As the highest peak in the Wetterstein Mountains, the Zugspitze is also the highest peak in Germany. The western summit of the mountain is near the Austria-Germany border, directly south of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In the southern part of the mountain lies the Zugspitzplattett, a karst plateau with numerous caves. The Northeastern Schneeferner and the Höllentalferner are the two largest glaciers in Germany and are situated on the flanks of the Zugspitze. Southern Schneeferner is the third.
Zugspitze; What to expect?
Zugspitze is a must-see. It is easy to see Zugspitze from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and, on a clear day, even from Munich when it isn’t cloudy (which is invariably in mountainous regions). For many years, a trip to Zugspitze has been a popular tourist attraction in Bavaria. Does nobody want to say that they’ve climbed the highest point in Germany?
In addition, the view is stunning from the top, and there is a great chance to pick your camera and take a bunch of golden shots to save the moment forever. This view can not be found easily, as it is a unique angle to see magnificent Germany.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is roughly 10 kilometers, and Munich, the Bavarian capital, is 100 kilometers away.
Zugspitze: When to Visit
The best possible light and the fewest crowds are found when taking the first or last cable cars from Zugspitze. Additionally, visiting during this time will be the coldest. Winter is a great time to visit because you can ski around that area, which sounds fantastic and cheers everyone up.
Summer is also a good time to head there. But the weather is warmer, and a lot of people are hanging out there. Most of the travelers tend to be at Zugspitze during the summer; perhaps it is because the warm temperature is more likely to be tolerable, and visitors prefer a stable condition for climbing up the mountains. Of course, you can go up there any time of day or season. It’s beautiful to watch the surrounding peaks even if it’s cloudy at the station unless the forecast says otherwise.
Getting to Zugspitze
In reality, “how to get to Zugspitze” and “how to get to Eibsee” are essentially the same because both of them rest at the foot of Zugspitze. (Except if you plan to visit the Zugspitze from Austria, which is a common thing to do.) Zugspitze offers a variety of ways that you can experience it. To get there, here’s a quick overview:
The fastest option to get there is by driving your vehicle. It’s only 20 to 30 minutes away from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Zugspitze can be reached most easily by cable car (“Seilbahn Zugspitze”). Parking is also available at Lake Eibsee for the cable car. Several public transport options are also available to take you to the cable car. What about cycling or hiking if you’re fit? Well, alternatives include taking the cogwheel train from Garmisch-Partenkirchen (or multiple other stops) to 2600 meters, then riding the aerial cable car (“Gletscherbahn aerial cablecar”) up the mountain.
Taking the cable car from the top of Lake Eibsee from Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the route we will be detailed in this article.
Cable Car Details
A 4.5-kilometer cable car ride from Lake Eibsee to Zugspitze yields an elevation gain of 1,945 meters. Stations in the Eibsee valley and Zugspitze top are at 998 meters altitude and 2,943 meters high. It broke three records in its first year out: 3,213m of unsupported span, the tallest steelwork pylon for an aerial tramway, and a height difference of 1,945m.
Five hundred and eighty passengers can travel in two cabins at one time.
The Opening Times of the Cable Cars
- There is a cable car from 9:00 am to 4:45 pm from September to June.
- During July and August, it runs from 8 am to 5 pm.
- Travel time is between 10 and 30 minutes, with at least one run per 30 minutes.
Price of a cable car
- It costs 59,50 EUR per person to ascend and descend the Zugspitze cable car (70 USD).
- It’s just 35 EUR (* 41 USD) if you need to ascend or descend (we’re talking alpinists here).
- Garmisch-Classic tickets offer access to Alspitze and Zugspitze for 71 EUR/person (~ 84 USD).
Getting a Parking Space
One can find a parking lot close to the Zugspitze cable car near Lake Eibsee. Park in the lot between 05:00 and 22:00. This means that overnight parking is not permitted. Don’t forget that the height limit for your car is 2.10 meters; in case you drive super big cars, notice the problem of parking. Anyway, it is possible to park for free on the road that leads up to the lake and cable car.
Parking times Prices
Early bird parking is available from 5:00 am to 9:30 am.
Parking is available for up to 4 hours (exit after 9:30 am)
Up to 22:00 every additional hour
After 10:00 pm, parking is prohibited. Infractions are charged.
With Public Transportation, How to Reach Zugspitze
Several public transportation choices are available to get to Zugspitze. From Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Eibsee bus takes about 40 minutes to reach Zugspitze. During the summer, the last return is at about 20:00. It is not until 19:10 that the last bus returns to town from October to mid-June.
Eibsee-Express-Bus: Takes only 20 minutes between July and September.
What to Bring to Zugspitze
- Travel insurance. Take it with you everywhere!
- A good camera
- Sunscreen. It’s still possible to have strong sunlight up there, no matter how cold it is. Moreover, snow reflects light extremely well.
- A pair of hiking shoes for having a comfortable hike. As you know, sometimes it is impossible to do it without proper shoes.
- Warm clothing. At the top of Zugspitze, you are more than 2,000 meters higher than in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. There’s going to be a lot colder up there.
- Always pack snacks and water.