A Complete Travel Guide to Garmisch-Partenkirchen: 25 Best Things To Do & See

A Complete Travel Guide to Garmisch-Partenkirchen: 25 Best Things To Do & See

Everything you need to know including the best experiences, when to visit, where to eat and where to stay
Alexander & VictoriaHi! We're Alex & Victoria - a digital nomad couple from Copenhagen escaping 9-5 to chase adventures in our beautiful world. Learn more about us here.
A mountain-lovers paradise

There’s no way around the fact that Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GaPa) is the best place in Germany if you like mountains.

In this medium-sized Bavarian town, you’re literally surrounded by them.

If you don’t intend on hiking up by your own two feet to catch the gorgeous views offered by the peaks, you’re in luck as more than a handful of lifts operate to provide the views without you having to break a sweat.

For the sporty and adventurous, there are plenty of activities on offer with a huge trail network surrounding Garmisch-Partenkirchen and an active community of outdoor lovers all year round.

Hiking is the name of the game when the sun is out and in winter the town is considered one of the best places to ski in the country.

We love Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In fact, we love it so much that we have visited 3 times now – and we intend to return!

In this travel guide to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, we share the best things to do and see, where to stay, how long to stay, where to eat, how to get around and so much more.

Where to stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen


  • Budget: Hotel Atlas Sport – One of the cheapest options for ensuite double rooms in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Free parking.
  • Value for money: Biohotel Garmischer Hof – Amazing views, organic food and a spa and wellness centre. Our favourite hotel in GaPa.
  • Luxury: Bader Suites – Luxurious, spacious apartments with everything you need.

Search for the best value accommodation in Garmisch-Partenkirchen here.

Alex & Victoria at Geroldsee near Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is full alpine bliss.

Why visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Some of the best attractions in or near Garmisch-Partenkirchen can rather easily be visited as day-trips from nearby Munich. So why stay in town?

The answer is quite simple.

There’s so much to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

You could never do everything in a day. We’re unsure if even a weekend could do it, but that’s, of course, totally up to your preferences!

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the perfect base for adventures in the region.

Even if you’re not too keen on scaling mountains (whether by foot or cable car), there are still lots of lakes, castles and other awesome attractions to explore.

Tourism is naturally huge here, but the town is big enough in its own right to feel like a real place.

People actually live here all year and not only for seasonal mountaineering or skiing. That’s great as it means shops and restaurants have to survive on longterm quality and not only on short-lived tourist influxes.

Loisach and Partnach rivers in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Both the Loisach and Partnach rivers run through town.
The town centre of Garmisch-Partenkirchen
The town centre of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is for pedestrians only.
The Parish Church of St. Martin
The Parish Church of St. Martin.
Mountain views in Garmisch-Parrtenkirchen
You only have to walk for a few minutes from the town centre to catch amazing mountain views. This is from the Hammersbacher Fußweg.

The town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen

As the name implies, Garmisch-Partenkirchen was originally two towns: Garmisch in the west and Partenkirchen in the east.

Today they have melted together into one city, but the differences between them are still observable to the keen eye.

We have spent most of our time in the Garmisch part of town and think it’s really cosy. Many old buildings are still intact and there’s a distinct small-town feel to it despite being the home to more than 25,000 people.

Partenkirchen is also very nice. Checking out Ludwigstraße is a must.

All in all, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is easily walkable – and how could you not love those mountain views in all directions?

Mountains near Garmisch-Partenkirchen
When the weather is clear, mountains can be spotted from pretty much every street and window in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Mountains close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen
The mountains are super close to the town.


Garmisch-Partenkirchen is located in Bavaria about 700 metres above sea level in the very south of Germany ~90 kilometres southwest of Munich, the state capital and most populous city.

Where to stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

The hotel options in Garmisch-Partenkirchen are really good.

It’s not the cheapest place to stay, but it makes sense that there’s a price to pay for being in what is probably the most beautiful part of Germany.

Whether you’re looking for a budget option or a more high-end stay with spa facilities, check out our hotel recommendations below.

For even more details, check out our ultimate Gapa accommodation guide:
Where to Stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen: 11 Best Hotels for All BudgetsOur personal recommendations for the best areas and places to stay.

You can also search for the best value accommodation in Garmisch-Partenkirchen here (adlink).

