• Menu
  • Menu
Eine fabelhafte Winterwelt, Bild: Patrick Jullien / Reisemagazin online

Garmisch Partenkirchen – white and blue spectacle

The world-famous winter sports resort of Garmisch Partenkirchen is a regional centre in Bavaria with about 27,000 inhabitants. Nestled in the enchanting alpine world, Garmisch Partenkrichen offers optimal conditions for winter sports at an altitude of 708 m. For this reason, this top travel destination has been a valued tourist hotspot of the international winter sports scene for many years.

Snow crystal and sun, rural idyll and Bavarian customs, mountain railways, lifts, slopes, cross-country ski trails – in the valley between the Zugspitze, the and the Kramer, Garmisch-Partenkirchen has developed into an alpine metropolis.

Zugspitze summit
The summit of the Zugspitze, Image: Marc Gilsdorf / Markt Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Hardly any other spa town can boast such an impressive mountain panorama.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen owes its rise to the leading German winter sports resort to its unique location in the south of Upper Bavaria.

And there is something else that makes the double village so special: the area inspires with an ancient history and exciting anecdotes.

“Schau moi her do” – about the ups and downs of the Middle Ages, of famous writers and visitors from Hollywood

A lot happens in the valley before the merger of the two places comes – less beautiful and enjoyable. The area keeps falling into other hands.

Garmisch was first mentioned as a settlement in 802 and lived from rafting on the Loisach. Partenkirchen goes back to a Roman station on the Via Claudia. The settlement of Partenkirchen, the Roman “Parthanum”, which was elevated to a market in 1361, was the most important resting place on the trade route from Augsburg via Mittenwald to Italy, from which Garmisch also benefited.

It was not until the 1936 Olympic Games that Garmisch and Partenkirchen “welded” together into one place and made it an international winter sports resort.

By the way: There is still a pronounced rivalry between the districts today. In the run-up to the Olympic Games in 1935, the Nazis enforced the forced marriage in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Numerous writers were drawn to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Erich Kästner, Heinrich Mann and Kurt Tucholsky worked here and settled in artists’ boarding houses. Richard Burton and Liz Taylor also stayed in Garmisch for a short time. They represented Hollywood and danced in the legendary nightclub “Casa Carioca”. Last but not least, the composer Richard Strauss spent a large part of his life in the Alpine town and died there in 1949.

Today, things are less sophisticated. Visitors stroll leisurely through the tranquil pedestrian zone, browse through a well-stocked bookstore and enjoy the beautiful farmhouses that line the city center.

The pretty town centre invites you to stroll

The start is Marienplatz. Attention: In house no. 10 there is a pharmacy from 1790.
In the districts of Garmisch and Partenkirchen you can find the shingle-roofed mountain houses everywhere.

Some of them are decorated with so-called Lüftl paintings, religious façade decorations. There are a few things that you should definitely take a look at. First, you linger at Richard-Strauss-Platz and admire the Kongresshaus. Right next to it is the spa park.

Polznkasparhaus, Image: Marc Gilsdorf / Markt Garmisch-Partenkirchen

It is also worth visiting the Old Parish Church of St. Martin, which has remains of Gothic wall paintings, and the New Parish Church of St. Martin, built around 1730. The local history museum, which is housed in the Wackerle House, provides a glimpse into history.

Every year in spring, the Richard Strauss Days take place with concerts in honour of the famous resident.

Authentic, small and delicious – possibly an insider tip? The “Schloderer Bierstüberl” attracts with regional dishes in a rustic atmosphere.

When mountain and gorge call

From the summit of the Zugspitze there is a magnificent panoramic view. In the Werdenfelser Land, the mountain is called the “heavenly center”. From the 50-million-year-old natural monument at an altitude of 2961 meters, the view extends over the mountains to Austria, Italy and Switzerland.

If you choose the Eibsee cable car on the way back, you can enjoy a fantastic view of the picturesque Eibsee.

In addition to the famous panoramic view, a visit to the, which is often circled by hang-gliders, is worthwhile. Right on the outskirts of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the valley station of the Wankbahn. The is considered the “Sonnenberg” of the Werdenfelser Land.

Excursions into the varied nature of the alpine mountains of Hausberg, Osterfelder, Alpspitze and Kreuzeck are recommended. The Eckbauer can be hiked on romantic high-altitude trails. One of the most beautiful hikes leads from the Olympic Ski Stadium to the Partnach Gorge area. Part of the trail can be comfortably covered by horse-drawn sleigh in winter and by carriage in summer.
Even more bizarre than the Partnach Gorge is the Höllentalklamm to the south of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Wildly romantic, captivating, magical – the surroundings:

Without a doubt, a literally drastic nature experience: the Höllentalklamm. The gorge can only be reached by walking for several hours. Over a kilometre long, the hiker is accompanied by foaming water falling over rocks with a dull murmur and wild roar. The natural wonder has to be “earned” by a three-hour walk.

