8 Awesome things to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

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Garmisch-Partenkirchen has developed into one of the best destinations in southern Germany to visit thanks to the 1936 Winter Olympics. In winter it is a popular place to go skiing in the German Alps. But besides the winter, there are a lot of fun things to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Because of its location, you can enjoy the impressive German Alps, authentic villages, Bavarian traditions, and much more.

In this article, we share why you need to visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen. We share all our tips to ensure you have a great time in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Eibsee hike
Ski Garmisch Partenkirchen

Things to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen?

Garmisch-Partenkirchen was in the past two separate villages that were merged by the Winter Olympics, making it a large place where you see a lot. Concerts and festivals are regularly organized which are fun to visit. There is a lot to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Below we share our 8 recommended activities to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Tip: use the map below to see where the best things in Garmisch-Partenkirchen can be found. Click on the top right corner to enlarge the map. If you click on the star symbol next to the title you can save this map in your Google Maps account. On the map, you can show or hide different categories. You can then use this map to navigate when you are at your destination.

#1 Admire Lake Eibsee

Without a doubt, the best thing to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is to visit Lake Eibsee. For us, this was the highlight of our trip through Bavaria. We dare to say that Eibsee is one of the most beautiful places in Europe that we have seen.

The special thing about Lake Eibsee is its location because it is surrounded by mountains, forests, and the water is incredibly clear blue. It is located at an altitude of 1000 meters at the foot of the highest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze. Therefore the views are breathtaking. The best thing is to hike around the lake so that you can discover all the places around the lake.

When you arrive at Eibsee it is best to hike the route counterclockwise which means that you have to turn right into the walking path. The route is about 7.5 km and takes about 2 hours. If you want to know more about this hike and other hikes in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in detail, we recommended opening our article via the link.

Tip: The most important tip we can give is to visit Eibsee during sunrise. At this time it is quiet and it is great to take pictures because of the lighting.

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. If 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 did leave again at 08:30 am so there was hardly anyone there.
Please note: parking at Eibsee and Zugspitze is no problem if you visit it in the morning. If you arrive 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 walk for a while.

These tips briefly indicate what and how best to visit Eibsee. If you want to know more about Eibsee read our article where we give all our insights about Eibsee.


#2 Behold the highest point in Germany: Zugspitze

Next to Eibsee, you find Zugspitze, an impressive mountain with a height of 2962 meters, making it the highest mountain in Germany. The Zugspitze is located between Germany and Austria, so you can get to the top from both places by cable car. For many travelers, visiting the Zugspitze is the reason to travel to Bavaria because you have an unprecedented view from the top. At the top, you can look over the entire mountain range and see how impressive the Alps are.

There is a lot of information to share about visiting Zugspitze. To help you, we have created a Zugspitze travel guide that shares all the information.


#3 Day Trip to Neuschwanstein

Neuschwanstein is one of the most beautiful castles in Europe and is world famous because the Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland is inspirited by Neuschwanstein. For this reason, the castle is often called a fairytale. When you get there you will understand why this is often said.

From Garmisch-Partenkirchen you can easily visit Neuschwanstein. The Neuschwanstein castle is located near Füssen which is a romantic old village that is also worth a visit. You can visit the castle during a day trip to Neuschwanstein, take a hike in the mountains where you have a panoramic view of the castle at a certain point. We have written an article especially about visiting the Neuschwanstein to share all our tips in detail.


Where to stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

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.
Check actual prices and availability for Hotel Zugspitze here.

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.
Check actual prices and availability for Garni Brunnthaler here.

#4 Hike to the top of the mountain Wank

If you like to hike into the mountains, hiking on mountain Wank is highly recommended. The best thing about hiking at Wank is that the view is beautiful, the route itself is cool, varied, and can be visited by everyone. If you cannot walk to the top, you can also use the cable car to reach the top and walk around at the top. At the top of the mountain, you find a restaurant called Sonnenalm where you can order food and drinks. A nice place where you can rest on the terrace from the trip.

Drive to the Wankbahn where you can park the car. Here you can start the hike or take the cable car. If you walk via the south side of the mountain, it is not difficult. The hike to the top is challenging but doable if you have a normal condition. The hike takes about 3 hours to reach the top. During the walk you pass a wooden hut on a green hill, for us, this was the most beautiful part of the walk. You can also choose to relax here and then walk back. It only takes 1 hour to walk to this cabin and the view is honestly just as beautiful as on the top of the mountain.

In our article about hiking in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you can read everything about this hike in detail.


#5 Skiing

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the ski capital of Germany, you have more than 40km of ski slopes, so if you love winter sports you are in the right place. The best part is skiing on the Zugspitze mountain at the mountain restaurant SonnAlpin. From this spot, you have impressive views.