The best budget hotels in Garmisch-Partenkirchen:


  • Hotel Atlas Sport – One of the cheapest options for ensuite double rooms in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Free parking.
  • Bavaria Biohotel – Eco-hotel in the city centre.
  • Alpvital – Apartment with your own kitchen in Klais (15 minutes east of GaPa).
  • Hotel Schatten – Traditional stay in Partenkirchen.
Hotel Atlas Sport
Check out Hotel Atlas Sport if you’re just looking for a comfortable double room in Garmisch-Partenkirchen at a budget price. ©Hotel Atlas Sport (adlink)

The best value for money hotels in Garmisch-Partenkirchen:

Biohotel Garmischer Hof room
The 3-starred Biohotel Garmischer Hof (adlink) feels more like a 4-star hotel. This was our room.
Biohotel Garmischer Hof view
And this was the incredible view we woke up to every day.

The best luxury hotels in Garmisch-Partenkirchen:

Bader Suites apartment in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
We had sun on the terraces from morning to late afternoon in our apartment at Bader Suites (adlink) and really enjoyed the changing light.
Kitchen at Bader Suites
Even though there are many great places to eat out in GaPa, we really like cooking for ourselves. Especially with the awesome organic supermarkets Das Bio-Paradies and Denn’s Biomarkt in such close proximity. The kitchen at Bader Suites (adlink) had everything we needed to cook delicious meals.

Should you stay centrally?

Our best tip is to stay somewhere that is central enough for you to be in walking distance to most of the restaurants.

If you’re staying a little outside of GaPa, it’s of course possible to drive in. But parking can be limited, especially in the high season.

Staying close to the town centre can potentially save you time and money enough to make up for the higher price (except if you plan to cook all of your meals in your accommodation).

Search for the best value accommodation in Garmisch-Partenkirchen here (adlink).


The 25 best things to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

As we’ve pointed towards earlier in this travel guide, there are a lot of amazing things to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

We have visited Garmisch-Partenkirchen on three different occasions: In October 2020, in June 2021 and in March 2022. So we’ve seen the town in basically all seasons – and tried our best experiencing the top attractions and things to do.

Please do tell us what we’ve missed in the comments as we would love to return again to explore more!

Here are the 25 best things to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen:

  1. Visit Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain
  2. Walk around Lake Eibsee and take in the magical views
  3. Get a new perspective from the top of Alpspitze
  4. Hike the stunning Partnach Gorge
  5. See the Olympic Ski Jump
  6. Check out the amazing alpine views at Geroldsee and Barmsee
  7. Visit Grainau and the beautiful church
  8. Stroll around Lake Riesersee
  9. Visit the old town of Mittenwald
  10. Experience the epic Höllentalklamm Gorge
  11. Go on a canyoning tour
  12. Take a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle
  13. Iconic meadow views at Hammersbacher Fußweg
  14. Ski down the slopes of Zugspitze
  15. Go cross-country skiing
  16. Chill out at the Kurpark
  17. Spot all the murals (Lüftlmalerei) in town
  18. Walk down Ludwigstraße in Partenkirchen
  19. Visit the charming Wamberg church village
  20. Discover the Werdenfels Castle ruins
  21. GaPa views from Kriegergedächtniskapelle
  22. Check out the royal views from Königstand above town
  23. Enjoy the lake views at Pflegersee
  24. Hiking Wank Mountain
  25. Go on a day trip to Munich
The lovely nature of Garmisch-Partenkirchen around Hammersbacher Fußweg
The lovely nature of Garmisch-Partenkirchen invites you to go and explore every trail.

1. Visit Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain

Who doesn’t want to be able to say they’ve been to the highest point in Germany?

If it isn’t cloudy (which it invariably is sometimes) Zugspitze is easily spotted from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and, indeed, even from Munich on clear days.

What makes Zugspitze so special is that you have a clear view in all directions – including towards Austria where the mountainous landscapes continue as far as the eye can see.

Getting up there is easy with the modern cable car.

There’s also skiing in winter at the top which you can read more about below.

Learn all you need to know about visiting Zugspitze in our travel guide here.

Zugspitze views
You can’t miss Zugspitze while in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Misty Lake Eibsee
Zugspitze itself is best spotted from Lake Eibsee.
This is where the cable car ends on top
It only takes about 10 minutes to go from Lake Eibsee to Zugspitze with the modern cable car.
Skiing at Zugspitze in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Skiing is possible at Zugspitze – usually from early December to early May.