The Zugspitze, which is within sight, to which a cogwheel and cable car lead up, is different. This is mainly used by winter sports enthusiasts, who can strap on their skis in the Werdenfelser Land, but also on many other slopes.

Ski jump Garmisch Partenkirchen
The ski jump in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Image: Marc Gilsdorf / Markt Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Below the rugged Karwendel chain in the Isar valley, about 25 kilometres east of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, lies the climatic health resort of Mittenwald. In the mountain town, “the sky is full of violins” since Matthias Klotz, a student of the famous violin maker Nicola Amati, used this craft to save his village from an economic catastrophe in 1684.

Today there is a violin making museum, a violin school and a monument to Matthias Klotz. In addition, all the houses with Lüftlmalerei confirm the 1786 verdict of
Goethe: “Mittenwald is a living picture book”.

Relaxation with the Lord God carvers can be found in Oberammergau. Not only is there carving and theatre played here, there is also bathing. In the “WellenBerg” you can fight waves, jump into the warm outdoor pool, bask in the whirlpool or accompany the children into the indoor paddling pool. And that’s not all: You can also sweat or get a tan here.

A Bavarian mountain resort under the sign of sport

International reporting made the place of the Bavarian Alps famous. The Olympic Ski Stadium is still the venue for the New Year’s ski jumping of the International Four Hills Tournament. The Olympic Ice Sports Centre acts as a popular training facility.

The new 14 million euro Olympic ski jump can be visited. If you like, you can climb the 332 steps of the “Himmelsleiter”. It’s also convenient: an elevator leads to the 62-meter-high tower. From the top, there is a magnificent view of the Loisach Valley.

Today, all winter sports can be practiced in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The glacier area of the Zugspitze allows descents of 118 kilometres of different levels of difficulty until well into spring.

In addition, the beautiful mountain nature can be enjoyed on leisurely alpine hikes, climbing or mountain bike tours even in the warm season.

Garmisch Partenkirchen: Location and special features

Garmisch Partenkirchen, Summer
Summer panorama of Garmisch Partenkirchen, Image: Joerg Lutz / Markt Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Garmisch Partenkirchen is surrounded by various mountain landscapes: In the southwest it is the Wettestein Mountains with the highest peak in Germany, the Zugspitze, to the east is the Ester Mountains and in the northwest the Ammer Mountains.

In Garmisch Partenkirchen itself is the 870 m high Kochelberg with the Kochelbergalm. The Hausbergbahn cable car takes you to the 1334 m high summit of the nearby Hausberg, whose sensational ski area is a real magnet for enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders.

Garmisch Partenkirchen is the legendary venue for numerous international winter sports competitions, such as the Winter Olympics and Alpine Ski World Championships. Brilliant slalom slopes and the famous Olympic ski jump are special highlights in this highly esteemed winter sports resort. The New Year’s competition of the Four Hills Tournament takes place every year on the large Olympic hill on the Gudiberg.

Even in summer, Garmisch Partenkirchen is considered a fascinating holiday destination for the perfect active holiday. Hikes, excursions, bike rides and exciting discovery tours will delight young and old visitors alike. More than 300 km of well-signposted hiking trails lead through the idyllic alpine landscape around Garmisch Partenkirchen. At the same time, the natural paradise is the starting point for Transalp tours, which take mountain bikers towards Lake Garda .

Garmisch Partenkirchen in winter – Activities and highlights

Optimal weather conditions and a first-class infrastructure have made this exclusive winter sports resort a popular meeting place for ski sports fans. The alpine mountains around Garmisch Partenkirchen are a paradise for winter sports activities of all kinds.

At an altitude of up to 860 m, cross-country skiers can enjoy the silence of the picturesque snowy landscape on the approx. 28 km of classic and skating cross-country ski trails. The network of cross-country ski trails, which is accessible free of charge, is freshly groomed every day. The easy cross-country skiing trails include the 8 km long, easy-to-master Hausberg – Hammersbach trail and the Hausberg – Olympia Ski Stadium trail (length: 4 km). Definitely a thing for professionals is the 10 km long cross-country ski course from Garmisch Partenkirchen via Kaltenbrunn to Klais, which is a real challenge in places with its numerous descents and heights. For fantastic skiing experiences even after dark, the 5 km long floodlit trail at the Kaltenbrunn cross-country skiing centre offers optimal conditions.

