June 27


Zugspitze – mountain of superlatives

By Frank

June 27, 2020

Countless moments of wonder. Boundless fascination.

And unique experiences. Culinary delights at the highest level , knowledge and adventure from a completely new perspective.

Invigorating mountain air, incredible feelings of exhilaration and impressive natural beauty : that's the Zugspitze - the mountain of superlatives...

Aha! Cool...

2962 meters | 4 countries | 400 peaks - just wow...

The largest elevation in Germany is home to three glaciers , a unique 360° panorama with Alpine peaks from four countries and an attractive range of experiences. The air is clear and a bit thinner at an altitude of almost 3,000 m. The weather is more extreme, the sun stronger and the snow heavier than in the valley. On clear days, up to 250 kilometers of distant views bring an incredible feeling of space and freedom - in winter as well as in midsummer.

Wherever you turn and turn: Rock spikes and ice to the horizon and above only the sky. In good weather conditions, Germany's highest lookout at almost 3,000 meters offers a clear view of more than 400 peaks in Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland - including the highest mountains in the Eastern Alps such as the Großglockner (3,798 m), the Wildspitze (3,768 m), the Ortler (3,905 m) and the Piz Bernina (4,049 m).

The state-of-the-art Zugspitze cable car , the nostalgic cog railway and the Gletscherbahn make the Zugspitze a well-developed excursion destination that combines classic mountain experiences and contemporary adventures.

First ascent Zugspitze - Anniversary 200 years (1820 - 2020)

On August 27, 1820 , the Zugspitze, Germany's highest peak, was scaled for the first time. 200 years ago an order was issued by King Maximilian I. to his " Royal Bavarian Topographical Bureau ". The Werdenfelser Land with the Zugspitze located there was to be surveyed for the " Topographical Atlas of Bavaria ". They wanted to be sure : is this mountain really the highest peak in the country? A Tyrolean (Josef Naus), who was just 27 years old , was chosen to carry out the surveying work .

On August 26th, the time had come: The expedition via the Reintal route began with the ascent to the Angerhütte shepherd's accommodation . At Naus' side: mountain guide Johann Tauschl from Partenkirchen and his acolyte and porter Maier. At 4 a.m. on the morning of August 27, things got really serious: the three men reached the western summit at 11:45 a.m. via the Zugspitzplatt and the Schneeferner .

In 2006 , a historical map with a marked route over the Zugspitze was found in the archive of the German Alpine Association, which fuels assumptions that the summit could have been climbed before 1820 . However, this theory is not proven.

The first cross on the summit

In 1851 the first cross was built on the west summit . It withstood lightning and snowstorms, but not the will of the Munich Alpine Club section to erect a shelter on the highest point of what was then the German Empire. In 1897 the original building of the Munich house was finished; the following year , 1,800 visitors found a roof over their heads here. Around 1900, a tower was built next to the hut , from which the weather was reported daily to Partenkirchen via a 21-kilometer telephone line .

Nostalgic rack railway

Germany's highest mountain has been accessible without muscle power for 90 years. Everyone can get to the Zugspitze with the cog railway. It was hard work for the workers. Up to 2,500 men were at work on the large construction site, driving the tunnel through the rock - on average they managed 5.3 meters per day. After about two years of construction, the technical masterpiece was finished.

Zugspitze – mountain of superlatives

Cog wheel Zugspitzbahn

From Grainau, the cog railway, which started operating in 1930, continues to the Zugspitzplatt. The total length of this route is 11.5 kilometers, of which 4.8 kilometers are realized as a tunnel. With a difference in altitude of 1,838 meters, the cog railway offers great views of the emerald-green Eibsee and the foothills of the Alps. The journey finally ends in the immediate vicinity of the SonnAlpin glacier restaurant, the center of the Zugspitze ski area.

Passengers who want to go even higher can take the Gletscherbahn, which opened in 1992, up to the summit of the Zugspitze. From there, the new Zugspitze cable car floats down into the valley and thus concludes the Zugspitze round trip.

Around 600,000 guests visit the Zugspitze every year. The development of the mountain world remains an eternal contentious issue. It is and remains a balancing act between development and environmental protection. In 1925, around 4,000 people protested against the construction of the cog railway and the associated industrialization of the Bavarian mountains. The rack railway became a hit. Since it opened, it has had around 20 million passengers...

Zugspitze – mountain of superlatives

Cog railway Zugspitze

The cog railway of the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn AG is one of the few cog railways still operated in Germany . With this special vehicle you can reach the Platt of the Zugspitze at 2,600 m . The starting point is in the immediate vicinity of the Garmisch-Partenkirchner train station, the Zugspitze train station at 705 m above sea level. NN. Travel time approx. 75 minutes .