2. Walk around Lake Eibsee and take in the magical views

Lake Eibsee has to be the most beautiful lake in Bavaria, if not in the whole of Germany.

It’s definitely one of the prettiest ones we’ve ever seen!

When the water is still the reflections from Zugspitze and the mountains next to it are incredible. The water colour is insane. And then there are islands in the lake? And then you add the autumn foliage… Perfection!

Lake Eibsee is easy to visit before or after taking the Zugspitze cable car. It’s also very much worth a visit in its own right.

Read more about Lake Eibsee and what to expect in our travel guide here.

The water colour at lake Eibsee
Lake Eibsee is easy to fall in love with.
Eibsee near Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the early morning mist
Eibsee in the early morning mist.
Eibsee travel guide with Zugspitze
Zugspitze looms high over the lake providing gorgeous views.
Alex & Victoria at Eibsee by the famous stone
Swim in Eibsee
When we visited Garmisch-Partenkirchen again in the summer, it was perfect to be able to cool down in Eibsee on a hot day.

3. Get a new perspective from the top of Alpspitze

Alpspitze is one of the other mountains you can take a cable car to in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

The view from up here is quite different than from Zugspitze. You don’t get to see over the other mountain ranges, but catching a glimpse of the town below and the mountains surrounding the valley is great. Visiting the AlpspiX skywalk is also super cool.

Enjoying the view from Alpspitze over Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Enjoying the view from Alpspitze.
Alpspitze paragliders
This is a popular area for paragliders.
AlpspiX platform in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
The incredible viewing platform AlpspiX.
AlpspiX walkway
AlpspiX consists of two metal walkways reaching out over the mountain.
The views from Alpspitze over Garmisch-Partenkirchen
The views from Alpspitze are different than from Zugspitze but also very impressive.

4. Hike the stunning Partnachklamm Gorge

Visiting the Partnachklamm (Partnach Gorge) is one of the most popular activities in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It’s exciting and hiking here feels like a true adventure.

Partnach Gorge is a gorge (duh) that has been created by a stream cutting through the mountain. It’s crazy to think that water can cut through solid rock like that. It takes a while, but the result speaks for itself!

The gorge is 702 metres long and up to 80 metres deep.

We were amazed by the continually changing views and couldn’t take our eyes off the azure blue colour of the water.

Read our travel guide here to learn more about visiting the Partnach Gorge.

Waterfalls on the way
The waterfalls on the way make the whole experience of the Partnach Gorge magical.
Partnachklamm view from the beginning
The Partnach Gorge is called the Partnachklamm in German.

5. See the Olympic Ski Jump

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is home to the famous Olympic Ski Jump.

This is the venue of the New Year’s jumping you’re likely watching on January 1st each year.

Visiting the arena is free. We saw the Olympic Ski Jump as we walked from the parking lot to the entrance of the Partnach Gorge.

If you’re interested in learning more about flying more than a hundred metres through the air with nothing but skis strapped to your feet, guided tours are available.

Olympic Ski Jump in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
The Olympic Ski Jump near the Partnach Gorge.

6. Check out the amazing alpine views at Geroldsee and Barmsee

Geroldsee is a small lake east of Garmisch-Partenkirchen known for its dreamy Alpine views.

Barmsee is located right next to it and hiking between and around the lakes is a lovely non-strenous activity.

In winter, nordic skiing is popular here.

Geroldsee famous view
Geroldsee has become Instagram famous and we get why. This view seems to encapsulate the feeling of the region.
Geroldsee in winter
We visited Geroldsee again in winter.
Barmsee from above
Barmsee from above.

7. Visit Grainau and the beautiful church

Grainau is a small town located a few kilometres west of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Walking around here (perhaps on the way to or from Eibsee and Zugspitze) is a nice thing to do. The streets are quiet and it’s all very idyllic.

Grainau is especially famous for the church of St. Johannes with commanding views of the mountains behind it.

Church of St. Johannes
The light always seems to hit the church of St. Johannes beautifully.
The church of St. Johannes in Grainau

8. Stroll around Lake Riessersee

We visited Lake Riessersee on a cloudy day. No matter the weather, hiking around the area is relaxing.

When it’s clear, it’s possible to see the mountains reflect in the lake which is surely a sight for sore eyes.

It’s possible to go here directly from town by crossing the train tracks and following a trail up to the lake.

