This day in Bavaria was all about nature and although we’d started off the trip looking to see amazing palaces and castles (of which there are some pretty spectacular hidden gems here), taking a moment to appreciate Germany’s stunning countryside was just such an amazing way to spend a day!
After leaving Walchensee, we headed off to go find the tallest mountain in all of Germany – the Zugspitze!
Funnily enough, I didn’t really know what we were looking for when we headed out this way (I’d never been before) but once we arrived in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (literally minutes from our hotel – which I didn’t realise at the time because I’d set the Sat Nav to find the base of the Zugspitze), we came across this view in the distance, which we just had to stop to take in!
Little did I know that we would be heading up there in just a few moments.
At the base of the Zugspitze, there’s a cable car to take you up into the mountains and, as far as cable cars are concerned, it’s a pricey one (it was around €56 at the time we visited) so-
a.) be sure to leave enough time to explore the area when you do (you’re allowed to use your pass several times on the same day)
b.) be sure to check if it’s a cloudy day or not. On a cloudy day – you won’t see too much from the top.
We arrived with very little time to spare at the top (like we could spend at most 20 minutes or so before the last cable car coming back down) and with lots of cloud cover at the top so pretty much in violation of everything I just said above! 😆
We didn’t have much choice and I just had to head up to the top of the tallest mountain in the country, even with the knowledge that there might end up being almost no view, thanks to the cloud cover.
The view as you head up to Zugspitze are pretty amazing though (even with all the clouds) and makes it totally worth your while, if you do decide to go shell out the price for the cable car.
At the top, as anticipated, you couldn’t see much except for the ‘inside’ bit of the mountains which is pretty stunning too, to be fair.
A few minutes later, we started getting ushered back towards to board the last cable car heading down and so we left Zugspitze in search for one of the most beautiful parts of not just Bavaria, but in Germany as a whole – Lake Eibsee.
You can see Lake Eibsee in the distance as you descend the mountain – all of which makes it looks fairly small and compact, till you arrive and realise how huge it really is.
The lake is just a few minutes walk through the woods from the spot in which you take the cable car and so off we went in search of Lake Eibsee.
Lake Eibsee has lots of little nooks and crannies where families and friends all come out to make the most of the German summer sunshine and take in that amazing view of the Zugspitze.
By the way, I’ve always been a believer that the best view of a place is not always the one from the top of the tallest/most iconic spot in said place but is instead one with the tallest/most iconic in the actual view.
The best view of New York isn’t the one from the top of the Empire State Building (although it is a pretty decent view from up there), the best view is the one with the Empire State Building in it!
The same does with London, the best view isn’t from the top of Tower Bridge, it’s the view with Tower Bridge in it! Same goes for Paris with the Eiffel tower… you get my drift!
With Lake Eibsee – the best view here turned out to be one with the stunning Zugspitze in the background, watching over Lake almost like a kindly yet imperious guard.
We pretty much spent the rest of the evening kicking back here and just taking in this view, with the occasional wander-off into the woods surrounding the lake.
Eventually, as the sun slowly started to make its way to the horizon, we decided to bid Lake Eibsee and Zugspitze farewell and make our way over to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (which is just bare minutes away, as I noted earlier) where our hotel and dinner awaited us!
Our hotel, Quartier, is easily one of the most brilliant hotels we’ve ever started in, in Germany and just so you know why I’m saying this, let me show you around.
The hotel is like if Scandinavian minimalism and Alpine ski lodges had a baby.
There are two rooms here (one with a single bed), and the other (main) one with a stunning view of the Germany Alps and the beautiful ski village of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
What’s surprising is how spacious it is and how, despite how minimal it is, how homely it feels.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen in winter is a ski village and I just couldn’t help but think this would be the perfect place to base yourself when you head off skiing in the surrounding Alps.
Once we settled in, we headed into Garmisch-Partenkirchen to find ourselves some dinner…
Thanks to Lake Eibsee and Zugspitze, we ended up going for dinner hours than originally planned and found many a restaurant were closed for the evening (including this cheekily named café below – which I’m sure translates to something totally different in German 😄).
Dinner ended up becoming more of a ‘grab what you can’ situation at a local pub which actually turned out pretty good!
And with that, thoroughly invigorated by some absolutely beautiful Bavarian sights and absolutely refreshed by the crisp, clean mountain air (we live in London so the opportunity to be out in the countryside like this is not one we take lightly 😁), we headed back to the hotel to hit the sack – eager and ready to do it all over again the very next day!
Just in case you hadn’t guessed by now – Bavaria was very quickly becoming one of my absolute favourite places to visit in Germany and with stunning palaces, castles and scenes like this, it’s probably pretty easy to see why. 😀