Are you searching for the top things to do in and around Garmisch-Partenkirchen? Then you’ve come to the right place! We visited Garmisch several times already and want to share everything we know with you. In case you do not know Garmisch-Partenkirchen: It’s a beautiful area in the Southwest of Germany and located in Bavaria, Germany’s largest federal state. If you are looking for a place to enjoy a weekend and return home with fresh alpine air in your lungs, then Garmisch-Partenkirchen is for you! Besides, it’s also popular for winter sports and alike. Now, let’s step into the top things to do in & around Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear about thing to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen? For us it’s the crystal clear blue Eibsee, the Bavarian Caribbean of Walchensee and endless mountain views.
If you love the mountains, alpine lakes, water ports, hiking or just enjoy the beautiful nature of Bavaria, then Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a place you should visit at least once! We had the opportunity to stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen during our 14-day road trip and had so much fun exploring the area! Read on to find out about the best times to visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen, top things to do in & around Garmisch-Partenkirchen, highlights for every location, photography tips, travel tips, and everything in between.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen Travel Guide | Top things to do in & around Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Let’s jump right into this Garmisch-Partenkirchen travel guide and the best things to do in and around Garmisch.
Best times to visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Typically, the best time to visit this area is from the end of April until mid September as well as from December until February to enjoy the winter and snow in Bavaria.
We visited in the middle of June, when the days are long with the sun rising around 5 am and only setting at 10 pm. Average temperatures of 20°C to 25°C make it the perfect weather to go for a hike in the morning and relax by the pool in the afternoon. We prefer hiking when it’s a bit colder because it’s easier to do a longer hike then.
We then had the pleasure to visit this awesome area again in September and were absolutely blown away by nature’s colors! We’d definitely recommend to visit Bavaria during each season just to see how different they are.
How to get to Garmisch-Partenkirchen
We traveled by car both times and we would highly recommend it if it is possible for you. However, not everyone lives a short (let’s say 8 hour) drive away from Garmisch-Partenkirchen which makes it a little more difficult.
For everyone else, traveling by public transport is possible as well! If you first need to travel to Germany by plane, the nearest airport would be Munich airport. However, if you need to travel by plane, we’d suggest to stay a bit longer in Bavaria and explore more. How about a weekend in Berchtesgadener Land for example?
How much time is needed to explore Garmisch-Partenkirchen and around
If you want to do everything of the below list, you will approximately at least need 5-6 days! We haven‘ done everything of this ist in just one trip but it’s definitely doable.
- Water sports at Eibsee
- Take the rack railway up to the Zugspitze
- Enjoy the evening sun at Walchensee, Bavaria’s Caribbean
- Get overwhelmed by the Plansee’s Fjord views
- Watch the sunset at Geroldsee
- Hike to rather unknown lakes
- See the Partnachklamm, a 700m long gorge
- Explore and get lost!
To be honest, the last part is my absolute favorite, because you always get to see the most amazing things when exploring and getting lost! For example, we’ve never would’ve gotten to some of the most amazing lakes without just going for a hike. Sometimes, the most beautiful experiences aren’t to be found on Instagram.
The Eibsee near Garmisch-Partenkirchen is by far one of the most beautiful and bluest lakes in all of Germany. Likewise, it’s one of the most visited lakes in Germany as well. If you love crystal clear, blue lakes and awesome mountain views, then you will absolutely fall for the Bavarian Eibsee.
GOOD TO KNOW
It is very important to know that the parking lot only opens at 5am! If you arrive prior to 5am because you want to take some pictures without being bothered by others, then you should find yourself another parking space and just walk to the Eibsee then. Good thing is that parking between 5am and 9am is rather cheap! Please keep in mind that camping or overnight parking is not allowed and will result in a fine.
And you should definitely know that the Eibsee is located at the German Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain. Hence, you can visit both in a day.
BEST THINGS TO DO AT EIBSEE
- Hike around the lake and enjoy the alpine air
- Do water sports like stand up paddling or kayaking
- Enjoy a breakfast at the lake – but please take your trash with you
- Rent a boat at Eibsee
HOW MUCH TIME IS NEEDED TO EXPLORE THE EIBSEE
You will approximately need at least 3-4 hours to explore the beautiful Eibsee and enjoy some of the previous mentioned activities. If you want to, you can also visit the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain.
The Zugspitze is the highest peak of the Wetterstein Mountain. With 2,962 m above sea level, it is as well the highest mountain in all of Germany. Josef Naus was the first to climb the Zugspitze in 1820. Luckily, there are three cable cars that run to the top of the Zugspitze today. The first of it actually was built in 1926!