Riessersee Lake
Remnants of an old bobsleigh track used for the 1936 Winter Olympics can be seen near Lake Riessersee. It’s a lovely place for a walk.
Riessersee Lake in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Riessersee is also nice to visit in winter.
Riessersee views towards the German alps

9. Visit the old town of Mittenwald

The small town of Mittenwald is located just 20 minutes of driving east of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and is a must-visit if you enjoy fairytale towns surrounded by towering peaks.

The core of Mittenwald is the Alstadt (old town), which is the perfect place to go for a stroll on the cobblestoned streets and take in the enchanting atmosphere.

Just like in GaPa, many of the houses here have been adorned with murals (Lüftlmalerei).

Mountains near Mittenwald
The mountains tower up around you in Mittenwald.
Mittenwald building details
Strolling the old streets is such a pleasant experience.
The Catholic Church of St. Peter & Paul in Mittenwald
The Catholic Church of St. Peter & Paul is a sight to behold in Mittenwald.
Visiting Mittenwald from Garmisch-Partenkirchen
We can easily recommend visiting Mittenwald from Garmisch-Partenkirchen – especially if you enjoy views like these.

10. Experience the epic Höllental Gorge

You have probably heard about the Partnachklamm (Partnach Gorge). But have you heard about the Höllentalklamm (Höllental Gorge)?

Located just a few kilometres west of Partnachklamm, Höllentalklamm sees fewer visitors but provides a similarly epic experience.

Hiking to the start of the Höllentalklamm is a bit steeper, taking about an hour from the parking spot with 250 metres of gained altitude. The walk itself is beautiful as you walk besides the river on a nice forest trail.

The gorge itself is, of course, the main attraction. Just like at Partnachklamm, you walk on a narrow path cut into the mountain, sometimes in tunnels and sometimes over bridges.

Beside you and underneath you, the clear river cuts deep into the rock and roars ferociously.

The walk through Höllentalklamm takes about 30 minutes. When you’re finished, you can either turn around and experience it all from the opposite direction or continue on and go on a long hike over Hupfleitenjoch to Kreuzeck.

Höllentalklamm is only open while it’s snow free – usually meaning it’s open from May to the end of October. The price is 5 EUR for adults and 2 EUR for children aged 7-17 while free for those who are younger*.

*Prices are from 2023.

Iconic GaPa view
Starting the hike, you get this brilliant view.
Höllentalklamm Gorge hike
The hike towards the Höllentalklamm is super nice.
Walking besides the river in the Höllentalklamm Gorge.
Walking besides the river in the Höllentalklamm.
Icy blue water in Walking besides the river in the Höllentalklamm Gorge.
The water is icy blue.
Waterfalls in Walking besides the river in the Höllentalklamm Gorge
There are lots of waterfalls, especially in spring when the snow is melting.
Walking besides the river in the Höllentalklamm Gorge.
Hiking the Höllentalklamm is a must-do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen if you like unique outdoor experiences.

11. Go on a canyoning tour

On our second visit to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, we went on a canyoning tour with Canyoningtour.de.

In short, canyoning is all about descending steep mountain rivers by rappelling, jumping and sliding.

We won’t lie: Canyoning is not for the faint of heart. You don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie… But it will certainly help!

Of course, canyoning isn’t dangerous when you’re in the hands of professionals.

We felt completely safe and had a lot of fun on the tour.

Read our full article about the canyoning tour and what to expect here.

Abseil waterfall
It was a great feeling to go rappeling down the waterfalls.
Views while canyoning
There were amazing views on the canyoning tour.
Jumping into a pool
There were a couple of times where we both had to really toughen up and just go for it when it came to jumping into the pools.
Lake Plansee
The tour itself is actually located on the Austrian side of the border, but as it’s only 45 minutes away by car and run by Germans, it doesn’t really feel like it. After the tour, we stayed for a while to relax and swim at Lake Plansee.

12. Take a daytrip to Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle is a palace from the 19th-century built for King Ludwig II of Bavaria.

The flashy exterior design is recognisable (to say the least) and it has been used in several films and inspired, among others, Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Visiting Neuschwanstein is supremely popular with about 1.5 million visitors per year. If you wish to enter the castle, booking a tour well in advance is highly recommended.

Without tickets, you can still walk up to the main entrance and see the castle up close.

Neuschwanstein Castle is located about an hour of driving west of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and therefore pretty easy to reach on a daytrip.

