An incredibly popular hang-out for outdoorsy types and moneyed socialites, the double-barrelled resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is blessed with a fabled setting a snowball’s throw from the Alps. To say you ‘wintered in Garmisch’ still has an aristocratic ring, and the area offers some of the best skiing in the land, including runs on Germany’s highest peak, the Zugspitze (2964m).
The towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen were merged for the 1936 Winter Olympics and, to this day, host international skiing events. Each retains its own distinct character: Garmisch has a more cosmopolitan, 21st-century feel, while Partenkirchen has retained its old-world Alpine village vibe.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen also makes a handy base for excursions to Ludwig II’s palaces, including nearby Schloss Linderhof and the lesser-known Jagdschloss Schachen, as well as Oberammergau and even, at a push, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles.