Walking around the Zugspitze: Self-Guided

The Zugspitze is a dramatic mountain peak situated high above the picturesque town of Garmisch Partenkirchen in Southern Bavaria, Germany, on the border with Austria. It is one of the best known summits of the Alps and offers breathtaking 360 degrees panoramic views over countless peaks in Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Germany, an experience you’ll never forget. It is part of the Wetterstein Mountain Range that belongs to Bavaria (Germany) and Tyrol (Austria). The summit can be reached quite easily by cable car and is a popular European tourist destination. We’ve designed a spectacular walk around the Zugspitze Massive, viewing it from different angles and exploring gorgeous hiking territory. On both sides of the Wetterstein Range we’ll utilize charming inns and hotels for tranquil, relaxing nights. There are adventurous and sensational crossings of gorges with thundering waters leaving unforgettable impressions but also quiet, idyllic alpine pastures on this beautifully varied walking tour. Tours are 7 days and 6 nights in length.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Individual arrival in your hotel in Garmisch Partenkirchen
Garmisch Partenkirchen is known as one of the most important health resorts in the Bavarian Alps as well as the “Mecca” for winter sports in Germany. Garmisch was the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics. The two separate 1100 year old towns of Partenkirchen and Garmish were later obliged to unite into one town. Garmish feels slightly more progressive and the fresco-filed, cobblestoned streets of Partenkirchen offer a glimpse into times past.

Day 2: Garmisch – Partnachklamm Gorge – Klais – Mittenwald
The climb starts from Garmisch Partenkirchen at 700m. From there the route follows through the Partnachklamm, an extraordinary narrow gorge created by the runoff from molten snow off the Zugspitze. Afterward we’ll walk across soft hills and alpine pastures to Klais, then take a train to Mittenwald. Mittenwald is famous for the manufacturing of string instruments and is a popular stop for tourists. The most significant landmark in the village is the pink colored Roman Catholic Church of Saints Peter and Paul, which is typical of the region. The church and many of the surrounding buildings, both businesses and private residences, are decorated with elaborate paintings on the exterior walls. You’ll find many elegant shops and cafes in the center of town. You can visit the church, one of the finest in the Bavarian Alps or the famous Violin Museum for a demonstration of a violin maker at work. The German writer, Goethe, called Mittenwald a ‘living picture book’ and it has remained so ever since.

Distance: 10 miles (15.5 km)
Up and downs: 500 meters up and 250 meters down
Walking hours 5 hours

Day 3: Mittenwald – Geisterklamm (Ghost Gorge) – Leutasch Valley
To make the gorge passable the path was hewn with extreme precision into the rock and bold bridges cross up to 40 meters above the water. The impressive route also has an equally spectacular steel walkway, clinging to the side of a dramatic gorge high above the teeming ‘Leutascher Ache’ (don’t worry – you are fully enclosed and quite safe!). The path crisscrosses the ravine below by a series of footbridges as you admire not only the scenery but the feat of engineering which made this experience possible. Then relax on a comfortable stroll into the sunny Leutasch Valley one of the most picturesque valleys in Tyrol. There are no crowds here: rather open flower filled meadows and forest trails, pretty villages and tiny hamlets which run alongside the river with the Wetterstein Mountain Range forming a stunning backdrop.

Distance: 9 miles (14 km)
Up and downs: 200 meters up and 100 meters down
Walking hours 4 hours

Day 4: Rest Day or Lake Walk to Seefeld
Today you are free to relax or take an optional walk to one of the many lakes in and around Seefeld. Return to the hotel by public bus.

Distance: 7 miles (11.5 km)
Up and downs: 200 meters up and 100 meters down
Walking hours 4.5 hours

Day 5: Paradise Gaistal Valley
Summer in the secluded and totally unspoiled Gaistal Valley is blissful with light brown ponies and grey and brown cattle grazing in the meadows. Breath the fresh mountain air and soak up the sun while walking through this mountain paradise surrounded by jagged peaks. You’ll certainly agree this is picture book scenery. Our route along the Ganghofer Trail winds through high pastures in the footsteps of Ludwig Ganghofer, a local writer who spent many months here each year. We’ll cross over the Ehrwalder Alm and will descend by cable car to our hotel in Ehrwald.

Distance: 9 miles (14 km)
Up and downs: 555 meters up and cable car down
Walking hours 5 hours

Day 6: Up the Zugspitze to Lake Eibsee
Bit by bit we walk up to the foot of the Zugspitze and its famous scenic view on Lake Eibsee or Lake Eib, at the foot of the Zugspitze. The tour ends here at this lovely lake with the gorgeous Zugspitz-Garmisch panorama. Return to Garmisch by train or bus.

Distance: 8 miles (13 km)
Up and downs: 520 meters up and 520 meters down
Walking hours 4 hours

Day 7 – Departure after breakfast

Getting There

Fly into Munich or Innsbruck and then take the train to Garmish Partenkirchen. Take a taxi from the train station to the first hotel. For last minute train schedules visit the website of the German Railways, http://www.bahn.de

Meals

4 three-course dinners and 6 breakfasts included. Lunch is on your own.

Prices and Dates

Check out our Tour Calendar

Tour Length

7 days/ 6 nights

Included
      – 6 nights of lodging in charming 3-star hotels with private facilities
      – 4 three-course dinners and 6 breakfasts
      – Luggage transfer
      – Transfer Leutasch Valley
      – One tour book per room
    – All taxes and gratuities for the hotel and restaurant portions of the tour
Level of Difficulty

We rate the difficulty level of the tour as moderate. Varied walking tour (easier day walks are interspersed with more strenuous sections) requiring good basic stamina. You walk on well maintained, sometimes stony hiking paths and partly on forest roads. Any significant changes in altitude are covered by transfers or cable car. Daily walking times are a maximum of 5 comfortable hours. If possible a more challenging option is offered each day, reaching into higher mountain territory. Well fitting, supportive, “broken in” hiking boots are very strongly recommended for this tour, not because it involves dangerous mountain hiking but because they give a better grip on the occasionally loose, rocky surface. Walking sticks are recommended.

Excluded

– Air fare
– Alcoholic and bar beverages
– Lunches (Hotels offer a picnic, prices vary. Food can also be purchased in supermarkets.)
– Two dinners
– Transportation other than scheduled transfers
– Entrance fees and public bus service
– Cable car Ehrwald
– Train/bus Elbsee to Garmisch
– Train Klais to Mittenwald
Tour Extensions:
Extra nights in Garmisch Partenkirchen are possible. Prices are p.p. per night, based on double occupancy and include breakfast: $87 per person, Single supplement $20

Weather

Austria has a land climate. Average High and Low Temperatures in Salzburg: April: 58/39, May: 68/47, June: 72/53, July: 76 / 56, August 76 / 56, September: 68/50, October: 59/42. Average rainfall is about 8 days per month, with less rain in the spring, and more in the summer and early fall.

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