In my opinion, a trip to Bavaria isn’t complete without a detour to the Bavarian Alps. This place is a gem, not just in Bavaria, but in all of Germany. Missing it would be a significant oversight.
Although the Bavarian Alps constitute just a small part of the country, they are home to many stunning destinations. One town in the Bavarian Alps that you should consider when planning your trip is Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
There are numerous reasons to visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen. But in summary, this town offers a unique blend of nature, outdoor fun, and culture, making it an exceptional destination. Nestled in the heart of the Bavarian Alps and easily accessible from Munich, Garmisch-Partenkirchen serves as an excellent base for exploring the region.
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In this post, we’ll explore all the advantages of visiting Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This includes highlighting the top attractions and experiences that this town has to offer. If you’re considering a trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you’ll find helpful tips and visiting information towards the end of this post.
1. Garmisch-Partenkirchen Offers a Breathtaking View of The Bavarian Alps
The Bavarian Alps. Even the name radiates beauty. For me, it’s the primary reason to visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Almost every view in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is graced by mountains that majestically adorn the horizon. Even within the town, the peaks rise above the rooftops of houses and buildings.
The scenery of the Bavarian Alps in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a sight to behold. If you’ve spent your entire life in the concrete jungle, a visit to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Bavarian Alps could be the life-changing trip you’ve been seeking.
Once you’ve breathed the freshest air, experienced the tranquility of the town and countryside, or simply gazed upon the awe-inspiring mountains, everything changes. It might even make you reconsider where you want to spend the rest of your life!
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is nestled among Germany’s highest and most scenic peaks: the Alpspitze and Zugspitze. You can reach them either by hiking or by cable car. If you have ample time and are physically able, I recommend hiking.
Heavenly scenery awaits you along the hiking trails from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. You’ll pass by countryside meadows that are a sight to behold. You can try many hiking trails in Garmisch-Partenkichen, each leading to different vantage points or mountain peaks.
Between the two mountains I’ve mentioned, Zugspitze is more notable. Standing tall as Germany’s highest peak, Zugspitze reaches an impressive height of 2,962 meters or 9,718 feet. But it’s not just the height that’s impressive. Zugspitze is also home to the highest beer garden in the country. It’s a unique spot to enjoy a cold brew with a view.
Once you reach the top, you’re rewarded with a breathtaking panorama. The view encompasses peaks from not just one, but multiple countries. You can see as far as Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and even Italy. It’s a sight that’s sure to leave you in awe.
Getting to Zugspitze from Garmisch-Partenkirchen involves taking the Zahnradbahn.
Start your journey at the train station in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. From there, you’ll take a scenic train ride through Grainau and Eibsee. Next, you’ll ascend Zugspitze using a cogwheel train. This part of the journey takes you through a tunnel and onto the Zugspitze Glacier Plateau, also known as Zugspitzplatt. Once you’re at the plateau, you’ll board the Glacier Cable Car.
This will take you all the way to the peak. The entire journey from Garmisch takes about an hour, and from Eibsee, it’s around 35 minutes.
Aside from Zugspitze, Alpspitze is another peak to visit in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Alpspitze is a unique peak located near Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It stands tall at an elevation of 2628 meters, or 8622 feet, above sea level. The peak is known for its distinctive triangular shape.
Close to Alpspitze, you’ll find an observation deck known as AlpspiX. This deck is shaped like an ‘X’ and extends 13 meters off the cliff in a curved walkway. From here, visitors can enjoy a bird’s eye view of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the stunning landscapes that surround it. It’s a view that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.
When you are at the top of the AlpspiX platform, here’s what you will see:
swipe the 360° image below to see more views
Reaching Alpspitze is quite straightforward. It starts with a bus ride from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. You’ll need to hop on bus number 2. Your stop is at Alpspitzbahn. From there, a cable car ride will take you directly to Alpspitze.
For the most up-to-date information on how to get to Alpspitze and Zugspitze, it’s best to visit their official websites: Alpspitze and Zugspitze. They provide all the details you need, including the latest opening hours.