If you visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen outside the winter sports season and want to get an idea of ​​what it is like to go on a winter sports vacation, it is recommended to visit the Zugspitze.

ski area Garmisch Partenkirchen

#6 Hike in the Partnachklamm

The most popular hike you can do in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen area is the Partnachklamm hike. The nice thing about this hike is that you walk into a gorge on a path along the river where you pass several waterfalls. During the trip, you can enjoy unique views and be amazed at how the water moves through the gorge.

The walk is easy and can be done by everyone. The entire route is flat and does not take long. We recommend that you extend the hike from the Partnachklamm with a visit to Berggasthof Eckbauer and walk back from there. With this extension, the hike remains simple but you get to see more of the mountains on the south side of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

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  • 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: Due to the beauty of the walk, visiting Partnachklamm is popular and can be crowded. Therefore, go as early as possible. The earlier you go, the quieter it is. We went in the afternoon and found it too crowded, making it less spectacular than we had imagined. We were told that when you wake up in the morning you don’t have this problem.

Partnachklamm hike

#7 Geroldsee

Geroldsee is a lake that is located at Gerold which is 10 minutes away from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Geroldsee is unknown to many travelers, so it is quiet here, which makes it all the more fun. In the small village of Gerold, you can park your car and visit Geroldsee. The beauty of this lake for us is not necessarily the lake itself, but the environment. You see here many grain fields with authentic grain houses. The best thing is to walk up one of the hills and have a view over the region. Keep in mind that a lot of it is private property so only walk on existing paths.

When you walk from the parking lot to Geroldsee it will take you about 1 hour, the walk is easy. If you like, you can also extend your visit to Geroldsee with Bramsee and Grubsee. From Gorldsee you can walk to both lakes and walk around them. This walk takes about 2.5 hours.

We would like to share that you often see perfect images of Geroldsee on Instagram. We liked Geroldsee but not more than that. It’s not the best place to visit when you’re in Garmisch-Partenkirchen as many says. If you have the time, give it a try but if you do have not that much time it is better to skip it.


#8 Discover the village of Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Of course, if you stay a few days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen you will go into the village for a walk. In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, there are several cozy squares where you can have a drink. You can also find a lot of restaurants there, so you have traditional places where you can still experience the real Beiyer culture, but there are also trendy places.

It is also nice to walk through the shopping street because Garmisch-Partenkirchen is popular to visit, you have well-known brand shops here, but also authentic shops where you can buy handmade products. We liked the streets where you can see the authentic buildings. Am Kurpark street is our favorite place to visit. The church at Grainau is also worth a visit, this is a 1797 church. The Olympic ski lift is also impressive to see which you can visit when you start the hike at the Partnachklamm.

Things to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

How many days do you need for Garmisch-Partenkirchen?

In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you can do a lot. You can make beautiful hikes, do fun activities, and discover amazing nature. We recommend staying at least 3 days/nights in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. If you have the option, it is even better to extend your stay to 4 or 5 nights.

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
Hotel Zugspitze

Hotel Zugspitze

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:
Garni Brunnthaler

Garni Brunnthaler

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.

Where to eat in Garmisch-Partenkirchen?

Travelers from all over the world visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen so you can find many different dining options. Whether you want to eat typical dishes from Germany or an Italian pizza, it’s all possible. Our favorite places to eat are Zum Wildschütz, Shaka Burgerhouse and Ristorante Pizzeria Trattoria Calabrese. All three places are located in the old town near the accommodations that we recommend, for us, this was the coziest area in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Zum Wildschütz is by far the nicest place we ate, we liked it so much that we ate there twice. From the outside, this place doesn’t look spectacular, only when you step inside do you enter a cozy Burgundian restaurant. The atmosphere is cozy with all the candles and it is important of course that the food here is good. The kitchen is typically German-oriented. We recommend the dishes wildedelgulasch and altbayerisches tellerflesch. The dishes are served with salads and potatoes and are between €15 and €20 ($16 and $21). If you want to be assured of a place, it is best to make a reservation.

Shaka Burgerhouse is a nice restaurant where you can order good burgers. You can sit here comfortably with relaxing music in the background. The staff is friendly and the choices for the burgers are extensive. We chose the classic burger with fries. In total it costs +/- €14 ($15), this including a drink.

Ristorante Pizzeria Trattoria Calabrese is the best place if you want to eat Italian. We went here to have something different after many German dishes. The pizzas they serve here are good. We chose the pizza calabrese, which was delicious mainly because of the rich sauce. You have a pizza and drink here for about €12 ($13) per person.

How to get to Garmisch-Partenkirchen?

