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Mid- Day Munich Day Trip to Zugspitze Planning - Is it Possible?

Our party of 10 will be traveling from Munich, Germany on July 25 and plan to leave the Munich Main Train Station at 12 noon and want to know if that will be enough time to see Zugspitze. Here's the proposed timeline:

1) Travel from Munich to Garmisch via train 1 1/2 hrs (12 noon to 1:30pm)
2) Travel from Garmisch to Eibsee via train 30 Minutes (2:00pm to 2:30pm to allow for 30 minute delay - I do not have the schedule for these trains)
3) Travel from Eibsee to Zugspitze cable car 10 Minutes
4) Visit Summit from 2:30pm to 5:30pm
5) Take Cable Car back down to Eibsee 10 Minutes
6) Take Eibsee train back to Garmisch train Station at 6pm ( Do not have the schedule for these trains)
7) Garmisch to Munich 1 1/2 hrs (6pm to 8:30pm)

I used the https://zugspitze.de/en/news/oeffnungszeiten site and noticed Cable car Zugspitze Hours of operation: July - August: 08:00 - 17:45. Runs at least every 30 min. Last ascent 30 min. prior to end of service.

Here are my questions:

Does this mean I have to leave the top of Zugspitze at 5:45pm?
Do you think It is realistic to see the Zugspitze summit for 3 hours and allow for enough time to leave Zugspitze at 5:45pm arriving at 2:30pm?
How long do I have to normally wait at the base of Eibsee to reach the top of Zugspitze? I am concerned that if we take the cogwheel train up to Zugspitze then that would eat 45 minutes of our time.
I've read it is slippery up at Zugspitze with snow, is that true in July? Also, should we wear pants since it's cold? I've seen videos of kids riding little yellow snow sleds. Are those sleds on the ski side or can I get to them on the Zugspitze side?

Posted by
1772 posts

You can look up connections from Munich to the Zugspitzbahn cable car at www.bahn.com +); search for "Eibsee Zugspitzbahn". You would leave Munich either at 11:32 or 12:32, arr. Eibsee at 13:45 or 14:45, resp. In high season there is a gondola every 15 min, so you'd arrive at the summit not later than 14:15 or 15:15. The last gondola down is in fact at 17:45, it meets the last train back to Garmisch dep. Eibsee at 18:15 (july and august only). So it's doable if rushed. Don't go there in bad weather; seeing clouds from the inside is not exciting and the price would be much too high.

+) Timetables for the train from Garmisch to Eibsee (= cog train) and the cable car:
https://zugspitze.de/en/summer/news/oeffnungszeiten

Posted by
18312 posts

When I went up the Zugspitze (late summer 1988), we left Munich mid-morning and arrived in Garmisch-Partenkirchen before lunch. We had lunch at the Bahnhof before I started up the mountain, so I image it was early afternoon. I took the train to Eibsee and then the cable car to the summit. I remember a small wait, but it didn't seem terribly long. I don't remember how long I spent at the summit, but I did don't think it was three hours. There wasn't much to see because that late in the day the mountain was "socked in". I did watch the people climbing up to the cross at the German summit, and I crossed the border to the station on the Austrian side.

You'll often hear people say to go up the Zugspitze early in the day because later it gets socked in and there is no visibility. That was my experience.

Also, the cable car runs at least twice an hour which is more often than the train (once an hour), so the wait for the cable car going up isn't so bad, but the wait for the train coming back could be lengthy. In my case, the train came by the cable car station just after I got down, but I sprinted and caught it. Otherwise I would have had to wait another hour.

Being from Colorado, I wasn't that impressed with the Zugspitze. It's not as high as the parking lot where I used to ski. And yes, because of the altitude difference, it will be a lot cooler at the top of the mountain than in town. Also, at almost 10,000 ft, you'll find the air a lot thinner than in town. If you have any breathing difficulties, you might want to reconsider.

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you for the train schedule. This is very helpful. I am going to target the 11:32 versus the 13:32 train from Munich

Posted by
10 posts

The gorge does look beautiful. I wish we had more time! Glad to hear it did not take you 3 hours. this is promising

Posted by
10 posts

I still don't really understand what "socked in" means. I am glad that the wait from Eibsee to Zugspitze Summit wont be terribly long.

Posted by
27752 posts

imagine your head in white gym socks. Socked in. Covered in cloud.

Posted by
10 posts

Oh No! All clouds with no view. That can't be good since that would be such a waste of time and money. Since, I will be arriving late in the day (2 to 3pm), should I check the Zugspitze webcam to see if there is too much cloud cover and make the decision to go or not go? Maybe if the view is too cloudy, I can plan on seeing the gorge or looking around downtown before heading out.

Posted by
18312 posts

Why are you planning to leave Munich so late? Seems like if you really wanted to see the Zugspitze you could commit to an earlier departure.