For those with a passion for mountain peaks, consider extending your journey to the alpine destinations of France, Italy, and Switzerland. Chamonix, France, is home to Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps. Meanwhile, Italy offers the stunning peaks of the Dolomites in Cortina d’Ampezzo. Switzerland is a different story altogether. From Lauterbrunnen to Zermatt, the Swiss Alps are dotted with picturesque destinations. Not to mention the charming villages in the Swiss Alps and the cities near the Swiss Alps.
2. Garmisch-Partenkirchen Has Picturesque Lakes That Are Absolutely Magical
Mountain lakes are like a dream come true. They’re some of the most captivating and idyllic spots you could ever visit. In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you’re in luck because there are plenty of these lakes waiting for you to explore. They’re a photographer’s delight, offering endless opportunities for that perfect shot.
Take Lake Eib, or Eibsee, for example. Just one look at it and you’ll see why it’s so special.
Eibsee is just the beginning of the alpine lake natural beauty you can explore in the Bavarian Alps, especially in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. After some map study and research, I discovered that there are eleven lakes in total in this area.
These lakes are grouped into three distinct regions. First, we have the lakes located in the Wetterstein Mountain Range. Then, there are the lakes found within the Eibsee Area or to the north of Zugspitze. Lastly, there are several lakes scattered near the towns. The location of each lake is linked to their names listed below.
Wetterstein Mountain Range:
Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Grainau Area:
In my opinion, out of all the lakes in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, two stand out. These are Lake Eib, also known as Eibsee, and Lake Riesser, or Riessersee.
Eibsee is the largest lake you’ll find in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It’s known for its incredibly clear waters, typical of alpine lakes. If you visit Eibsee early in the morning when the water is calm, you’re in for a treat. The lake transforms into a mirror, reflecting the surrounding beauty with stunning clarity.
Eibsee offers a variety of activities to enjoy its stunning scenery. You can choose to hike around the lake, taking in the tranquil surroundings. Alternatively, you can opt for a more adventurous route and kayak through the crystal clear waters.
While kayaking, make sure to visit the small islands scattered across the lake. These picturesque features add a unique charm to Eibsee (as you can see from the photos). Interestingly, Eibsee is home to eight small islands. Let’s take a look at each of them, starting from the east and moving towards the west:
If you’re planning a trip from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Eibsee, here’s how you can go about it. Start your journey by catching a train to Grainau. Once you arrive in Grainau, your next step is to board the bus to Lake Eibsee.
If you’re planning a visit to Lake Eibsee, the official Grainau website is a great resource. It provides all the necessary details about the lake. This includes information on parking fees, which is crucial for planning your visit. Additionally, if you’re visiting with kids, the website offers a range of activities to keep them engaged.
Among the lakes in the region, Eibsee is the largest, while Riessersee holds a special place due to its rich history. Its origins can be traced back to the medieval ages when it was formed in a forest clearing.
Riessersee has been the center of numerous historical events, including being chosen as the venue for the 1936 Olympic Games. Today, it stands as a significant attraction for those visiting Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Today, it offers its visitors an opportunity to experience stunning landscapes that also leave a lasting impression.
On a serene sunny day, standing on the northern shore of Riessersee, you’ll be treated to a dazzling view. The lake shimmers, mirroring the majestic Mount Waxenstein and Mount Kramer that tower nearby.
Riessersee is conveniently located just a 20 to 30-minute walk from the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This accessibility means that the lake can often be bustling with visitors.
To fully immerse yourself in its natural splendor, consider visiting during quieter times. Early mornings or an hour before sunset are particularly serene. During these off-peak hours, you can enjoy a more personal connection with nature.
If you’re considering extending your visit to the lake, staying in Riessersee hotel is an excellent choice. The hotel is conveniently situated right next to the lake. Its prime location offers you the chance to unwind all day, with the tranquil view of the lake at your disposal whenever you wish.
