What to Do in Garmisch: On and Off the Beaten Path

There’s Something for Everyone to Do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

While many are familiar with Garmisch-Partenkirchen as a ski town, this barely scratches the surface of what the city has to offer. Those who know Garmisch well see it as a historically unique and culturally rich place—and as someone who’s called it home for more than 20 years, it’s a source of constant inspiration. 

If you’re traveling to Bavaria, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the perfect place to experience a little bit of everything this incredible region of Germany has to offer. From day trips to stunning castles to hiking excursions, historic streets, and yes, plenty of ski slopes, here are our top recommendations at ATG Tours for what to do in Garmisch—both on and off the beaten path.

Local Activities: What to Do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Garmisch itself is chock-full of cultural and historical activities. Here are some of the top highlights you can enjoy without traveling too far from Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Ludwigstraße (Ludwig Street)

The historical main street of Partenkirchen, the Ludwigstraße is steeped in tradition and old world charm. There are numerous local shops, restaurants, inns, and more along this street, including Chocolaterie Amelie, voted the best chocolatier in the German-speaking world. Roam in and out of shops or simply stroll and take in the many Lüftlmalerei, or “air paintings,” adorning facades throughout the area. 

Stray a bit farther: Away from the typical stretch of Ludwigstraße you can find your way to a secret trail. If you walk to the right of Health Haus and up the stone staircase, you’ll find a trail that leads along the top of Ludwigstrasse toward St. Florian’s place. This trail is part of the old Roman road!

If you’re especially interested in the Lüftlmalerei, we recommend stopping by Adam Bookstore or visiting Justin Vasquez’s website—his coloring books of the area offer a great insight into the paintings and history of this region.

Take a Scenic Cable Car or Gondola Ride

As a famed ski town, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is full of cable cars departing in all directions, each offering spectacular views of the region’s mountainous scenery. The tallest mountain in the area, the Zugspitze, is typically the top choice for visitors, and there’s no denying its incredible views. You can reach the Zugspitze from the Zugspitzebahn station in Garmisch or drive around 20 minutes to Alpspitzbahn Station near Lake Eibsee.

Stray a bit farther: Zugspitze is a top choice for many, but we enjoy taking the cable car to the peak of Mount Eckbauer or Mount Wank, which offer shorter lines and still great views. The Eckbauer is the perfect starting point for a hike to Wamberg village, while Mount Wank is a great cable car to check out the Mittenwalder Pass or Red Wagon Trade Route.

Explore Local Cuisine

Garmisch-Partenkirchen has options for both local and non-German cuisine. For breakfast or brunch, Hoffman’s Bistro & Wafflehaus will get your day started right. Gasthaus Schranne is a casual Bavarian and Alpine option boasting the oldest Augustiner taps in the city, while Brauhaus Garmisch offers an excellent beer selection. For more upscale, you could try one of Garmisch’s Michelin recognized restaurants, Restaurant Husar and Joseph Naus Stub’n. 

Stray a bit farther: …or stay out a bit later! For late night fun, the dive bar Pub 33 never disappoints, and we adore The Irish Pub at Rathausplatz. If you’re looking for a dance party, then on weekends Peaches Cocktailbar is the place to be.

Garmisch Classic (and More)

No resource on what to do in Garmisch would be complete without mentioning some of the best ski slopes in Germany. Since the Winter Olympics of 1936, the Garmisch-Classic has been world-renowned for its vast selection of ski slopes and other winter activities, and during ski season it’s a prime destination for any enthusiast. Garmisch-Classic is a relatively short drive from downtown and is also readily accessible by bus or train.

Stray a bit farther: Garmisch-Classic is exhilarating, but it can get busy during peak seasons. For a less crowded experience, we recommend driving 20 minutes down the road to Lermoos. This valley has five different mountains that are within 10 minutes of each other and boast a great variety of terrain—from Biberwier for beginners to Berwang for the more experienced skiers.

All Things Garmisch guide Jake Doherty at a ski site with a tour guest

Nature and Hiking

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is ideally located for natural scenery and outdoor activities. While skiing will always top the list, here are our favorite spots for hiking, waterfalls, and more.

Partnach Gorge

Partnachklamm is a favored destination for many travelers in Bavaria, and for good reason. It is truly gorgeous, unique, and very tourist friendly. At 80 meters deep (around 260 feet), it is a natural marvel.

