Garmisch-Partenkirchen. 3. Zugspitze, Alpspitze, Eibsee

Last Updated on 16/02/2023

From Garmisch you can clearly see the Alpspitze – a very beautiful and expressive peak with a recognizable shape. In contrast, the Zugspitze is often closed by the Kleiner and Großer Waxenstein. But you can also find points (if you climb further and higher in Partenkirchen), from where you can see all the peaks.

Alpspitze on the far left, Zugspitze on the right

This page is about the Alpspitze, the Zugspitze, the Höllentalklamm and the Eibsee lake. Read about in the other mountains and attractions of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and about Partnachklamm and around it.
Attractions around Munich
Schwangau. Füssen. Around Neuschwanstein Castle
From Bregenz to Innsbruck. What to visit
Bavaria. What to do in Allgäu map
Zugspitze Arena Ehrwald, Lermoos, Bichlbach


Two cable cars lead to the Alpspitze (2628 m) from one point.

They can be reached by city/ski bus or Zugspitzbahn.

A cable car with a large cabin takes you closer to the top (Alpspitzbahn, 2050 m). Gondolas take you to a smaller peak (Kreuzeckbahn, 1651 m). From the Alpspitzbahn upper station there is another cable car that leads down to Hochalm, from where you can go down an easy road to Kreuzeck. This circular route is called the Garmisch Classic.

In winter, there are many more difficult slopes than Hausberg, including the famous Kandahar circuit. According to those who skied, not everything is in good with safety – there are unmarked cliffs, so this is for really good skiers.

To attract more tourists, the AlpspiX observation deck was opened not so long ago: two platforms in the shape of the letter X hang over a thousand-meter-deep abyss. From here you have a wonderful view of the Waxenstein, the Höllentalklamm and Garmisch.


There are three ways to climb the Zugspitze:

  1. With the Zugspitzbahn rack railway from Garmisch.

This option takes quite a long time. Please note that the Zugspitzbahn has its own train station and its own ticket office, which are located next to the main station. In addition, you need to remember that the last train upstairs leaves Garmisch at about 14.00.

The train stops at the cable cars for Hausberg, Kreuzeck and Alpspitzbahn. And near Lake Eibsee, the ascent to the Zugspitze itself begins. At the upper railway station, to get to the very top, you will need to transfer to the Gletscherbahn cable car.

2. With cable car Eibsee-Seilbahn.

The Eibsee can be reached by the rack railway and the “blue” bus. The cable car takes you all the way to the top of the Zugspitze.

Option one and two make up the Zugspitze Round Trip: train – Gletscherbahn – Eibsee-Seilbahn – bus or train.

3. By cable car from the Austrian side (from Ehrwald) – Tiroler Zugspitzbahn.

You can get to the cable car station by train to Ehrwald, then by bus (3 km).

One of the Austrian tickets combines it with the German Gletscherbahn, but to go down to German territory, you need a German ticket. In terms of cost, only the ascent and descent from Austria will be cheaper than the German circular route, but the combined ticket with Gletscherbahn is already just as expensive.

Read about the Austrian side – Zugspitze Arena.

Views from Zugspitze

Let’s see where we climbed from (Eibsee and Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the valley, partly hidden by Waxenstein).

And now the view from Austria. Zugspitze on the left.

Zugspitze from Fernpass (in the middle)

In the winter

In winter they ride on the glacier, but it is very cold there (minus 20, when in other places it is minus 10). Alpspitze – slopes for experienced skiers, Hausberg – for beginners.

The Austrian Zugspitze Arena (the slopes of the Zugspitze and around) is very popular with skiers as it is considered a cheaper option compared to Ga-Pa. In addition, there is a special ski ticket that allows you to ski both there and there.

Also on the Austrian part there are many different routes for cross-country skis. In Garmisch, the tracks are made in the fields between the villages and the railway, and running there is boring.

Interesting routes for cross-country skiing are offered by the Ettal Valley, where the Linderhof Palace is located (bus 9606 from Ga-Pa to Ettal, bus 9622 from Ettal to Linderhof). And the largest cross-country skiing center in Europe is Seefeld (on the way to Innsbruck).

Höllentalklamm gorge

The gorge is clearly visible from afar – between Alpspitze and Waxenstein. It is open only in summer, because in winter avalanches come down from three slopes and the snow depth can reach 70 m. I don’t recommend going there even after heavy rains – in 2021, two tourists were washed away along with the bridge.

The starting point is the rack railway station Hammersbach. The road along a narrow rocky gorge often goes through stairs, so it is not passable with a bicycle or a stroller. For small children, the route is not recommended, older children are recommended to fasten an additional carabiner to yourselves. The trail is about 3.5 km, the elevation difference is 300 m.

Eibsee lake

The Eibsee lake lies at the foot of the Zugspitze. This is a lovely place for walking both in winter and summer.

You can get there by train (last at 14.15) or by bus (once an hour). Parking at the lake / cable car station is paid, after 16 hours the price is lower.

The circular route around the lake takes at least 2 hours at a fast pace. If you don’t want to walk all 7.5 km, it’s better to go counterclockwise (there are the most beautiful views here) for about a third of the route or arrange at the boat station and a local motorboat will pick you up from the other end of the lake for a small fee. The first third of the route is passable with a stroller

You can boating on the lake on your own (by boat, catamaran) or swim: lovers of fresh water prefer, however, to plunge near the shore – the water is not icy, but cold enough and the depth begins almost at the very shore. The maximum depth of the lake is 32.5 m.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Part 1, Part 2
Austrian Zugspitze Arena
Map of attractions in Bavaria
Map of attractions in Austria

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