Even using a Bayern-Ticket, which doesn't allow use before 9 AM, you could leave on the 9:32 RB from the Hbf and be in GaP by 11:00. Since July 25 is a Thursday, you cannot USE the Bayern-Ticket before 9, but if you also buy Partner Gesamtnetz Tageskarten (day tickets for the entire MVV network for up to 5 people) for 24,30€ (less than 5€/person) you can leave on the 8:32 train and use the MVV ticket to Tutzing at 8:59. Then, when the train leaves Tutzing at 9:01, the Bayern-Ticket will be valid. The 8:32 train gets to GaP at 9:54. The Bayern-Ticket will be valid for you entire way back, inluding any local transport in Munich.

Posted by
10 posts

I arrive in Munich at 8:00am which will why I want to have enough time to get from the airport to the hotel (next by the Main Train station) to drop off our luggage and then head to Zugspitze. I figure 3 hours after the plane arrives we could get to the train station to head to Zugspitze.

Posted by
5194 posts

I like your idea of some flexibility about the Zugspitze. Option A: Go up and enjoy it if weather is good Option B: hike through the gorge and/or ride the summer luge by the stadium. (Quite near where you hike to the gorge)

I think I spent 1 hour, at the most, at the the top of the Zugspitze. It was a lovely view. We took the cogwheel train/gondola up from Garmisch and then the Gondola/Train back by Eibsee.

Posted by
852 posts

See the Zugspitz and Eibsee webcams. Also the Wankhaus is at the top of the Wank mountain (and lift) looking southwest over Garmisch Partenkirchen towards the Zugspitz. You can narrow the webcams by selecting "Bayerische Alpen" in the region tab. Keep in mind most of these are real-time webcams at GMT +2 hours. Checking these webcams from Munich can help you make your decision whether the trip is worth your time. Sometimes the summit at 2.962m is clear blue sky, while the valley is all clouds. https://www.foto-webcam.eu/
https://www.foto-webcam.eu/webcam/zugspitze/

Posted by
288 posts

There is something else to consider. You say you are arriving in Munich that day. Where will you be coming from? I know my first day in Europe, I am good until about 2 pm then I need to find a hotel - stat- and crash until dinner. I know everyone is different, but I want to throw that out there.

We were just there last week. We were lucky and had a gorgeous day. There was still snow up there, but it is very well maintained and I didn't find it slippery at all. I had jeans and a fleece on and was comfortable. I did see people up there in shorts, so I guess it depends on your tolerance for cold.

We were able to get right on a gondola right away on a Sunday. We didn't have to wait to go up or come back down. The Gondolas hold about 120 people.

Posted by
10 posts

Wow I like the webcam viewing option prior to leaving so that our group can determine if it’s worth the trip.

Posted by
10 posts

So we do arrive from Texas at 8am in Munich. I was concerned about jet lag but thought since we could basically sleep on the train going and coming for about a couple of hours in the day that the naps could help me get rested. I would like to she zugspite this day (Thursday) and the next day (Friday) we plan to go to castle neuschwanstein and to the luge and cable car in fussen before leaving the following day (Saturday) to Paris after a trip to Dachau in the morning before the flight.

I know I could switch the Thursday with the Saturday travel plans and add seeing the BMW museum on Thursday after a nap to recover from jet lag, however with zugspite being a good distance from Munich, I didn’t want to risk missing our flight to Paris.

What do you guys think, should I switch my travel plans from Saturday to Thursday to factor in jet lag and push out my flight to Paris to around 5pm on Saturday? I also heard you could do Zugspitze and neuschwanstein in one day with your own car, but traveling with a group of 10 in a foreign country maybe challenging. I also read that you can read vehicles for 7 passenger cars but over 7 passengers you need a bus license. I don’t know if that’s true. I appreciate the discussion.

Posted by
852 posts

Seems like an aggressive itinerary now that I think I understand it better (Thursday-Saturday PM)? Maybe better to provide your whole itinerary to the forum for a better review. Seems chock-full without much wiggle room and plan B might not fit at all. Any experience driving in Europe? 10 folks in a van could be pushing it and expensive.

Posted by
27752 posts

10 would have to be 2 cars or vans. The most for a person without a special bus license is 8 plus driver = 9.

Children and babies require proper boosters or car seats.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks guys. Here is the high level itinerary:

Day 1 - Arrive in Munich at 8am, head to the hotel to drop off luggage & head to Zugspitze via train. Come back to Munich, eat, and go to bed for the evening.

Day 2 - Go to Castle Neuschwanstein and Fussen luge & cable car. Take the train back to Munich & have dinner. Optional: BMW visit after dinner.

Day 3: Go to Dachau and catch a flight to Paris.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks for the vehicle information. I don't think we can split the group up when we travel. I would be willing to do the vehicle if I could keep us all together.