Located 60 miles south of Munich near the Austrian border, Garmisch – Partenkirchen is considered Germany’s ‘Winter Sports Capital.’ With its diverse skiing range, it hosted Winter Olympics in the year 1936 and had managed to nurture a sports-loving community around. While it attracts many pros who return every year, it also offers an amicable environment for newcomers. It is also famous for its annual New Year Ski competition – televised all around the globe.
Garmisch – Partenkirchen is mostly dominated by beautiful mountain scenery with mount Zugspitze at the center of it. Zugspitze’s lift covers a distance of approx. 2100 meters (7000 feet), which makes it one of the biggest in the world.
Garmisch – Partenkirchen skiing range is spread around multiple areas encompassing Austrian terrains as well, all available to access on single ‘Happy go card.’ Together they make up 280 km (175 miles) of trails including 30 lifts. It consists of extensive ski areas rather than small individual ones.
This makes it more suitable for intermediate skiers. Zugspitze is Germany’s highest and only glacier ski point covering area of approx. 8,530 feet (2,600 meters). Upper Zugspitzbahn part makes it 9680 feet (3280 meters), but it’s not suitable for skiing. Eight surface lifts and one six-person chair covers most of intermediate skiing area along with engineering marvel Funicular railway passing through the mountain.
Garmisch is often compared to major resorts covering the Western U.S terrains. It caters the needs of both beginners and advanced level skiers and snowboarders. It features on-piste areas reserved for intermediate level skiers only. Experts usually prefer challenging terrain on Zugspitze’s glacier, accessed by cogwheel train. Although Garmisch is preferred by mostly intermediate to advanced level skiers, it has potential to offer something for everyone.
Garmisch’s freestyler terrain park is one of its kind. Garmisch is known for its amiable environment encouraging young skiers. It also provides a different training program to get travelers accustomed with the environment.
Intermediate skiers love Garmisch. At the Classic area, lingering pistes span through immense vertical drops brand the resort as must-go for intermediates. The Zugspitze area’s above-treeline glacier sprints are not to be missed on sunny days. The Classic area has the extensive and best range of intermediate runs. It offers the potential to ski 4,265 ft. (1300 m) from the uppermost of the Alpspitzbahn towards the base. Three previous simple runs (Olympia, Kochelberg, and Tonihutte) offers 600m easy drop. The Olypmia range hosted the 1936 Olympic downhill. Many verticals are possible by combining these three pistes and they’re so intriguing that many skiers prefer to skip other intermediate runs near the top of the Classic area. Also famous, Bernadein’s rundown enabled by its own surface boost pushes through a fine gap opening the mountain before introducing to a broad piste between two soaring rock faces.
The Zugspitze range is an intermediate’s heaven. The glacier has 16km of calm open skiing. The ranges are a bit on the easier side of the red scale (red trails are designated for intermediates), and determined beginners will find them inside their zone. There are no highly complex runs on the glacier so that intermediates can discover the whole region. If catching Zugspitzebahn through the mountain to the summit, make sure to check out Riffelriss run is open, as this red run back to Eibsee train station is often missed by many.
Garmisch-Classic has been delivering some promising views since its inception. Since 2010, there is a new addition to the family of breathtaking experiences of Garmisch – Partenkirchen through its AlpspiX viewing platform situated above 50 meters of Alpsitzbahn’s mountain station.
The 9-foot wide bridge is designed to give adrenaline pump to even hardcore climbers through its 360-degree view with glass flooring and open grid construction to let snow pass during winters. It also packs an educational experience with a total of nine information points along the route.
There are number of pleasant bars and pubs around Garmisch-Partenkirchen that deliver quite a spirited nightlife experience. With more than 100-plus restaurants along with 30+ bars and around 7 disco clubs, the region offers enough to appease the appetite of all kind of party-hunters and night owls.
Most bars follow a Bavarian theme with an extensive collection of German beers. Music here is not that uplifting, but you always have a choice to switch to other Irish, Rose, and Crown bars. Americans often come here in large number during winter and contribute to an excellent party atmosphere.
Culture is friendly so you’ll mostly be accompanied and helped out by natives. Local tourist office helps a lot and provides a detailed guide to all the happening places. If you’re lucky and a bit adventurous, you might explore something new during the night.
Here are a few must-visit bars and pubs in the area.
If you love to explore a new culture and meet new people, then you must go to the famous Irish pub and order Guinness. This Irish bar is quite a center of attraction and considered as one of the most amiable places in the town.
If you’re fond of dancing and want to learn some new moves, then you should try Bavarian folk music and dance held at B&B 19 every Saturday night. Or if you want to align yourself with old culture of Garmisch then classical concerts at Garmisch park bandstand is one to go for. It’s better to coordinate with local tourist office to keep yourself updated on what’s coming up next.