3. Spectacular Gorges: It’s Not Only Lake and Mountains in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a place where the beauty of nature is in abundance. From towering mountains to serene lakes, there’s always something to marvel at. But the wonders don’t stop there. Garmisch-Partenkirchen also has a gorge, and this hidden gem is yet another reason why it is a great idea to visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Partnachklamm, also known as the Partnach Gorge, is a canyon that stretches 700 meters in length and plunges 80 meters deep. It’s nestled in the Reintal Valley, just south of the quaint town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
As you step inside, you’re greeted by an amazing display of nature’s handiwork, a masterpiece millions of years in the making. The gorge is a sensory feast, captivating both your sight and hearing.
Rock formations abound, their rugged beauty a testament to the relentless forces of nature. The sound of cascading waterfalls and rushing water rapids reverberates throughout, adding to the gorge’s enchanting ambiance.
Embarking on a journey through the gorge is an adventure in itself. The trail, constantly misted by water spray, can be quite slippery, adding a touch of thrill to the experience. Moreover, the tunnels and galleries within the gorge are not particularly high. For those standing over 1.75 meters tall, there will be spots where you’ll need to bend down a bit.
Previously, I had no interest in visiting a canyon or gorge. I believed gorges were merely rocks and simple waterfalls. However, I was mistaken! A unique kind of wonder resides in the ravines, which is not found anywhere else above the surface.
The most beautiful moment inside the gorge occurs when the sunlight penetrates the openings at the top, creating picturesque and dramatic lighting everywhere. You are fortunate if this happens to you.
The view inside Partnachklamm varies with each season. Visit in February and you will see not only rock formations but also icicles of various shapes.
For more details about Partnachklamm, such as opening hours and access information, you can visit the official website of Partnachklamm.
4. Linderhof Palace: 30 Minutes Away from Garmisch-Partenkirchen (by Car)
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a haven for those with a spirit of adventure and a love for nature. But did you know that just a stone’s throw away from this natural paradise lies an architectural marvel?
It is Linderhof Palace, a 19th-century masterpiece constructed under the reign of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. And indeed, it is another reason to visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Linderhof Palace, tucked away in southwest Bavaria near the village of Ettal, is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one he lived to see completed.
One of its notable features is its distinct historicist garden design, unique in Germany. It incorporates architectural techniques from various eras and places, including elements of baroque and renaissance architecture found in Marly le Roi in France or La Granja in Spain.
The garden covers 50 hectares (125 acres) and includes buildings inspired by diverse places and cultures, such as the Venus Grotto, Hunding’s Hut, Gurnemanz Hermitage, Moorish Kiosk, and Moroccan House.
The palace’s interior is worth exploring, particularly the bed chamber and Hall of Mirrors. These rooms display elements of Rococo design, adding to the palace’s charm. However, please note that photography is not allowed inside the palace.
Visiting Linderhof Palace is a journey through history and architectural grandeur. Here’s how you can spend your time:
- Tour the Palace: Start with a guided tour of the palace interior, which lasts less than 25 minutes. You’ll be able to marvel at the grandeur of the hall of mirrors and the mysterious Venus Grotto.
- Explore the Grounds: After the palace tour, take some time to explore the surrounding park and gardens. You’ll find many gems inspired by King Ludwig II’s flights of fancy.
- Visit the Venus Grotto: Don’t miss the Venus Grotto, an illuminated artificial cave made especially for King Ludwig II. It’s perhaps the most unique feature found on the palace grounds.
Getting to Linderhof Palace from Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a mere 30-minute drive. However, if you’re planning to travel from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Linderhof Palace by bus the whole journey should take you around 1 hour and 41 minutes, here’s a simple way to do it:
- First, hop on the line 9606 bus from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and get off at Ettal Klostergasthof.
- From there, catch the line 9622 bus that will take you directly to Linderhof Schloß.
Just a heads up, bus schedules can change, especially on weekends and holidays. So, it’s always a good idea to check the latest schedules before your trip. For more information about Linderhof Palace, such as the tours, admission fee, and opening hours, kindly proceed to the official website of Linderhof Palace.