Neuschwanstein famous view
Even though we had seen Neuschwanstein in a thousand photos, we were still blown away when we saw it in real life.
Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle is as close as you can get to a real fairytale castle.
Neuschwanstein looking like a theme park castle
It almost seems like a theme park but it really isn’t.
Neuschwanstein area views
It’s not just the castle. The whole area is super photogenic with beautiful mountains and lakes.
Hohenschwangau Castle
Hohenschwangau Castle is located near Neuschwanstein in Füssen.

13. Iconic meadow views at Hammersbacher Fußweg

For some of the most iconic GaPa mountain views, you have to walk down the Hammersbacher Fußweg.

It’s a very mellow walk with no elevation gain to speak of. Walking all the way to Hammersbach takes around 30 minutes (it’s 2.6 kilometres) and will surely leave you feeling very small as the imposing steepness of the Wetterstein mountain range (including Zugspitze!) looms closer and closer.

How to find the Hammersbacher Fußweg?

The trail goes through the large meadow that starts around the corner of St.-Martin-straße and Rießerseestraße in the southwestern part of town. Once there, find the trail that cuts through the meadow diagonally.

The “official start” is right by Katzensteinstraße.

Hammersbacher Fußweg
For some of the best (and easiest to reach) mountain views in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, walk down the lovely Hammersbacher Fußweg.
Hammersbacher Fußweg sunset
It’s also a great place in general to catch the sunset.
Hiking towards Eibsee from Grainau
Continue hiking towards Eibsee for more mountain goodness.

14. Ski down the slopes of Zugspitze

How cool is it that you can ski down Germany’s highest mountain?

Zugspitze has a quite well-developed ski area with 20 kilometres of snow-sure runs suitable for all skill levels.

Because of its height, the ski season at Zugspitze is very long – often starting in December and ending in May.

If you’re not into downhill skiing, it’s also possible to hire bob sledges and wooden sledges to go tobogganing down Zugspitze.

You can either reach the ski area by the Seilbahn to the top of Zugspitze and then take the Gletcherbahn down to the ski area or by travelling there directly with the Zugspitzbahn.

For even more downhill skiing options (including some really steep ones!), also check out the skiing at Hausberg and Kreuzeck.

Read more about skiing at Zugspitze (including prices) at the official website here or check out the webcams here for a current update on the conditions.

Alex skiing on Zugspitze
We love the fact that you can ski at the top of Germany.
The Zugspitze ski area
The Zugspitze ski area has 20 kilometres of downhill runs.
The skiing map for the Zugspitze area
Here’s the skiing map for the Zugspitze area.
The map for the whole ski area of Garmisch-Partenkirchen
And here’s the map for the whole ski area of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

15. Go cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiing (called langluafen in German) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen offers an invigorating way to explore the beautiful winter landscapes.

We went twice last time around and loved it!

One of the closest places to town to go cross-country skiing is Kaltenbrunn where you’ll find trails for beginners and experts alike – including one for biathlon training (a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting).

We also went to the trails around Krün and Barmsee further east.

The cross-country trail network of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is home to a total of 28 kilometres of groomed tracks which can all be enjoyed for free.

We rented skiing equipment from Skischule Sprenzel.

Learning cross-country skiing in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a great place to learn cross-country skiing as there are many beginner-friendly trails.
Alex & Victoria cross-country skiing near Barmsee
Going cross-country skiing together was a first for us. It wasn’t easy but with some practice we kind-of got the hang of it.
Alex & Victoria on the XC-ski trails of GaPa
We were lucky enough to explore some of the local trails in March just before the last snow melted. Conditions vary greatly each year so plan accordingly. Some of the nearby trails in Austria (like in Seefeld) are often snow-sure for longer.

16. Chill out at the Kurpark

When strolling down the Am Kurpark pedestrian street in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, it’s impossible to miss the centrally located Michael-Ende-Kurpark.

Michael Ende, a native of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, is best known for his acclaimed children’s books, including “The Neverending Story” and “Momo“.

Even if you’re not familiar with Ende’s work, you’ll be enchanted by the park’s whimsical features, such as the giant sculpture of Morla the turtle from “The Neverending Story” that children can climb on or the numerous other small wonders scattered throughout.

In the summer months, the Kurpark comes alive with a variety of events and concerts.

The Kurpark
The Kurpark is a peaceful park in the middle of the city.
Concert in GaPa
There’s always something cultural going on in GaPa.

