The best things to do in Garmisch Partenkirchen Germany in Summer
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a ski resort in Bavaria, Germany, and it’s also an epic place to visit in the summer! Tucked away near the Alps, it’s great for a day trip from Munich. We loved our time there, so we wanted to share our list of the best things to do in Garmisch for the day in summer!
A Brief History
Although the area is commonly referred to as Garmisch, you’ll see it written as Garmisch-Partenkirchen on a map. This is because it’s actually composed of two towns: Garmisch to the west, and Partenkirchen in the east. During the mid-1930s, the two towns were forced to merge in anticipation of the Winter Olympic Games. The town is located on the border of Germany and Austria, just next to Germany’s tallest peak, the Zugspitze.
Garmisch City center
Without further ado, here is our list of the best things to do in Garmisch for the day in summer:
- Stop and Check Out the River
- Visit the Partnach Gorge
- Take a Hike
- Visit Lake Eibsee
- Stay at the Lake Eibsee Hotel and Use the Spa
- Go the top of the Zugspitze
- Garmisch as a day trip from Munich
Stop and Check Out the River
The drive from Munich to Garmisch is breathtaking. It’s like a scene from The Sound of Music! As you drive, you will see cows grazing alongside picturesque farm cottages and restaurants with flower boxes in the windows. But the most amazing part is seeing the Loisach River and the other small streams formed from the runoff of the Zugspitze mountain--the water is the most stunning shade of light blue. It’s cold, but it’s so worth pulling over and dipping your feet in! The water is unlike anything I have ever seen before. Totally worth the stop!
Visit the Partnach Gorge
The gorge was once used by lumberjacks as a way to move lumber downriver. Now, it’s a light scenic hike! To get to the gorge, you will first need to park at the Olympic Stadium. Be aware that parking can be tough, so try to get there early. You can then walk, take a gondola, or hire a horse carriage to the top and hike your way down along the gorge. This is another great way to take in that beautiful blue water!
Take a Hike
All great ski towns are also great hiking towns in the summer, and Garmisch does not disappoint in this respect! In fact, Garmisch has over 750 hiking trails! When we visited Garmisch, we stayed just below the Zugspitze at the Hotel Eibsee. While we did a moderate-level hike around the lake, there are hikes for hikers of all abilities! Just be sure to take a map. Our hotel concierge warned us that if we hiked down the wrong way, we could end up in Austria!
I suggest doing a little research on which hike is best for you before you go!
Clouds over the alps on the road to Garmisch
Visit Lake Eibsee
Our next suggestion is by far my favorite! Lake Eibsee is one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen, and a mere 20-minute scenic drive from Garmisch. You can hike or bike around the lake and take in different views of the Zugspitze and the surrounding forest. You can also rent kayaks, stand up paddle boards, or little paddle boats to take out on the lake. The lake is formed from snowmelt, so yes, it’s cold. But that did not stop us from taking a swim! Visiting Lake Eibsee was a huge highlight of our time in Germany.
Eibsee Lake near Garmisch
Stay at the Lake Eibsee Hotel and Use the Spa
If you are looking for somewhere to stay near Garmisch, you have to check out the Hotel Eibsee! Yes, it’s right on the lake! The hotel is exactly what you would imagine an Alpine getaway to look like, with flower boxes on the windows, majestic mountain views, and the lake’s deep teal water reflecting in the windows. The hotel offers all the lakeside amenities you could imagine. We rented bikes and rode around the lake.
However, the highlight of the hotel was the spa, which is free to use for hotel guests. We chose to take a steam before we jumped off the dock into the cold lake. It was truly amazing! After, we were able to watch the moon rise over the mountains.
Go the top of the Zugspitze
I have to admit that we did not go to the top of the Zugspitze while we were in Garmisch, so I can't personally say whether it is one of the “best” things to do, but it is a very popular attraction. We chose not to go because we had limited time and wanted to spend most of our time at the lake, but it’s a cool thing to be able to say you have been to the highest point in Germany! From the peak, you can see Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy! Pretty amazing, right? While we were there, both trains and gondolas were running to the top of the peak.
Moon river over Zugspitze
Garmisch as a day trip from Munich
If you are staying in Munich, take a day or two to go see Garmisch! It’s only an hour away from the city, but you will feel like you have gone back in time. Spending time in Garmisch was a highlight of our trip, and I can't wait to go back!
I hope this list of the best things to do in Garmisch for the day in summer was helpful. We would love to hear about your experience or help answer any questions you might have comment below or connect with us on Facebook! Thanks!
Written by Jordie from The Bear and The Blonde.