After our damp and cloudy trip to Wank Mountain, Sunday dawned bright and clear for our trip to the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain. There are multiple cable cars to the summit, but the Seilbahn Zugspitze is the newest and departed from right next to the Eibsee, walking distance from our hotel. As we headed over, we got our first glimpse of our goal…

The Summit

Yep. Right up there.

The cable car is a marvel of engineering, and it currently holds two world records: the longest freespan in a cable car at 3,213m (10,541 ft – more than two miles!) as well as the tallest support tower at 127m. (I highly recommend you check out this video of how they built it. Even in German, it’ll blow your mind.) We masked up, joined the queue, and boarded the car. And then…


We could very quickly see all of the Eibsee, including our hotel there on the edge closest to the Seilbahn. We kept climbing…

Past the tower

We reached the single (world-record-breakingly high) tower and knew that we were then on the two mile free span straight up to the top. In case you’re wondering how we both were feeling at this point…


The ride was very smooth and very fast, and the whole thing takes less than seven minutes. This portion got very steep…

Even higher

and soon we could see the entire valley spread out below us, with snow-covered rocky peaks to either side.

Nearing the Summit

I’m not going to lie – by the time we pulled into the station at the top, I was really, really eager to stand on solid ground. The summit complex itself is perched like some James Bond villain’s lair right on the peak, parts of it hanging out into space. It’s all steel and glass, with the lower floors having access to transport, bathrooms, museum exhibits, a restaurant, and a gift shop. We were really looking forward to the view though, so we followed the crowd and climbed the stairs up to the rooftop terrace…


It was amazing. We had feared it would be super cold and windy, but with the sunshine it was actually really nice. We could see practically all the way back to Munich!


See the lake far off in the middle there on the horizon? Munich is just a bit farther north from there. We wandered all over the rooftop complex. Thankfully it wasn’t too crowded either…



DANGER! Don’t climb out on the roof. Noted. 😳

The chain of mountains that the Zugspitze is in forms the northernmost part of the Alps, and the border with Austria actually runs right near the summit. There used to actually be a border crossing up there, but now that both countries are in the Schengen zone, you can just walk straight into Tirol in Austria. (The other big cable car runs down on the Austrian side.)


“I’m pretty sure Austria is designated a Covid hotspot,” the Snook whispered. “We better not go in there or we might have to quarantine!” We instead turned back to the Bavarian side…


The actual summit is marked with a golden cross, and we cable car plebs can’t actually get up to it. Only real mountain climbers are allowed to go up there. We can pose for photos though!



In the middle of the terrace there’s actually a bar with tables set up so you can have a drink. I couldn’t resist having a hot chocolate on the top of Germany’s highest mountain!

Hot chocolate

Meanwhile, this cheeky boy threw a snowball at me!

Naughty boy

Eventually we decided to move on to our next destination, the Zugspitzplatt (plateau). It’s basically the other side of the mountain from where we came up in the Seilbahn. We took the much smaller Gletscherbahn (glacier cable car) down to the Platt, where you can find a beer garden, ski and sledding slopes, and the train through the mountain back to the Eibsee.


If you look straight up the mountain behind the Snook, you can see the summit complex there at the top. We decided to go for a wander in the snow. There were lots of folks hiking, sledding, and even building snow forts.

Queen of the mountain



I nearly fell over laughing while watching the Snook try to walk back down a snow-covered hill without falling on his ass. “Ich komme aus Australien!” he yelled. “Wir haben kein Schnee!”

Aussie in the snow

After our hike, it was time for lunch. We found a table in the sun and split a beer with our meal. It was a good day.


To get back to the Eibsee, we caught the Zugspitzbahn, one of four remaining working rack railways in Germany. These are the ones with a special rail up the middle that looks like a zipper so that the train can climb or descend steep grades. (You can see it in the middle of the tracks in the photo below.) This train actually goes down into the mountain in a long tunnel and eventually emerges back on the north side. It’s a lot longer trip than taking the cable car, around 45 minutes to get back to the Eibsee.

Waiting for the Zugspitzbahn

Back at ground level, we picked up our bags from the hotel and then began the long trek home. We caught the Eibsee bus back to the Garmisch-Partenkirchen railway station, and then got a train back to Munich.

What a lovely little weekend trip! And given that we’re about to go into a “light lockdown,” I imagine we won’t get to do any more leisure travelling for quite a while…