5. Ettal Abbey: One Bus Ride Away from Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Ettal Abbey is another destination in the Bavarian Alps that is very close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This proximity adds another layer to the appeal of a stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The Abbey is an architectural marvel, featuring impressive religious works of art. These elements provide travelers with a richer experience during their trip to the Bavarian Alps.
In a nutshell, Ettal Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in the village of Ettal, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It’s renowned for its beautiful Baroque-style architecture, stunning frescoes, and a unique brewery. Interestingly, the abbey has been a center of learning and art, housing a significant library and school. Ettal Abbey offers guided tours that provide insights into its rich history.
For me, the highlight of visiting Ettal Abbey is its dome. It’s filled with rococo embellishments and ultra-detailed frescos that will absolutely captivate anyone. The painting illustrates the image of heaven, with the Holy Trinity as the central theme.
If you’re planning a trip from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Ettal Abbey, here’s what you need to know:
- Driving there: Hop in your car and take the B23, E533 route. It’s a short drive, only about 15.7 kilometers, and should take you around 18 minutes. But remember, times can vary depending on traffic!
- Taking the bus: If you prefer public transportation, you can catch the line 9606 bus. This bus service, operated by Regionalverkehr Oberbayern GmbH, departs hourly. The journey covers around 15 km and should take about 25-30 minutes.
If you’re interested in delving deeper into the history and architectural beauty of Ettal Abbey, the official website of Ettal Abbey is a great resource. The website in on German, by the way.
Do you also enjoy visiting churches that are filled with beauty? Consider visiting those in France, specifically in Strasbourg, Reims, Paris, and Lyon. In Italy, the churches in Milan, Rome, Venice, and Florence are a must-see.
6. Garmisch-Partenkirchen Picture-Perfect Streets: Ludwigstrasse & Fruhlingstrasse
In fact, you don’t need to venture far from the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen to appreciate stunning architecture. The historic town itself is home to a wealth of artistic buildings, adding another layer of charm to your visit.
Two streets in particular, Ludwigstrasse and Fruhlingstrasse, are worth exploring. These areas of modern-day Garmisch-Partenkirchen are not only photogenic, perfect for your Instagram feed, but also rich in culture.
Learning about the lives of the ancestors of Garmisch-Partenkirchen comes with a stroll in Ludwigstrasse and Fruhlingstrasse. Here, you will see the facades of houses, shops, and inns painted with beautiful murals that express the old Bavarian character.
Here, Lüftlmalerei — the artistic facades of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and other towns in Southern Germany — can be seen almost everywhere. The murals mostly depict the profession of the house owner or their patron saint.
What’s more interesting? Most buildings here are constructed plain and flat, but they don’t look like that! Some murals apply trompe-l’œil, a visual illusion that tricks the eyes into perceiving the images as 3D objects.
7. The Hidden Gems of Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is not just about natural wonders and architectural gems. The town also boasts attractions that are steeped in intriguing stories. These fascinating sites add another layer of interest to your visit, making Garmisch-Partenkirchen a destination that has something for everyone.
- Kirchdorf Wamberg
- King’s House on Schachen
- The Werdenfels castle ruins
Kirchdorf Wamberg is one of the most idyllic church villages you’ll come across in Bavaria. It’s as if it’s been plucked straight out of an indie movie! I think this quaint village is a haven for those who appreciate the charm of yesteryears. If you’re an old soul seeking a serene escape, Kirchdorf Wamberg could be your perfect destination.
To get to Wamberg from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you’ll need to take a bus ride. The bus you’ll need is bus number 2, which will take you to Klinikum, Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Once you’ve arrived at Klinikum, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you’ll then need to hike to the village. This hike will take approximately one hour.
Nestled a kilometer above sea level in the Wetterstein mountain range, you’ll find Wamberg. Although it’s a bit of a journey from the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, those who make the trip often find it well worth the effort.
Wamberg is home to around 30 villagers, who live in traditional, rustic homes that exude a peaceful charm. And upon arrival, you’re greeted with the quintessential beauty of the German countryside, nestled in the mountains.
