Garmisch-Partenkirchen was founded by uniting the two towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen by a decree of Adolf Hitler to bring the 1936 Winter Olympics to Germany. The International Olympic Committee was going to pass over Germany as the host, because there were not enough hotel rooms in the host town, so Hitler forced the unification of Garmisch and Partenkirchen to create a larger town, which would be more appealing to the IOC.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is home to a large US military base.
Garmisch is less than an hour by car from Munich, and the ride is a beautiful stretch of Autobahn, unfortunately not the whole way. Expect to drive up to three hours on weekends and public holidays.
Buses connect Garmisch-Partenkirchen non-stop to Berlin (DB IC bus). Meinfernbus connects Garmisch-Partenkirchen with Innsbruck and Munich Hackerbrücke at competitive prices. All buses depart in front of the main train station
Also, trains leave to and from Munich every hour, and the (beautiful) ride lasts 80–90 minutes on the local and 60 minutes on the rush hour express. The weekend ICE trains connecting Garmisch Partenkirchen to Munich and beyond are slower than the stopping train.
It is also a great end to a Romantic Road day trip beginning in Rothenburg, driving down the Romantic Road stopping at the various recommended heritage towns and ending in Garmisch for an overnight stay; or better still, a few days as it is a great base to drive out and back to Füssen (King Ludwig's castles) and Innsbruck along some of the most spectacular mountain drives you will ever see.
Public buses in Garmisch-Partenkirchen area very efficient. Lines #1 and #2 run every 20 minutes (30 minutes on weekends) and head from the Klinikum (hospital) via Bahnhof (train station) to Kreuzeck (ski area) or Breitenau (US-facilities). Lines #3, #4 and #5 run in opposite circles from the neighbouring villages of Farchant and Burgrain via Bahnhof and Marienplatz back to their origins. Fares are €1.50 per trip or you can buy a weekly or monthly pass. Those who stay in hotels in town receive passes for free bus usage during their stay.
The blue line (Eibseebus) connects Garmisch every hour with Grainau and the Eibsee. This bus is helpful for hikers starting or ending trips along the valley trails and lifts.
Beside the train station is the terminus of the Zugspitze Railway (Zugspitzbahn). The cogwheel train (Zahnradbahn) takes you up to the Zugspitze mountain. The ride takes 1 hr 20 min.
Main stops for all lines are Rathaus (townhall), Bahnhof (trainstation) and Marienplatz (centre of town). There is also a bus stop of the RVO (orange buses) at the trainstation. Those buses connect Garmisch with Oberammergau/Füssen, Mittenwald and Krün/Kochel.
Taxi ranks can be found outside the train station (+49 8821-1616) and at the Marienplatz (+49 8821-2408) right in front of McDonald's.
The Partnach river flows through this gorge. Though it is very touristy and often crowded it is well worth a visit. After 700 m, the path chiselled in the rock ends and you can continue your walk to one of the surrounding huts. If you arrive by car follow the signs to the Skistation or Olympic Stadium (fee for parking depending on how long you stay). The entrance fee to the Klamm is €5 per person; however the gorge should be open all times: before or after opening hours it is free (at your own risk). A torch is useful, or use your cellphone flashlight. It takes about 30 minutes walking to get from the parking to the gorge entry, and 15 minutes to get through (each way). Go early to avoid crowds.
This gorge is the more impressive and challenging version of the Partnachklamm (Open only during summertime). You can reach it by using the Zugspitsbahn to Hammersbach (Bavaria Ticket is valid until Grainau). Or you can take the Blue-White bus connecting the Eibsee with Garmisch Partenkirchen (this bus runs every hour between 7 and 22). From the Gaststätte Hammersbach (where the bus stop is) follow the signs into the woods along the Hammersbach to the Höllentalklamm. It takes about half an hour more or less to reach the entry of the gorge (entry €4 (adult), €1 (kids). Walking through the gorge takes another 45 minutes. After exiting the gorge, you can continue walking to the Höllentalangerhütte lodge (another 30-60 minutes). The lodge is situated in a large valley surrounded by large mountains. You can also see the Zugspitze from here. To go back to Hammersbach backtrack your way through the gorge (keep your ticket). There is a mini museum about the gorge at the entrance. You will need proper attire (good boots, warm and waterproof clothing even during summer time) when going to the gorge as the gorge is very wet, steep, cold and slippery.
