At 2962 m., the Zugspitze is Germany's highest peak. During the winter months, it is packed with skiiers and snowboarders from all over the world. In warmer months there is hiking and sunbathing available.
I went to the top in November to have lunch at the restaurant and take in the amazing views. It seemed like the mountain peaks stretched on forever! Beware of the icy winds on the panorama platform, even in summer. Inside, there is a video playing about the construction of the cable cars and mountain stations. Also, from the top you can cross the border into the Austrian station. We descended by cable car to the basin station on the Zugspitzeplatt to have a bier and take some sun.
There are two ways to get to the top: the cogwheel train or the cable car. The cogwheel train descends through the mountainside and doesn't afford much of a view. Unless you are afraid of heights, I would take the cable car both up and down. You will get amazing views of the Eibsee lake below.
Round-trip adult fares: 43E in summer, less in winter. Park at the lot at the bottom of the Eibsee-Seilbahn or take the Zahnradbahn from Garmisch (the station is next to the Bahnhof).
Drive or bike south of Garmisch to Grainau and follow the signs to the Eibsee. This clear, cold lake lies at the foot of the Zugspitze mountain. A well-maintained path circumnavigates the lake and makes for an easy hour-long hike. In the warm months, people flock to the Eibsee to sun on the rocky beach and brave the water which warms up from ice cold to just plain cold. There is a hotel, restaurant with deck, and a paddleboat rental at the lake.
Expect to pay a couple euro for parking at the lake or take the Eibsee bus from the Marienplatz in Garmisch.
If you take the hike up from Garmisch-Partenkirchen ý Hammersbach about a 500 meter climb ý you get to the Hollentalklamm. This pass follows the course of a stream, which has over the Millennia turned into gorge.
What makes it interesting, or esoteric if you will, is that around circa 1895 or so, they discovered some kind of fuel oil deposits trapped in the rock, and set about building a railroad up there to extract it. You cannot believe where they hacked that narrow gauge track into the cliffs and along the watercourse. Testimony to manýs ingenuity in the pursuit of profit, but also a good 50-years before anyone had ever heard of an environmental assessment. Most of the tracks are gone, and those that remain are only twisted pieces of metal spaghetti to remind you how temporal even concrete and metal are compared to mountains.
The hike is cut through the rocks in a series of paths and caves, largely unchanged, and long since grown back to hide the scars. Now it is a pleasant 2-hour hike up, and if you want you can carry on another 2-hours to the Oesterfelderkopf or put on your climbing gear and do the Klettersteig to the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Deutschland.
Nothing tastes better than a cold beer after a long, hot climb
Linderhof is one of (Mad) King Ludwig's castles in Bavaria. Well worth a visit, stunning gardens and very interesting inside.