If you visit in the summer, you’ll be treated to a delightful scene. The charming houses stand out against the backdrop of lush, green meadows, creating a picturesque landscape that’s a joy to behold.
At the heart of the village, you’ll find the Church of Saint Anne. The church boasts an impressive high altar, a masterpiece crafted by the sculptor Andreas Onich. Wamberg also offers stunning views of the Alpspitze and Zugspitze, adding another layer of beauty to the village.
King’s House on Schachen (Könighaus am Schachen)
The King’s House is a remarkable site in Garmisch-Partenkirchen that’s worth a visit if you have extra time. Nestled just below Dreitorspitze, it sits at an impressive elevation of 1,866 meters above sea level, offering a fantastic view of the Wetterstein mountain range.
The mountain lounge tells the tale of a king, King Ludwig II, who yearned to live in a dreamlike location amidst the mountains. A rest house in the mountains… It’s a dream that many of us share, wouldn’t you agree?
To get there, start by hopping on bus number 2, which will take you to Klinikum, Garmisch-Partenkirchen. From there, lace up your hiking boots for a three-hour trek to the King’s House. The hike is a bit of a climb, ascending 1000 meters, but the views of Zugspitze and the surrounding area are well worth it.
Once you reach the King’s House, you’ll find a few to keep you busy. First, appreciate its architecture. The exterior might look like a simple Swiss chalet, but don’t let that fool you. Inside, you’ll find the entire upper floor dedicated to the “Turkish Room”, an ornate space decorated in an Oriental style.
Next to the house, you’ll find the Alpengarten auf dem Schachen, an alpine botanical garden. Home to over 1,000 plant species from the Alps to the Himalayas, it’s a gem for nature lovers. The garden is open during the summer months from 8 am to 5 pm.
And of course, don’t forget to take some time to simply enjoy the view. The location of the King’s House offers some of the most stunning vistas of the Bavarian Alps.
Before you set off on your visit, it’s a good idea to check out the official website of the Bavarian Palace Administration Department. Here, you’ll find important visiting information and any announcements about access to the site.
The Werdenfels Castle Ruins
Wamberg and the King’s House are two popular hiking destinations near Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Another spot that’s well worth a visit is the Werdenfels Castle ruins, nestled between Garmisch and Ferchant.
Stepping back in time, Werdenfels Castle was once a formidable fortress that stood guard over the Loisach valley. Perched 80 meters high on a cliff, it was home to the counts of Werdenfels, who ruled their land from this strategic location. However, by the mid-17th century, the center of power shifted elsewhere, and the once-mighty castle fell into disrepair.
Today, the ruins of Werdenfels Castle are a delight for explorers. Visitors can’t help but feel a sense of mystery as they wander through the remnants of this ancient fortress. And the view? The dramatic panorama from the ruins is sure to satisfy any wanderlust.
To reach the Werdenfels Castle Ruins from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you’ll first need to travel to the small village of Burgrain. This journey can be made by a quick drive from the town or by a 15-minute bus ride on bus number 4 from Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Once you’ve arrived in Burgrain, you can continue your journey to the castle ruins on foot. Simply head southwest off Werdenfelserstrasse and follow the trail.
The Warrior Remembrance Chapel, or Kriegergedächtniskapelle, is another historic site in Garmisch-Partenkirchen that’s worth exploring. This chapel is perched on top of a plateau located to the northwest of the town.
Like the other attractions mentioned earlier, the Kriegergedächtniskapelle offers panoramic views of the Bavarian Alps and the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It’s a sight that’s sure to take your breath away. In addition to the views, the chapel is also a place of tranquility. It’s the great spot to enjoy some peace and quiet during your visit.
The Kriegergedächtniskapelle holds a significant story. It stands as a memorial to the soldiers who lost their lives during the Second World War. These brave individuals made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation.
When you visit, you may come for a hike, but it’s important to take a moment to remember these lost lives. The chapel serves as a poignant reminder of our good fortune today, to be able to walk freely without the threat of war.