Stray a bit farther: As a top attraction, Partnach Gorge can also be extremely busy. We typically recommend the quieter Höllentalklamm, or Höllental Gorge. While it is a bit more challenging, with some real hiking required, it offers amazing views—just double-check opening times as it will sometimes close due to poor weather. If you are with your family, then drive to Leutasch where you will find the Leutascher Geisterklamm which is tons of family fun.

Lake Eibsee

Located at the foot of the Zugspitze, Lake Eibsee boasts waters of emerald green set against a beautiful canvas of mountain scenery. It’s an excellent spot for those enthusiastic about hiking, swimming, photography, and more.

Stray a bit farther: Unfortunately, Lake Eibsee can be quite crowded as well. For a unique lake experience, consider renting e-bikes from local shops and riding to Plansee in Austria. This relaxing 25-minute ride leads you to a hidden gem of a lake with two great restaurants and plenty of beaches where swimming is encouraged.

Alpspitz Ferrata

A ferrata is a climbing route that lies somewhere between a steep hike/scramble and true rock climbing, with fixed safety features such as steel cables and bridges. Alpspitz Ferrata is among the best in the Garmisch area, featuring exciting climbs, tunnels, and hidden caves that create a great climb with a rewarding view once you reach the peak. 

Day Trips from Garmisch

While Garmisch-Partenkirchen has plenty to do right within town, it’s also a great base for exploring some incredible Bavarian attractions nearby. Here are our top day trip recommendations.


In terms of can’t-miss attractions, Neuschwanstein tops the list. An unfinished masterpiece, Neuschwanstein was built to inspire and features a very unique history. This castle is easily accessed from Garmisch by rental car or by booking our tour, which features additional stops.

Stray a bit farther: If you’re making the drive to Neuschwanstein, we recommend using Google Maps to route through Austria using the Fern Pass, then returning through Oberammergau and Saulgrub for even more sightseeing. While you’re at Neuschwanstein, consider delving into the history with an audio guided tour and ticket from Big Ear Tours.

Tour Neuschwanstein Castle with All Things Garmisch


Beyond the cable car ride, Zugspitze is worth a full day of sights and skiing. However, it tends to be both pricey and crowded. Catch the first cable car or train ride at 8:15 or 8:30 a.m., then try to leave by lunchtime to avoid big crowds coming down from the mountain later in the day.

Stray a bit farther: Avoid the headaches and get a full experience with our tour of Zugspitze mountain! It includes all transportation as well as a tour of the glacier, the mountain’s history, and the Olympic Ski Stadium.

Innsbruck, Austria

Known as the “Jewel of the Alps,” Innsbruck certainly lives up to that reputation. This city offers a plethora of sights, a unique blend of architecture, and picturesque views of the Alps right from downtown—be sure to visit the Hofkirche (Court Church) as well, featuring ornate Gothic architecture. The train ride from Garmisch to Innsbruck is also a favorite of ours with breathtaking views at every turn.

Stray a bit farther: Our tour to Innsbruck also makes a stop at the Swarovski Crystal factory and museum. If you take the train to Innsbruck yourself, we recommend stopping in Mittenwald on the way to wander for an hour before catching the next train. 


A day trip for art lovers, Murnau is the birthplace of Expressionism. You can visit the Schloßmuseum or stop by the Gabriele Münter-Haus, former home of painter Wassily Kandinsky. 

Rainy Day Options

While Germany isn’t especially rainy, the Garmisch area does experience fairly frequent rains, particularly in the summer months (June is the wettest). This can range from drizzles to showers—so depending on your tolerance for gray skies, here are some rainy day things to do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Partnach Gorge

We’ve mentioned Partnachklamm already, but a rainy day can actually be the ideal time to visit the gorge. The number of visitors declines significantly on rainy days, and the fixed hiking paths are simple to navigate even in poorer conditions. Dress appropriately and enjoy the many waterfalls that appear in the area during a storm.

Linderhof Palace

Linderhof Palace makes an ideal rainy day castle, with beautiful gardens and only a short walk to get inside. Pack an umbrella and check out Ludwig II’s favorite hideaway.

AdventureRooms Garmisch-Partenkirchen

There’s so many amazing things to do in Garmisch that our escape room is often overlooked. When the skies open up, though, it’s the perfect place to hide from the weather and see if you can find a way out!

Plan Your Trip with All Things Garmisch

With so many things to do throughout Garmisch and the surrounding area, it can be tough to decide on what to do and what can be missed. At All Things Garmisch, our goal is to give guests genuine experiences to sites both on and off the beaten path. Book a tour today or reach out to our team if you have any questions about visiting Garmisch-Partenkirchen.


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