Eibsee Lake, pretty in emerald green, and the towering Zugspitze Mountain: Germany
Updated: Apr 21
Eibsee Lake is located in the Bavarian region of Germany, just 8 miles outside of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It sits at the base of Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. Spend a relaxing afternoon exploring the lake and the mountain, or make a whole day of it!
walking trail around Eibsee Lake
There's a 4.7 mile idyllic walking trail around the lake, with picturesque views of both the crystal clear blue/green lake, and the towering mountains that surround it. I hear tell that is best hiked counterclockwise. In my excitement, I forgot this detail and marshaled on in a clockwise fashion. As you can see, it was still pretty 😉
As with everything in Germany, the trail is immaculately maintained.
As you circle around the lake, you will be treated to various vantage point views of the mountains.
The lake sometimes appears blue, sometimes green, but is ever stunning.
Take a dip in summer...swimming is permitted.
If you would like to get out on the lake, you can rent a boat or take a motorized boat tour. They offer rowboat, paddle boat, and stand up paddle boat rental. Check here for information on renting boats or buying tickets for the boat ride on Eibsee.
If your a dreamer, like me, and can't resist allowing your mind to travel when you can't, check the Eibsee webcam.
There are several options for dining around the lake. We found an outdoor table at the Eibsee Alm. The weather in September was perfect for dining al fresco! for our entire trip actually!
This was our first experience with Flammkuchen, a cracker thin pizza-like crust with toppings (German pizza?) We sampled the traditional version with sour cream, bacon and red onion, and one with tomato, mozzarella, and arugula....delicious!
and check out the view of the mountain from our table!
(That's my Spezi on the table. I'm kind of addicted to it. It is one of things I miss the most about Germany. Its the perfect combination of cola mixed with orange. Mezzo is the same thing...try one!)
There's a 4 star hotel on the lake. It can be seen there across the lake. At the time of publication, I was unable to access their site. I pray that COVID hasn't forced them to close their doors. Hopefully it is just a technical issue. Check the Eibsee Hotel website for complete visitor information.
At 9717.848 feet in elevation, Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany. At the top, weather permitting, you'll be treated to a 360 degree panorama, with a view of 400 mountain peaks. If conditions are favorable, you'll be able to see 4 countries from up there: Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. Here is information about the glacier (glaciers?) on Zugspitze mountain, and a list of dining options on Zugspitze Mountain.
Getting to the top of the mountain
There are a few options for getting up to the top and back down again, which can be a tiny bit complicated. I broke it down into simple terms for you.
There's a cable car that will take you clear to the summit, or you can opt for a cogwheel train/cable car combination. Mix and match as you please. Purchase your tickets and you can decide later how you would like to go up and come back down.
The website says that you may take the cable car between the plateau and the peak (Gletscherbahn cable car) as many times as you like on the day of your ticket.
by cable car:
Sielbahn Zugspitze cable car will take you from the lake all the way up to the summit, and back down again.
Cogwheel train, Cable car combo:
Take the cogwheel train up to the Plateu, and then take the Gletscherbahn cable car to the summit (you'll need to catch a ride down on that same cable car to get back to the train station, if that's how you choose to get down.) More than half of the trip by train is through a tunnel in the mountain. It's not very scenic, but if the thought of taking the cable car makes you weak in the knees, it may be the best option for you.
Just remember you can take any combination of these methods.
Activities on the mountain:
Mountain Climbing- If your feeling really adventurous, you can do a bit of mountain climbing.
Winter options-skiing and sledding are winter options. Find information on winter activities here.
Explore the Glacier.
The website says there are 3 glaciers at the top, although I only see the one on the map. I wonder if only one is accessible?
This map might help put things in perspective.
mountain cable car:
viewing platform at the top:
another view from the mountain:
The golden cross marks the highest point in Germany:
Can't wait to get your fix? Check out their site to view several webcams on Zugspitze mountain!
Alspitze Mountain, the next one over, has some options for you as well. The Garmisch-Classic cable car will get you there and back. See ticket information for Aspitze Mountain here. See the website for summer (hiking, climbing, adventure trails) winter trips, and a restaurant listing.
The Wank is a short lift up to Wank Mountain, the mountain opposite Zugspitze and Alpspitze, that offers panaramic views of Zugspitze. At the top, you'll find relatively flat hiking trails, as well as dining options. Here are the prices for getting up Wank Mountain. See their website for information on summer and winter trips, and dining options on Wank Mountain.
If your driving in, and plan to walk the lake and go up Zugspitze, there is parking in front of the Eibseee hotel. THE EIBSEE LOT AUTOMAT DOES NOT ACCEPT CARDS. (pay at the machine BEFORE you leave the lot.)
Here's some information on the other parking lots around Eibsee Lake and Zugspitze Mountain, including prices.
In the area: Ehrenberg Castle and Highline 179 Suspension Bridge
Just 26 miles away, in Austria, are some dreamy castle ruins and for those of you with nerves of steel, one of the longest suspension bridges in the worlds. Check out my post here:
photos from Ehrenberg Castle and Highline 179 Suspension Bridge
Inspiration for this trip, courtesy of Rick Steves "Germany" travel guide. Get the book!!!! Why I love Rick's books: If I could tell you one thing, and one thing only about his books, I would share with you Rick's own words. He "gives you all of the information & suggestions necessary, for wringing the maximum value out of your limited time and money!" and that my friends, is exactly what your goal should be.