Just walking around the town is a real treat. Take the time to walk down any street and you will be amazed at the paintings on the outside of the homes. The Bavarians have a long history of decorating the exteriors of their houses and businesses with both religious and historic paintings. The structure of the homes are also amazing. Go at the right time of the year and you can enjoy the beautiful flowers trellising down off the picturesque balconies.
Hiking and mountain views
During the winter the slopes surrounding the town are amazing for skiers and sightseers alike. During the summer months hours can be spent hiking the many trails (such as around the Eibsee) and enjoying the panoramic views. There is a cogwheel train trip up to the top of the Zugspitze mountain which is an event in itself and a cable car descent with amazing views.
Alternatively, the Garmisch-Classic cable cars offer a nice short 'circle' hike with pretty views. Go by car (or Zugspitzbahn) to the Kreuzeck-Alpspitzbahn. Take the Kreuzeckbahn to the top, then walk to the Hochalmbahn and nearby restaurant, enjoying the pretty views. From there, either walk up the narrow road or take the Hochalmbahn to the Alpspitzbahn, where there is a metal X-shaped lookout point, offering beautiful views of the valley and the Hollentalklamm. From there, you can take the Alpspitzbahn back down to where you started. Hikers that want more challenge can walk through the Hollentalklamm to the Alpspitzbahn (6 hours or more), and then take the bahn back down.
Before buying tickets to either cable cars or cogwheel train, be sure to check out group, family, and combination rates to avoid wasting money.
It is a romantic train ride between Garmisch and Kempten (via Reutte in Austria) through picturesque Alpine valleys and cute towns. Bayern Ticket is valid along the entire route. You can access the Neuschwanstein Castle, at Füssen from the station Ulrichsbrücke-Füssen (a request stop, change in Reutte). It takes about an hour to walk from this stop to Füssen. It takes about 1,5 hours to access Neuschwanstein Castle. Lindau, at Lake Constance (Bodensee), is around 1 hr 15 min from Kempten by regional trains.
- Zugspitz-Zahnradbahn from Partenkirchen to Zugspitzplatt and with the Seilbahn to Zugspitze.
Ticket: Zugspitz-Rundreise: €50, young people 16-18 years: €35, children 6-15 yr: €29, family with 1 child: €109, 2 children: €118, 3 children: €127 (summer 2013). Bayernticket valid until station Grainau.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen boasts some of the best skiing in Germany. Located at the base of the country's tallest mountain, year round glacial snow is guaranteed. The "Happy Ski Pass" can be purchased for use of four ski areas in that area in both Austria and Germany: Seefeld, Mittenwald, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the region "Tiroler Zugspitz Arena". The pass starts at €88 and offers 3 to 21 days of skiing, 4 of 6 days and 5 of 10.
Lodge am Hausberg adjacent to the big parking lot at Garmisch-Hausbergbahn station is a US Military Forces bar, and requires SOFA ID or equivalent to enter.
- Isi's Goldener Engel, Bankgasse 5. In Garmisch, there is a wonderful restaurant with good Bavarian food (very nice price-quality relationship - a dinner for 3 persons including beer will cost nearly €50) and friendly staff
- Bei Marcus, Zugspitzstraße 2, ☏ . Just up the road a short ways towards Ehrwald is the small town of Grainau where you can find the Zugspitze cafe. This is a wonderful family-owned restaurant with excellent Bavarian food.
- 1 Hammersbacher Hütte. One of the Sentido hotel's restaurants, in a hut next to the entrance to the Höllental. Deck overlooking the town and a variety of great mountain food. £12.
- Irish Pub, rathaus platz 8., ☏ . W-Sa 20:00. Friendly bilingual waiting staff serves cold Guinness and cold Bavarian lagers to a mixed crowd of locals, ex-pats and tourists. Live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Beer garden out front in the summer and winter months and 3 big-screen TVs with live coverage of any major sports event.
- Schwarze Gams, Rathausplatz 9 (near Marienplatz), ☏ . In the centre of town is this underground venue. Augustiner Bier on tab or from the bottle.
