Garmisch-Partenkirchen lies at the foot of the most impressive German Alpine region. With the highest mountain the Zugspitze and the other huge mountains, this area is impressive. Travelers who like to be outdoor can enjoy some awesome Garmisch-Partenkirchen hiking trails to be discovered. You can choices hikes where you can walk into the mountains, or a gorge, through forests, near lakes, and through green valleys.
Hiking in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is one of the best ways to get to know the area. There are countless hikes you can do which can make it difficult to choose one. During our 4 days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, we did some great hikes that we would like to share with you in this article.
What are the best Garmisch-Partenkirchen hiking trails?
Of course, the ‘best’ hike in Garmisch-Partenkirchen does not exist because this varies per person. Below you see our favorite hiking trails that are different so that there is a trail that appeals to every type of hiker. We have hiked the trail listed below.
There is no such thing as a best Berchtesgaden walk, as it depends on the personal preference of each individual. What we can do is share our experience to show you the differences between the routes plus give recommendations on which we recommend doing. We have walked the routes listed below and shared our personal experiences per route.
In addition to the above four trails that we have done, we also recommend the two routes below. We have not been able to do these routes because these routes can only be done from mid-May to October. You can’t get high into the mountains outside this period because of the snow.
Use the map below to orientate yourself during the hikes. You can also see where to park the car per hike, what the best place is to stay, and what our favorite places to eat are.
Our favorite hike at Garmisch-Partenkirchen is to walk around Lake Eibsee. Eibsee is beautiful because the water is very clear, it is surrounded by mountains like the Zugspitze and when you visit it in the morning you can see different types of animals. The best thing is to walk around the lake so that you can discover all the beautiful places in Eibsee.
The hike starts at the Eibsee parking lot. We recommend that you walk the trail in a counter-clockwise direction, so start the walk on your right. The route starts at the front of the parking lot, so you walk behind the Eibsee Hotel. After 10 minutes you will arrive at a bridge when you cross it you are at the best area of Eibsee, especially if you go in the morning because the sun then shines beautifully around the lake on your left. We recommend that you walk for 5 to 10 minutes and then walk down the path and walk along the water. You will then arrive at the best part of the like and you can take a sit and latterly do nothing for a while. Watch the sun wake up all the animals and enjoy the ultimate silence. We were there at sunrise, so we didn’t hear or see anything besides the animals. The feeling we had then is difficult to describe, the only thing we want to make clear is that when you come during sunrise you will be enchanted.
After relaxing along the water you can get back on the path and continue walking. The route is easy to follow. During the route, you will come across several coves and viewpoints where you can enjoy a different perspective of the lake. The route is not difficult because when you walk counterclockwise it goes up gradually and at the end, it goes down a bit steeper. We thought the first 3/4 part of the route was beautiful, only in the last part do you walk a bit higher in the mountains, so you can see less of the lake. This also makes it better to walk the route to the right because the part to the right is more beautiful.
If you follow the route you will eventually return to the parking lot. The route is not difficult and can be done by anyone.
- Distance: 7 km
- Duration: 2 hours
- Ascent/days: 127 m ascent / 184 m descent
- Start and end point: parking Eibsee / parking Zugspitze
Tip: if you are going to visit Zugspitze and Eibsee on the same day, it is best to park the car at the Zugspitze parking lot because it is free. When you park at Eibsee, this will cost you €7 ($8) per day. Officially this is not allowed, we did this once without any problems. We left the parking lot at 08:30 am so there was hardly anyone there.
Note: parking at Eibsee and Zugspitze is no problem if you come in the morning. If you come in the afternoon it can be difficult to find a parking space. If you go in the morning you can park at Eibsee without any problems. If there is no space, you can park the car in the village of Grainau and then walk for a while.
The Wank mountain is located in the east of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and is nice to hike. You can make this walk as easy and difficult as you want. If you would like to reach the top but are unable to walk, you can use the Wankbahn ski lift. We recommend walking up to the wooden hut on a green hill or walking from there to the top. During the hike, you pass a few mountain restaurants where you can buy food and drinks.
The hike starts at the Wankbahn car park. Start the route that is located at the camper parking lot and not the trail behind the Wankbahn. To make it easy, you initially follow the cable car that goes to the top of the mountain.