17. Spot all the murals (Lüftlmalerei) in town

You can’t walk around GaPa for long before noticing the painted houses.

These murals, known as “Lüftlmalerei” in German, are a traditional style of painting that originated in Bavaria.

They feature intricate and colourful designs, often depicting scenes from local history, religion, folklore, and daily life.

Some murals are very traditional-looking while others seem much more modern (like the hockey player!).

How many Lüftlmalerei can you spot in total?

If you wish to learn more about the murals of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, here’s a great resource with lots of free information.

Murals on the houses in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
There are so many murals on the houses in town. See how many you can count!
Lüftlmalerei in GaPa

18. Walk down Ludwigstraße in Partenkirchen

Ludwigstraße is the main street and heart of Partenkirchen (the eastern part of Garmisch-Partenkirchen), a charming historic district that exudes traditional Bavarian charm.

Walking down Ludwigstraße, we were greeted by picturesque buildings with colourful facades, quaint shops selling local handicrafts and souvenirs, and cosy cafes and restaurants.

You can combine your visit to Ludwigstraße with hiking around the foothills (or to the summit) of the Wank Mountain.

Partenkirchen street
The historical Ludwigstraße in Partenkirchen is definitely worth a visit.
Getting here from the Garmisch part of town only takes a few minutes.
Partenkirchen street
Waxenstein mountain views from Partenkirchen
Waxenstein mountain views from Partenkirchen.
Strolling down Ludwigstraße
Checking out Ludwigstraße is a must-do if you’re nearby in our opinion.

19. Visit the charming Wamberg church village

Located at an altitude of approximately 1,000 meters above sea level, Wamberg is one of the highest-lying villages in the country.

The architecture is rural and very traditional. The view towards the church is iconic with the towering Alpspitze and Zugspitze peaks in the background.

Only around 30 people live in Wamberg. When we visited, it seemed like that number could be even lower. But we did meet a few kids who most likely have a very different day-to-day life than their peers down in Gapa.

We hiked up to Wamberg from the hospital “Klinikum Garmisch-Partenkirchen”. It’s around 5.5 kilometres each way with 550 metres of elevation gain. It’s also possible to start at the Eckbauernbahn cable car.

Wamberg church village in winter
It really feels like you step back a few hundred years in time when you visit the Wamberg church village (minus the modern machinery!). Unfortunately, it was too overcast when we visited to see the mountains.

20. GaPa views from Kriegergedächtniskapelle

One of the most rewarding hikes in GaPa is walking up to the small Kriegergedächtniskapelle.

The chapel is located on a cleared patch from where you can catch some great views south of both the town and the amazing mountains.

It’s also the perfect place to enjoy a picnic in the sun.

Kriegergedächtniskapelle is a relaxing place to enjoy nature.
View from the Kriegergedächtniskapelle
For such a short hike, the views over Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the mountains are magnificent.
Alex & Victoria at the Kriegergedächtniskapelle

21. Check out the royal views from Königstand above town

Some of the most impressive views of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the mountains to the south can be found at the Königstand.

The platform is located about 700 metres above the town, so getting all the way up there is not for the faint of heart. The hike is 4-5 kilometres each way.

Here’s the location on Google Maps.

High-altitude hiking near GaPa
Beware that even though Garmisch-Partenkirchen might be snow-free, there could still be snow at higher elevations.
Views from Königstand
Snow or not, it’s really cool to look down at Garmisch-Partenkirchen from up high.
View from Königstand above GaPa
Remember to bring a headlamp if you hike up to the Königstand around dusk. Alex didn’t, so he had to rely on his smartphone’s flashlight on the (long) way down.

22. Enjoy the lake views at Pflegersee

Located right by the impressive Königsstand mountain range, Lake Pflegersee is a popular excursion for the locals of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Especially at the weekend.

After hiking up here, it’s hard to resist taking a break and enjoying the lake views from Berggasthof Pflegersee hut – open all year round.

In winter, it’s not so easy to swim here. But in summer, it’s possible to go for a refreshing swim in the Pflegersee.

23. Discover the Werdenfels Castle ruins

Probably built somewhere between the years 1180 and 1230, the history of the Werdenfels Castle isn’t very well-known…

Today it’s more or less a ruin, but it still makes for a very interesting and not-too-difficult excursion from Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

It’s easy to find Werdenfels Castle as the paths are pretty well sign-posted.

