The Popp family took on another adventure last weekend, this time to the Zugspitze! The Zugspitze is the highest point in Germany and most definitely worth a visit.
You may be wondering how the heck we have had the time to do all of this and the answer is public holidays! The state of Germany that we live in, Baden-Württemberg, has a whopping 12 public holidays a year. Several are based on the church calendar. This is great for everyone in the workforce, like my parents, because within the last 6 weeks they have only had to work one full work week. How crazy is that?! But, this opens up a great opportunity to go sightseeing!
Prior to going to the Zugspitze, you need to decide which side you want to go up on. Since it straddles the German, Austrian border you can either ascend on the German or Austrian side. Both sides have pros and cons. We ended up going with the German side because we did not want to have to deal with toll roads. There is also a stunning lake, the Eibsee, on the German side that I wanted to visit. Conveniently there is a train station by the lake from which you can ascend the mountain. So German side it is!
You can find all of the train station information to plan your trip here!
On Saturday, May 27th, we piled into the car at 6 a.m. and started the 4-hour drive to the Zugspitzbahn Eibsee (train station near the Eibsee). From the moment the sun started peaking it was clear that we picked a stunning day for this trip. As we neared the train station the mountains jutted into the horizon and suddenly it became apparent how little we people really are.
Around 10 we made it to the train station. The Zugspitze was looming over us and I could catch my first glimpse of the Eibsee through the trees. It was nice and warm out, but we knew it would quickly get cold as we ventured to the top, so we changed out of our sandals into hiking shoes, packed up our sweatshirts and I grabbed my camera.
We had informed ourselves ahead of time about ticket prices, and they are definitely not cheap. But, at the moment they are building a new cable car, they are renovating the look-out platforms at the top, and they obviously need to ensure the safety for everyone. That costs big money, so the tickets, in my opinion, are justifiable. Off we were to wait for the next train to come through.
The way that it works is that you take the cogwheel train to the Glacier Station and from there you can get onto a cable car to ascend to the tippy top.
The train came, we found ourselves spots to hang onto and off we were! Unfortunately, the majority of the train ride is through a tunnel. We did not get to see much of how the environment changes the higher you get. BUT, in December they are opening a new cable car to the top from the Eibsee Station where you will be able to see it all!
A quick tip – the ride to the top is about 30-40 minutes and obviously, it’s steep! There are train stations ahead of the Eibsee Station which meant that all of the seats were already taken. If you want to ensure yourself a seat, especially in the busy season, I would recommend getting on the train earlier than we did.
We arrived at the Glacier station and walked to where the cable car departs from. After waiting a couple of minutes the next cable car arrived and we squished into it with what seems like 30-40 other people. It is a little nerve-wracking since we are literally hanging from a cable, but thankfully it’s a speedy trip of maybe 7 minutes. Upon getting the top we had to find our way out of the building and when we did… wow.
We could not have chosen a better day to take this trip. There was not a cloud in the sky, you could see for miles and miles on end, the temperatures were mild, the sun was pounding down on us, and it was just breathtaking.
We spent a while wandering around all of the platforms and appreciating the view from each and every angle. Funnily enough, you can actually cross the border and venture over onto the Austrian platforms too. And from there you have a killer view of the Eibsee! By now we were pretty famished. The Austrian side has a self-serve restaurant where we got ourselves a hearty meal. Bratwurst, french fries and apple strudel for dessert! Basically a heart attack in one meal, but this was not an everyday experience!
After lunch, we kept walking around and then took the cable car back down to the Glacier Station. Here you can ski, sled, whatever you want. The temperatures were so warm, that I was in my tank top while trampling around in the snow! The view was just absolutely insane.
After seeing everything that we wanted to see we headed back to the cogwheel train and headed down. This time we were able to snag some seats, which made the ride much more comfortable. At the bottom, we changed back into our summer shoes and ventured down to the Eibsee.
It is a beautiful lake nestled in between the mountain peaks. As the weather was so nice there were people paddle boarding, paddle boating, swimming, and basking in the sun everywhere. The water was definitely comparable to Lake Michigan temperatures, but SO rocky! I wanted to swim, but there was nowhere to change, we needed to get back on the road, and there were just so many people. So yes, the lake is gorgeous, but I could not find the secret spot the Pinteresters know for a photo!
After an ice cream cone to “cool off” we piled back into the car around 4:30 and headed back home. We made it home in time to catch a TV show we all wanted to watch, eat a more nutritious meal and get a good nights sleep.
It was an amazing day trip, and definitely a place you should visit if you can. We could not have chosen a better day for this adventure and I am so glad that my parents and I could do this together.
So 2 things to take away from this post:
- Take advantage of days off and go explore the place you call home!
- The Zugspitze is stunning and totally worth a visit if you are in the area!
Now I can say I have been on the highest point in Germany AND the Northernmost point.
What do you like doing when you have a long holiday weekend?