Explore Germany's largest ski area and highest mountain, shared by these two distinct Bavarian towns.
- The Zugspitz Glacier is on Germany's highest mountain, so the snow is usually excellent.
- Visit the former Olympic stadium, ski jump or bobsleigh track.
- Ski the famous Kandahar black run, used for annual races.
The skiing is spread across a two main areas – the Classic area covers the Alpspitze peak and the lower Hausberg and Kreuzeck peaks, linked by a narrow track. Higher up – on Germany’s highest mountain in fact – is the Zugspitz Glacier, which is accessed via a cogwheel railway from town, and offers an extra 20km of slopes. There’s a fairly even mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced runs, but since the reds tend to be the longest and best links, intermediates in particular will enjoy GaPa. Newbie skiers can stick to the dedicated beginner area, or progress to the wide blues on the glacier. Experts will find several tricky blacks to challenge them – including the famous Kandahar run, which is used for annual races and has a free fall section with a 92% incline.
Off the slopes, you’ll have plenty to explore. The towns have retained somewhat separate identities – Garmisch tends to be a bit more modern, while Partenkirchen has kept its authentic feel and cobbled streets. But both offer plenty of charm, with buildings painted with traditional frescoes, and shops ranging from bakeries to goldsmiths. There’s a variety of hotels to choose from, most offering a good 4-star standard – and they generally represent excellent value compared to the Alps.
When you’re not skiing, you can take a trip to nearby Olympic ski jump, fly down a toboggan run, or even hike through the old Olympic bobsleigh track.