Hiking to the Werdenfels Castle
Hiking up here is very enjoyable.
Werdenfels Castle
Located just about 80 metres above town, it’s not very strenuous to reach Werdenfels Castle.
Werdenfels Castle
It’s not a fairytale castle like Neuschwanstein, but visiting is still a fun thing to do.
Werdenfels Castle facade
The view towards the Wetterstein Mountains and the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen from Werdenfels Castle.
The view towards the Wetterstein Mountains and the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen from Werdenfels Castle.

24. Hiking Wank Mountain

One of the best places to go for a hike (or a run) in eastern Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the foothills of the Wank Mountain.

Here you’ll find lots of mellow paths in the forest, some of which have killer views over the town and the surrounding mountains.

For the more adventurous, it’s also possible to hike up to the summit of the Wank Mountain (located at 1,780 metres above sea level).

The round summit is often considered GaPa’s “sun balcony” due to its sunny position in the valley.

It’s also possible to use the cable car to go directly to the Wank Mountain summit from Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Great views over Garmisch-Partenkirchen
The views back west over Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the high mountains is a very impressive sight.
Lovely hiking opportunities in the foothills of the Wankberg
The hiking options at the foothills of the Wankberg are lovely.
Hiking in the northeastern part of town
Alex has thoroughly enjoyed running around the foothills of the Wank Mountain.

25. Go on a day trip to Munich

Munich is the capital of the state of Bavaria (where Garmisch-Partenkirchen is located) and is the third largest city in Germany.

Luckily, it’s just a little over an hour’s drive away from Garmisch-Partenkirchen!

We stayed for a few days in Munich as there are plenty of cool things to do, but you can definitely also visit on a day trip to see the main sights.

If you don’t have your own car, you can also visit Munich by bus or train from GaPa. The trip then takes around 1 hour and 15-20 minutes.

Marienplatz in Munich
The central Marienplatz is a place in Munich you can’t miss.
Perfect vegan lunch at Emmi's Kitchen
We had so much amazing plant-based food in Munich. It’s a really great city for food lovers!

Garmisch-Partenkirchen itinerary

There are so many different things to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, it’s difficult to provide an exact itinerary as people’s interests are so different.

In short, you can spend weeks (if not months) exploring the nature and mountains surrounding the town. There really are close to endless trail options for hiking and trail running.

If you’re only visiting GaPa for a few days, you have to prioritise your time as you won’t be able to see and do everything.

For most people, going to Eibsee and taking the cable car to the top of Zugspitze (Germany’s highest mountain) is a true highlight of their visit. That can be done in a few hours if you’re in a rush. You can also spend the whole day walking around Eibsee taking in all of the views.

To experience a lot on a short trip, consider mostly experiencing things that are in or are very close to the city centre (or wherever your accommodation is located). That way you’ll spend less time driving and more time exploring.

Here are some itinerary ideas for the best things to do in GaPa near the city centre (that doesn’t take too long):

Itinerary for Garmisch-Partenkirchen:

You can also save a lot of time in general by using the cable cars.

We can really recommend taking one to Alpspitze. Walking out on the AlpspiX skywalk is a super cool thing to do!

All of the other things to do in GaPa mentioned in this article can easily be done in less than a day.

Especially if you visit while the days are long in spring and summer you can probably cram in 2-3 activities a day without breaking a sweat. It’s all up to your travel tempo and how you best like to experience things.

Alex hiking in GaPa
There’s not one-size-fits-all Garmisch-Partenkirchen itinerary. Simply pick out the things you’re most interested in doing and you’ll have a grand time.

How long to stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Naturally, the length of your stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen depends on your travel goals and interests.

As mentioned above, there are enough outdoor activities here to fill a whole year. So if you’re into hiking, you’ll have to make some hard choices about what to cut out unless you’re moving here for good.

  • Staying for a weekend is popular with Germans, but in our opinion, it’s way too little time to experience enough of the best things to do here.
  • 3-4 days is much better as you’ll be able to go on both longer and a few shorter excursions.
  • Staying for a week will be optimal for most people. While you might not be able to do everything mentioned in this travel guide, you’ll surely have enough time to see the main sights and highlights at a relaxed pace – even if the weather gods don’t shine on you 24/7.
Views in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Ultimately, the length of your stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen is up to you. We’ll say more time is better. But you can always come back – we know we have!