Walking to the wooden hut (Eckenhütte) on the green hill: in the beginning, you follow the signs and you have to climb quite a few meters. At some point, the Eckenhütte signs are indicated, you must follow these signs. To make it easier, it is best to follow the map that we have made. Here you can see exactly how to walk to reach the Eckenhütte. Once you have arrived you can choose to relax here and walk down to walk back to the car park via Tannenhütte. We found relaxing at the Eckenhütte fantastic because of the view. See the photo below, this says enough right?
Hiking to the top: if you would like to get to the top, you can continue walking from the Eckenhütte. Note that this part is very tough because you have to cover a lot of height meters in a relatively short time. The hike from the Eckenhütte to the top takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, so it is tough. When the sun shines it is even more difficult because there is hardly any shade when walking to the top. But once at the top, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the region. If you walk back from the top, it is recommended to walk the same route and not via Tannenhütte, because this takes more time.
We thought the view at the Eckenhütte was the best, so in our opinion, you don’t necessarily have to walk to the top.
Walking to the wooden hut
- Distance: 5.8 km
- Duration: 2.5 hours
- Ascent/Days: 700m Ascent / 54m Descend
- Departure and end point: parking Wankbahn
Hiking to the top
- Distance: 12 km
- Duration: 5 hours
- Ascent/days: 1016 m ascent / 1016 m descent
- Departure and end point: parking Wankbahn
The most popular hike in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the hike at Partnachklamm. This walk is unique because you walk through a gorge along the river where you pass several waterfalls during the walk. The nice thing about the walk is that the view is very nice and the walk is completely different from a normal walk because of the location.
The advantage of the walk is that it is easy and can therefore be done by all ages. The walk is flat and only takes 2 hours. If you like more of a challenge, it is best to extend the walk with a visit to Berggasthof Eckbauer. This allows you to discover more of the mountains in the south of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
- Distance: 7.1 km
- Duration: 2 hours
- Ascent/Descent: 205 m / 205 m
- Start and end point: parking ski stadium
Partnachklamm + Berggasthof Eckbauer
- Distance: 13 km
- Duration: 4 hours and 30 minutes
- Ascent/descent: 530 m / 530 m
- Departure and end point: parking ski stadium
Tip: we went in the afternoon to Partnachklamm, which made it very busy and therefore the hike was disappointing. The walk feels a bit touristy because of its popularity. So don’t make the same mistake we did and go in the morning, at the accommodation they told us that if you go as early as you can you don’t see that many people.
A 10-minute drive from Garmisch-Partenkirchen you find Gerold where you can park your car to visit Geroldsee. The nice thing about visiting Geroldsee is that it is unknown to many travelers, so you hardly see anyone. Geroldsee is a lake that itself is not spectacular, but is worth a visit because of the environment. Here you can see many grain fields with authentic grain houses. It’s nice to walk up one of the hills and enjoy the view. Only walk on the existing paths, because it is private property.
We only visited Geroldsee during sunset and therefore did not have time to extend the walk with Bramsee and Brubsee. Locals told us that these two lakes are also nice to visit because hardly anyone comes here and you can enjoy nature all by yourself.
It is good to know if you go to Geroldsee that you should not expect too much from it. You often see perfect pictures of Geroldsee on the internet, only in reality it was beautiful but also not more than that. Our advice is also that if you have the time to visit it, but if this messes you up with your schedule, you better skip it because the other places are simply more beautiful.
- Distance: 2.2 km
- Duration: 30 min
- Ascent/descent: 11 m / 11 m
- Start and end point: parking Gerold
Geroldsee + Bramsee + Brubsee
- Distance: 10.5 km
- Duration: 2 hours
- Ascent/Descent: 125 m / 125 m
- Start and end point: parking Gerold
If you would like to hike in the Alps, the hike to the top of Kreuzeck is recommended. The advantage of this route is that it is varied. In the beginning, you walk through forests, and at some point, it changes into a rugged mountain landscape.
The walk starts at Kreuzeckbahn, here you have to follow the Kreuzeck signs. It is easy to follow as you can follow the ski lift cables that go to the top. The walk is fairly tough because you have to bridge quite a few altimeters. The nice thing about visiting the Kreuzeck is that you can extend the walk to Osterfelderkopf, this is where you will find the Alpspix, this is a platform from which you have an impressive view over the Alps. Keep in mind that the walk to Osterfelderkopf is difficult.
