Zugspitze – Visiting the Top of Germany
Zugspitze – Visiting the Top of Germany

Zugspitze – Visiting the Top of Germany

Visiting Zugspitze – Day trip from Munich

Zugspitze is the highest mountain point in Germany. You’ll be literally at the top of Germany (2,962 m / 9,718 ft above the sea level) and get enchanted by the breath-taking panorama view of the mountainous landscape with 400 alpine peaks of Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. In addition, you can explore the crystal clear Eibsee lake at the foot of the mountains.

Did you know there was an Ed Sheeran concert on the top of Zugspitze in late 2014? Even the Dalai Lama has been to the Zugspitze.

It is a popular attraction regardless of the weather for skiing, hiking, tobogganing and site-seeing. You can include Zugspitze to your itinerary when you are visiting southern Germany or northern Austria.

Here is all you need to know to plan your day trip from Munich to visit Zugspitze.

View of alpine mountain range, Eibsee lake from the Zugspitze cable car
View of alpine mountain range and Eibsee lake from the Zugspitze cable car

How to get to Zugspitze?

Zugspitze is located outside the resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It belongs to both the Bavaria in Germany and Tirol in Austria.

Before the unification of Europe, the passport control was done at the Zugspitze summit Germany and Austrian border.

You can reach Zugspitze conveniently by car or by an environment friendly way of using public transportation.

Address: Zugspitze, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Reach by Car

By car, you can take the Autobahn A95/Garmisch-P from Munich, continue on B2 and exit B23 toward Garmisch. You will arrive approximately in about 1.5 hours.

There are three parking lots which you can select based on the mode of transport to the top of Zugspitze. 

Parkplatz Eibsee: The cable car (Seilbahn Zugspitze) is close to the parking lot at Lake Eibsee. If you want to take the cable car up, this is the best parking lot to arrive. Find here the cost of parking. Opening hours of the parking place is 05:00 – 22:00.
Address: Am Eibsee 6, 82491 Grainau

Parking lot lake Eibsee nearby Zugspitze Cable Car
Parking lot lake Eibsee nearby Zugspitze Cable Car

Parking Zugspitze station Garmisch-Partenkirchen: The cogwheel train of the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn starts its journey from the Zugspitze station (Zugspitze bahnhof). You can park near the Zugspitze station at a cost of € 5 per day and take the cogwheel train.
Address: Olympiastr. 27, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Parking Kreuzeck-/Alpspitzbahn: You can park at the free public parking at the Alpspitzbahn and Kreuzeckbahn and board the cogwheel train of the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn at Kreuzeck-/Alpspitzbahn station.
Address: Am Kreuzeckbahnhof 1, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Reach by Train

Board the train from Munich central station (München Hbf) to the DB station at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Here change to cogwheel train of Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Line RB64. The cogwheel train takes you via historic rack railroad to arrive at Zugspitz Plateau, from where a Glacier cable car (Gletscherbahn) take passengers to the top of summit. Find the right connections at the Deustche Bahn website.

To buy tickets at low cost, check the  summer  or winter combi-ticket at DB Travel Center (Reisezentrum) in the Hauptbahnhof. It includes the rail travel from Munich Hauptbahnhof and either the Zugspitze Ticket or the Garmisch-Classic Ticket (only Alpspitzbahn).

Reach by Bus

It is possible to arrive at Zugspitze via Bus. You can take the Flixbus from Munich or Eibsee Bus from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and arrive to Zugspitzbahn station.

Keep an eye on the last return of the bus, when planning the trip.

Getting to the top of Zugspitze

As you can see on the image, the pink solid line and pink dotted line shows the options to arrive at the top of Zugspitze Garmisch summit at 2,944 metres above sea level.

Getting to Zugspitze summit by Cable Car, Cogwheel train and Glacier Cable Car. Picture Credit: zugspitze.de

Cable Car (Seilbahn Zugspitze)

Taking the cable car either riding up or down is the quickest way to reach the peak taking about 10 minutes of journey. It runs from the parking lot near the Lake Eibsee at least every 30 min.

The state of the art new cable car was opened in 2017. The Zugspitze gondola broke three world records – highest steelwork pylon for aerial tramways at 127 metres, greatest overall height difference of 1,945 metres over one section and longest unsupported span measuring 3,213 metres.

