It’s hard not to feel small, standing on top of Zugsptize; mountains surround you in every direction, encasing you in awe and wonderment. A pristine glacier rests in the bowl below. In the winter, skiers and snowboarders play in a winter wonderland, while in the summer, hikers explore the wild terrain. Zugspitze Mountain, Germany’s highest peak, is an exhilarating day trip from Munich for the adventurous outdoor lover or anyone looking to experience views unlike anywhere else in the world! Just check out my photos and tell me if that isn’t one of the best views you’ve seen! This is definitely one for the bucket list and one of my favorite things to recommend to all my visiting friends and family.
- 1 Getting From Munich to Zugspitze, Germany’s Highest Peak
Getting From Munich to Zugspitze, Germany’s Highest Peak
The day trip from Munich to Zugspitze is the perfect way to see the Alps in all their glory, especially if you’re not a big skier or hiker. The day starts in Munich with a train ride to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. From there, you hop aboard a classic cogwheel train and climb nearly 3,000 meters to the highest peak in Germany. Spend your day exploring the glacier or just walking around taking photos of the stunning views. Take a break to grab some food at a traditional Bavarian hut and best of all, cross the border between Austria and Germany, as many times as you want! If independent planning isn’t for you, check out my guided tour suggestions, below. These tours include private bus transfer from Munich to Zugspitze and back. They also contain affiliate links, and I will receive a small commission based on booking at no additional cost to you.
Length of Time: 8 hours depending on your activities.
Timetable: 8:32 or 9:32 am train leaves from Munich Hbh, platform 29.
9:54 or 10:54 am train arrives at Garmisch Hbh
11:15 or 12:15 Zugspitzebahn leaves Garmisch Hbh for Zugspitze
12:28 or 1:28 pm Train arrives at Zugspitzplatt
Explore the area around the glacier
Gondolas to the peak leave every 30 min from Zugspitzplatt
Explore the peak, eat at the cafe, cross the border, etc.
Whenever you’re ready to leave get a fast pass ticket to ride the Eibseebahn down
The train back to Garmisch leaves every hour, with the last train at 5:15, do not miss this train!
Train back to Munich leaves every hour, 5 past the hour, last one at 11 pm.
Skill Level for Zugspitze: 20-50 HP. Great for the active adventurer, family, and most ages; you only hike or walk as much as you’re able and can.
Cost to get to Zugspitze: You can buy a DB train and Zugspitzebahn combo hiking ticket from the Munich Hbh DB ticketing station. This will include your entire transportation for the day and will run about 85 Euros a person. Bring extra cash for food.
Seasons: All. Hiking & sightseeing in the summer. Sledding or sightseeing in the winter.
- Small backpack.
- Water bottle or camelback.
- Check the weather and dress appropriately. In Summer bring sunscreen or a hat. In winter, a hat, gloves and a warm jacket.
- Hiking boots or winter boots.
- Your ticket reservation information.
Our adventure begins at the Munich Central Station, which can be reached by connecting to the U1,2,4 or 5 U-bahn lines or any S-bahn line. Trains to Garmisch leave every hour at half past, I recommend catching the 8:30 or 9:30, or you won’t have much time at your destination. Buy a Zugspitze hiking pass and Deutsch Bahn (DB) train ticket combo from the DB ticketing booth, which is located in the central station. Make sure you arrive in plenty of time to purchase your ticket, expecting a line on weekends. This ticket can also be purchased online, but I recommend buying from the booth and talking to an attendant in person, to make sure you buy the right combo. The train leaves from platform 29 – usually, but PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK YOUR TICKETS, and takes a little over an hour and a half. Once the train arrives at Garmisch-partenkirchen Hbf you’ll follow the signs for the Zugsitzebahn, it’s down a set of stairs, through a tunnel and is a short walk 3-5 min walk. Exchange your DB ticket for a Zugspitzebahn ticket at the ticketing station and wait for the train at the small platform. The train runs through farmland and along the base of the mountains until it comes to rest at its final destination, the second train station. Everyone will be told to exit the train. From here you can take the gondola up, but it’s usually quite busy with skiers and those catching the morning runs, so I suggest switching trains here and riding the cog wheel train to the peak. This train is so much fun and it winds up the mountain with stunning views and eventually leads through a dark tunnel.
After you depart the cogwheel train at the top of the mountain, make sure to take time to explore the area around the glacier. Germany’s highest church is here, along with an igloo village. If you’ve never seen a glacier before, you’re basically standing on one! Pretty cool, huh? When you’re ready, make your way over to the gondola which will bring you to Zugspitze, your final destination. These gondolas run every 30 min and sometimes more during peak season, so plan your ride up, accordingly.
My favorite part about exploring the peak is that you can cross from Germany to Austria as many times as you want! I think I crossed about 10 times! Don’t miss the crystal hut where you can learn all about snowflakes and crystals, but mostly, just enjoy the view. If you’re hungry there is a cafe and Alpine hut, serving up hearty food! Even after growing up in Alaska, among mountains, this has to be one of the best views I have ever seen! Enjoy the photos, but make sure you get out and see this for your self, as they do not do it justice.
After you’ve had your fill of the gorgeous view, grab a fast pass ticket at the Eibsee Bahn, unless there’s not a line, and wait for your number to be called. This is one of the world’s highest gondolas, so buckle in for an intense ride! If you’re scared of heights, you can always take the train back down the same way you came, but this ride is a blast! Continue your trek the same way you arrived, getting on the Zugspitzebahn at the Eibseeplatz and heading to the Garmisch Hbh and in no time you’ll be on your way to Munich.
Recommended from a reader: If you have extra time, take a few minutes to visit Eibsee, which is just a short easy walk away from Eibsee platz. You’ll find a lake with stunning mountain views.
Getting yourself to Zugspitze and back is a bit complicated. It involves several transportation options that only run at certain times of the day, requiring you to keep an eye on the time, so you don’t miss the last trains back into Munich. While I highly recommend the self-guided route for independent and confident travelers, it isn’t for everyone. So, if you don’t like the idea of keeping an eye on train schedules and figuring out how to get from the train to the cogwheel to the gondola and back consider booking a guided tour package to Zugspitze. Here are two of the best options:
The first option, Full Day Tour to Germany’s Highest Peak: Zugspitze, includes a motorcoach transfer to and from Munich, the cogwheel train, the gondola ticket and ride and even a bobsledding adventure in the Alps. Lunch is not included. This is the best bang for your buck and there are no additional hidden fees, so you can just sit back and relax.
The second option, Zugspitze: Full-Day Excursion to Germany’s Highest Peak, appears to be cheaper but does not include the cost of the gondola, which is an extra 49 Euro, so it is more expensive in the end. It also does not include the bobsled ride.
I hope you enjoyed checking Zugspitze off your bucket list! This view really has no comparison and no trip to Germany is complete until you’ve experienced this day trip from Munich to Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak!
Don’t forget to pin to your favorite outdoor or German Pinterest board, so your friend experience this too!