Sep. 23rd, 2014
The Alps Zugspitz Daytrip by Rail. Times are very busy in Munich with the Oktoberfest taking place and I decided to take some time out in the Alp Mountains. The Zugspitze is Germany´s highest mountain (9,718 ft.) and the area around Garmisch-Partenkirchen is known for some of the best skiing slopes in Germany.Now it is September and I will show you that this is also a great destination in the summer time and well worth visiting if you have an extra day in Munich.
There is a direct train from Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and it only takes less than 1.5 hours to get into the mountain resort, where the Winter Olympics took place in 1936. Hitler suggested forming the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen out of the villages of Garmisch and Partenkirchen to make the town more attractive to the International Olympic Committee. A new town hall was built to unite the town villages (the inhabitants from both villages did not like each other too much…).
I started my tour from Munich Main Station at 9:30 am. The Werdenfelsbahn, which takes you into the Garmisch area (also called “Werdenfelser Land”) departs from the regional part of Munich Main Station which is located in a side building of the station.
The train goes south and passes Lake Starnberg (you want to take a seat on the left-hand side of the train). I arrived at the Station in Garmisch-Partenkirchen a little before 11 am.
I took the underpass not towards the Station Building but in the opposite direction where at 11:15 am the historic Zugspitzbahn took me in just about 10 minutes to the station “Kreutzeck-Alpsitzbahn”.
From the station, I first took the Kreutzeckbahn cable up to the Kreutzeck (5,417 ft.). The ride takes less than ten minutes and you have a nice view over the area of Garmisch-Partenkirchen going uphill.
From the Kreutzeck you have the choice to take an easy hike to the Hochalm (easy to walk, takes 30 minutes) or you can also take a more ambitious, but still sneaker ok hike, (if you have dry weather conditions). It is more scenic and takes 60 minutes. Of course, there are more difficult hikes for climbers using climbing irons for snow-covered slopes or glacier, and I met a local who just came back from a morning hike. He told me that it had snowed on the other side of the mountain and he was glad he was carrying his equipment along.
I took the 60-minute hike – which went across a hilltop which was very nice – and came down on the other side right above the Hochalmbahn station.
Right at the Hochalm Station is the Hochalm with a nice Biergarten – I did not do much hiking yet but the weather was great and the Hochalm is a great place for lunch anyway … I ordered the “Wildbret(t)” (which I can highly recommend) and a “Weizen” Beer (I prefer non-alcoholic which you usually can get in Bavaria everywhere but you can also have a regular Weizen or a “Helles” (a “bright” beer similar to the Pils). Our guests often ask about the prices: a Weizen comes in a half liter glas which is about 2.1 US pint and the price at the mountain is about Euro 3.50 which is roughly US $ 4.50. The Wildbrett is Euro 12.90 (about US $ 16.70.
After lunch, you can take the Hochalmbahn Cable Car from the Hochalm to the Osterfelderkopf. This takes about 10 minutes and you have some spectacular views out of the cable car taking you from one peak to the other. Another option is to take a fairly easy to walk hike. Of course – after my hearty dish I decided for the third option which is a more ambitious hike from the Hochalm across the Hupfleitnerjoch to the Osterfelderkopf.
Again, the hike is fine with sneakers if the weather is dry. If you follow the path, you will have some nice mountain views, especially as you look right at the Zugspitze, Germany´s highest mountain. The vegetation smells beautiful up there – with flowers and the mountain pine along the way. During the hike I came cross the Hochalmbahn several times.
This time I was not sure if I should first enjoy the “views from an eagle’s perspective” from the AlpspiX or have another beer. To have a Biergarten even on top of the mountains is just great ….
I then visited the AlpspiX (which is free of charge): two steel beams form a floating X over a vertical drop of more than 3,000 ft.. You have great views of the “Höllental” below and also of the (mostly) snow covered Zugspitze which is just across from the Osterfeldkopf.
The Alpspitzbahn takes about 10 minutes back down to Kreutzeck-Alpsitzbahn from where the Zugspitzbahn takes you back to Garmisch.
I was back in Garmisch-Partenkirchen a little before 4 pm and got to Munich just in time for a great dinner at the Hofbraeuhaus …
Great day! Can easily be added to most of our tours which cover Munich if you have an extra day. Just let us know.