In a subtle way, the Kriegergedächtniskapelle is more than just a destination from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It’s a site that encourages us to reflect and foster a sense of gratitude. Can you see the deeper value of visiting such a place?
If you’re starting from the town center of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, reaching the Kriegergedächtniskapelle is just a 30-minute walk away. You can find the exact location of the chapel on Google Maps.
8. Garmisch-Partenkirchen’s Olympic Heritage
Garmisch-Partenkirchen’s heritage sets it apart from other locations in the Bavarian Alps. Interestingly, this town was at the heart of global attention almost a hundred years ago. This was due to the 1936 Winter Olympics, an event that has left an indelible imprint on the town and is now a major draw for visitors.
Today, Garmisch-Partenkirchen keep the memory of the 1936 Winter Olympics alive every day through the Olympic Ski Jump. These sites serve as a constant reminder of the town’s rich history and its moment in the global spotlight.
The Garmisch-Partenkirchen Olympic Ski Jump, also known as the Große Olympiaschanze, is a significant landmark in the world of ski sports. It was initially built to host ski jumping competitions and gained international fame when it hosted the 1936 Olympic Games.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen History & Fun Fact
Garmisch-Partenkirchen wasn’t always a single town. Originally, it was two separate market towns: Garmisch in the west and Partenkirchen in the east.
From the time they were established, these towns were distinct, each with its own identity. Despite their individuality, both became well-known ski resorts in the 1920s.
In 1935, in preparation for the 1936 Winter Olympic Games, Hitler unified Garmisch and Partenkirchen into one grand venue for the sporting event. Even though Garmisch and Partenkirchen have been unified for decades, visitors can still observe a slight difference between the two old towns. Garmisch has a modern vibe, while Partenkirchen maintains a quaint and historic ambiance.
This event sparked Garmisch-Partenkirchen’s popularity as a ski resort and a famous tourist destination in the Bavarian Alps. Today, most people refer to Garmisch-Partenkirchen as “GaPa” — a shortcut for the town’s long name. So, if you hear people saying “GaPa,” they’re referring to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. No confusion there!
Every year, countless visitors flock to this town. During weekends, Garmisch-Partenkirchen’s population of approximately 25,000 nearly doubles due to the influx of tourists and travelers.
Throughout the years, the ski jump has been the venue for several notable events, including the ski jumping event and the ski jumping part of the Nordic combined event at the 1936 Winter Olympics. Today, it is best known for hosting the New Year’s Ski Jumping event as part of the international Four Hills Tournament.
What makes the ski jump interesting for travelers is not only its rich history and its role in the world of ski sports but also the panoramic view it offers of the surrounding valley of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Visitors can access the Olympic Ski Jump Stadium in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the surrounding grounds free of charge at any time, except during events. This means that you can explore the stadium at your own pace. However, it’s important to note that specific guided tours of the stadium may not be available.
If you’re interested in experiencing a live event at the stadium, you might want to plan your visit around the New Year’s Ski Jumping event. This event is part of the Four Hills Tournament. Tickets for this event can be purchased online.
Reaching the Olympic Ski Jump is quite straightforward. You can simply board bus number 2 from the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Train Station. Then, you just need to get off at the Skistadion, Garmisch-Partenkirchen bus stop.
9. From Wildlife to Food, There’s Something for Everyone in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Visiting alpine towns like Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a delightful experience, thanks to the wide range of outdoor activities they offer. No matter the season, Garmisch-Partenkirchen has something for every outdoor enthusiast during summer and winter.
During the summer, the town comes alive with a variety of fun-filled activities. You can spend your time hiking or mountaineering. If you’re a fan of cycling or mountain biking, there are plenty of trails to explore. For those who prefer water sports or golf, Garmisch-Partenkirchen has you covered. And if you’re up for an adventure, you can even try paragliding!
As the seasons change and winter arrives, Garmisch-Partenkirchen transforms into a winter wonderland. Skiing and cross-country skiing are popular activities during this time. If you prefer a slower pace, you can go for a winter hike or try snowshoeing. Ski touring is another great option. And of course, there’s always the option to enjoy the winter scenery off the slopes.