Spielbank offers town’s biggest casino. You can try your luck here if you’re 18+ (you’ll have to present your passport to verify). Entry charges are 2.50€/ person. The casino opens at around 3 pm and closes at 2 am. Blackjack tables are open every day. On Friday and Saturday, special seven-card poker games are arranged but you’ll have to book in advance. It’s mandatory for men to wear a jacket and tie.
If you’re in for a warm and pleasant cup of Italian coffee, then do check out Italian café at the base of the Kreuzeckbah. Bavarian culture dishes are also served next to it at Drehmöser and Hausberg, do try out Schweinshaxe (roasted ham hock) along with wheat beer if you’re in for a hearty meal.
Garmisch nightlife is not cheap here but rest assured that it is one you will not forget that easily. Food and drinks are of the highest standard. If you’re on a budget, then you’ll have to plan ahead and spend smartly. Garmisch-Partenkirchen accommodates its visitors well, and you’ll be able to find a bit of every neighboring culture.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen attracts thousands of visitors each year, and not all of them are here just for the sake of skiing. Apart from skiing, the resort offers a variety of other attractions and activities to enjoy. The town has a beautiful architecture with colorful buildings and huts. Tourists looking for something more than skiing, have a lot of choices. Here is an overview of things you can do on days you don’t feel like hitting the snow.
A significant tourist activity in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is to plan a visit to the famous Olympic Ski Stadium located in Gudiberg. The stadium was created to host the 1936 Winter Olympics, and the stadium and its ski-jumps are still used for many international and local sporting events.
The arena is open for public skating. Skating in the stadium is a favorite activity for children. The stadium offers skating lesson to everyone. Visitors enjoy touring around the stadium and enjoy any sporting event. Olympic Ski stadium has a curling rink, and tourists enjoy watching traditionally choreographed dance routines and fast skating. Tourists can visit the stadium themselves or take a guided tour for a more extensive tour of the stadium.
Zugspitze is Germany’s highest peak; it makes it one of the most visited places in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The summit is 2,962 meters tall that makes Germany’s highest mountain. The site is accessible in both winter and summer, but winter makes this a must-visit destination for everyone. Skiers and non-skiers enjoy the beauty and splendor of this majestic mountain. The summit is accessible by a cable car for exploring the caves and glaciers.
The Partnach Gorge in Partnachklamm is a rocky gorge near the Partnach River. The gorge is 702 meters long and 80 meters deep. The Gorge is particularly wonderful to explore in winter. In winter, the ravine is filled with the guise of massive ice formation clinging to the cliffs. Höllentalklamm is another popular destination among tourists. This gorge has some excellent trails that take hikers around the summit of the canyon about 1,045 meters. The track is challenging in winter, but that’s what makes it a good hike in winter. A guided tour is always better to avoid getting lost on the trails. Hotels usually offer guided tours, but local guides who are expert mountaineers provide their services as well.
For those interested in history and castles, a visit to the King’s house on Schachen is a favorite activity among tourists. The tour to the castle is only available as a guided tour. Hotels usually include a visit of the manor in their guest itinerary.
Getting to the King’s House of Schahen is accessible only by foot or a bicycle, and in winter, the long hike could take about 8 hours for completing the uphill and downhill return. The tour timings change according to the season.
A visit to this historical museum is another favorite among tourists. The tiny museum located on Ludwigstrasse was established in 1895. The building of the museum is former residence of the 17thcentury merchant. Werdenfels Museum has a collection of different local artifacts that show the history and background of this beautiful town and its people.
There are artifacts and sculptures from pre-Roman Era depicting the significance of this small community as a significant part of Roman supply route that leads to Vienna and Austria. The ticket is quietly affordable at 1 euro per entry that makes it a favorite spot for tourists.
Grainau Village is a beautiful little village located at the foot of Waxenstein. A small hike away is the Eibsee Lake that gives picture perfect view of the Zugspitze peak, Riffel and Waxenstein. The winter makes this village a must visit place for children and families.
The Grainau village has an easy tobogganing hill that children immensely enjoy. There are hotels and tour packages that provide toboggans free of charge. While the children are busy in tobogganing, the adults can take winter hike into the full trail that is over 150 km long. The flat trail makes for an easy hike, especially in winters. There horse-drawn sleds in Grainau village, a common activity for children and couples to enjoy the beautiful Alpine landscape. Make sure to have a guided tour as many hotels and private guides offer different prices with activities.
With so much to do for everyone in your crew, Garmisch truly delivers a wonderful experience for all its guests.