, St. Rupert of Salzburg - and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.. The local remedy, Alpine brine, is pumped directly into the thermal bath from the brine springs beneath the town and distributed among the active pools, the lounging pools and the steam baths. The natural Alpine brine nourishes the skin, loosens muscles and joints, and strengthens the immune system. The 32 to 40 degree warm indoor and outdoor pools are distributed among the "Therme & Wellness" and "Sport & Family" areas and offer fantastic views of the mountains. In the integrated Laist Salt Center, you can also try treatments with Laist, the mineral-rich Alpine brine silt. The natural remedy is said to tone, drain and stimulate the skin's microcirculation. Laist also helps with skin irritations and strengthens the immune system.

Pure relaxation - a visit to the Rupertustherme Bad Reichenhall © C. Strom - stock.adobe.com

Saturday evening: Concert of the Philharmonic Orchestra

Bad Reichenhall has 19,000 inhabitants - and its own philharmonic orchestra with 40 professional musicians. The tradition of Germany's only philharmonic spa orchestra goes back 150 years. Its high level of playing attracts artists from all over the world. Since December 2020, the young US conductor and pianist Daniel Spaw, who enjoys great international recognition, has been leading the orchestra. Spa concerts are held in the summer months in the Concert Rotunda and the Pavilion in the Royal Spa Garden.

Charming venue of the Philharmonic Orchestra Bad Reichenhall - the concert rotunda in the spa garden © alexpolo - stock.adobe.com

Sunday morning: Astonishment in the Old Salt Works

On the trail of white gold: The Alte Reichenhaller Saline is one of the oldest existing inland salt works in Europe, the most important historical building in the town and also an industrial monument. It is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm. Here you will get a fascinating insight into the millennia-old salt history of the area, both above and below ground. Guided tours last 45 minutes and take you along a 400-meter-long path with 200 steps through the widely ramified underground tunnel system. The temperature there is a constant twelve degrees all year round. The salt cave and the Karl Theodor pump are worth seeing underground. Want to know more about salt? Then visit the attached salt museum and the salt store, where you can buy great souvenirs.

Sunday (after) noon: foot massage and graduation house

In the Old Saltworks you will find also a lovingly designed restaurant, the Salin. Its sun terrace is considered the most beautiful in the city. The ambience combines modernity with history, and the cuisine also fuses seemingly opposing poles such as salty and sweet or exotic and familiar. So much pleasure almost calls for the next feeling of well-being. You can discover this during a short walk opposite the Royal Spa Garden. In the Ortenaupark there are free foot massages - on the barefoot path. Take off your shoes and socks and consciously feel your feet treading on stone, wood or bark mulch.

Also for your lungs waiting in the spa park a health program: the graduation house. Built in 1912 in the Royal Spa Garden, the building is considered the world's largest open-air alpine brine inhalatorium. Around 100,000 bundles of brushwood are piled up to a height of 13 meters in the 160-meter-long, roofed structure. About 400,000 liters of alpine brine trickle over them every day, atomizing on the branches of the blackthorn bundles and producing a tiny, respirable aerosol that penetrates to the deepest airways. The inhaled Alpine brine air cleanses your respiratory tract, has an anti-inflammatory effect and moistens the bronchial tubes. This causes the respiratory mucous membranes to decongest, regenerate and stimulates blood circulation. The best inhalation effect is achieved by walking for half an hour along the side away from the wind - where the alpine brine does not trickle - slowly and calmly breathing through the nose. The graduation house is closed in winter and open from April 1 to October 31.

Sunday night: hit the jackpot and dance at the casino

Crowning conclusion of the short trip: If you have some fine clothes with you and are at least 21 years old, then try your luck in the casino. The architecturally unusual building not only offers roulette, blackjack or poker, but also cabaret on the "Cultino" event stage and club nights with DJs once a month in the "Oceans" club. The history of the casino goes back to the mid-1950s, when Bad Reichenhall became increasingly popular as a spa resort and because of its fantastic location in the Berchtesgaden Alps.

In the evening hours you can try your luck in the Bad Reichenhall casino © Studio Romantic - stock.adobe.com

Cover photo: City of white gold - Bad Reichenhall's history is also the history of centuries of salt mining © Sina Ettmer - stock.adobe.com

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