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Munich - Day Trips & Excursions - Garmisch-Partenkirchen & Zugspitze

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Deep green meadows, snow-capped mountains, steep gorges carved out by streams, ancient monasteries, and old houses with colourful painted façades – in this region, Bavaria looks like a picture postcard come to life. Germany’s highest peak, the towering Zugspitze (2,950 m/9,700 ft), soars into the sky here. Locals also refer to the region encompassing Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Oberammergau, and Murnau – set in the Alps and the foothills against the impressive backdrop of the Wetterstein massif – as Werdenfelser Land. The Alpine foothills of Bavaria offer cultural highlights, such as King Ludwig II’s Schloss Linderhof, and Münter house in Murnau, as well as awesome natural beauty, in places such as Eibsee, Partnachklamm, and Murnauer Moos. The full spectrum of attractions awaits summer and winter visitors. Excellent ski resorts around Garmisch and on Zugspitz itself draw hordes of visitors in winter. A day excursion by car is the most comfortable way of exploring this area. However, there are excellent links by rail and bus between Munich and the main attractions in the Zugspitz region.

Königshaus am Schachen

A post-and-beam house was built on the Schachenalm, a lovely mountain pasture 1,900 m (6,200 ft) above sea level, in 1869 to serve as a refuge for Ludwig II during his mountain excursions. The ground floor is panelled in knotty pine, while the entire upper floor is given over to the Maurische Saal, a Moorish banquet hall: its colourful stained-glass windows, candelabra, and peacock feathers reflect the fascination with the Orient typical of the era.


The name “Werdenfelser Land” comes from Fortress Burg Werdenfels near Garmisch. The fortress ruins are still visible.


The Zugspitzplatt is a glacier region left over from the ice age and includes the receding Schneeferner glacier, where there is always snow.


The Königshaus am Schachen is only accessible on foot (3–4 hours); guided tours Jun–Sep at 11am, 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm.


Attractions
  1. Garmisch-Partenkirchen

    Located at the base of the Wetterstein massif and the Zugspitze, the capital of Werdenfelser Land is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Germany. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which has a population of 30,000, is chiefly known as a winter sports resort. The Winter Olympics were held here in 1936. In summer, the town draws just as many visitors as a spa town and is an ideal base for mountain hiking and excursions into the region.

    Garmisch, Zugspitz massif in the background

  2. Zugspitze

    One of the best ways to enjoy Zugspitze is to take a round trip from the base of the mountain on the mountain train and cable cars. In Garmisch, the journey begins on a funicular, which takes you to the Schneeferner glacier on the Zugspitzplatt. Here you switch to a cable car, which ascends to the summit (2,950 m/9,700 ft). The observation platform affords a spectacular panoramic vista – in clear weather, all the way to the Dolomites in Italy. Take the Eibsee cable car on your return trip down to the valley – you’ll be treated once again to wonderful views of Eibsee, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and Werdenfelser Land.

    Zugspitzplatt

    The Zugspitz region
  3. Eibsee

    Embedded in the rocky landscape of the Zugspitz massif, the deep blue waters of Eibsee lie nearly 1,000 m (3,300 ft) above sea level. The lake formed after a powerful rock avalanche created a deep crater. A walk around the lake takes roughly two hours. The shore is dotted with many scenic bays and idyllic beaches, which are perfect for taking a break or – in summer – a dip in the lake.

    Eibsee
  4. Partnachklamm

    One of the most impressive gorges in the Bavarian Alps, the Partnachklamm is some 700 m (2,300 ft) long; the rock face along its sides reaches a height of nearly 100 m (330 ft). A short walk from the Olympic ski-jump stadium in Garmisch will take you to the entrance to the gorge.

    • open year-round

    Partnachklamm near Garmisch-Partenkirchen
  5. Höllentalklamm

    Located near Garmisch at Grainach, this gorge is entirely different in character to Partnachklamm. The Hammersbach stream tumbles through a one-km- (half-mile-) long gorge down into the valley. Challenging hiking paths lead through lit tunnels. Hiking boots and surefootedness are absolutely essential for an excursion in this gorge.