The railway was built in three sections between 1928 and 1930 and went into operation as a whole on July 8, 1930. In 2007, the Zugspitzbahn was nominated for the award as " Historical Landmark of Civil Engineering in Germany ".

Many ways to the summit ...

If you want it to be really easy, you can take a gondola or a cog railway to the top of Germany's highest mountain. But you can also walk up to Munich's local mountain. Four routes lead to the 2962 meter high summit, where a breathtaking panorama awaits the mountaineers. Two of the tours are only for mountaineers with climbing experience, the other two can also be tackled by sure-footed mountain hikers.

  • Reintal: 1400 meters in altitude, approx. 11 hours, requirements: sure-footedness and a head for heights
  • Gatterl: 1400 meters in altitude, approx. 7 hours, requirements: sure-footedness and a head for heights
  • Stopper puller: 1730 meters in altitude, approx. 6 hours, requirements: climbing experience, sure-footedness, a head for heights
  • Höllental: 2200 meters in altitude, approx. 8 hours, requirements: climbing experience (up to difficulty level C), sure-footedness, a head for heights


The cable car with three world records

Zugspitze – mountain of superlatives

Zugspitze cable car

Since December 21, 2017, the state-of-the-art Zugspitze cable car has been opening up the highest mountain in the country with the highest level of comfort for passengers. A total of six years of planning and construction work, partly under the most adverse conditions at an altitude of almost 3,000 meters, went into this superlative project , which is an undisputed highlight not only for the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG, but for the entire region, which is predominantly tourist-oriented.

The drum with the coiled rope, four meters high and weighing around 150 tons , had to be transported from Lake Constance to the Oberland. The carrier cable was transported with the help of two coupled heavy-duty transporters. The support cables are almost five kilometers long and are made from over 5.5 million meters of steel wire .

The new cable car holds three world records!

  • At 127 meters, the steel column is the tallest of its kind.
  • The difference in altitude between the valley and mountain stations is 1945m , i.e. almost two kilometers.
  • The third world record is between the support and the summit - here is the longest freely suspended piece of rope in the world at 3,213 meters .

Three records that passengers can enjoy with a full panoramic view of the picturesque Eibsee, the Waxensteine and the Alpspitze, among other things, and which aroused anticipation of a top-class mountain railway experience even during the construction period. The integrated windscreen heating enables an unclouded view even in bad weather and when the sky is clear you can even see far beyond Munich .


The two cabins themselves are real eye-catchers with their elegant, discreet design .

A total of six years of planning and construction work , partly under the most adverse conditions at an altitude of almost 3,000 meters, went into this superlative project . An undisputed highlight not only for the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG, but for the entire region, which is predominantly tourist-oriented.

The huge rush to the Zugspitze – around half a million visitors a year – was one of the reasons for replacing the previous cable car. Current capacity: 580 people / hour. Travel speed 10.6 m/s

What is there to see?

Panorama 2962 - the best of four countries...

Zugspitze – mountain of superlatives

Zugspitze 2962 restaurant

The completely newly built summit gastronomy is an excellent reason to soar to the Zugspitze. At almost 3,000 m above sea level, the multifunctional restaurant presents itself as an architectural feast for the eyes . Typical specialties from the Alpine region are served, garnished with plenty of panoramic views .

Overall, the gastro ensemble with counter service offers space for around 450 guests inside and around 850 outside . From quick coffee and snacks to tasteful menus to group celebrations, conferences and concerts: the various areas and multifunctional rooms make everything possible .

Based on the 4-country panoramic view on the Zugspitze, the culinary motto is simply " The best of 4 countries ". Specialties and products from Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany reflect the delicious diversity of the Alpine region on the menu.

In this case, regional means that ingredients and inspiration come from a radius of 250 km . Great value is also placed on organic and GQB (tested quality Bavaria) certified products as well as fair trade.

Glacier Adventure Trail

Zugspitze – mountain of superlatives

Glacier Adventure Trail

Nowhere else in Germany can you get closer to the eternal ice than on the Zugspitze. Five interactive stations provide interesting information about the various elements and high-alpine landscapes of the Zugspitze world.

All senses of the big and small glacier hikers are addressed and sensitized to the fascinating world of snow and ice .

Cable car valley station

Am Eibsee 6

82491 Grains

About the author

It is more valuable to experience a place in detail than many small impressions of an incomprehensible whole.

Genius Loci - discovering, capturing and experiencing the spirit of a place. Perceive - understand - enjoy!

As a graduate industrial engineer with an additional MBA degree from a renowned university in England (EMBA, EQUIS and AACSB accredited), I have been showing other, often surprising, paths to success for more than 30 years at C-Level (Head of Marketing and Sales worldwide).

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