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When the town is blanketed in snow, the colorful Alpine buildings covered in traditional frescoes make every street a Christmas-card scene, with the mountains rising all around it for a backdrop. The Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain, is the big draw for skiers, who reach its pistes and snowfields via the rack-railway. Non-skiers can ride this and the Eibsee cable car to the summit for panoramic views of the Bavarian and Austrian Alps. Below the summit, at the edge of the Zugspitze glacier, SonnAlpin restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, and on the ridge above, skiers warm up in the German Alpine Club's Münchner Haus, a cozy ...

When the town is blanketed in snow, the colorful Alpine buildings covered in traditional frescoes make every street a Christmas-card scene, with the mountains rising all around it for a backdrop. The Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain, is the big draw for skiers, who reach its pistes and snowfields via the rack-railway. Non-skiers can ride this and the Eibsee cable car to the summit for panoramic views of the Bavarian and Austrian Alps. Below the summit, at the edge of the Zugspitze glacier, SonnAlpin restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, and on the ridge above, skiers warm up in the German Alpine Club's Münchner Haus, a cozy 19th-century mountain hut. Alpspitze mountain offers more ski trails accessed by cable cars, and four other ski mountains round out the options, for a total of nearly 50 miles of marked downhill trails (plus a half-pipe near the Zugspitze summit), reached by more than 35 lifts. Walls of the 2500-foot Partnachklamm gorge turn into a wonderland of natural ice sculptures in the winter, and more than 60 miles of winter walking and hiking trails are open and horse-drawn sleighs glide through the snowy woods and across alpine pastures for world-class views. The Olympic Ice Stadium, built for the 1936 Olympic Games, is a venue for ice-skating, ice hockey and curling events. When skiers return after a day on the slopes, attention turns to the vibrant apres-ski scene, with cozy cafes, bars serving steaming cups of gluwein (hot spiced wine) and warming plates of hearty Alpine food.

Stillman Rogers
About the Expert

Stillman Rogers has written more than two dozen guidebooks, including Adventure Guide to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, Guide to Eastern Canada, and Adventure Guide to the Chesapeake.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a mountain resort town in Bavaria, southern Germany. The district is on the border with Austria. Nearby is Germany's highest mountain, Zugspitze, at 2961 m (9714 ft.).
  • Language: German
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    November through May for skiing on the Zugspitze, December through April on the lower slopes. The few days before the beginning of Lent are filled with carnival traditions that go back centuries.