People don’t normally see Germany as a ski destination, favouring Austria, France, Switzerland or Italy instead. But for a short getaway, Garmisch- Partenkirchen in Bavaria is ideal. We were lucky to visit here for 2/3 days in mid-March. This was my first ski trip to Germany (I normally go to Austria or Italy) and I was impressed. It’s about an hour & 30 minutes from Munich airport and you can get a train from the airport to the resort. (The train was so cheap – approx €14 one way!)
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a bit of a mouthful but it’s actually two towns merged together (like Brighton & Hove) due to a marketing campaign for the 1936 Winter Olympics, which were held here. We stayed in the Garmisch end of town, which I think was the prettier, more touristy part. If you are into ski jumping, the Olympic Ski Jump here is one of the most renowned facilities of its kind.
GP is a fairly big town so it doesn’t have that cosy ski village feel. But the Garmisch end is really pretty and has wonderful traditional German style buildings with beautiful murals/frescoes painted on many of them – and there are lots of bars, cafés and shops to keep the tourists amused. The town sits at the foot at the Zugspitze Mountain – the highest in Germany. It’s a truly beautiful setting and makes the soul soar just being there.
We stayed in the 4-star Best Western Hotel Obermuehle in Garmisch and it was fantastic. It is over 400 years old and full of history. Many of the rooms look out to the spectacular Zugspitze Mountain (we had a great view from our room). The staff couldn’t be nicer or more helpful and there is a great shuttle bus service to the slopes and train station. They will take you anywhere you want to go – within reason!
There is enough terrain here to keep a good skier amused for a few days. On the first day, we decided to go to the Zugspitze Glacier as we were spring skiing and the snow conditions were best here. However, be warned! It took us an hour & a half to get there on a funny little train and nearly 2 hours to get back! During the journey, you pass by the stunning Eibsee Lake and you get a great view of it. There’s also a station at the lake so you can spend more time here if you wish. Zugspitze is a classic bowl like glacier (when you finally get there) no trees, with a fair few blues and easy red runs – so ideal for beginners and timid intermediates.
The Zugspitze Glacier had to be done, but I preferred the much closer Hausberg area. It only took a few minutes to get there on the hotel shuttle bus and it was absolute heaven. The sun was shining and we had a glorious blue sky day. Although it was March and the temperatures were creeping up, the snow was still good (a little sugary and slushy in places). These are the kind of days that I live for and it was pure joy from start to finish. The skiing will keep a good intermediate amused for the day – nothing too difficult but enough terrain to keep you interested – and in a spectacular setting. I loved it.
Although we were only here for a 2/3 days, our time felt much longer – in a good way. It is one of the most beautiful places I have visited and I would love to go back and spend more time in Bavaria (in winter and summer). I’m on a mission to visit the fairy tale Bavarian castles in the area – the most famous, Neuschwanstein Castle is near to Garmisch. But sadly we didn’t get time to go there. I will save that for next time!!