Garmisch-Partenkirchen was founded by uniting the two towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen by a decree of Adolf Hitler to bring the 1936 Winter Olympics to Germany. The International Olympic Committee was going to pass over Germany as the host, because there were not enough hotel rooms in the host town, so Hitler forced the unification of Garmisch and Partenkirchen to create a larger town, which would be more appealing to the IOC. Garmish-Partenkirchen is one of Germany's premier tourist ski towns and offers tremendous hiking, skiing and biking opportunities. It lies a few kilometers from the Austrian border.
Garmisch is less than an hour by car from Munich, and the ride is a beautiful stretch of Autobahn, unfortunately not the whole way. Expect to drive up to three hours on weekends and public holidays.
Also, trains leave to and from Munich every hour, and the (beautiful) ride lasts roughly 80-90 minutes on the local and 60 minutes on the express.
It is also a great end to a Romantic Road day trip beginning in Rothenburg, driving down the Romantic Road stopping at the various recommended heritage towns and ending in Garmisch for an overnight stay; or better still, a few days as it is a great base to drive out and back to Fussen [King Ludwig's castles] and Innsbruck along some of the most spectacular mountain drives you will ever see.
Public buses in Garmisch-Partenkirchen area very efficient. Lines #1 and #2 run every 20 minutes (30 minutes on weekends) and head from the Klinikum(hospital) via Bahnhof(trainstation) to Kreuzeck(ski area) or Breitenau(US-facilities). Lines #3, #4 and #5 run in opposite circles from the neighbouring villages of Farchant and Burgrain via Bahnhof and Marienplatz back to their origins. Fares are 1,50€ per trip or you can buy a weekly or monthly pass. Those who stay in hotels in town receive passes for free bus usage during their stay. The blue line (Eibseebus) connects Garmisch every hour with Grainau and the Eibsee. This bus is helpful for hikers starting or ending trips along the valley trails and lifts.
Beside the train station is the terminus of the cogwheel train (Zugspitzbahn). The cogwheel train takes you up to the Zugspitze mountain. The ride takes 1hr 20min.
Main stops for all lines are Rathaus(townhall), Bahnhof(trainstation) and Marienplatz(center of town) There is also a busstop of the RVO(orange buses) at the trainstation. Those buses connect Garmisch with Oberammergau/Füssen, Mittenwald and Krün/Kochel
Taxi ranks can be found outside the Trainstation(ph:08821-1616) and at the Marienplatz(ph:08821-2408) right in front of McDonalds
The river Partnach flows through this gorge. Though it is very touristy and often crowded it is well worth a visit. After 700m the path chiselled in the rock end and you can continue your walk to one of the surrounding huts. If you arrive by car follow the signs to the Skistation or Olympic Stadium. (fee for parking depending on how long you stay). The entrance fee to the Klamm is 3 € per person, however the gorge should be opened all times, before or after opening hours it is free (at your own risk). Torch is useful. It takes about 30 minutes walking to get from the parking to the gorge entry, and some 15 minutes to get through (each way). Go early to avoid crowds.
Much more dramatic, narrow, and wetter than the Partnachklamm, located near the town of Hammersbach. Only open during daylight, in snow-free months, and when the weather allows it. The entrance fee is 4 € per person. It is around 3 km walk to the entrance. Accessible via the Hammersbach Zugspitzbahn Trainstation. Ample parking is available as well. It can also be reached with the Eibsee buses (blue buses). Go early to avoid crowds. Take warm and rainproof clothing, and good shoes, even on hot days, as the gorge has cold water running off its sides. At the end of the gorge, you can continue walking for another 20 minutes to an impressive valley from which you can see (and climb up to, if prepared) the Zugspitze. A hotel and restaurant will open at this location in 2016.
Just walking around the town is a real treat. Take the time to walk down any street and you will be amazed at the paintings on the outside of the homes. The Bavarians have a long history of decorating the exteriors of their houses and businesses with both religious and historic paintings. The structure of the homes are also amazing. Go at the right time of the year and you can enjoy the beautiful flowers trellising down off the picturesque balconies. Partenkirchen is much smaller and more quaint.
Hiking and mountain views
During the winter the slopes surrounding the town are amazing for skiers and sightseers alike. During the summer months hours can be spent hiking the many trails and enjoying the panoramic views. There is a cogwheel train trip up to the top of the Zugspitze mountain which is an event in itself and a cable car descent with amazing views.
It is a romantic train ride between Garmisch and Kempten (via Reutte in Austria) through picturesque Alpine valleys and cute towns. The Neuschwanstein Castle, at Füssen, is also along this stretch. Bayern Ticket covers this route. Lindau, at Lake Constance (Bodensee), is around 1:15 hours from Kempten by regional trains.
Stadion Olympiaschanze Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Interesting location and a good place to start a mountain hike with an accompanying welcoming Gasthaus. A place to view monolithic national-socialist inspired architecture in the stadium at the base of the jump.
The highest mountain of Germany, with breathtaking views over the surrounding area. There are many ski-ing and rodel opportunities on the glacier. You can stay on top of the mountain in a small hostel; the Munchner Haus but book well in advance. To visit the Zugspitze in the summer, you can buy a round trip ticket (€52 for adults, €38 for 16-18 year olds, €30,50 for under 16, for more prices and info of combinationtickets see here) which enables you to ride the Zugspitzbahn from Garmisch Station to the Sonnalpin (glacier). From the glacier, you can take the cable car to the Zugspitze. It takes about 1.5 hours to take the train. A faster way to go up the mountain is to take the Zugspitzbahn to Eibsee, and then take the cable car up to the Zugspitze. Purchasing a round trip ticket gives you access to any round trip route of your choosing up the mountain on the German side. If all you want to do is go up the Zugspitze, and if you have access to a car, it can be cheaper to go up the Austrian side on the Ehrwald Zugspitzbahn (€40,50 per adult, see here for more information and prices). Both the German and Austrian cable car lead to the same area. 2015 summer prices shown
Garmisch-Partenkirchen boasts some of the best skiing in Germany. Located at the base of the country's tallest mountain, year round glacial snow is guaranteed. The "Happy Ski Pass" can be purchased for use of four ski areas in that area in both Austria and Germany: Seefeld(Seefeld is currently(2012) off the list - but this seems to change from season to season so best to check), Mittenwald, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the region "Tiroler Zugspitz Arena". The pass starts at 88 € and offers 3 to 21 days of skiing, 4 of 6 days and 5 of 10.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen has big variety of lodging. If you want to camp, stay at the Youth hostel, a bed and breakfast or a 4 star hotel, you can find it all. The tourist information Am Kurpark is open 7 days a week and can help you find a room.
Ferienwohnungen are holiday apartments available for rent which include furniture and generall full kitchens. Perfect for 2+ people who are staying several days or even longer. You can often find single floors of a house unit, or entire houses for rent.