Eibsee and Zugspitze in Bavaria, German Alps: hikes and tips


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I admit it: When I saw pictures of the Eibsee for the first time, it was clear to me that I absolutely had to go there. But the more I planned and researched, the more doubts I had. Is the place already so overcrowded that you never find the peace and relaxation you hope for? Despite my doubts, I ended up booking a hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In a pinch, we would simply visit the lake in the early hours of the morning, because my experience so far has always been that you can avoid the crowds with good planning.

Where you can find the Eibsee

You can find the Eibsee in the pretty town of Garmisch Partenkirchen in southern Germany, which puts it in Bavaria in the German Alps. The Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain, rises above the lake. Bavaria's capital Munich is about a hundred kilometers away. The Eibsee can be visited on a day trip from Munich. However, the region is so worth seeing that it is ideal for a longer holiday.

Visiting Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the AlpspiX

So we drove south to spend almost a week in Bavaria. In addition to a hike on the Eibsee, we also planned to hike on the Alpspitze and through the Höllentalklamm and pay a visit to Munich. With the Zugspitze we felt the same way as with the Eibsee. Here, too, we were unsure whether it hadn't been eaten by the tourists long ago. A friend advised us to take the first gondola of the day and not to miss this highlight. He should be right.

Since anticipation is known to be the greatest joy, we decided to spend the first day on the Alpspitze. We took the gondola and secured the combination ticket, which is also valid for the Zugspitze. Once at the top, we insisted on climbing onto the AlpspiX, a free-floating viewing platform, and only then did we begin the first hike. The paths were rather easy, but the views are beautiful. We particularly liked the small gorge through which you walk. Later we drank a wheat beer in the mountain hut before taking the gondola back down to the valley.

Actually, we just wanted to take a relaxed stroll through the village in the evening, but somehow the proximity to the Eibsee was too present not to get in the car and head for the lake. Especially since we could hope for a spectacular sunset due to the perfect weather. However, the first disillusionment came when we saw the large parking lots. Coach crowded coach and there was not a trace of idyll far and wide. At least we found a free parking space, so we headed for the circular hiking trail anyway.

Hike at the Eibsee without tourists?

As expected, it was crowded for the first few meters. Still, the view of the lake is too good to be true. We walked over a small bridge, which is a particularly popular photo motif, which is followed by a dense forest. We continued to follow the circular hiking trail and it took less than five minutes until it became much quieter around us. We keep discovering new small bays and finally couldn't resist taking one or the other picture. And eventually there was only magic. I know that sounds cheesy. But how the Zugspitze is reflected in the turquoise-green water is simply indescribably beautiful. In addition, the sun was slowly setting and made the white peaks glow pink-gold. We strolled around the lake for quite a while and only met a handful of photographers and a few hikers. We really didn't expect that after the spectacle in the parking lot. In the late evening we drove back to the hotel, more than satisfied.

Tips for the Eibsee:

  • Arrive early or late, then it's still quiet.
  • Take the hiking trail on the right from the parking lot (counterclockwise), you will quickly reach the most beautiful spots
  • Find the hidden waterfall
  • Bring a picnic, there are great hidden spots all along the shore
  • Go swimming or go canoeing or SUP

With the Zugspitzbahn to the Zugspitze: Is it worth it?

Although the trip to the Eibsee in the afternoon was more than a success, we didn't want to risk anything the next day. So we set an early alarm clock and dragged ourselves out of bed before sunrise. Our plan: With the first gondola to the Zugspitze. Also this time we were surprised when we arrived at the large car park shared by Zugspitze and Eibsee. Only this time because we were almost alone. So we went up in a half-empty gondola and were able to enjoy the ride in a relaxed manner. Stepping onto the platform with the first group is truly breathtaking. The view of the snow-white peaks, the quiet, the cold. It's really hard to get enough of it. By the way, there is also a small gondola lift that takes you to the glacier. In addition to a "ski hut", there are smaller toboggan runs and the highest chapel in Germany. We spent almost an hour on the glacier, drinking coffee and enjoying the view before it got noticeably fuller. And so it was finally time for us to end the trip to the Zugspitze. Our conclusion: early in the morning it's really beautiful, especially if you haven't had too many holidays in the mountains in your life.

Hiking in the Gorge Höllentalklamm

Since the day started early, we decide to hike to the Gorge Höllentalklamm. The hiking car park is only a few kilometers away from the Zugspitze. On the way you always have a great view of the white mountain peaks. It is always steep uphill, but in general the hike can be classified as easy. The entrance to the gorge is already spectacular. You look deep into the valley and hear the rushing of the water. The gorge itself is narrow and has many tunnels running through it. The light blue color of the water is also striking. By the way: The path through the Höllentalklamm can easily be combined with larger circular hikes. We turned at the end of the gorge and walked back the same way.

Another excursion tip near the Eibsee

  • The  Gorge Partnachklamm
  • Munich
  • Neuschwanstein Castle
  • Olympic ski jump in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
  • The Riessersee