You can make a day trip of walking around town looking at all the different paintings on the Garmisch buildings. Wander down side streets, explore the church and cemetery.
When you are tired, stop downtown for a bowl of spaghetti ice cream. Yes, spaghetti. We kept seeing pictures and it looked like a big bowl of spaghetti with red sauce. We finally decided to see what this was all about. It is vanilla ice cream forced through a spaghetti machine (presumably) so it looks exactly like spaghetti. Then they put a delicious strawberry sauce on it for an authentic look. It is delicious . . . although a bit odd looking.
Garmisch is paradise for a hiker. Germany has awesome, well-marked trails and you can find one by basically walking in any direction from the town center. Buy yourself a map at the bookstore or get one at the TI and head for the hills. If you are feeling less adventurous, explore the streets of Garmisch-P.
The highest point in Germany, at just shy of 3,000 meters (10,000 feet), is easily reached in about 75 minutes. At 44 euros for a return ticket the cost is quite high, but I found it worth the money. I know others would disagree, but perhaps I am paid too much or have low standards. This was the highest I've been, though, and my first time up a snow covered mountain in the summertime. The previous highest point I'd managed was about 2,400 meters on Mount Bromo volcano in Indonesia, and I don't believe that has ever seen a snowflake in eternity. You can also walk up the mountain for free, but if you are short on time the train is a convenient, if sometimes confusing, alternative.
It took me a bit longer than 75 minutes to reach the top. I think the announcement system broke down just before the cog wheel train reached the Grainau stop. You see I was supposed to get out there and transfer to another train for Eibsee. As this isn't explained anywhere and only ever announced on the speaker system in the train, if the system fails to work properly, or the announcer speaks during a noisy spot on the journey, you are going to have to wait another hour or so as the train returns to GAP and comes back again.
At Eibsee you have to leave the station and walk through the woods to take the aerial tramway to the top. If you look really, really carefully you might catch sight of a small sign pointing you in the right direction. Failing that follow the mob and hope they know where they are going. They didn't when I followed them and I ended up walking the long way around the car park. Once you reach the terminal you can jump into the cabin and rise rapidly and breathtakingly up the steep side of the mountain. Try and get on first, though, as they cram the cabin more tightly than a London tube carriage at rush hour and you may end up with a layer of people between you and the cabin's dirty window panes.
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have missed the trip to the Zugspitze for twice the price, but the service leaves a lot to be desired.
The oldest parish church in town is about 900 years old. It is small but very impressive; its age clearly shows in the paintings inside. There is a Baroque high altar and gothic stained glass windows from the 15th century.
We entered the church and there was only one other person there, who leave shortly after our arrival, leaving us to explore this church on our own. There is a 7 meter high statue of St. Christopher that dates back to 1330, some very old paintings on the walls, and a fascinating high altar that just doesn’t fit in the old style of the church.
There is a little chapel at the top of the Zugspitze – not at the very top, but at the glacier landing from the Germany side – the Maria Heimsuchung (Visitation) Chapel. We were told from the video we watched on the train to the top that it was the highest church in Germany.
It was late September when we were there and there was still snow on the ground so it made it a bit tricky to get to the chapel – very slippery, even in my hiking shoes. But I made it along with many others (the going back down was tougher).
Walking inside the little chapel, I saw one small room with a window on each side. The views from the windows were obviously exquisite as they looked out on the mountaintops.
The chapel was sanctified in 1981 by the German archbishop that went on to become the next pope, Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
One of the things I really like about Bavaria and Garmisch in particular is the beer! Ther's plenty of choice and it's rare to get a bad one. And it's not all lager. Try a dunkel or dark beer like a Konig Ludwig or a Josefi Bock in a Mittenwalder supplied bar. The Mittenwald Brewery also makes a dark Christmas beer. Best of all in Wintertime the Ettaler brewery have a beer called Curator. Well worth finding! Weissbier or wheat beer is worth trying. It's a bit like Marmite, you either love it or hate it! As for the hell beers, you can actually taste the difference unlike the Eurofizz we get in England. My favourite is Paulaner but with Lowenbrau, Hacker Pschorr, JW Augustiner, Ettaler and Mittenwalder I'm sure you'll find something you like and it's great fun finding out which you like the best.