If you’re interested in seeing mystical creatures like those depicted in elven fantasy movies, look no further than Garmisch-Partenkirchen. At the Kramerplateau, you can have a unique wildlife feeding experience with does and stags. A ranger will accompany you and teach you all the fascinating facts about these animals.
Your adventure in Garmisch-Partenkirchen isn’t just a feast for your eyes, legs, and mind. This charming town also offers a culinary journey that will delight your taste buds.
As you explore the town, you’ll come across a variety of Bavarian Cuisine that’s sure to make your gastronomic experience as memorable as your trip. Here are some that you might like to try: Fleischpflanzerl, Schweinshaxe mit Knödel, Obazda, Knieküchle, and Zwetschgendatschi.
First, Fleischpflanzerl. Imagine biting into a juicy meatball made from a blend of beef and pork, seasoned with a medley of spices and fried to perfection in butter. Each bite is a burst of savory goodness that leaves you craving for more.
Next, we have the Schweinshaxe mit Knödel. Picture a roasted pork knuckle, its skin crispy and its meat tender, flavored with beer and herbs. Paired with soft, fluffy dumplings, this dish is a hearty delight that warms your soul.
Then there’s Obazda, a creamy cheese spread that’s a symphony of flavors. Made from Camembert and butter, and seasoned with paprika and beer, it’s tangy, spicy, and utterly delicious.
Don’t forget to try the Knieküchle, a fried dough pastry that’s a sweet treat for your taste buds. The dough is slightly yeasty and the exterior is crispy, while the inside remains soft and fluffy. Dusted with confectioner’s sugar, it’s the perfect dessert to end your meal.
Last but not least, the Zwetschgendatschi. This is a plum sheet cake that’s a celebration of sweet and tart flavors. The plums are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and almonds before being baked to perfection on a short crust pastry. Each bite is a delightful mix of textures and flavors.
10. In a Strategic Location: Garmisch-Partenkirchen is Near Other Beautiful Places
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, nestled in the heart of the Bavarian Alps, is an ideal base for your adventures. Its central location means you’re never far from a new place to explore, whether you head east or west.
Venture west and you’ll find the ultimate fairytale destination: Neuschwanstein Castle. This iconic castle is a must-visit for anyone exploring the Bavarian Alps.
But you don’t have to travel far for another interesting destination. Just east of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is Mittenwald. A quick drive or train ride away, this town offers several attractions that will make your trip to the Bavarian Alps even more memorable.
Continue further east and you’ll arrive at Berchtesgaden. This town boasts a wide range of attractions, including one of the cleanest and most picturesque lakes in the Bavarian Alps, Germany’s tallest waterfall, and the country’s oldest salt mine.
Head north and you’ll come across Oberammergau. This unique town is known for its centuries-old tradition of Passion-Play. Keep heading north and you’ll discover more amazing destinations in Southern Germany like Munich, Nuremberg, Wurzburg, Bamberg, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The latter is a must-see, thanks to its preserved medieval village and intact medieval wall.
Photos to Inspire You to Visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen
If you’re still unsure about visiting Garmisch-Partenkirchen, let this series of images sway your decision. You might just find yourself longing to experience the beauty of this place firsthand.
Visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen with Other Destinations in Bavarian Alps
Visiting the Bavarian Alps with only Garmisch-Partenkirchen on your itinerary might seem like an incomplete trip. There are more than 20 destinations in the Bavarian Alps, all of which are great places to visit!
If you’re planning to visit the Bavarian Alps and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you should at least include Neuschwanstein Castle in your itinerary. This is what I’ve done with my 7-day and 10-day Bavarian Alps itineraries.
However, if you only have a few days to spend in the Bavarian Alps, I suggest setting aside Garmisch-Partenkirchen for the time being. Instead, visit the top attractions in the Bavarian Alps as I’ve done in this 3-day Bavarian Alps itinerary.
