Garmisch-Partenkirchen

The Zugspitze is the highest point in Germany.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is in Upper Bavaria.

Understand

Garmisch-Partenkirchen was founded by uniting the two towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen by a decree of Adolf Hitler to bring the 1936 Winter Olympics to Germany. The International Olympic Committee was going to pass over Germany as the host, because there were not enough hotel rooms in the host town, so Hitler forced the unification of Garmisch and Partenkirchen to create a larger town, which would be more appealing to the IOC. Currently, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is home to a large US military base.

Get in

Garmisch is less than an hour by car from Munich, and the ride is a beautiful stretch of Autobahn, unfortunately not the whole way. Expect to drive up to three hours on weekends and public holidays.

Buses connect Garmisch-Partenkirchen non-stop to Berlin (DB IC bus). Meinfernbus connects Garmisch-Partenkirchen with Innsbruck and Munich Hackerbrücke at competitive prices. All buses depart in front of the main train station

Also, trains leave to and from Munich every hour, and the (beautiful) ride lasts roughly 80–90 minutes on the local and 60 minutes on the rush hour express. Note that the weekend ICE trains connecting Garmisch Partenkirchen to Munich and beyond are slower than the stopping train.

It is also a great end to a Romantic Road day trip beginning in Rothenburg, driving down the Romantic Road stopping at the various recommended heritage towns and ending in Garmisch for an overnight stay; or better still, a few days as it is a great base to drive out and back to Füssen (King Ludwig's castles) and Innsbruck along some of the most spectacular mountain drives you will ever see.

Get around

Public buses in Garmisch-Partenkirchen area very efficient. Lines #1 and #2 run every 20 minutes (30 minutes on weekends) and head from the Klinikum (hospital) via Bahnhof (train station) to Kreuzeck (ski area) or Breitenau (US-facilities). Lines #3, #4 and #5 run in opposite circles from the neighbouring villages of Farchant and Burgrain via Bahnhof and Marienplatz back to their origins. Fares are 1,50 € per trip or you can buy a weekly or monthly pass. Those who stay in hotels in town receive passes for free bus usage during their stay. The blue line (Eibseebus) connects Garmisch every hour with Grainau and the Eibsee. This bus is helpful for hikers starting or ending trips along the valley trails and lifts.

Beside the train station is the terminus of the Zugspitze Railway (Zugspitzbahn). The cogwheel train (Zahnradbahn) takes you up to the Zugspitze mountain. The ride takes 1hr 20min.

Main stops for all lines are Rathaus (townhall), Bahnhof (trainstation) and Marienplatz (center of town). There is also a busstop of the RVO(orange buses) at the trainstation. Those buses connect Garmisch with Oberammergau/Füssen, Mittenwald and Krün/Kochel.

Taxi ranks can be found outside the Trainstation (ph:08821-1616) and at the Marienplatz (ph:08821-2408) right in front of McDonalds.

See

Partnachklamm

The Partnach river flows through this gorge. Though it is very touristy and often crowded it is well worth a visit. After 700m the path chiselled in the rock ends and you can continue your walk to one of the surrounding huts. If you arrive by car follow the signs to the Skistation or Olympic Stadium (fee for parking depending on how long you stay). The entrance fee to the Klamm is 3 € per person; however the gorge should be open all times: before or after opening hours it is free (at your own risk). A torch is useful. It takes about 30 minutes walking to get from the parking to the gorge entry, and some 15 minutes to get through (each way). Go early to avoid crowds.