In the town itself there aren't as many places to sit outside as you might expect. There are a few tables set up but in the main most places don't have the room.
I have to say that most ordinary bars are quiet and they usually close around 1130 to midnight. There are music bars that are busier and they stay open later.
My favourite bars are up in the hills. Most of them have terraces and when the sun's out what could be better especially if you've spent a couple of hours building up a thirst. The views of the mountains make a splendid backdrop. Most of the mountain bars close in the early evening so do them during the day and the bars in town at night.
The church Alte Kirche St.Martin is the old Parish of the town. In the interior there is an only pillar that sustains the two aisles with frescos of the thirteenth century on the walls representing scenes of the Passion and the Life of St. Martin
if like me you like a beer or two and want to admire some wonderful scenery at the same time then Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the place to go. All around there are many mountain bars with wonderful views of the mountains that surround the town. Some are easy to get to whilst others need a little more effort but they're all worth it. If the weather is good sit outside and soak up the sun and beer and admire the scenery. Every one of the mountain huts has a terrace and somewhere to sit outside. Most will provide some food ranging from cold meat or cheese plates to hot dinners and the beer is always welcome.
Just look for the yellow and black hut symbols on your map, get the boots on and get ready for a few beers.
My 10 reccomendations would be to get to the following mountain bars:-
See Hotel Reissersee
Gasthof St Martin
Apologies to the ones I've not included and why not see if you can come up with a better list. Remember they all close about 1800 hours and check the days they are closed.
The Zugspitze is south of Garmisch near the village of Grainau. To get there you need to go to its own railstation which is located behind the Gamisch railstation. Zugspitze is the tallest mountain in Germany, it actually straddles the border with Austria. It is 2600 meters above sealevel. The cost of the ticket is Euro 45 if I remember correctly. First you take the cogwheel train to Grainau where you change to another train that takes you to the first summit. From there you take a cable car to the top. Coming down you have a choice of doing it in reverse the way you came up or alternatively to take the cable car down to Eibsee, walk to the train station and then take the cogwheel train all the way down, which is the way that we did it.
Instead of spending an enormous amount of money (about $35) and time (about an hour traveling) - we chose to jump on the quick little cable car and ride to the top of this mountain. It takes about 10 minutes to get up and I just noticed that they have put all new car's on the cable for an even more comfortable ride up - I was going to admit that the ride itself was a bit "unnerving" a couple of times....
From the top - the views towards Alpspitze and through the Loisach valley are simply breathtaking. The fall colors were overwhelming.
I would advise going before lunch, packing a picnic and hiking around the top for a couple of hours before heading back down. Of course, if you went in the winter, you'd be obliged to ski.
At almost 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) Zugspitze is Germany’s highest mountain. We took the Eibsee cable car up. Unlike our mountain top visits in Switzerland, we had perfect weather.
As we ascended we saw the villages below becoming smaller and smaller and had a nice view of Lake Eibsee. When we arrived at the top of Zugspitze it was freeeezing – only 1 degree (c) and windy! There was snow all around. We walked around a bit on the terrace and had some hot chocolate (which wasn’t too hot!) to warm up. The panoramic views were amazing. In spite of the cold, we had a great time. I definitely recommend going to the top!
You can take the cogwheel train to a glacier and switch to the glacier cable car to the top or take the Eibsee cable car straight up. Skiing is also available.
Zugspitze boasts both the highest chapel in Germany and the highest internet cafe!
Dress warmly (we didn't) so you can enjoy exploring!!
