Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the perfect place for anyone who wants to rise above it all, but in a relaxed sort of way. Start the day by taking in the stunning views from the top of Germany's highest mountain, Zugspitze. The earlier you arrive, the more amazing the experience. After your mountaintop morning, go back down to the valley and stroll around the picturesque old town with the legendary ski jump as its backdrop.
Breakfast on Zugspitze mountain
Rise and shine: it's going to be a very special day. The starting point for the Zugspitze mountain railway is close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen station, and if you're using the Bayern-Ticketregional offer, you even get a 10% discount (for up to 5 travellers). If you live in Munich, another option is the Garmischer Sommer-Ticket, which includes the mountain railway for free.
Your Zugspitze adventure begins when you board one of the rack railway's nostalgic-looking carriages. They offer breathtaking views of the rugged mountain scenery around you as you ascend at a leisurely pace. The rack railway ends at a small plateau just below the mountain's highest peak, and the "glacier line" cable car takes you from the terminus to your ultimate destination in 10 minutes. When you arrive, take a snap of the cross on the summit before heading to Münchner Haus, a listed building managed by Germany's Alpine club. A hearty breakfast awaits you here on the roof of Germany.
Making coffee into a gourmet experience
Following your generous breakfast up in the clouds, you still have the whole day ahead of you, so head back down to the valley to explore more attractions. If you're in need of a pick-me-up en route, call into Wildkaffee Rösterei, located just a few metres from the rack railway station. With its hip ambiance, this coffee roastery makes connoisseurs of all its guests, which is the mission in life of owner Leonhard "Hardi" Wild. The Garmisch-born coffee expert and former professional ice hockey player runs the roastery in Bahnhofstrasse with his wife Stefanie. They work hard to ensure that their different coffee roasts and blends are the last word in deliciousness.
The origins of Momo and the Neverending Story
Leaving the boho vibe of the roastery, amble through the town's small-and-beautiful shopping district along Chamonixstrasse as far as the park, an inviting green space in the heart of Garmisch. Not many people know it, but Michael Ende, the man who gave us Momo, Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver, was born and grew up in the town. His best-selling work was The Neverending Story, which has been translated into over 40 languages. Garmisch honoured the writer by opening the Michael Ende Park a few years ago. It is populated by statues of some of the fantastic beings that appear in his books. Surrounded by old trees and colourful flowerbeds, the lovely water lily pond is an inviting spot for lingering and daydreaming.
Tasty tapas or Bavarian bites?
The next stage in your itinerary is certain to make you fall in love with Garmisch forever: a walk along the town's famous street, Frühlingsstrasse. But how about a small snack before you start? Alte Druckerei in Druckergasse is only five minutes' walk from the park, and its menu of innovative tapas caters to absolutely every culinary taste. Just a few metres further on, Restaurant Alpenhof is perfect for anyone who'd prefer to try out Bavarian specialities. Our tip: a portion of Kaiserschmarrn, a kind of pancake fritter from southern Germany.
After your meal, you not only get to stretch your legs as you spend 10 minutes walking to Frühlingsstrasse the other side of the Loisach river, but you also travel back in time. This street is the heart of romantic old Garmisch. The facades of the traditional farmhouses are covered with paintings that are alive with colour and detail. Requiring a lot of skill and work, these murals are known as Lüftlmalerei, and some people call it "Bavarian graffiti". The beautiful paintings are mostly of religious scenes, and they add to the enchanting setting as you explore this part of town.
See a church, then visit an inn
The old-world atmosphere is even stronger in Pfarrhausweg. The street is the site of the region's oldest church, with stained glass windows and striking frescos, including an impressive, 7m-high image of Saint Christopher. You're bound to be hungry after all the day's fresh air and sightseeing, so simply call in next door for a cold beer in the rustic surroundings of the traditional Bräustüberlinn. Enjoy the magnificent view of the Wetterstein mountains before setting out on a 20-minute walk back towards the station, over the Loisach and through the heart of the tranquil market town.
Our tip: Please make sure to check your train connection and the expected capacity before you start your journey.