In the first week in October 2023, my daughter and I spent five days in Oberammergau in the Bavarian Alps. It was a Saturday, an especially warm and clear day with blue skies. I have tried several times to reach the Zugspitze which is in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, but the weather was not ideal, but today were perfect conditions
We started out at the Bahnhof in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where we parked our car, bought our ticket and stepped on the Zugspitzbahn to the Eibsee.
The Zugspitze is the most popular and highest mountain in southern Germany and located in the Wetterstein Mountains southwest of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The German-Austrian border runs right across the Zugspitze. On the Austrian side, the Zugspitze is located in the north of Tyrol. From the top, you can enjoy the view of four countries: Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. On clear days, we have a 360° panoramic view from above over a distance of up to 250 kilometers.
History: The summit of the Zugspitze was first climbed on 27 August 1820. According to reports, Josef Naus, a surveyor, and his companions were standing on the highest point of the Zugspitze. At that time, they were the only people up there.
The Zugspitze has an altitude of 2,962 meters (~10,000 ft.), making it the highest mountain in Germany. From up here you have a panoramic view at its finest! You can see 400 peaks from the viewing platform. At these altitudes, snowfall can occur even in summer. On the Zugspitzplatt, the glacier on the Zugspitze, you can go “Rodeln” all year round.
The Zugspitze station has a panoramic viewing plateau, an indoor Restaurant and benches to snack outside
One way to get to the Zugspitze is the new Zugspitzbahn which is a cable car, which has been in operation since 21 December 2017. On good days, around 750 hikers now climb the Zugspitze and around 6,000 people take the train, but we took the cable car (Gondel) which holds about 100 people.
After six years of planning the Zugspitze cable car, and the complex construction work under the most difficult conditions, the Zugspitze cable car is an absolute highlight of the area. The track overcomes a difference in altitude of 1,945 meters in one section, which is a world record.
The Zugspitze cable car also has the longest span of 3,213 m from the load-bearing steel construction column to the mountain station. Thus, this cable car has duly replaced the Eibsee cable car from 1963 and takes you to the viewing platform in a few minutes.
The Zugspitze cable car starts at the valley station at the Eibsee, which is a sight in itself. The best way to reach the station is by public transport. This will also relieve you of the traffic around this natural gem.
For mountain climbers it is best to hike to the Zugspitze between the end of June and September (this time the beginning of October was warmer as usual). During these months, less snow and temperatures above 32 F are to be expected. July and August are, on average, the warmest months on the Zugspitze.
A ride on the Zugspitzbahn
There are things you should have done at least once in your life. A ride on the cogwheel railway to the Zugspitze is probably one of them. To do this, you get on at the Zugspitze station in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Via Grainau and the Eibsee, the train twitches comfortably the first part up. The railway then passes the 4.5 km-long Zugspitze tunnel, which was cut through the mountain and reaches the Zugspitzplatt at an altitude of 2,600 m.
After we arrived on the Zugspitze station with the cable car, we took a leisurely break at the restaurant. We walked all the way up the steps onto the viewing plateau, took pictures, and enjoyed the breathtaking views. Later on we took the last cable car back at 4.45 pm to the Eibsee, and stepped on the train towards Garmisch-Partenkirchen.