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Zugspitze

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ABOVE: A cogwheel train of the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn stops at the Eibsee station on its way back to Garmisch.

Getting up and down the Zugspitze

From Germany:

Eibsee-Seilbahn. The Eibsee aerial cablecar departs from a station near the Eibsee (a lake at the foot of the Zugpitze) and rises 1950 meters or 6,397 feet to the mountain's summit ridge. The trip lasts 10 minutes.

Zahnradbahn. The meter-gauge rack railway begins in Garmisch, next to the railroad station, and travels along the valley to Grainau and on to Eibsee before ascending the Zugspitze under cogwheel power. At the Zugspitzplatt or Zugspitze Glacier Plateau, 2600 meters up the 2964m mountain, you switch to the Gletscherbahn aerial cablecar for a quick ascent to the summit ridge. Total travel time is 75 minutes from Garmisch, 60 minutes from Grainau, or 35 minutes from Eibsee.

Tips:

  • Ascend the Zugspitze in the morning and have lunch in one of the mountain restaurants.

  • The last train or cable car down the mountain is in late afternoon. Arrive early enough to avoid feeling rushed!

  • A roundtrip ticket costs the same no matter how you travel, so take the Zahnradbahn and Gletscherbahn in one direction and the Eibsee-Seilbahn in the other.

  • If you're driving, you can park at Eibsee and skip the Garmisch-Grainau-Eibsee section of the train ride. Normally, I'd recommend taking the Eibsee-Seilbahn cable car up the mountain and coming down by the Zahnradbahn; this way, you'll be sure of finding seats with your companions on the cogwheel train. However, if you have a heart condition or are sensitive to altitude, it's best to ascend the mountain more slowly by cogwheel train.

  • If you're without a car, you can buy a roundtrip ticket from Garmisch. Take the Zahnradbahn to Eibsee and switch to the Eibsee-Seilbahn cable car. For the return trip, descend via the Gletscherbahn cable car to the cogwheel railroad's mountain station at Zugspitzplatt, where you'll board the train for Garmisch.

  • During the winter season, you can buy ski passes for the Zugspitze train, cable cars, and 35 other lifts in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen/Grainau region.

For more information on Zugspitze transportation (including wheelchair access), check the summer and winter timetables at Zugspitze.de, which is operated by the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn. (Use the "Language" item in the top navigation menu to select from 15 languages.)

From Austria:

The Tiroler Zugspitzbahn, an aerial cablecar, climbs to the summit ridge from Ehrwald, Tyrol in 10 minutes. (In winter, tickets are one-way; in the summer, you can ride in both directions by cablecar.) If the English flag icon doesn't work, translate with Google.

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