This may not even be a secret for some of you reading this, but I didn't know of such beauty until I moved to Germany and traveled down South. I'm not just saying this because I took a weekend trip there. I've vacationed there three times and each time I've grown more love for it than I did the last time.
For those who live around the area or have been there before, some might believe that this region is overrated. But for those who can appreciate nature and the outdoors lifestyle, you're more likely to believe that this is one of Europe's best kept secret.
Besides the beauty of nature every where you turn, there are endless possibilities for adventure in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and its surrounding areas*. No matter what time of the year you go, you're bound to find perfect postcard views along with exciting and thrilling adventures! Whether you're traveling alone, as a couple, with friends, or with the family, there's something for everyone. Let me show you what I'm talking about ;)
The Zugsptize, or otherwise known as "the top of Germany" is the highest mountain in Germany giving you the best views in the country and the surrounding countries! You're 2,962 meters up if you climb up to the Summit where the highest point of the mountain is. There are many different ways to get to the highest point of Germany. I have some friends who have actually hiked up the mountain which can take almost a whole day or even more depending on your comfort level. Since my husband and I only had a short weekend to spend in Garmisch last week, we took a 10 minute cable car ride through the Tiroler Zugspitzbahn and from there climbed a few meters up to the Summit. The Tiroler Zugspitzbahn is in Ehrwald, Austria, just across the German border. I choose this location because it was 10 Euro less for adults than the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn. The Bayerische Zugspitzbahn will cost you 52 Euro round trip per adult. This location is right next to Lake Eibsee in Germany so for some it may be easier to spend the money instead of driving 30 minutes out to use the Tiroler Zugspitzbahn in Austria.
Another alternative to the Zugspitze is the Alpspitz which also shares immaculate views of the mountains from high above. The cost to use the Alpsitzbahn and/or the Kreuzeckbahn cable car will cost you 26 Euro round trip per adult. This is nearly half of what you would pay if you went up the Zugspitze! Both share wonderful views so it really is on your preference as to what you want to see and how you want to see it. :)
I absolutely loved Lake Eibsee with its perfect panoramic views wherever you turn. This lake near the Zugspitze is just what you need for a day of relaxation- if you're like me anyway! Although, there are some fantastic wellness spas and resorts in this area but I would prefer a day out by the lake surrounded by mountains any day! There are paddle boats and row boats that you can rent for about 30 minutes starting at just 6 Euro. There is also a restaurant and an eis cafe that looked very tempting on a day after hiking the long path around the lake. Other beautiful lakes in Bavaria worth seeing would be Lake Walchen, Königssee, and Lake Chiemsee.
If you haven't heard about the Neuschwanstein Castle (some call it the inspiration for Disney's castle) then you're probably living under a rock. Neuschwanstein is by far the most popular castle in Europe and just by looking at photos and postcards of it will explain why. As we were driving up to the castle, my husband had spotted it from a distance and when I looked over, I unexpectedly jumped up with excitement! I felt like a 5 year old going to Disney for the first time! At 25 years old, seeing this huge castle still brought out my inner child. You can purchase tickets online for a 30 minute guided tour through this fairy tale castle or you can just stare at this castles beauty from the outside like we did! The one downfall was that Marienbrücke (the bridge you walk up behind the castle by the waterfall) is closed for repairs and there were no signs of when it will reopen. The famous postcard view is unavailable until the bridge is fixed. I still did love to see the castle from where we were!
Just across from Neuschwanstein is the Hohenschwangau Castle. This castle was where the famous Bavarian King Ludwig II had spent many summers throughout his life. If you visit this awesome castle and decide to take the 35 minute tour, be prepared to walk up many steps to the second floor! Be sure to stop by this fairy tale land because it truly is a beautiful sight to see, no matter what age you are!
Another beautifully decorated building of King Ludwig II would be the Linderhof Palace. Please take the guided tour inside because it is worth seeing more than any of the castles here! Although you can't take photos inside, you'll be mesmerized by every tiny detail and won't even bother looking away to get your camera ready! My favorite room was the King's bedroom; you'll wish you had this room in your home! This room contains a magnificent view outside the bedroom window and a chandelier so big, you would think twice about standing under it.
Here's something that will make your heart beat a bit faster: Highline 179, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world! This bridge is still fairly new as it was completed in November 2014 but will sure enough make entry into the Guinness Book of Records. The ticket to get on Highline 179 will allow you to walk across the bridge and if you were already frightened, remember that you have to walk back. The ticket will also give you admittance into the Ehrenberg Castle Ruins and Fort Claudia. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and maybe even bring some walking sticks while hiking up to the bridge. Go on a windy day or bring a friend who will jump around and shake the bridge for added fun ;)
Ehrenberg Castle Ruins
Once you cross the Highline 179 bridge, you'll be able to walk over medieval times at the Ehrenberg Castle Ruins. Since the entrance to the ruins is included in the ticket for Highline 179, you're able to learn its history dated back more than 700 years ago! The ruins really take you back into time just standing on its grounds.
As you walk up to the monastery courtyard, you'll already see beautiful architecture. When you walk inside, you're in for breathtaking views of what I believe is the most beautifully decorated basilica in Germany! Aside from the basilica is the brewery and distillery which contains 400 years of brewing history. I would suggest booking in advance for the brewery tours since they book up quickly and are only made by appointment. At least when we showed up thinking we could get a tour right away, we had to wait until the next day. I must say, the beer is delicious! (Of course it is). You can purchase bottled beer and other souvenirs at the gift shop next to the basilica or the little store across the street from the courtyard where you can mix and match your beer with a free wood carved beer basket.
Night or day, rain or sunshine, be sure that you add the Partnach Gorge to your Garmisch itinerary. During the hike you'll spot beautiful water falls, crystal blue mountain streams, and a roaring glacial river. Unless there is melting snow, this attraction is open all year round so don't let a little rain stop you from checking it out. To get there, park at the Olympic Ski Stadium where you'll start your hike into the Partnach Gorge.
*- Surrounding areas near Garmisch-Partenkirchen within an hour to two hours away. For anyone who has misinterpreted this general post with fun things to do. :)