When to Visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a destination that can be visited all year round.
Summer in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a season of exploration. You can visit popular tourist spots like Zugspitze and Eibsee, given that the hiking trails are accessible. On the other hand, winter transforms Garmisch-Partenkirchen into a snowy paradise, expanding the range of activities to include winter sports.
While there are fewer tourist attractions you can visit during the winter, Garmisch-Partenkirchen becomes a special destination as the Olympic Ski Jump Arena hosts events that add a unique touch to your visit.
Actually, the best time to visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen depends on the type of tourist attractions you want to visit or the activities you want to do.
However, as a rule of thumb, if you want to enjoy as many attractions in Garmisch-Partenkirchen as possible, it’s ideal to visit during the summer. For photography enthusiasts, consider visiting during autumn when the surroundings look magical with fall foliage. You will surely love the scenery, especially the appearance of the lakes in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
How Many Days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
The duration of your stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen really depends on what you want to experience. The town is brimming with attractions, and there are even more to explore on day trips from the town. So, the number of days you choose to stay could vary greatly.
If you’re interested in seeing the highlights of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, such as Zugspitze, Eibsee, Linderhof Palace, and the town’s landmarks and streets, a two-day trip should suffice.
However, if you’re looking for a more leisurely pace, you might want to consider extending your stay to three days. This would allow for a day of hiking or a relaxing day at the Riessersee hotel.
For those who wish to use Garmisch-Partenkirchen as a base for exploring the Bavarian Alps, a four or five-day stay would be ideal. This would give you enough time to include visits to Mittenwald and Oberammergau in your itinerary.
How to Get to Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Sure, let’s make it more conversational!
If you’re planning to visit the charming town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany, you’ll be glad to know that it’s quite accessible. The nearest airports are in Innsbruck, Austria, and Munich, Germany.
From Innsbruck, you can hop on a FlixBus or a train operated by Austrian Railways (ÖBB). The bus ride takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes, and the train journey is slightly longer at 1 hour and 15 minutes.
From Munich, you have similar options. FlixBus operates a service from Munich central bus station to Garmisch-Partenkirchen station every 2 hours. The journey takes 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Alternatively, you can take a train operated by Deutsche Bahn Regional from München Hbf to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This journey takes about 1 hour and 23 minutes. There’s also a direct bus from Munich International Airport to Garmisch-Partenkirchen station every 3 hours. This journey takes about 2 hours and 10 minutes.
As for getting around in Garmisch-Partenkirchen or the Bavarian Alps, renting a car isn’t strictly necessary. The public transportation systems are excellent, and local buses are free with a GaPa Guest Card issued by your innkeeper or hotel front desk.
However, if you’re planning to travel extensively through the Alps, a car might be more convenient. Just keep in mind the costs of parking and fuel when making your decision.
Where to Stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
While it’s possible to visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen as a day trip from places like Munich, there’s so much to see and do here that you might feel rushed. So, unless you’re only interested in a specific attraction, it’s worth considering a longer stay to truly soak up all that Garmisch-Partenkirchen has to offer.
If you need a place to stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you can find the best hotel deals here. Below are the hotels that I think worth mentioning:
If you’re looking to save some money on your trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Hotel Atlas Sport could be a good fit. It’s one of the most affordable options in town and even offers free parking. But keep in mind, it might not have all the bells and whistles of a pricier hotel.
Now, if you’re someone who appreciates organic food and a good spa day, Biohotel Garmischer Hof might be more up your alley. It’s a bit more expensive, but many guests feel it’s worth it for the views and amenities.
For those who prefer a home away from home, Bader Suites offers luxurious, fully-equipped apartments. Of course, luxury comes with a price tag, so this option is a bit more expensive.
Lastly, Hotel Mercure is a solid choice if you’re looking for a good deal. It’s not as quaint as some others, but it offers an amazing breakfast and is still within walking distance of many attractions (i.e., Ludwigstraße and Museum Werdenfels).
You can search these hotels in Garmisch-Partenkirchen here.
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