The Zugspitze is Germany’s tallest peak and, in my opinion, a must to include in your itinerary for Bavaria. Figuring out how to get to the summit can be a daunting task because there are many options. I’ve done all the research for you! Zugspitze How to Get to Germany’s Highest Peak is your definitive guide to visiting this natural wonder.
Zugspitze How to Get There: Germany or Austria?
There are two options for getting to the top of the Zugspitze: from Austria or from Germany. The Austrian ascent (10 minutes) to the Zugspitze is far quicker than the German one (45 minutes). However, if you have rented a car in Germany, most companies will not allow you to drive into Austria. Check with your rental car company before you do so.
Zugspitze How to Get There from Germany
If you’re driving, head towards the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. From there, continue on to the village of Grainau. Follow the Eibseestrasse to the Eibsee Station. Click here for driving directions to the Eibsee Station. At the station, you’ll need to purchase tickets for the cogwheel train. Ride the train to the Summit Station. The train ride is approximately 45 minutes and departs every hour. Note: the cable car from the Eibsee Station to the Summit Station is under construction (to be completed in December 2017), so visitors have to ride the cogwheel train.
Take a train to Garmisch. Purchase a combination ticket to ride to the Eibsee Station and to ride the cogwheel train to the Zugspitze. Board the train and ride to the Eibsee Station. There, you’ll change to the cogwheel train, which you’ll ride the train to the Summit Station. The train ride to the summit is approximately 45 minutes and departs every hour. Note: the cable car from the Eibsee Station to the Summit Station is under construction (to be completed in December 2017), so visitors have to ride the cogwheel train.
From the Summit Station To the Summit Terrace
From the Summit Station, you take a cable car to the Summit Terrace. This applies only to those taking the approach from Germany.
Zugspitze How to Get There from Austria
If you’re driving, head to the village of Obermoos. There you’ll find the Tyrolean Zugspitze Cable Car, which will take you directly to the Summit Terrace in about 10 minutes. Click here for driving directions to the Tyrolean Zugspitze Cable Car.
Take the train to Ehrwald and then a bus from the Ehrwald train station to the cable car lift. You could also take a taxi instead. You’ll then take a cable car directly to the Summit Terrace in about 10 minutes.
Zugspitze What to See
At the Summit Terrace
Take in the incredible views! If you’ve ascended from Austria, you’re on the Tirolean Terrace, and if you’ve come up from Germany, you’re on the Bavarian Terrace. You can pass freely from one to the other, and each side offers different views.
On the Bavarian Terrace, you have some unique options. First, you can see (and take pictures of) the golden cross that marks the highest point in Germany. If you’re brave enough (I wasn’t) you can also climb up to it. There’s also a beer garden, which claims to be highest beer garden in Germany. My guess is that it’s true! Finally, you can descend in the cable car (free, unless you came up from Austria) to the Summit Station where there are other activities.
At the Summit Station
There are a few additional and fun activities available at the Summit Station. The station is located on a plateau, so you can wander around freely and take pictures. In the winter, skiers abound here. However, even in summer, you can still take part in a winter activity! Grab a sled and slide down the small glacier. It’s free and a memorable experience. You can also visit the small wedding chapel, consecrated by a former Pope. Finally, at the Summit Station, there’s a much larger restaurant. Part of the restaurant is cafeteria style, where you sit indoors. The other option is outdoor seating with table service, or you can pull a stool up to the nice bar. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a meal or a drink at 8,690 feet (2,650 meters)!
Looking for Other Destinations in Bavaria?
I have guides to attractions nearby the Zugspitze. Let me be your guide in Bavaria.
- Alpine Coaster Oberammergau: Thrills for the Entire Family
- Oberammergau: A Fairy Tale of a Bavarian Town
- Mittenwald: Bavaria’s Prettiest Alpine Village
- Fussen: A Guide to Your Home Base for Exploring Southern Bavaria
- Ettal Monastery: Stop to Stare and Stay to Shop
- Wieskirche: A Little Piece of Heaven in Bavaria
- Neuschwanstein: How and When to Go