Armchair Traveller

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Hitler’s hideaway a tourist hotspot

Hitler’s hideaway a tourist hotspot

High-tea with Hitler

Sipping tea in Adolf Hitler’s lair may not be your idea of an idyllic holiday escape yet what is left of the dictator’s hideaway, perched on on a ridge at the top of the Kehlstein mountain in Germany, has become a thriving tourist attraction.

What remains today of the Kehlsteinhaus, known more commonly as the Eagle's Nest, is a chalet-style tearoom, which saw 300,000 visitors last year — a significant upturn from the previous year.

The structure was completed in 1938 as a 50th birthday present for Hitler, although he is said to only have visited the site a few times due to his fear of heights.

The mountain retreat is situated 1834m above sea level and the final stages are reached by an elevator bored straight through the mountain and linked via a 124 metre tunnel. The original elevator car which is still used daily is decorated with brass, Venetian mirrors and green leather.

Today the site is run by a charitable trust and visitors who make the two-hour hike or take the bus from Obersalzberg, the road having been closed to normal traffic since 1952, are rewarded with stunning views and the refreshments of a privately run restaurant.

Informal tours of the nest are offered by a local guide to foreigners but you can’t get the tour in German which is apparently a requirement due to trouble with Nazi sympathisers.

The lower rooms are not part of the restaurant but can be visited with a guide. Graffiti left by Allied troops is still visible in the surrounding woodwork while a large fireplace in the restaurant itself shows damage from where soldiers broke off shards of marble as souvenirs, whilst Hitler's small study is now a store room for the cafeteria.

Related: Austrian baker cooks Nazi treats

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