Where to eat in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

To our delight, there are plenty of great restaurants and cafés offering healthy and delicious plant-based dishes in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

We have written a full eating guide that you can check out here: Vegan Eating Guide to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany: The Best Restaurants & Cafés.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a vegan, vegetarian or even flexitarian, we still think you’ll love these places.

Here’s an overview of the cafés and restaurants we recommend visiting:

Vegan ragout
There’s a lot of really great food for all tastes in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
The vegan burger with sweet potato fries at Shaka Burgerhouse
Whether you like (vegan) burgers…
Açaí bowl at Pano
Or you’re more into açaí bowls.
Café Max in Garmisch-Partenkirchen interior
Café Max quickly became one of our favourite cafés in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

How to get around Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Getting around Garmisch-Partenkirchen on foot is just great.

The city centre (Am Kurpark) is totally car-free, and the rest of the streets have sidewalks.

Parking in the very centre isn’t all that easy which is why we recommend staying in walking distance to the cafés and restaurants.

Public transport is simple to use in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen centre
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is easily walkable when you stay near the centre.

How to get to Garmisch-Partenkirchen

From inside Germany

The 95 autobahn directly connects Munich with Garmisch-Partenkirchen making the drive quick and effortless.

  • Driving yourself should take about 1 hour.
  • Taking the bus takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • It’s also possible to take the train directly from Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen with the ride taking about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
The main train station in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Garmisch-Partenkirchen Bahnhof)
The main train station in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Garmisch-Partenkirchen Bahnhof) with regular trains to Munich.

From outside Germany

The main international hubs and airports close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen are Munich, Innsbruck (closest), Salzburg and Zürich.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen mountains drone photo
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is easily reached from the several nearby international travel hubs.

When to visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen

What’s the best time of the year to visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen?

There’s no bad time to visit GaPa, but as with most other popular destinations, avoiding the main holiday seasons makes sense if you want to avoid crowds and enjoy cheaper accommodation.


Spring is a beautiful time to visit with warming weather, rushing water and blooming flowers.

March, April and May are some of the best months of the year for off-season travel to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Tourism is at a low, so you’ll find cheaper prices on accommodation and almost no crowds.

If you visit early enough, you might still be able to go cross-country skiing. And the downhill runs on Zugspitze are probably open.


Summer is naturally the warmest season.

The summer holidays in Germany are spread out between the middle of June and the middle of September

Booking your hotel or guesthouse in advance is a good idea if you plan to travel to GaPa in June, July, August or September.


Autumn is a wonderful time to visit.

We have visited Garmisch-Partenkirchen in October and loved seeing the changing colours of the leaves.

The weather wasn’t particularly warm (it was downright freezing at Zugspitze) but the colours and lack of tourists more than made up for it.


Winter is a popular time to visit GaPa for winter sports.

The snow season generally runs from the start of December to the end of April/beginning of May.

Needless to say, it’s a good idea to pack warm clothes for a winter trip in Europe.

But don’t be surprised if you also get some sunny days down in the valley making for some perfect low-altitude-hiking weather.

The views from Zugspitze
We wore all of our warmest clothes at the top of Zugspitze in October.
Victoria at Eibsee
With a height difference of more than 2,000 metres, the weather can be very different down at Eibsee.

What to bring to Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Snow at Alpspitze
We were surprised to see quite a bit of snow at Alpspitze in October already. Every year is a bit different.

Minimise your impact

To minimise your impact during your visit, follow these guidelines:

  • Bring your own drinking water in a refillable bottle.
  • Avoid single-use plastics, including straws.
  • Dispose of waste properly. While putting your trash in a nearby trashcan is convenient, wrappers and other small items are prone to get taken by the wind and end up in the lake.
  • Check your sunscreen if you intend to swim. Many brands contain oxybenzone and other chemicals that are harmful.
  • Take only photos, leave only footprints. Let everything stay in its natural place. No stone-throwing.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.
  • Respect wildlife.
GaPa mountain views
We all need to take better care of our natural environments.
Thanks for reading

Thanks for getting all the way to the end!

We hope this travel guide to Garmisch-Partenkirchen has been useful.

What do you think about GaPa?

If you’ve been to the Gateway to the Bavarian Alps, it would be awesome to hear your best tips in the comments.

If you haven’t been yet, please don’t hesitate to ask us anything. We’re glad to help.

Eibsee's natural beauty
We were mesmerized by the natural beauty of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and all of its nearby attractions.
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