Zugspitze - Top of Germany
The Zugspitze, with a height of 2.962 meters (9717 ft) and its unbelievable location, is a mountain for everything and everyone. The largest mountain in Germany impresses with three glaciers, a unique panoramic view onto four countries and more than 400 peaks as well as a range of fantastic recreational activities. The German-Austrian border runs over the western peak of the Zugspitze so you can discover two countries on your visit.
Incredible Views From the Highest Mountain Top in Germany
If the weather is good you can sit back on the observation terrace and enjoy the view up to 250 kilometers (155 mi) into the distance. Since there are no peaks as high as the Zugspitze in the surrounding area, you can get a view over four countries: Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy. The most impressing mountains you will be able to see from the observation terrace are the Großglockner (3.798 Meter/12460 ft), the Wildspitze (3.768 Meter/12362 ft), the Ortler (3.905 Meter/12811 ft) and the Piz Bernina (4.049 Meter/13284 ft). You can even see the television tower in Munich at the horizon.
At the discovery museum of the Zugspitze you can learn more about the history of the mountain. Go back in time to learn about the first ascent, the construction of the Tyrolean Zugspitzbahn cable cars (the first lift all the way to the top) and the Zugspitze today. A real highlight of the exhibition is the three dimensional presentation inside the old Zugspitzbahn cable car. You will be blown away by beautiful spectacles of nature at the mountain top. The security glass panels will give you a real adrenaline kick because you can look down 200 meters onto the seceding Zugspitzmassif!
A Mountain Full of Possibilities
With an absolutely amazing panoramic view at about 3.000 meters (9842 ft) enjoying typical Bavarian cuisine just got better. The glacier restaurant Sonnalpin, the restaurant Gletschergarten (translated: glacier garden), the Gipfelalm and the Panorama 2962 serve regional specialties and provide culinary delight.
But the number one panoramic mountain of the Alps has a lot more to offer than delicious food and a stunning view. The Zugspitzplatt area on the southern side offers sledging fun all year round for free. You can get the necessary equipment on location. The Zugspitze is also Germany's only glacier ski region.
A discovery tour through the eternal ice of the glacier leads you alongside the GletschErlebnis (translated: glacier experience) path. Five interactive stations tell you secrets about the high Alpine landscape and will turn you into a real glacier expert. There is also a glacier and technology tour which offers a great look at what happens behind the scenes. Fans of hiking and climbing are invited to let off some steam at the Alpinpark. Here you will have to prove your balance and skill on a seesaw, a climbing wall and a suspension bridge. Last but not least, the Zugspitze hosts different mountain top events such as Fondue dinner by candle light, sunrise and full moon tours and even a Zugspitz Oktoberfest, the highest Oktoberfest in the world.
Comfortably Up the Mountain
You can reach the top either by hiking up on one of the four famous trails or you can chose the easier and probably more comfortable way: the cable car. There are cable cars starting in Germany as well as in Austria.
A little further down at the Osterfelderkopf station you will find a wonderful observation deck called AlpspiX. You should definitely not be afraid of heights here, because the platform goes really far out. The view you get onto the valley is definitely worth the adrenaline kick. At the bottom of the Zugspitze you will find that the Eibsee offers a nice cool down on a hot day.
How to get there
You can reach the Zugspitze from Germany as well as Austria. Depending on which cable car you want to take up the mountain you will have to drive differently.
Journey from Germany to the Zugspitz train station in Garmisch-Partenkirchen:
From Munich, drive onto motorway A95 southbound. Driving through the villages of Wolfratshausen and Penzberg you will reach Eschenlohe. Drive off of the highway and onto the B2 which leads through Oberau and Farchant all the way to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. At the entrance to the village change onto the Münchener street. After about one kilometer (0.6 mi) you have to turn right onto the Krottenkopf street. Right after this street you will be on the Von-Brug-Straße street where you have to turn left onto the Partnach street. Traverse the roundabout and go straight. At the next intersection turn right onto the St.-Martin street and shortly after that take the first left. There you should reach the Zugspitzbahnhof train station.
From the airport in Munich it should take you about one and a half hours to Garmisch-Partenkirchen by car.
Journey from Austria to Ehrwald:
From Innsbruck, follow motorway A12 until you get to the exit Mötz in Stams. Here you need to change onto the B189 (E532). In See-Eck drive onto the Fernpaß street (B179). After about 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) keep right in the direction of Biberwier and follow the main street all the way to Ehrwald. Once you reach the village, follow the Zugspitz street all the way to Obermoos where you will find the valley station of the Tyrolean Zugspitz cable car.
From Innsbruck to the Zugspitz station in Ehrwald it should take you about one hour and 20 minutes by car.
The nearest airport would be Munich. From there you can reach Garmisch-Partenkirchen by train or by bus.