Höllentalklamm

This gorge is the more impressive and challenging version of the Partnachklamm (Open only during summertime). You can reach it by using the Zugspitsbahn to Hammersbach (Bavaria Ticket is valid until Grainau). Alternatively you can take the Blue-White bus connecting the Eibsee with Garmisch Partenkirchen (this bus runs every hour between 7 and 22). From the Gaststätte Hammersbach (where the bus stop is) follow the signs into the woods along the Hammersbach to the Höllentalklamm. It takes about half an hour more or less to reach the entry of the gorge (entry €4 (adult), €1 (kids). Walking through the gorge takes another 45 minutes. After exiting the gorge, you can continue walking to the Höllentalangerhütte lodge (another 30 minutes-hour orso). The lodge is situated in a large valley surrounded by large mountains. You can also see the Zugspitze from here. To go back to Hammersbach backtrack your way through the gorge (keep your ticket). There is a mini museum about the gorge at the entrance. You will need proper attire (good boots, warm and waterproof clothing even during summer time) when going to the gorge as the gorge is very wet, steep, cold and slippery.

Homes

Just walking around the town is a real treat. Take the time to walk down any street and you will be amazed at the paintings on the outside of the homes. The Bavarians have a long history of decorating the exteriors of their houses and businesses with both religious and historic paintings. The structure of the homes are also amazing. Go at the right time of the year and you can enjoy the beautiful flowers trellising down off the picturesque balconies.

Hiking and mountain views

During the winter the slopes surrounding the town are amazing for skiers and sightseers alike. During the summer months hours can be spent hiking the many trails (such as around the Eibsee) and enjoying the panoramic views. There is a cogwheel train trip up to the top of the Zugspitze mountain which is an event in itself and a cable car descent with amazing views.

Alternatively, the Garmisch-Classic cable cars offer a nice short 'circle' hike with pretty views. Go by car (or Zugspitzbahn) to the Kreuzeck-Alpspitzbahn. Take the Kreuzeckbahn to the top, then walk to the Hochalmbahn and nearby restaurant, enjoying the pretty views. From there, either walk up the narrow road or take the Hochalmbahn to the Alpspitzbahn, where there is a metal X shaped lookout point, offering beautiful views of the valley and the Hollentalklamm. From there, you can take the Alpspitzbahn back down to where you started. Hikers that want more challenge can walk through the Hollentalklamm to the Alpspitzbahn (6+ hours), and then take the bahn back down.

Before buying tickets to either cable cars or cogwheel train, be sure to check out group, family, and combination rates to avoid wasting money.

Außerfernbahn

It is a romantic train ride between Garmisch and Kempten (via Reutte in Austria) through picturesque Alpine valleys and cute towns. Bayern Ticket is valid along the entire route. You can access the Neuschwanstein Castle, at Füssen from the station Ulrichsbrücke-Füssen (a request stop, change in Reutte). It takes about an hour to walk from this stop to Füssen. It takes about 1,5 hours to access Neuschwanstein Castle. Lindau, at Lake Constance (Bodensee), is around 1:15 hours from Kempten by regional trains.

View of Eibsee and the Zugspitze

Zugspitze

Do

Alpine Sports

Garmisch-Partenkirchen boasts some of the best skiing in Germany. Located at the base of the country's tallest mountain, year round glacial snow is guaranteed. The "Happy Ski Pass" can be purchased for use of four ski areas in that area in both Austria and Germany: Seefeld, Mittenwald, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the region "Tiroler Zugspitz Arena". The pass starts at 88 € and offers 3 to 21 days of skiing, 4 of 6 days and 5 of 10.

Lodge am Hausberg adjacent to the big parking lot at Garmisch-Hausbergbahn station is a US Military Forces bar, and requires SOFA ID or equivalent to enter.

Eat

Drink

amongst ca. 80 varieties. The friendly staff is competent & helpful. French wines, foodstuffs, and small bakery items are also offered. The Croissants, Baguette, and Pain Au Chocolat are the best in town. English speakers always welcome! Medium.

Sleep

Garmisch-Partenkirchen has big variety of lodging. If you want to camp, stay at the youth hostel, a bed and breakfast or a 4-star hotel, you can find it all. The tourist information Am Kurpark is open 7 days a week and can help you find a room.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Other

Go next

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