Germany, Bavaria, Wetterstein mountains, Zugspitze, Summit cross

Getty Images/Westend61


Top choice in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

On good days, views from Germany’s rooftop extend into four countries. The return trip starts in Garmisch aboard a cogwheel train (Zahnradbahn) that chugs along the mountain base to the Eibsee, an idyllic forest lake. From here, the Eibsee-Seilbahn, a super-steep cable car, swings to the top at 2962m. When you're done admiring the views, the Gletscherbahn cable car takes you to the Zugspitze glacier at 2600m, from where the cogwheel train heads back to Garmisch.

The trip to the Zugspitze summit is as memorable as it is popular; beat the crowds by starting early in the day and, if possible, skip weekends altogether.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Garmisch-Partenkirchen attractions

1. Zugspitze

0.33 MILES

Ehrwald’s crowning glory is the glaciated 2962m Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, straddling the Austro-German border. From the crest there’s a…

2. Jagdschloss Schachen

5.94 MILES

A popular hiking route is to King Ludwig II’s hunting lodge, Jagdschloss Schachen, which can be reached via the Partnachklamm in about a four-hour hike …

3. Partnachklamm

7.09 MILES

A top attraction around Garmisch is this narrow and dramatically beautiful 700m-long gorge with walls rising up to 80m. The trail hewn into the rock is…

4. Kirchdorf Wamberg

8.68 MILES

For an easy hike accompanied by achingly quaint, chocolate-box views head to Germany's highest Kirchdorf (basically a hamlet with a church where services…

5. Stift Stams


One of Tyrol’s true architectural highlights is the ochre-and-white Zisterzienstift in Stams, founded in 1273 by Elizabeth of Bavaria, the mother of…

6. Schloss Linderhof

10.21 MILES

A pocket-sized trove of weird treasures, Schloss Linderhof was Ludwig II’s smallest but most sumptuous palace, and the only one he lived to see fully…

7. Pfarrkirche St Oswald

11.36 MILES

Seefeld’s trophy sight is this late-Gothic parish church, the supposed location of a miracle. The story goes that Oswald Milser gobbled a wafer reserved…

8. Kloster Ettal

11.44 MILES

Ettal would be just another bend in the road were it not for this famous monastery. The highlight here is the sugary rococo basilica housing the monks'…