Hi friends welcome back to my Germany and Austria series 🙂 The following morning we had planned to hike, but the sky was so clear that we easily decided to forgo the difficult hike and head to Zugspitze instead. We bought our cable car tickets for 63 euros a person, and then anxiously awaited our ride up the gondola. The ticket prices are steep, but the technology/structure and views make it worth it on a clear day. I personally wouldn’t pay to go up on a cloudy day, but plenty of people still go up for the experience. Also, the weather can be quite different up at the top so it’s a good idea to dress warmer than you think.
This cable car opened in 2017 and took six years to design and construct. Per the website, “Two fully glazed high-capacity cabins transport up to 580 passengers per hour to the peak, banishing queues to history. Along the journey, they traverse the world’s highest steelwork pylon for aerial tramways at 127 metres, the world’s greatest overall height difference of 1,945 metres over one section as well as the world’s longest unsupported span, measuring 3,213 metres. Three incredible records – without even mentioning the magnificent panoramic views offered by the spacious cabins with floor-to-ceiling glazing. Thanks to heated windows, unobstructed visibility can also be enjoyed in bad weather. Views extend even as far as Munich on clear days.” The ride took about ten minutes and was incredibly smooth.
Jon and I took some pictures, ate our pretzels from the hotel buffet, and then headed to the peak. I was definitely nervous for the short climb because the chains reminded me of Angels Landing, but I saw so many people that didn’t look like hikers doing it, so that gave me some confidence. Also, if you did fall you wouldn’t fall thousands of feet, more like twenty, so it wouldn’t tickle but it wouldn’t be catastrophic. We had to wait in a short line, but when we were leaving, the line had about thirty more people in it so definitely go early.
There is not a good two-way traffic system on this climb, so you’ll have to be patient and wait your turn. The language barriers are an added challenge of making it to the peak of the tallest point in Germany at 2,962 meters, or roughly 9,700 feet.
After safely making it back from the peak, we went inside and enjoyed some coffee overlooking the beautiful Eibsee. Inside there is a coffee bar and high-quality cafeteria-style café. The pretzel we snagged was holding us over, but the food looked pretty good. There are also lots of tables outside that were occupied by people enjoying a beer or coffee.
The brochure says you can see 400 mountain peaks in Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland and see up to 250km on a clear day. We couldn’t have asked for a clearer day, it was spectacular!
The top of Zugspitze is also an international border crossing, so we went to the other side and walked right into Austria. There used to be a passport check and currency exchange, but that was removed as part of the Schengen Agreement.
I couldn’t get over the views and just how impressive it was that this cable car and station exist. I’d gladly pay to not have to hike up for these views 🙂
You can also take a cable car to the only glacier in Germany, but we had other things on our agenda and passed on this.
Jon and I went back down the cable car and then headed to Eibsee to get some more pictures with Zugspitze in the background.
We stuck our toes in the water and it wasn’t too chilly. The rocks were tough to walk on though so if you plan on swimming, water shoes would be a good idea. We were hoping that we could rent some kayaks, but they only had paddle boats and canoes.
It was so hard to tear ourselves away from this beautiful scenery, but we had more on our list to see before heading to Berchtesgaden the following day. Eibsee is a spot I would love to come back to one day. It was just so unbelievably beautiful and even more stunning in real life. If you’re ever in Germany, make sure you add this lake to the top of your list!
Stay tuned for the rest of our last day full day in GaPa!
Posts in my Germany & Austria series: