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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More information can be found on their website: 
Isi's Goldener Engel, Bankgasse 5. In Garmisch itself there is a wonderful restaurant with good bavarian food (very nice price-quality relationship - a dinner for 3 persons including beer will cost nearly €50) and friendly staff
Bei Marcus, Zugspitzstraße 2, ☎ +49 (08821) 79 8000. Just up the road a short ways towards Ehrwald is the small town of Grainau where you can find the Zugspitze cafe. This is a wonderful family owned restaurant with the best bavarian food around.
RestaurantDOLOMITI, (On post at Artillery Kaserne, campgrounds), ☎ 08821 - 7502609. M-F 11AM-2PM, 5PM-11PM, Sa 5PM-11PM. A family restaurant recommended for US military and civilians; the best burgers in town, pizza and pasta, etc., large beergarden, cozy loft upstairs, awesome music, service with a smile. Large groups need to make reservations. You also need to be able to get onto the base now. Since 2008, the customs rules have changed and civillians without a sponsor cannot get on post.(US Dollars or Euros accepted).
Irish Pub, rathaus platz 8., ☎ +49-8821-3938. W-Sa 8PM. friendly bilingual waiting staff serves cold Guinness and cold Bavarian lagers to a mixed crowd of locals, ex-pats and tourists. Live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Beer garden out front in the summer and winter months and 3 big-screen TV's with live coverage of any major sports event.
Schwarze Gams, Rathausplatz 9 (near Marienplatz), ☎ +49-8821-4651. Located in the center of town is this underground venue. Augustiner Bier on tab or from the bottle.
Peaches Cocktailbar and Music Cafe, Marienplatz 17, ☎ +49-8821-95-77-0, . Bar: 7PM-3AM, Pizzeria: Su-Th 6PM-12AM, F-Sa 6PM-1AM, Music Cafe: Th-Sa 10PM. Three venues in one, a lively bar (Peaches), Italian restaurant (Pizzeria), and dance club (Music Cafe) inhabit a building at the head of the Marienplatz in the heart of Garmisch. On Mondays the restaurant offers every pizza half-off, Tuesdays are "American Pay Day" where $1 U.S. equals 1 Euro, and on Thursdays the Music Cafe dance club serves up two-for-one cocktails all night long. They also have a casino downstairs.
The Local Cure Bar, Zugspitzstraße 70, ☎ +49-08821-512-82. The English-speaking waiting staff make this a favorite amongst local ex-pats and American and British tourists.
Creation Fromage, Alpspitzstrasse 4, ☎ 015209553744. 09:30-18:30. A small Fromagerie (cheese shop) offering the best in regional/Alpine Cheeses, Stilton,Cheddar, Brie de Meaux, amongst ca. 80 varieties. The friendly staff is competent & helpful. French wines, foodstuffs, and small bakery items are also offered. The Croissants, Baguette, and Pain Au Chocolat are the best in town. English speakers always welcome!Medium.
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.
Fereinwohnung (Holiday Apartments), Varies, . Fereinwohnung's 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. The link I've provided is only one of many rental groups in the area. 30 - 150.
Jugendherberge Burgrain (DJH), Jochstr. 10, ☎ +49 0 88 21/9 67 05-0 (email@example.com, fax: 0 88 21/9 67 05-27), . Very college dorm-like youth hostel located at the outskirts of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Affiliated with Die Jugendherberge (DJH) and Hosteling International (HI), so it's cheaper with an HI card. Breakfast provided.€20-€30 person..
Haus Hohe Tannen, Zoeppritzstr. 13, ☎ +49 08821/54647. A B&B in a quiet neighbourhood only a 5 minute walk from the center.€28-€41 person..
Haus Maria, Zoeppritzstr. 20, ☎ +49 08821/9434430. Another B&B just across the road in the same neighbourhood.€31-€38 per person..
Haus Nicole, Loisachstr. 33, ☎ +49 08821/58219. B&B right next to the Loisach River.€23-€38 per person..
Haus Hohenzollern, Alpspitzstr. 6, ☎ +49 08821/9669080. A small hotel a block away from Marienplatz (center of town).€32-€35 per person..
Boarlehof, Brauhausstr. 9, ☎ +49 08821/95910. Rooms for 2,4 and 6 people in various apartments.€34-€77 per apartment per night..
Hotel Brunnthaler, Klammstr. 31, ☎ +49 08821/58066. A hotel garni between the pedestrian area and the public pool.€40-€59 per person..
Hotel Garmischer Hof, Chamonixstr. 10, ☎ +49 08821/911-0. Centrally located between the train station and the pedestrian area.€45-€70 per person..
Hotel & Gasthof Schatten, Sonnenbergstr. 10-12, ☎ +49 08821/943089-0. Two years old with Bavarian restaurant on the ground floor.€42-€65 per person..
Post-Hotel Partenkirchen, Ludwigstr. 49, ☎ +49 08821/9363 0 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49 08821/9363 2222), . A historic, beautifully decorated hotel in the Partenkirchen district of the city.€51-€81 per single room, €71-€153 per double room..
Wittelsbacherhof Swiss Quality Hotel, Von Brugstrasse 24, D-82467, (email@example.com, fax: +49 (0)8821 573 12). Four star hotel situated 300m away from the railway station, 200m from the city center and 140km from the airport Munich. Single room from €70, double room from €110 (low season of April 2009).
Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, St. Martin Strasse 120, ☎ +49 08821-9440, . A large resort at the base of the Zugspitze exclusively for members of the United States military and associated government officials.
Füssen — the amazing Neuschwanstein Castle which seems to come right from a fairy tale
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