GOOD TO KNOW
A trip up the mountain and back down into the valley costs € 37.50 for adults and is admittedly not that cheap. If you want, you can bring your dog and enjoy the view of Germany from the top.
BEST THINGS TO DO AT THE ZUGSPITZE
- Skiing or snowboarding in winter
- Hiking up to the top (takes around 3 days)
- Enjoy the view from the top of the Zugspitze
HOW MUCH TIME IS NEEDED TO EXPLORE THE ZUGSPITZE
Considering that a ride up is not particularly cheap, we would definitely suggest enjoying the time up and spend as much time as possible up there. You can even stop in a restaurant at the top of the mountain. Isn’t that crazy?
Not as popular as the Eibsee is the picture-perfect Geroldsee. This lake is framed by snow capped mountains, dark green firs and wild flower fields all in one! These things really ensure that every picture is a pure dream.
Actually, the Geroldsee, also known as Wagenbrüchsee, is located on the German Alpine Road but you won’t be able to guess this gem from the street!
GOOD TO KNOW
Most of the typical photography spots at Geroldsee are on private property. Therefore, we’d highly recommend to ask before going up and always be respectful.
BEST THINGS TO DO AT GEROLDSEE
- Watch the evening sun and watch the mountain glow during sunset
- Enjoy a cold swim in the lake
HOW MUCH TIME IS NEEDED TO EXPLORE GEROLDSEE
You will approximately need 2 hours, depending on what you want to do. If you want to enjoy the sunset and take some pictures, two hours are more than enough!
Also known as the Caribbean of Bavaria, the Walchensee is one of the largest lake in the federal state and popular among photographers and tourists alike. You can enjoy a swim in the lake as well as water sports, hiking or cycling.
GOOD TO KNOW
Walchensee is called the Caribbean of Bavaria because of its crystal clear blue water and shallow waves. At some places you’ll even have a white sand beach. How cool is this?
BEST THINGS TO DO AT WALCHENSEE
- Enjoy the crystal clear blue water and go for a swim
- Tan at one of the white sand beaches
- Do water sports
HOW MUCH TIME IS NEEDED TO EXPLORE WALCHENSEE
Depending on what you want to do, we would highly suggest to spend your whole day at Walchensee in Bavaria.
Actually, this lake is located in Austria but it’s simply too beautiful to not include in these top things to do in and around Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Luckily, it’s only a 40 minute drive from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and so worth it!
GOOD TO KNOW
Plansee is a rather tranquil, calm place that is not too crowded. Hence, you can easily stop by during the day and enjoy the beauty of this lake.
BEST THINGS TO DO AT PLANSEE
- Go for a hike and enjoy the fjord-like views from above
- Enjoy a cold dip in the lake
HOW MUCH TIME IS NEEDED TO EXPLORE PLANSEE
If you want to go hiking, plan at least 6 hours! Otherwise, you can enjoy the Plansee for as long as you like.
The Bavarian Partnachklamm is a 702 metres long gorge that’s, in places, over 80 metres deep. In 1912 it was a designated a natural monument.
HOW MUCH TIME IS NEEDED TO EXPLORE THE PARTNACHKLAMM
You will approximately need 2-3 hours if you want to explore Partnachklamm in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Last but definitely not least: The Neuschwanstein Castle that’s only a 40 minute drive from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. We spontaneously decided to watch the sunset at one of the viewpoints and were lucky enough to have the whole place to ourselves and watch the sun go down with the most beautiful views we could have imagined.
GOOD TO KNOW
If you want to watch the sunset at Neuschwanstein Castle, you have to be there early! We were there two hours before sunset and were lucky enough to have it to ourselves because there’s not too much space.
BEST THINGS TO DO AT NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE
- Attend one of their tours and explore the inside of the castle
- Watch the sunset from the outside
HOW MUCH TIME IS NEEDED TO EXPLORE THE NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE
If you want to go inside and attend one of their tours, you will need one hour. In case you want to watch the sunset afterwards, plan another three hours.
In sum, there’s definitely a lot to explore in and around Garmisch-Partenkirchen and we really hope that these top things to do will help you with your travel plans! However, don’t forget that the best thing to do always is to explore on your own and find those hidden gems that you won’t find anywhere on the internet.
We hope you liked this post about the best things to do in and around Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Here are some more posts you might enjoy:
- Top things to do in & around Berchtesgaden
- Best things to do in Bavaria in summer
- Königssee travel guide and travel tips
- Eibsee photo spots
- Schloss Neuschwanstein travel guide