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Zugspitze: On top of the highest mountain in Germany

Updated on September 20, 2012

Zugspitze from Eibsee Lake

Source

Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany and on the border with Austria, is a magnificent mountain with a grand view over the lower mountains and valleys that surround it. I had the opportunity to visit Zugspitze last summer and I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area.

Who should visit to Zugspitze?

The idea of going up the highest mountain in Germany probably conjures images of a lot of work and the need for a great level of physical fitness. Zugspitze, however, allows the non-climber to experience the beauty of the view without the dedication of the climb. For non-climbers, like me, you have the option of taking the Cogwheel train part way up and then the Glacier cable car or simply take the Eibsee cable car all the way up.

I took the Eibsee cable car and it was an amazing ride. The Eibsee cable car takes you from the ground all the way up to the top of the Zugspitze in a manner of minutes. It was a clear day and you could see for miles as the cable car ascended the mountain.

Zugspitze is great for people of all ages and most physical abilities because the cable cars really take away almost all physical exertion. However, I would not recommend Zugspitze for people who are even a little nervous around heights as the cable cars do sway as the go up the mountain. Furthermore, it would be difficult with a wheelchair as I recall that were steps involved. I would recommend anyone interested it traveling to the top of Zugspitze with a wheelchair to contact Zugspitze first.

How to get to there

Train

Zugspitze close to the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and if you are in traveling in southern Germany you can take a train. From Munich, the trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a little under one and a half hours and costs approximately 38 Euros round trip. From Augsburg, it is a two hour trip with one change and costs approximately sixty-seven Euros. Booking ahead will often lower the price of train tickets in Germany, check out the DB Bahn website for booking and details.

Once you arrive in Garmisch-Partenkirchen station it is a short walk to the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn station from where you can purchase a ticket to Eibsee. Once you arrive in Eibsee you will need to decide if you will continue up the mountain by train or by cable car.

Car

If you are driving to Zugspitze you can drive though Garmisch-Partenkirchen and directly to Eibsee. This is the method I chose to get to Zugspitze from Augsburg and it was quite a drive, albeit very beautiful. I recommend carefully planning your drive using Google maps or another source to assist you. One of the benefits of driving is that you can stop at some of the adorable towns on the way. I suggest a quick stop at the monastery town of Ettal for a quick bite to eat and a peek inside the monastery.


Going up Zugspitze

The Eibsee cable car
The Eibsee cable car | Source

Once you are at the top…

Once you are at the top of Zugspitze you can explore the observatory, also known as Munchner Haus. Munchner Haus has terraces with fantastic views of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and even Italy. There are great photo opportunities. Take a few photos of the summit cross before wandering over to the Austrian end of the structure.

Munchner Haus also hosts a historical exhibition about Zugspitze and Germany’s highest chapel.

When you need a break, there are four restaurants with amazing views; the Glaciergarden, SonnAlpin, Gipfelalm, and Panorama-Lounge 2962. I tested out the Panorama-Lounge for the traditional German mid-afternoon ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’ (coffee and cake).

What to do around Zugspitze

Once you are safely returned from the top of Zugspitze, there is still plenty to do. There is a beautiful walking path around the Alpine lake Eibsee. The whole walk take approximately two hours, however, even a partial walk around the lake will offer fantastic views of the lake and Zugspitze. It is an fairly easy walk and you will see eve strollers on certain areas of the path. However, be aware that on certain parts of the path there are not many benches available.

Another option is to explore Garmisch-Partenkirchen, site of the 1936 Winter Olympic Games. Garmisch is the modern part of the town whereas Partenkirchen has an older feel.

Don’t Forget…

Check the weather before you plan your trip as it can change suddenly in the Alps. Be sure to take warm clothing as it can get cold at high altitudes. I was wearing a jacket in mid-August and there was snow on the terraces. Up to date weather information can be found at the Zugspitze weather page.

Are you interested in learning some German before your trip? Check out this article on where to learn German online.


Comments

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    • Heather Jacobs profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather Jacobs 

      6 years ago

      Hi Brett – Thanks for reading! It was quite an experience. The top of the cable car actually disappeared into clouds, both making it look interesting and more nerve-racking than normal.

      Hi nifwlseirff – I bet it is cold in the winter. It was pretty cold during the summer! I really wanted to make it over to Lake Constance, but ran out of time…. maybe next time! Thanks for reading!

    • nifwlseirff profile image

      Kymberly Fergusson 

      6 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

      The Zugspitze in winter in bitingly cold, but beautiful, surrounded by snow covered mountains. A lovely half-day trip or side trip from Lake Constance if you are sightseeing.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 

      6 years ago from Asia

      Great review. I love going on cable cars, as the views are great and you also normally get someone freaking out a bit ;-p. You have definitely captured the beauty in your pictures too.

      Shared, up and interesting.

    • Heather Jacobs profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather Jacobs 

      6 years ago

      Hi moonlake – Thank you very much! Where in Germany did you live? I saw from your profile that you were an ‘army brat’, where you in Heidelberg? It’s unfortunate that you cannot stay awake when so high up. Is it because of low blood pressure? I have that and was a bit concerned. The trip on the cable car was very quick and it would probably be better if it were more gradual.

      Hi RTalloni – It was a really amazing part of my trip in southern Germany and I certainly would recommend it if you are in the area. The scenery was very beautiful and I certainly hope to get to go back soon.

      Hi bdegiulio – I highly recommend adding Zugspitze to your list! It was very beautiful and the whole area is amazing. It’s also reasonably close to Munich and Neuschwanstein that it really makes it an excellent place to visit.

      Hi Nettlemere – I’ll admit I was not crazy about the cable car when I first saw it either. However, I really wanted to go up Zugspitze and it was the only way. I think Zugspitze is around 3000 meters high.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 

      6 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Great scenery and interesting hub. Not sure that I'd have the nerves to try the cable car. Do you know the approximate height of Zugspitze?

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great Hub. Will have to add this to my list of places to visit. Looks just beautiful.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      6 years ago from the short journey

      So interesting! Thanks for highlighting Zugspitze for us. The history alone would be worth the trip, but the scenery--amazing, I'm sure.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      6 years ago from America

      Beautiful hub. Love the photos. I would love to see them but I would probably fall asleep every time we so high up into the mountains I can't stay awake. I loved Germany when I lived there a very long time ago. I never saw this mountain. Voted Up

    • Heather Jacobs profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather Jacobs 

      6 years ago

      Hi bac2basics. Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed the hub, I really enjoyed going there!

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 

      6 years ago from Spain

      Hi Heather. Really enjoyed this hub, good information and the photo´s WOW. Voted you up including awesome. Good luck earning money for schooling.

    • Heather Jacobs profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather Jacobs 

      6 years ago

      Thank you very much! It really was beautiful and I hope you enjoy it.

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 

      6 years ago

      Beautiful Hub. Love the pics and info. I have listed Zugspitze as a must visit. Thank you. Voted up for beautiful.

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