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Top 4 Things to See and Do in Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Geroldsee, Barmsee, Eibsee and Zugspitze

Updated: May 23, 2022

The perfect combination for a long weekend (whether in summer or winter) for us: nature, water and mountains. Perfectly combined you will find all this in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. We started our trip on Thursday evening and stayed until Sunday noon.

In this article we will tell you what we have experienced and which destinations in Garmisch-Partenkirchen are absolutely worth a visit.

Our top destinations:

1. A Destination We had not Planned for: the "Barmsee" in Krün

Actually we wanted to go directly to Lake Gerold, but as we couldn't find a suitable accommodation there, we expanded our search radius and finally came across the nearby Barmsee in the municipality of Krün.

The Barmsee is a natural lake with a view of the Karwendel mountains and is located 885m above sea level.

Barmsee in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany)

We arrived at the Barmsee Hotel with lovely weather. Our first impression was extremely positive, as we were welcomed in a remarkably friendly manner by the hotel staff. Breakfast was included in our booking, further you can dine in the hotel's own restaurant. At lunchtime we were always out and about.

There is also a playground and a small pony farm at the hotel.


From the hotel you can reach the Barmsee in about 10 minutes on foot along a beautiful hiking trail and can circle it on a relaxing hike in just under 1.5 hours. Around the Barmsee are many small "romantic benches", which invite you to linger. Here it is especially beautiful at sunset.

You can even swim in the Barmsee!

...however, the lake right next to the Barmsee ("Grubsee") is probably better suited for swimming. Also, this is the warmest lake in the region but you have to pay admission there.

Info for campers: in front of the Barmsee Hotel on the left side there is a large parking lot ("Parkplatz am Barmseehang") where you can park your camper.

2. Lake Geroldsee (Wagenbrüchsee): Enjoy the View of the Karwendel Mountains

Our original destination the Geroldsee (Lake Gerold or Wagenbrüchsee) is located only a few kilometers from the Barmsee and offers a breathtaking view of the Karwendelgebierge. Here we desperately wanted to take photos at sunrise and sunset.

Sunset at Geroldsee (Wagenbrüchsee) in Bavaria Germany

To discover the best spots, we were already there the day before to do some "location scouting" - this is also a tip to the new photographers:

Whenever possible, look at your photo spot the day before, this will save valuable time on the day of the shoot and you can expect fewer "bad surprises".

Of course, we were not the only photographers at sunrise. What surprised us, however, was that we arrived with two other photographers at the exact same time with the car at the lake.

When we reached our photo spot, the morning fog has immersed the Geroldsee in an incredibly beautiful atmosphere: at the beginning we could hardly see anything because of the fog. But suddenly the small wooden huts, which are located on the flower meadow, crawled up minute by minute more and more clearly from the fog mass, until we could finally enjoy a great view of the Karwendel Mountains.

Geroldsee, Germany sunrise

On the north shore and on the south shore of the Geroldsee you can even go swimming. There is also a beautiful lawn for sunbathing.

After "work" was done, we took a short walk around the lake and then went back to our hotel to catch up on some sleep.

After breakfast, we spent some time at the Barmsee and then we drove on to the Zugspitze.

3. "Top of Germany": Germany's Highest Mountain the Zugspitze

With 2,962 meters, the Zugspitze is Germany's highest mountain - that should be reason enough to head for this destination.

Unless you are an experienced climber, there are two different ways to get to the summit: the first and fastest way is to take the cable car directly up. This takes less than 10 min. The second option is to go up by rack railroad, which takes about 40 min.

Zugspitze, Top of Germany

We had the "Rundreise Zugspitze" ticket (61€ per person), which allows you to take the cable car up and down to the summit (runs every 10min) as well as alternatively use the rack railroad (1x hourly).

At the top there is a relatively touristy restaurant and some souvenir stores. In addition, a breathtaking view awaits you.

View on Zugspitze in Germany

Since the Zugspitze geographically separates Germany from Austria, there is also a border crossing here. On the German side there is another train that you can use with the "Rundreise Zugspitze-Ticket" (whitch is called "Gletscherbahn").

This takes about 5 min to a vantage point a little further down, from which you get a slightly different view of the Zugspitz station.

Zugspitze, mountain in Germany

Here you can find another restaurant. We found that it is even a bit more comfortable to sit here than directly up at the restaurant of the Zugspitze itself.

From the summit you can watch climbers ascending - this totally impressed us.

Top of Zugspitze in Germany

At regular intervals on the Zugspitze, you can see climbers scaling the last few meters to the summit cross. We found this quite spectacular!

But even if you've taken the train up to the summit, there is the option of climbing the last few meters to the Zugspitze summit cross yourself. A few daredevil sneaker tourists have also taken this option.

Of course, this is totally dangerous and without experience and professional climbing equipment, these people had a hard time coming back to the summit station.

If you're not a climber and don't have the proper equipment, you shouldn't really do this.

The parking spaces at the Eibsee cable car cost 7€.

4. Lake Eibsee: Baden mit Blick auf die Zugspitze

We visited the Eibsee for the very first time during the first Corona phase. At that time, we were the only people at the lake at sunrise - a privilege that will certainly never be granted to us again. Because the Eibsee, directly at the foot of the Zugspitze, is with good reason a real visitor magnet.

Eibsee Panorama with Zugspitze in the back

...of course we wanted to photograph the Eibsee again directly at sunrise during this visit.

Eibsee Hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

In order to sleep as long as possible despite getting up early for our morning photo session, we spent a night at the Eibsee Hotel on this visit.

The Eibsee Hotel is beautiful and located directly on the lake shore. You can eat incredibly delicious food here and have direct access to the lake (including canoe and SUP use).

Further, you can reach the Eibsee cable car to the Zugspitze in just a few minutes on foot.

A walk around the Eibsee is highly recommended. It's best to take a snack and a blanket with you and take a break at a nice spot on the shore or on one of the benches along the way.

This time we were not so lucky with the weather conditions at sunrise but even in bad weather, the Eibsee is an absolute eye-catcher!

Eibsee at dawn

Nonetheless, we certainly hope to have a little more luck with the weather on our next visit, when we'll be on the look-out again early in the morning.


Our conclusion: weekend trips, especially one like this, are great for switching off. At the end of the short vacation, it always feels like a longer break for us, because you experience more in a few days than you would in a normal week.


Do you have made similar experiences? Feel free to write us your experiences in the comments or use the contact form.


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