Roundtrip ticket: 50 € Adults, 35 € Ages 16-18, 29,00 € Ages 6 -15
One of the great things about Eibsee is that if you don't fancy slogging it up the hills you can easily get there by local transport. A trip on the Zugspitzbahn costs a few Euros and the main station is just over the road from Garmisch railway station. The narrow gauge train follows the valley to Hammmersbach and Grainau where you change to a cog wheel train to get to Eibsee. It all takes about 40 minutes and trains run every hour. The train carries on to the Zugspitze and that costs a lot more.
Alternatively there is the blue Eibsee bus that leaves from Bahnhofstrasse and stops in Marienplatz. It also goes via Hammersbach and Grainau and again there is an hourly service. The bus takes about 30 minutes.
Check the timetables and let someone take you to Eibsee.
Or you could walk the flat bits and then catch a bus or train from Hammersbach or Grainau.
Both services tend to finish in the early evening so watch the time or you'll end up walking back or grabbing a cab! At least it's downhill on the way home.
Eibsee is a good destination if you have a group where some people don't fancy a long walk. They can leave later and catch the energetic ones up. And Eibsee Alm is a great bar to meet in.
Whilst I usually walk up the hills to the cable car top stations some people prefer to take the easy option. Perhaps the best compromise is to ride up in the cable car and walk back down. For that reason and also the expense I'll ignore the Zugspitze! There are 6 other cable cars to ride if you want to spend the money. They all have websites so you can see the details and check the prices. And always check when the last car is for your return.
The good news is that there are bars at the top of them all. At Kreuzeck and Wank there are two. At Graseck there are three. Enjoy the views at the top, have a beer or two and walk back down.
Graseck is the smallest and at the moment costs EUR3.50 one way.There are 2 cars which hold 3 adults. It doesn't go very far up but from there you can walk down via Partnachklamm or step it out for Eckbauer.
The Alpspitzbahn is the longest and goes highest and at the moment costs EUR14 for a ride up. There are 2 big cabins holding about 60 people at a time. It's a cracking walk down via Hochalm and Bayernhaus.
Hausbergbahn is also 2 cabins for about 60 people. it costs EUR10 to go up. If Garmischer Haus is closed head for Bayernhaus.
Keuzeckbahn is new and has many gondolas which hold about 8 people and you have seats. It currently costs EUR12.50 to go up.
The Wankbahn has 4 berth continual gondolas and costs EUR11.50. You can get out at the Mittelstation if you don't want to go to the top. The view from the top is stunning.
Eckbauerbahn has continual 2 berth open cars and costs EUR7.50 to go up.
You will need to check the cable cars are open. At the moment the Wank is closed and last year Hausberg was closed. I think this is for economy purposes. There is an information board at the railway station whilst anyone in town will tell you if one of the cable cars isn't running.
Take the trip and enjoy it.
There are many paths around Garmisch and they vary depending on the terrain. In the valley paths are flat and wide. On the valley sides the paths can be cart tracks and flat or narrow zig-zag paths through the trees. These narrower paths can be uneven with rocks and tree roots to be careful with. In the meadows paths widen and flatten out. In the higher hills paths are narrower and rockier. Some difficult paths have cables attached to the rock to help. The best guide is the local Wanderkarte map which shows the difficulty of the paths well. A single red line denotes an easy path. A broken red line shows a path that is more difficult but most of these are safe. A dotted red line shows where the path is very difficult and best left to experienced walkers used to exposed and tough climbs. Strong shoes are reccomended and hiking boots are essential for the higher paths.
The pilgrimage church of St. Anton nestles prettily in the forests just above Partenkirchen. It can be reached in a number of ways, including a steep walk directly up the side of the hill, but the easiest is the gentle slope up from St Anton Str. This takes you past ten little shrines, each one marking a station of the cross, before you reach the pink and white church at the top. The views from the top are excellent, giving a peak at the mountains through the trees, and it is pleasant to loll about in the surrounding shady forest paths on a hot day.