During the hike, you will pass several mountain restaurants where you can buy food and drinks. To make the walk easier, you can take the ski lift up to Kreuzeck or Osterfelderkopf and then walk back down.
- Distance: 10 km
- Duration: 4 hours
- Ascent/descent: 928 m / 928 m
- Departure and end point: parking Kreuzeckbahn
Osterfelderkopf via Kreuzeck
- Distance: 15.5 km
- Duration: 7 hours
- Ascent/Descent: 1350 m / 1350 m
- Start and end point: parking Kreuzeckbahn
The most spectacular hike in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the hike to Zugspitze. This is of course also the most challenging hike because you are going to hike to the highest mountain in Germany. For this walk, you also have to climb a part. We only recommend this route for people who have experience of hiking in a mountain area and who have a good condition. Many people do this hike in 1 day, but it is also possible to do this in 2 days by staying at the top at Münchner Haus. Consult locally if it is possible to do the hike due to the weather at the moment you are there.
We have not done this route, but this route seems great to us. We went to Zugspitze ourselves by cable car and also thought it was nice just to walk here seems to be magical. Because of the snow on the trails, we couldn’t do it, because it would be dangerous. We have included this route for inspiration. If you still want to visit Zugspitze, but without having to make a challenging hike first, this is perfectly possible. Read our guide to Zugspitze for all the information.
- Distance: 20.8 km
- Duration: 11 hours
- Ascent/Descent: 3588 m ascent / 3588 m descent
- Departure- and end point: parking lot ski stadium
How many days do you need for Garmisch-Partenkirchen?
In addition to the many hikes that you can do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you can also do other fun activities. Our advice is to go for at least 3 days so that you can discover the highlights of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. However, it should be mentioned that 3 days are fine, only if you had more time this would be even better.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen hiking independently or with a guide?
The hikes at Garmisch-Partenkirchen can all be done independently, a guide or tour is not necessary. The trails are marked. In addition, if you use a tool such as our map that you can find at the beginning of the article or a hiking map or an application such as Maps.Me you can easily navigate during the hikes.
How fit do you need to be to hike in Garmisch-Partenkirchen?
You can simplify many walks because you can often use a ski lift so that it is not necessary to walk to the top. In addition, the fitness level depends on which walk you are going to do. You can do easy to difficult hikes.
Based on our knowledge and experience, we rank the hikes as follows:
- Beginner: #1 Eibsee | #3 Partnachklamm | #4 Geroldsee
- Average: #2 Wank | #5 Kreuzeck
- Advanced: #6 Zugspitze
Where to stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen?
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a popular destination as it is the winter capital for winter sports enthusiasts in Germany. This means you can find many accommodations for every type of traveler. Due to its popularity, it is advisable to book as soon as possible because the accommodations with the price-quality ratio are fully booked quickly.
Location, luxury, atmosphere, complete
We stayed in Hotel Zugspitze and loved it. Firstly, the location is great because you are within walking distance of the cozy authentic center where you can find nice restaurants. The rooms are neat and fully equipped. You can also enjoy a fantastic breakfast in the morning. If we come back to Garmisch-Partenkirchen we would stay here again.
Excellent value for money:
The great advantage of Garni Brunnthaler is that, just like Hotel Zugspitze, it is close to the lively center, only that it is more economically attractive for many. If you are looking for an accommodation with a good price-quality ratio, you should go for this place.
What do you take with you?
For our packing list, we assume that you will only do day trips, just like us. If you are going to do multi-day trips, you must complete the list below with additional items.
- Backpack, hiking boots. walking sticks, water (2 liters p.p.), cash (you can often not pay with a debit card at a mountain hut), mobile, toilet paper, snacks, lunch (only for the long trips, for the short trips you can eat at the mountain huts ), hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, poncho, specific clothing for hot, cold or wet weather.
Tip: always check the weather forecast before departure. Bring water-resistant clothing, such as a poncho. The weather can change quickly in and around the mountain area and surprise you.
Do you need special travel insurance?
Yes, when you go hiking in a mountain area, travel insurance is necessary. Often, regular insurances do not cover unexpected situations that happen during trekking trips at high altitudes.
In addition to the many nice walks, you can take there are plenty of other things to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, open our article via the link to read all about it. In addition to these tips, you can also read which places are nice to eat and what is the best time to travel to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
What do you think of the Garmisch-Partenkirchen hiking trails? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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