Garmisch Partenkirchen is a stronghold of alpine skiing and can boast 60 km of perfectly groomed downhill slopes with guaranteed snow, which are available to alpinists and snowboarders from an altitude of 700 m in the months of November to April.

The ski area attracts experienced skiers to the 20 km long natural snow slopes, which are located up to 2050 m above sea level. But not only the ski area of Hausberg, Kreuzeck and Alpspitze as well as Garmisch Classic with their valley runs and more than 40 kilometres of slopes are wonderful highlights of the ski world of Partenkirchen. The children’s area next to the mountain station on the Hausberg also offers little ski enthusiasts endless skiing and snowboarding experiences and carefree snow adventures.

Families with children will be thrilled by the O.30 km long toboggan run directly on the Kramerplateauweg ! The easy toboggan run is located on a gently sloping slope next to the residential area “Im Leitle” and is the ideal area for lots of fun and enjoyment in the snow.

For experienced tobogganers, the challenging toboggan run with numerous steep sections at the Esterbergalm is a real highlight. The 4.7 km long, varied toboggan run is quite challenging in places, but on the other hand offers a wonderful panoramic view over the enchanting Loisach Valley and the Wetterstein Mountains. There is a place to stop for refreshments in the cosy Esterbergalm.

Garmisch Partenkirchen, Partnach Gorge
Partnach Gorge, Image: Marc Hohenleitner / Markt Garmisch-Partenkirchen

The 2.4 km long toboggan run St. Martin am Grasberg should also be reserved for experienced sledders. From the Bayernhütte it is about 320 m up to the Martinshütte mountain inn, then it goes down again on the well-prepared toboggan run on partly steep sections.

But ice sports are not neglected in Garmisch Partenkirchen either. At the Olympia Ice Sports Centre, skaters can not only skate, but also try their hand at modern sports such as curling – twelve months a year.

Discover Garmisch Partenkirchen in summer

Numerous exciting and eventful activities await summer holidaymakers in Garmisch Partenkirchen and the surrounding area. The hike through the 700 m long and 80 m deep gorge Partnachklamm is a worthwhile excursion for families with children.

The tour over the suspension bridge on the with a stop at the Tannenhütte is definitely a fascinating experience for young and old. Holidaymakers should not miss the Panorama Highlight, the Alpspix platform, which is also a wonderful experience for families with children. At an altitude of 2000 m, a spectacular view over the endlessly spreading majestic alpine world awaits you.

An absolute must in Garmisch Partenkirchen is the ride on the Bavarian Zugspitzbahn to the Zugspitze. The train ride up to the highest peak in the country at 2969 m takes about 75 minutes. Fantastic glacier hikes, paragliding and mountaineering are also among the most popular summer tourist activities here.

Info: With the Gapa Card you get free admission to the Albspitz wave pool. Further benefits can also be found on the website at: https://www.gapa.de/de/Info-Service/GAPA-Card-Gaestekarte
The Garmisch Partenkirchen summer toboggan run promises a lot of fun and enjoyment, because on an 850 m long route full of dynamics, steep curves and mega roundabouts, you can create an incredible difference in altitude of 41 metres. Children will love the great play facilities with climbing and slide tower, sandpit, swings and the super bungee trampoline! A visit to the Alpspitz wave pool is also a unique experience.

The amusement and relaxation pool can offer various indoor and outdoor pools, water slides, wave pools, learning pools as well as sauna and wellness facilities and simply offers perfect facilities for young and old.

Other attractions in Garmisch Partenkirchen and the surrounding area

The charming old town of Garmisch leads visitors on the trail of its history through old alleys and past unique, traditionally decorated wooden buildings. Regional gastronomy and wonderful shopping opportunities await visitors in the famous Ludwigstraße, which is lined with numerous gabled houses in the local style. Holidaymakers should not miss a serene walk from the town hall square to the 17th century Sebastian Chapel , a place of remembrance and reflection.

The much-visited Old Parish Church of St. Martin in Romanesque-Gothic style was the mother church in the Loisach and Isar valleys in the past, while the new South German Baroque St. Martin’s Church was built in the 18th century and fascinates with its beautiful interior design and eight-bell ringing. The pilgrimage church of St. Anton in Partenkirchen is undoubtedly worth a visit. The church, dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua, and the adjoining Stations of the Cross have been listed as historical monuments since 1973.

One of the most popular destinations in Garmisch Partenkirchen is the 12th-century Werdenfels castle ruins, which are located at an altitude of 795 m and can be easily reached on signposted hiking trails.