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Bavarian Summer: Zugspitze and Mittenwald

Zugspitze cable car
Cable car ride to Zugspitze

After being thwarted by weather, we finally made it up to Zugspitze on our last full day in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It was a pretty clear day to go up, although of course the day we left town it was even clearer. As I mentioned in my other post, we bought a 60 Euro combination ticket that allowed us to visit AlpspiX and Zugspitze once each at any time during the summer.

Almost at the top
Almost at the top

If you’re unfamiliar, Zugspitze has the honor of being the highest point in Germany. From the summit you can see four countries: Germany, Austria, Italy, and I forget, sorry. Since even we are not crazy enough to hike up to 2,962 meters with a child, we took the express funicular. We were packed in like sardines and it was so fast (10 minutes) that our ears popped. M has figured out that drinking prevents this. I was impressed.

It's on a sign so it must be true
It’s on a sign so it must be true

At the top we were treated to some amazing views.

I don't really think pictures do it justice
I don’t really think pictures do it justice

A neat thing about Zugspitze is that you can ascend from either Austria or Germany, so we checked out the views from the Austrian side as well.

Now I'm in Austria!
Now I’m in Austria!

We also ate at the restaurant on the peak and got some nice views from there.

In the cloud
In the cloud

But the most ridiculous view I saw was the view of my wife climbing up to the highest point on her own. It was one of those ascents where there is a warning about possible death.

Not a U2 album cover
Not a U2 album cover
Yikes (red jacket)
Yikes (red jacket)

She says it wasn’t too bad, but I was worried for a bit there. I got out of doing the climb because M was asleep in the carrier – phew! Jess’ climb did of course lead to a great photo op.

On top of all of Germany
On top of all of Germany

Zugspitze was pretty cool, though I almost preferred the peaks where we got to hike as well. We decided not to hike around Zugspitze just because we weren’t sure if our sneakers would be able to handle hiking on a glacier. That and I was feeling lazy.

M has a knack for missing the good stuff

After Zugspitze Jess and I hiked halfway up Mount Wank, which I had wanted to do since our first few days in GaPa. We didn’t have time to hike the whole thing because we didn’t want to leave my parents to put M to bed, so we only made it up to the halfway point (where you can conveniently get on the cable car if you’d like).

Bavarian flag
Bavarian flag

We didn’t take too many pictures because we were too tired, but the hike was one of my favorite experiences in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and a great way to say goodbye to the town. We ended it with a walk through town to Jess’ favorite bakery where she proceeded to buy some (more) cake.

The mountain makes me look even shorter than I am in real life
The mountain makes me look even shorter than I am in real life

Alas, after 8 nights, it was time to say goodbye to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. I’ll have some final thoughts about the town in the end, but if you’ve been following along, I think you know how I feel about it. On our way to Salzburg we stopped at one more little Bavarian town – Mittenwald.

Aforementioned cake
Aforementioned cake

We went, ostensibly, because the town is famous for violin making. We visited a violin making museum which was actually pretty cool and ate some pizza made by Italians. We switched right from our non-existent German to our broken Italian! It was a good time. Of course we couldn’t leave an Italian influenced town without buying some gelato!

I want to play that!
I want to play that!

After some awful traffic, we made it to Salzburg and checked into the Crowne Plaza: The Pitter. I’m not going to do a review or anything, but just a couple quick notes about the hotel.

– As an IHG Platinum member, they upgraded both our rooms to Junior suites, which was nice because we could “hide” M’s pack and play in the hallway (and separate her from our main living space). I’m Platinum just for having the IHG Rewards Card.

Minibar - what doesn't belong?
Minibar – what doesn’t belong?

– I also received a coupon for a free drink, which, coupled with the 5 Euro credit we got for NOT having our room cleaned got us a glass of wine and a diet coke at the bar

– The Crowne Plaza is right by Mirabelle Gardens, so about a 10-15 minute walk from Old Town. Not super central but it also means parking isn’t annoying (18 Euro/night in their garage). Also, conveniently, our Sound of Music tour started at Mirabelle

Would you like some ice?
Would you like some ice?

– They are finishing up some renovations, but we weren’t disturbed at all (and you can tell the difference between renovated/non-renovated sections

– All in all, a nice stay and a good value at 30,000 IHG points/night!

Final Thoughts

I realize I’ve ventured into beating of dead horses territory, but we absolutely loved Garmisch-Partenkirchen. We stayed in the Partenkirchen side, which is less touristy and quieter – and closer to the hiking trails. The town was quaint, the scenery beautiful, the hiking plentiful, and the memories unforgettable. I’m sure every town in Bavaria is just as charming as well. Bottom line: Bavaria is the bomb. I’d recommend putting it on your list, for whatever that’s worth to you.

Hope to be back some day...
Hope to be back some day…

Other Posts in this Series


Final Preparations for the Little One

Lufthansa First Class with a Toddler

Slow Days with a Sick Toddler

Sightseeing in and around Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Observations After a Week in Germany

Climbing to AlpspiX and Neuschwanstein Castle

Zugspitze and Mittenwald

Sound of Music Bike Tour in Salzburg

Lazy Sunday in Salzburg – not

Rainy Days in Berchtesgaden

Visiting Museums and Biking in Vienna

Food in Germany and Austria

Rating the Toddler Friendliness of Our Hotels

Lufthansa First Class Terminal – Good for Toddlers?


Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

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