Since Garmisch-Partenkirchen is one of the winter sports cities in Europe, you can easily reach it by plane, public transport, and car. Garmisch-Partenkirchen has a station where you can travel by train or bus. Most travelers visiting Garmisch-Partenkirchen come from Munich, Innsbruck, Füssen or Berchtesgaden.

If you travel by plane to Germany and are looking for a rental car, you can rent it via Rentalcars. We use Rentalcars when we want to make a trip by car to discover a new destination. They are easy to use and book, you get a clear overview to choose from.

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If you want to travel to Garmisch-Partenkirchen by public transport, it is best to consult the overview below.

  • From Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen: use the train, check the actual train schedule here | from €23 ($24) one way | 1 hour 30 minutes travel time
  • Innsbruck to Garmisch-Partenkirchen: use train 6 | from €18.70 ($19) one way | 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Berchtesgaden to Garmisch-Partenkirchen: travel from Berchtesgaden to Munich and from Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This route is cumbersome and is not recommended. Check the train schedule for the best travel options, tickets cost €34 ($36) one way and the journey time is 4 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Füssen to Garmisch-Partenkirchen: take bus 100 towards Vils in Tirol Untertor, Österreich . Then take train 6 towards Garmisch-Partenkirchen | Costs are €14.10 ($15) one way and travel time is 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Car to Garmisch-Partenkirchen: It is easy to travel by car to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. You can park your car in many accommodations. See the schedule below to see how long it takes to get to Garmisch-Partenkirchen:

  • Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen: 1 hour 15 minutes | 90 km / 56 miles
  • Innsbruck to Garmisch-Partenkirchen: 1 hour | 63 km / 39 miles
  • Berchtesgaden to Garmisch-Partenkirchen: 2 hours 30 minutes | 190 km / 118 miles
  • Fussen to Garmisch-Partenkirchen: 1 hour | 60 km / 37 miles

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When is the best time to visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen?

Let’s start with the fact that Garmisch-Partenkirchen is an excellent place to visit all year round. Of course, it depends on what you want to see, which makes one period more suitable than the other. If you want to go on a winter sports vacation, the winter months from November to March are the best periods.

If you mainly want to be active outside, the other months are excellent. The difference is that spring and autumn are quieter and therefore prices are lower. In the summer everything is green which is beautiful making it busy.

In terms of temperature, summer is the best period with an average temperature of 21°C (70°F). During the spring and autumn period, the average temperature is 15°C (59°F). If you want to go hiking high in the mountains, this is only possible from mid-May because the trails are only accessible then.

FAQ: what to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

1. I have 3 days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, what kind of program do you recommend?

When you have 3 days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen you can do several fun things. The list below is the activities we have done and recommend. You can use this program for inspiration, you are of course free to adapt it. We assume that you stay at Hotel Zugspitze and therefore have breakfast at the hotel.

Day 1

08:00 – 09:00 breakfast
09:00 – 12:00 Eibsee
12:00 – 14:00 lunch
14:00 – 18:00 Partnachklamm

Day 2

08:00 – 09:00 breakfast
09:00 – 12:00 Zugspitze
12:00 – 13:00 lunch
13:00 – 18:00 Wank

Day 3

08:00 – 09:00 breakfast
09:00 – 17:00 Neuschwanstein
17:00 – 18:00 Geroldsee

2. Which tips do you have that are useful to know?

  • Always have cash in your pocket. In Germany, there are still plenty of places such as restaurants where you can only pay by cash. Also, make sure that you always have a few euros in coins to pay for parking machines.
  • Go to the sauna in Garmisch-Partenkirchen to relax.

Want to see more of Bavaria?

After a few days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you can discover more beautiful places in Bavaria. Read our Bavaria itinerary we made for inspiration. If you follow our route, your next destination is Füssen. Füssen is a small settlement where you can enjoy an authentic place. The main reason to visit Füssen is because of the Neuschwanstein castle, which is close by.

In addition to Füssen, you can also travel to Munich and Berchtesgaden. Munich is the second-largest city in Germany and is great to visit because many authentic buildings can still be seen here. Berchtesgaden is also nice to visit because you can do many hikes in the area and there is a lot to do such as the Königssee.

What do you think of Garmisch-Partenkirchen? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Disclaimer: the prices mentioned in this article may differ from the current situation. We regularly update our articles. Would you like to help us to provide to best possible insights to help other travelers leave a comment with the latest information. Thanks!

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Hello, we are Cynthia & Alexander, the team behind Travel Your Memories! Traveling is our passion. When it comes to exploration, we love sharing our tips and adventures to inspire you. Welcome to Travel Your Memories, where we share our love for travel with you! Read our story.

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