Somehow it is rather funny. I have been living in Munich now for 13 years, I travel the whole world for work and on leisure, but I haven´t quite made it into this area ever since I last was a child. And this is really awkward. Garmisch-Partenkirchen lies only one hour and 30 minutes south of Munich, easily accessible by an hourly departing train. Yet, my mind seems not to have taken this seriously enough, to actually plan a journey there.
So it must have been some sort of heavenly gesture, that my parents, who both retired two years ago, were going to visit me after being on the road for almost a year with their mobile home.
Instead of coming into town to see me for dinner, I suggested to actually meet in Garmisch. I could use a little time off and I haden´t been in the mountains for ages. So this came as a fantastic opportunity to combine family affair with city escape, if only for two nights.
And I am glad I did.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a typical Bavarian village right in the German Alps. The term city might describe the size maybe better (over 26.000 inhabitans), would not meet its small town charm and charisma though. It is great for hiking in the summer and skiing in the winters. And it can actually serve as a day trip destination while visiting Munich. It was location for the 1936 Winter Olympics and is still is highly popular amongst visitors due to the beauty of the surrounding area and the traditional charm of the village itself.
It lies also very close to the world-famous Zugspitze, the highest mountain on German territory, with amazing vistas on clear days, all year-round ski facilities and the highest elevated beer garden in the world (now that sounds like a bucket list item to cross out, right?).
While there is a wide range of accommodation for every budget available in town, I decided for a little hideaway up at Riessersee (Lake Riesser), a 20-minute walk away from the city center and the train station. The resort offers fantastic panoramas onto the surrounding mountains, while you hear nothing but the birds when waking up to the sunlight in the morning. Each room offers a private balcony and some of the more expensive accommodations have unlimited vistas of Lake Riesser and the reflecting snow-cap mountains towering above. A perfect romance getaway for couples! Check out my photo gallery of the Riessersee Resort & Spa here.
The day you plan your excursion onto the Zugspitze, make sure to start with a decent breakfast and a delicious cup of coffee at Wildkaffee Rösterei in downtown. From there it is a short walk to the station of the Zugspitzbahn, which will take you from Garmisch to either the cable car at Eibsee or the cogwheel railway station in Grainau leading all the way up to the top. As the fare for the Zugspitzbahn already covers the entrance to Zugspitze and the use of any of the two transportation facilities, I would recommend to take the cogwheel railway for going up and the cable car for the return way. Both will provide you with extraordinary mountain panoramas. If you know your dates of visit in advance, you can buy your tickets online!
Once you made your way up, just sit back and relax. The lower of the two stations features a restaurant with sun terrace to unwind on. The upper station is connected via another cable car and from there you can prepare to be blown away by a 360 degree vista of over 400 mountain peaks in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy.
250 kilometres of boundless freedom! It feels like you could embrace the world from up here. Enjoy my photo gallery and make sure to make your own on your next visit to my beautiful Munich! Safe travels, folks!