How We Spent One Week in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Julie Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland 8 Comments

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a wonderful small town located in Bavaria, Germany, was our home base for one solid week.  Oh, how we loved it here!

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a great place from which to explore southern Germany.  It is located in the German Alps, just a few miles from the border with Austria, which we visited quite a bit.  With these mountains comes rain, particularly in the summer.  It rained every day, usually in the afternoon, so we quickly learned to get sightseeing done early in the day.

Best Things to do 

Day Trip to Liechtenstein

The first thing we did was to visit Liechtenstein, one of the world’s smallest countries.  Liechtenstein is very low on the excitement meter when it comes to traveling.  We stopped for coffee and did a little souvenir shopping before continuing our journey west into Switzerland.  Here we visited the small and unheard of town of Buchs, for a tour of the fortress and a stroll through the town’s shopping district.  We knew Liechtenstein wasn’t going to be the most exciting destination on our agenda, but when else in our lives are we going to be able to visit this very tiny country?

Best Thing to do in Garmisch with Kids

Life got much more exciting when we found a toboggan near our apartment.  Garmisch-Partenkirchen was the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics, and we were able to climb the ski jump for great views of Garmisch, and take several runs on the toboggan ride.  Tyler and Kara have been asking to visit an amusement park and this will have to do for now.

Neuschwanstein Castle

The best day of the week came when we visited Neuschwanstein Castle and Zugspitze.  This was our first day with blue skies (until late afternoon) so we tried to get as much out of it as possible.

Neuschwanstein, one of Germany’s most beautiful castles, is located one hour west of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.  This is best visited first thing in the morning as it slowly fills up during the day with day trippers from Munich and surrounding towns.

Read also: How to Visit Neuschwanstein Castle without the Crowds

The castle was smaller than we were expecting, but it was still very impressive.  It was built by King Ludwig in the late 1800’s, so it is relatively modern.  We took the quick, informative tour through the castle (Tyler and Kara hate walking around with tour groups but they did not mind this one).

The inside of the castle is beautiful.  There was an ornately decorated throne room, fanciful woodwork and paintings, and splendid views out of the windows.  King Ludwig did a fabulous job designing this castle.  Unfortunately for him, he only lived in the castle for 172 days , until he was declared mentally unfit to rule and was removed from power.  A few days later he and his psychiatrist were found dead in a lake.  Their cause of death still remains a mystery today.

The castle was immediately turned into a museum and now thousands of people like ourselves get to enjoy Ludwig’s vision and sense of style.  Walt Disney liked Neuschwanstein so much that his design for Cinderella’s castle in Walt Disney World is based on this castle.

Neuschwanstein Entrance

Best Views of Neuschwanstein

From the castle we walked to Mary’s Bridge for postcard views of the castle.  It was a tight fit on a narrow bridge, with people from all over the world trying to take family photos with one of Germany’s most iconic sites in the background.

Neuschwanstein

This view of Neuschwanstein is beautiful, but the view I wanted, the ones pictured on postcards, comes from another viewpoint.  We climbed up the mountains overlooking Neuschwanstein, finding a wonderful picnic spot, and later enjoying awesome views of the scenery here.  This trail took us too high over Neuschwanstein for the the view I wanted, which I later learned was only accessible with hot air balloon.   So much for that idea!

Zugspitze, the Highest Peak in Germany

After getting our fill of Neuschwanstein, we drove 45 minutes into Austria for a cable car trip up Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain.  This mountain sits on the border between Austria and Germany, and can be accessed via cable car from both.  Austria’s cable car costs 13 euros cheaper per person and it is less crowded than Germany’s cable car.

Cable Car Austria to Zugspitze

German Alps

In three minutes the cable car took us from the valley to the peak of Zugspitze.  We stepped out of the cable car into very chilly air.  The four of us wandered between the Austrian and German sides of Zugspitze, enjoying views stretching out over the Alps all the way to Switzerland.  It was amazing.

Achtung

On Zugspitze

Top of Zugspitze

On the German side the peak of Zugspitze can be climbed.  People were climbing up the rocky peak, holding onto metal cables to prevent falling off the side of the mountain into the valley below.  This looked like something we wanted to do!

We took turns, the boys going first, and then the girls.  It took awhile since there was a line of people all making the somewhat dangerous ascent for photos on top of Zugspitze.  We had no problems at all, and Tyler and Kara scrambled up the mountain like it was nothing.  We took our photos and said good-bye to Zugspitze.

Read more: How to Visit Zugspitze

Day Trip to Innsbruck, Austria

During our very busy week we visited the town of Innsbruck, Austria.  This was another short drive from Garmisch.  We toured the old town, ate Japanese food for lunch, rode the funicular up the mountain for views over the city, and visited the Olympic Stadium.  Innsbruck was the site of both the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics.  We will see our third site soon when we travel to Munich.

Read more: 8 Great Things to do in Innsbruck, Austria

Rothenburg, Germany

Our time in Bavaria, Germany ended in Rothenburg, Germany.  Rothenburg is the quintessential German town, a medieval walled town located along the Romantic Road.  For the most part, it was saved from bombing during WWII, as Nazi’s surrendered it to Allied Forces rather than have it destroyed.  Now tourists from all over the world flock to this city every year.  For us, it was a three hour drive north from Garmisch-Partenkirchen.  It was well worth the drive, this quaint, beautiful, old German city which we fell in love with.  For everyone who recommended we see it, thank you!!

Our Apartment in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Our home for the week was an apartment with a kitchen, living room, terrace, large partitioned bedroom, and two bathrooms.  The apartment was split into two levels, giving us more space and more privacy than we’ve had so far.  As Tyler and Kara would say, it was epic.

We loved Bavaria, Germany.  Garmisch-Partenkirchen was a wonderful place to stay, particularly for an entire week.  The scenery is beautiful, the people are very friendly, and there are tons of things to see and do.  I hope to return again someday.

Post updated September 2017.


Keep Reading: 

Want to learn more about traveling in Germany? Check out our Germany Travel Guide.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Comments 8

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      Where we stayed, Apartment Debbie, is no longer available as a rental option. It’s unfortunate, because it was a great place to stay. Cheers, Julie

  1. I want to say a few more things. #1 You do not complain when you write. You are telling us the “real life” version + that is what is so appealing! #2 I love to hear about your children + I think they are getting a great education. They will learn people skills from playing soccer w/ others they do not know. They already have become better public speakers from Tyler’s videos. I read Tyler’s + Kara’s report on Mozart + it was really informative, organized + with a good beginning + ending. Nice job children! #3 When my family of 12 traveled to Germany, we had brautwurst the first night, knockwurst + brautwurst the 2nd night, cousins from Munich brought us a dinner of wiesswurst + then we went to dinner at a restaurant deep in the Black Forest…..+ were served BRAUTWURST!!!! So I really laughed when you indicated German food was not totally for your family! Thank you for writing your blog!!!

  2. Hi Rivenbarks, your pics from Germany especially Rothenburg look storybook! Kara, we love getting your postcards thank you soooo much. As soon as we got your last postcard, I thought that look like Cinderella’s castle. I feel like I am on this journey with you, very exciting!!! See you in South Africa.

  3. I’m a 55yr old Operating Room RN, from Catonsville, who is so glad I happened to see the article about your family travel in The Sun. I love to follow you along in your posts, pictures + videos. Thank you so much for sharing all this, for being honest + not “sugar coating” everything + for including your life learning lessons!

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      Thank you for your comments. Sometimes I struggle with how much of the truth to tell. I don’t want to come across as a complainer but on the other hand I don’t want to falsely portray experiences we have had.

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