Munich to Zugspitze – Day Trip to The Highest Mountain in Germany

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.

Take an exciting day trip from Munich to Zugspitze, Germanys highest mountain, in the German Alps.

Day Trip 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.

Day Trip to Zugspitze Stats

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.

Packing List:

  • Small backpack.
  • Water bottle or camelback.
  • Camera.
  • 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.
  • Germany's highest Peak Zugspitze in the Alps Wandering Chocobo

    Looking for a more active day trip from Munich? Check out Hiking in Tegernse or take a trip to the iconic Disney Castle, Neuschwanstein Castle

    How to Get to Zugspitze from Munich, Taking the Train

    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.

    Skiing at Zugspitze Germany's tallest mountain in the Alps

    Skiing at Zugspitze glacier Germany's tallest peak in the Alps

    What to do at Zugspitze Mountain

    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.

    Zugspitze Germanys tallest peak

    Freistaat Bayern at Austrian German border

    Freistaat Bayern sign at the border of the German and Austria Alps.

    Returning to Munich from Zugspitze

    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.

    Book an Organized Tour to Zugspitze from Munich

    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 keeping 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.

    Pin to your Germany Planning Board!

    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!

    Looking for even more day trips from Munich? Don’t miss Skiing and Snowboarding in the Alps and Andechs Monastery and Brewery

    Don’t forget to pin to your favorite outdoor or German Pinterest board, so your friend experience this too!


22 thoughts on “Munich to Zugspitze – Day Trip to The Highest Mountain in Germany

  1. Rob Taylor

    Yes!! The views are awesome! I feel like this is one of the first articles I’ve read about trips out of Munich that includes skiing, but that completely makes sense and is an awesome reason to travel there!

    Reply
  2. Carola

    I love your photos! I’m German and I’ve never been to the Zugspitze but your photos give me itchy feet…

    Happy continued travels!
    C

    Reply
  3. Cory Varga

    As the pictures with those beautiful mountains. We want to visit Hamburg from Munich. Planning an euro trip this summer (by land) and want to visit around Germany. <3 This is epic

    Reply
  4. Anisa

    These mountains are really breathtaking. I am not that much of a snow person, so I would love to do this trip in the summer and do some hiking!

    Reply
  5. Emily

    This looks beautiful, and that train to the peak sounds awesome. I keep telling myself I need to give skiing another go, but I’m such a disaster with everything sports-related!

    Reply
  6. Karen

    Wow, this looks amazing. I had NO Idea this was so close to Munich, but I will definitely include this when I visit, hopefully this year. 🙂

    Reply
  7. Cory Varga

    Ah those views are ideal. This only reiterates that fact that we need to move to Munich. We know it’s expensive and all, but at the same time, it looks perfect!
    And doing this as a day trip <3 omg, it's perfection. Even more amazing that you can just take the train, so no need to drive

    Reply
  8. Katie Dickinson

    So pretty! I like that you mention that it’s for all skill levels… I’m a decent hiker, but pretty awful at snow sports ! And you’re able to cross between Germany and Austria?! That’s really cool…. I love sneaky borders that aren’t marked- it really shows how arbitrary they are

    Reply
  9. Kelly

    Wow!! The Alps are so beautiful and I had no idea this was so close to Munich or that this was the highet peak in Germany. Also glad that its not just for skiers or snowboarders because I don’t do either very well. Love your descriptions too. Made me feel like I was there!!

    Reply
  10. Lucy

    Gorgeous photos and great detailed useful information! I haven’t been to the German side of the Alps, only the Italian side, but it looks like I should try it out. Love the idea of igloo village!

    Reply
  11. Magda

    I love your photos! I was in Zugspitze once but only in summer, but your pics make me wanna re-visit in the colder months as well 🙂 I still remember these magnificient views, definitely one of my favourite hikes in the Bavarian Alps!

    Reply
  12. rasha

    Thanks for the valuable information. It is highly beneficial .
    I was only wondering about two things:
    1) would it be easier if we took the day trip with a tour from Munich where it is 90 Euro per person?
    2) is the village Germisch far away from Garmisch Hbh?

    Thank you
    Best Regards

    Reply
    1. Wandering ChocoboWandering Chocobo Post author

      Hi Rasha, Garmisch town is very close to the Hbf, the downtown area is just a short walk, about 5 min from the train station. It really depends. If you like to plan and schedule your own adventures, then you can do this on your own. If you worrying about train times, departures and the planning stresses you out, then it might be a better option to sit back and relax and enjoy the trip with the help of a guided tour. I can recommend two, and if you purchase either and use the links I provide I will receive a commission at no additional charge to you.
      This option is more expensive, but includes more like the tram ride I talk about in my post. https://www.getyourguide.com/munich-l26/full-day-tour-to-germany-s-highest-peak-zugspitze-t72667/?partner_id=V08RVKA

      This option is cheaper, does not include the cable car, but you can add the cable car if anyone wants to. https://www.getyourguide.com/munich-l26/zugspitze-full-day-excursion-to-germany-s-highest-peak-t23215/?partner_id=V08RVKA

      Feel free to email me if you have any additional questions. I am happy to help. skelly@wanderingchocobo.com

      Reply
  13. Dani

    Great idea! When we were in Munich we did a brewery tour and a trip to Neuschwanstein! If we go back, we know where to go now!

    Reply

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