- Peaches Cocktailbar and Music Cafe, Marienplatz 17, ☏ . Bar: 19:00-03:00, pizzeria: Su-Th 18:00-00:00, F Sa 18:00-01:00, Music Cafe: Th-Sa 22:00. Three venues in one: a lively bar (Peaches), Italian restaurant (Pizzeria), and dance club (Music Cafe) inhabit a building at the head of the Marienplatz in the heart of Garmisch. On Mondays the restaurant offers every pizza half-off, Tuesdays are "American Pay Day" where US$1 equals €1, and on Thursdays the Music Cafe dance club serves up two-for-one cocktails all night long. They also have a casino downstairs.
- The Local Cure Bar, Zugspitzstraße 70, ☏ . The English-speaking waiting staff make this a favourite amongst local ex-pats and American and British tourists.
- Creation Fromage, Alpspitzstraße 4, ☏ . 09:30-18:30. A small fromagerie (cheese shop) offering the best in regional and Alpine cheeses, Stilton, Cheddar, Brie de Meaux, amongst around 80 varieties. The friendly staff is competent & helpful. French wines, foodstuffs, and small bakery items are also offered. The croissants, baguette, and pain au chocolat are excellent. English-speakers always welcome! Medium.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen has big variety of lodging. If you want to camp, stay at the youth hostel, a bed and breakfast or a 4-star hotel, you can find it all. The tourist information Am Kurpark is open 7 days a week and can help you find a room.
- Naturfreundehaus, Schalmeiweg 21, ☏ .
- Jugendherberge Burgrain (DJH), Jochstr. 10, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Very college dorm-like youth hostel located at the outskirts of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Affiliated with Die Jugendherberge (DJH) and Hosteling International (HI), so it's cheaper with an HI card. Breakfast provided. €20-30 person..
- Haus Hohe Tannen, Zoeppritzstr. 13, ☏ . A B&B in a quiet neighbourhood a 5-minute walk from the centre. €28-41 person..
- Haus Maria, Zoeppritzstr. 20, ☏ . Another B&B just across the road in the same neighbourhood. €31-38 per person..
- Haus Nicole, Loisachstr. 33, ☏ . B&B next to the Loisach River. €23-38 per person..
- Haus Hohenzollern, Alpspitzstr. 6, ☏ . A small hotel a block away from Marienplatz (centre of town). €32-35 per person..
- 1 Sentido Zugspitze Berghotel Hammersbach, Kreuzeckweg 2- 6, Grainau (southwest of Garmisch-Parternkirschen, 1 km from the Kreuzeckbahn and Alpspitzbahn and on the rail line). Large but charming spa hotel in nearby Hammersbach, next to a rushing stream and the entrance to Hell Valley (Höllental). £60.
- Boarlehof, Brauhausstr. 9, ☏ . Rooms for 2, 4 and 6 people in various apartments. €34-77 per apartment per night.
- Hotel Brunnthaler, Klammstr. 31, ☏ . A hotel garni between the pedestrian area and the public pool. €40-59 per person.
- Hotel Garmischer Hof, Chamonixstr. 10, ☏ . Between the train station and the pedestrian area. €45-70 per person.
- Hotel & Gasthof Schatten, Sonnenbergstr. 10-12, ☏ . Bavarian restaurant on the ground floor. €42-65 per person.
- Post-Hotel Partenkirchen, Ludwigstr. 49, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. A historic, beautifully decorated hotel in the Partenkirchen district of the city. €51-81 per single room, €71-153 per double room.
- Wittelsbacherhof Swiss Quality Hotel, Von Brugstraße 24, D-82467, fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Four-star hotel 300 m away from the railway station, 200 m from the city centre and 140 km from the Munich airport. Single room from €97, double room from €168 (low season of May 2019).
- 2 Dorint Sporthotel Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mittenwalder Straße 59, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. The hotel offers 155 studios and family apartments as well as the largest sports and wellness area of the village on 4,000 m². To the hotel belongs a health institute which offers medical wellness and physiotherapy. From €139 per room/night.
- Boarlehof, Brauhausstr. 9, ☏ . Rooms for 2, 4 and 6 people in various apartments. €34-77 per apartment per night..
- Ferienwohnung Garmisch (Apartments), 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Schalmeiweg 13 (Munich), ☏ , ✉ Info@ferienwohnung24-garmisch.de. 10 lodges for 2 - 50 persons. There are 10 apartments with 2 - 10 rooms. €40-220.