    • closed Nov–May

  6. Kloster Ettal

    Founded by Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian in 1330, the abbey now houses a boarding school. The domed structure of the abbey church was reconstructed in Bavarian Rococo style after a fire. Ettal monastery produces famous herbal liqueurs – dry (green in colour), sweet (amber), and bitter (brown).

    Kloster Ettal
  7. Schloss Linderhof

    Located in the Graswangtal on a beautiful tributary of the River Ammer, Schloss Linderhof lies 10 km (6 miles) outside Ettal .

    • Ettal, Linderhof 12

    • 0 88 22 9 20 30

    • Open Apr–Sep: 9am–6pm; Oct–Mar: 10am–4pm

    • Adm

    • www.linderhof.de

  8. Oberammergau

    This historic spa town is world-renowned for its passion plays – lay theatre performed by locals. Most of Oberammergau’s population participates in mount­ing the event once a decade. This picturesque town is also noted for its façade frescoes. Franz Seraph Zwinck (1748–92), Germany’s most famous façade frescoe painter, was born here.

    • Next passion play performance in 2010

    Painted façade in Oberammergau
  9. Murnau am Staffelsee

    Painters Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944) and Gabriele Münter (1877–1962) and writer Ödön von Horváth (1901–38) worked and lived in this picturesque town. Follow in the footsteps of the Blue Rider art group – the Münter-Haus and Schlossmuseum, in particular, are highly recommended. There is a beautiful walking path around the idyllic Staffelsee.

    Münter-Haus

    • Kottmüllerallee 6

    • 0 88 41 62 88 80

    • Open 2pm–5pm Tue–Sun

    • Adm

    Schlossmuseum

    • Schlosshof 4–5

    • 0 88 41 47 62 01

    • Open 10am–5pm Tue–Sun (Jul–Sep: to 6pm Sat & Sun)

    • Adm

    First edition of Blue Rider
  10. Murnauer Moos

    At 32 sq km (12 sq miles), the Murnauer Moos is the largest continuous fenland in Bavaria. It is home to several thousand animal species and more than 900 plant species, many of which are threatened with extinction and have been placed under protection in this conservation area. Signposted paths through the fen provide beautiful hiking opportunities in all seasons.

Cafés & Restaurants

  1. Kreut-Alm

    A restaurant featuring typical Bavarian cuisine, the beer garden affords a glorious view of Kochelsee and the surrounding mountains.

  2. Griesbräu zu Murnau

    Traditional pub in the centre of Murnau, with home-brewed beer and Bavarian delicacies served in a rustic atmosphere. Check out the fermenting vats.

  3. Schlosscafé Murnau

    Take a break from your visit to the museum and enjoy excellent coffee and homemade cake.

  4. Alpenhof Murnau

    Fine Bavarian and international cuisine, with a panoramic view of the Alps.

  5. Restaurant Sonn Alpin

    Located at an elevation of 2,600m (8,500 ft) on the Zugspitzplatt, the Sonn Alpin is Germany’s highest restaurant. The large terrace offers spectacular views and seats 800.

  6. Hotel “Ludwig der Bayer”

    Beer brewed at the monastery and world-famous Ettal liqueurs accompany the international and Bavarian cuisine served here.

  7. Schlosshotel Linderhof

    Enjoy a meal next door to a fairy-tale castle: Bavarian and international cuisine.

  8. Gasthof zum Rassen

    This traditional inn is home to Bavaria’s oldest folklore theatre – and, of course, authentic Bavarian cuisine.

  9. ”Das Restaurant” in Eibsee-Hotel

    Fine regional and international cuisine in an elegant atmosphere with a view of the picturesque Eibsee.

  10. Parkhotel Sonnenhof

    At the foot of the Kofel, Oberammergau’s mountain, the chef prepares traditional Bavarian as well as international dishes. Elegant setting.

    • Oberammergau, König-Ludwig-Str. 12

    • 0 88 22 91 30

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