Garmisch-Partenkirchen (simply referred to as Garmisch) is a Bavarian ski town in Germany. It’s been high on our list of towns to visit in Germany, as everyone gushes about how beautiful it is. They were right! As our first trip once travel opened back up, we were absolutely blown away by how beautiful Garmisch and the bordering ski towns in Austria are. We actually opted to stay on the Austrian side of Garmisch and can’t recommend it enough. We were in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena.
Where to Stay
Edelweiss is an American Military-owned resort in Garmisch. This is where most Americans who live in Germany end up staying when they visit this area. It was fully booked for the weekend we were there, but we ended up going for the 4th of July fireworks show!
We ended up finding these beautiful mountain cabins called Zugspitz Lodge in Ehrwald, Austria. The surrounding mountains formed a gorgeous backdrop everywhere we looked, and the cabins themselves were huge. The developers of these lodges thought of everything, as there was a mudroom and plenty of hooks for ski gear, warm comfy beds, a fireplace, and lots of outdoor seating. Zugspitz Lodge is dog friendly, and we loved having a whole cabin to spread out in instead of just a hotel room. I can’t recommend Zugspitz Lodge enough, and we are already planning to come back in the winter!
The Lodges are also a quick 10 minute walk to a chapel in the mountains, and another 20 minute hike to a huge waterfall.
Ehrwald is only 20 minutes away from Garmisch and is a wonderful alternative to Garmisch itself. This was our first time in Austria and we fell in love with it! Zugspitz Lodge is a short 10 minute walk into the heart of town.
On our first full day in Austria, it was cold and rainy, so we cooked a big breakfast and relaxed in the cabin. It was nice to have a whole living room with a fireplace, a kitchenette and dining room on this rainy day. Once the rain cleared up, we walked into town and ate lunch at Mooswirt. Since it was still pretty chilly, we got the Klare Rindsuppe (dumpling soup), Hungarian goulash soup, and split an order of Kasespatzel. It was the perfect lunch. Then we took our time walking around the town, which is filled with cute shops, restaurants and hotels in the charming Austrian architecture. I ended up buying a hat and I also had some of the best watermelon gelato I’ve ever had.
Later on that night, we cooked grilled cheese and tomato soup in our cabin, and afterwards walked with our dogs to the local Irish Pub. Absolutely recommend! It’s dog friendly and has an awesome outdoor space that looks out into the Austrian mountains and across towards the neighboring town of Lermoos. Patrick the owner is super chatty and friendly, and I was pleased to see alcohol-free cocktails on the menu! (I’m pregnant, so I’m always amazed by how many restaurants and bars have alcohol-free cocktails in Europe).
On the sunniest day of our trip, we decided to go to Lake Plansee, which is 30 minutes from our Lodge. Lake Plansee is known for its clear turquoise waters, perfect for fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling and sailing. There is a dog beach area, which was perfect for us and our dogs! We had plenty of space to spread out and social distance, and although our dogs are not water dogs, there were plenty of dogs swimming in the water. We packed a picnic for lunch and snacks, some beer for Timmer, plenty of water for me and the dogs and had an amazing time soaking up the sun. There is also a kiosk onsite for rentals, food, and bathrooms. Timmer ended up renting a stand up paddle board for a few hours. Overall, such an amazing day!
Pro tip: Get there early! Parking can be hard to find, but if you keep driving to the end of the lake, towards the Campground Sennalpe, there is a really large parking lot. Make sure to pay for parking; I think it costs six euros or so to park for the day.
We spent one of our weekend days in Garmisch. The morning was spent hiking through Partnach Gorge, which is a definite must do! The gorge is absolutely stunning, filled with wild waterfalls and icy blue water rapids. It is dog friendly, and our dogs enjoyed the coolness of the gorge as a nice break from the summer heat. The price to get in is five euros per adult and one euro per dog.
Pro tip: Get there early because parking is hard to find. Most people park at the Olympia Skistadion. This is the Olympic Stadium that was the host of the Ski Jump, Hockey and Figure Skating events for the 1936 Winter Olympics. You can walk inside and take a look around for free. By the time we got there the lot was full, so we just parked in a neighborhood down the street. Follow the signs towards the right of the Stadium and continue walking for about 25 minutes to get to the entrance of the Gorge.
Partnach Gorge was the starting point for our hike that day. We hiked around Partnachklamm, which ended up being a super steep hike but it was worth it for the views. We did the Eckbauer Loop, starting in Kainzenbad, and used the Komoot app. It’s a great way to find hikes and it points out the trail, difficulty level, as well as the cool stops along the way. At the top of the mountain, we found a scenic biergarten. The perfect reward after a pretty intense hike! There is actually a gondola at the top of the mountain, so most people opted to use that to go back down.
Eisbee is one of the more popular lakes to go to when staying in Garmisch. It is located at the foot of the Zugspitze (highest peak in Germany) and is filled with clear, emerald green water. We had seen pretty pictures online, so we decided to check it out. There is a large parking lot, so it was easy to find parking, and then we walked around for a bit.
One thing to note: Eisbee is a great lake to hike around, but if you’re going just to relax and soak in the sun, you’ll have to do some hiking to find a spot. There are plenty of rocky coves that you can climb down to, and there are some flatter rocky areas further down, but you’ll still have to walk around for a little bit to find a good spot.
The town of Garmisch is super cute and filled with Bavarian homes and buildings. We ate at Fischers Mohrenplatz, a large outdoor biergarten with an impressive menu. After an hour of recovering from our hike and tons of people watching, we decided to explore more of the town. We walked through the charming main walk platz, admiring the old buildings, and the cute shops.
On our way back home to Ramstein, we decided to stop and hike around the Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles. Since we had the dogs we weren’t planning on going into either castle, but we were ready for one more hike. We did the Blick ins Tal Neuschwanstein Loop, which was around five miles, and we passed by waterfalls, the castles, and Lake Alpsee. It was a pretty moderate and rocky hike so just be ready for some off-roading if you decide to do this one.
Next Time: Zugspitze, Glacier, Alpine Coaster
One of the best things about where we stayed, Zugspitz Lodge, is how close it is to Zugspitze. Zugspitze is the tallest peak in Germany (2,962 meters, or 9,718 feet) and has the most amazing view. You can opt to do a long hike to the top, or just ride one of the gondolas or trains to the top. Apparently it is cheaper to ride to the top from the Austrian side. There are panoramic views and a restaurant at the top. There’s even a glacier that you can explore. This is definitely on my bucket list. We ended up having too much fun on our lake day to leave, plus high altitudes aren’t highly recommended while pregnant. However, we know we will definitely be back to the area and we’ll end up going up there one day.
There is also an Alpine Coaster in Oberammergau, which runs over a length of 2,600 meters. We will definitely ride that one day!
Overall, we had such a fun time on this trip to Austria. We loved staying on the Austrian side of Garmisch, and we can’t wait to make another trip back!
For more trips around Germany, check out my Day Trips here.