Two cable-mounted cabins can transport up to 580 passengers per hour to avoid huge queues. You can enjoy the panorama views of the Eibsee lake, alps and villages from the cable car.

State of the art Zugspitze Cable Car
State of the art Zugspitze Cable Car

Cogwheel train and Gletscherbahn

An alternative way up the mountain is the combination of the cogwheel train from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and then, the Glacier cable car (Gletscherbahn).

You can start the journey with cogwheel train from the Garmisch-Partenkirchner station or at several stations on the valley route, such as Hausbergbahn, Alpspitz and Kreuzeckbahn, Hammersbach and Grainau.

The cogwheel train takes the historic mountain route from Eibsee and through the 4.5 km long Zugspitze tunnel. Finally, you will arrive at the Zugspitze Plateau at 2,600 meters. Then, take the Gletscherbahn cable car for just 4 minutes of journey time straight to the Zugspitze summit at 2,962 metres.

Cogwheel train on the historic route to Zugspitze
Cogwheel train on the historic rail route to Zugspitze. Picture Credit: zugspitze.de

Zugspitze Opening Hours

The cable car and the cogwheel train are in operation all year round, except the scheduled maintenance time period.

Cable car Zugspitze (Seilbahn Zugspitze) from the Eibsee to the Zugspitze summit operates during September to June at 08:30 – 16:45 and July to August at 08:00 – 17:45. The last ascent is 30 minutes prior to the end of service time.

Glacier cable car (Gletscherbahn) from the Zugspitze glacier to the Zugspitze summit operates during September to June at 08:45 – 16:25 and July to August at 08:15 – 17:25.

Seilbahn Zugspitze
Boarding place of the Seilbahn Zugspitze

Zugspitze Ticket Price

The round-trip Zugspitze Ticket includes one mountain ascent and descent, either on the cogwheel train, a ride on the Gletscherbahn cable car and the Cable car Zugspitze. You can use the Gletscherbahn cable car as often you like on the day of your visit. It costs about € 61 per adult.

Ascent or descent only trip for the alpinists includes one mountain ascent OR descent either with the cogwheel train or the Cable car Zugspitze plus one ride with the Gletscherbahn cable car. It costs about € 36 per adult.

Check out the cost of family ticket and combi-ticket including Zugspitze Ticket as well as a Garmisch-Classic Ticket at the Zugspitze website.

Things to See and Do in Zugspitze

At the top of the Germany, you can enjoy the 360° alpine mountainous view and don’t forget the mandatory selfie in front of the golden summit cross.

Panoromic viewing platform at the top of Zugspitze
Panoromic viewing platform at the top of Zugspitze
View of the 400 peaks in four countries from the top of Zugspitze

Go ahead and cross the German and Austrian border at the top. You can even take a separate funicular to cross borders and actually descend into Austria.

German and Austrian border at Zugspitze
German and Austrian border at Zugspitze

At the level of the glacier, you can sledge on the natural snow which is possible all around the year. In winter, you can ski in twelve different slopes.

Skiing and sledging at Zugspitze glacier
Skiing and sledging at Zugspitze glacier

You can do an adventurous slight climb to get to the top of the peak which is marked by the golden summit cross.

A golden cross marking the highest poing in Germany
A golden cross marking the highest poing in Germany

At the Sonnalpin glacier restaurant and the Gletschergarten, you can try out the Bavarian food or even grab a coffee if feel cold at the cafeteria.

Sonnalpin glacier restaurant at Zugspitze glacier

Explore the alpine word by hiking to the highest church in Germany, send parcels from Germany’s most remote post-office and visit the meteorological weather station.

View of skiing slopes from the Glacier cable car

Stroll at Eibsee Lake

Finally after descending down from the Zugspitze summit, walk around the stunning turquoise lake Eibsee with the alpine backdrop. This lake is about 973 meters above sea level. The trial around the lake is about 7.2 km and can take you about 2-3 hour of walking.

Stunning lake Eibsee with bavarian alps backdrop
Stunning lake Eibsee with bavarian alps backdrop

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Zugspitze day trip guide from Munich

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