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Zugspitze: Highest Beer Garden in Germany

All together now. “Jawohl, Jawohl! Wir trinken Alkohol. Wir haben keine Wasser, wir trinken Alkohol!”  It means, “Hooray, hooray, We drink alcohol! We have no water! We drink alcohol”. God bless the Germans!

The only thing I love more than travelling and scootering is beer!  The amber nectar from the gods!  And Germany is the Mecca for us beer connoisseurs!  My friend Richard told me about this brew call Franziskaner Weiss Beer.   A brewery that’s been around since 1397 has gotta be good.  And luck would have it they have a beer garden at the highest point in Germany. At 2950m above sea level this is the closest I will ever get to heaven!!!

This is the gate to heaven!
This is the gate to heaven!

So with Winter drawing nearer, my wife and I went in search of this mythical brew.  Destination? The town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which also happens to be at the foothills of the highest point in Germany – The Zugspitze.

 The Z in german is pronounced with a hard T sound: Zugspitze = Tsoog-spitser

Garmisch is a quick 1-hour train ride south from München. It is the premier ski resort town in Germany, and the fact that it’s also close to the Zugspitze makes it a tourist hotspot.

Back to beer!  I wanted beer.

Step one is to figure out how to get up this part of the Alps.  The are 2 ways to reach the top of the Zugspitze. Either from the German side using the Zugspitze Bahn, or from the Austrian side using the cable car at Ehrwald.

Zugspitz map
From Garmisch take the train to Eibsee. You then continue with the train UP the mountain. Note: Since April 2017 the Eibsee cable car is out of commission.

We took the train from Garmisch.  A dedicated platform next to the main train station has been built. The journey takes around an hour, but you get to go inside the middle of the Mountain.  Yes, the Germans have blasted a tunnel through the middle of the Alps and installed a cogged-train system (fernicular) to mechanically haul the train up 1800 vertical meters!

Glacier Sign

For 53 Euro I wanted bang for buck. At Eibsee the train ascends into a dark, sub-Alpean tunnel. Amazing engineering!   Click here for more pricing info

Train sign
German trains are efficient – as it should be!

The final stop for the train is at Zugspitzplatt at the Gletcher Bahnhoff.  Built close to the top at an altitude of the 2588m, this is were the snow ski enthusiasts will find paradise.  If like me you want beer and a great view, you’ll need to take one final cable-car ride to the ‘proper’ top of the Zugspitze.

pointing to highest point
Marliese is pointing to the Zugspitz cable station where Germany’s highest Beer Garden is located at 2950m!
The cable car ride takes all of 2 minutes!
The cable car ride takes all of 2 minutes!
The Zugspitz is a short cable car ride from the Zugspitzplatt
The Zugspitze (2950m) is a short cable car ride from Gletcher Bahnhof down below at 2588m.

The views from the Zugspitze speak for themselves.  The air is crisp and clear, just like the famous Weiss beer I was in search of.

Steve at top chill Zugspitze signGolden cross

The Zugspitze is the highest point of Germany.  But the Austrians on the southern side also want to be part of the action. Naturlich! They have built a cable car on their side that can be accessed from the town of Obermoos near Erhwald.

The Austrian side of the Zugspitz. Same mountain, 2 countries!
The Austrian side of the Zugspitz. Same mountain, 2 countries!

The beer gods must have been on my side because the weather was perfect. Not a breath of wind, blue skies and above freezing temperatures.  Being the off season I had the place to myself.  Apart from a few high-flying crows, yes the feathered variety, scavenging for scraps, the beer garden was empty. I am not a fan of crowds so I was in my element.

Standing at high beer Steve with beer

Weiss beer, which means “white-beer” is an acquired taste. I have acquired the taste after many years of hard experimentation!  It’s a floral flavoured beer, which makes for smooth drinking.  I am not going to bore you with tasting notes other than to say I highly recommend high altitude drinking to cure all of life’s stresses and worries!

M&S beer
Marliese prefers a hot chocolate!
Marliese beer garden
What?! a BMW at 2950m. These Germans are Verruckt! (Crazy)

Beer craving satisfied, the Zugspitze Gletcher is a party second to none!  This ski-area is built on a Glacier which makes it snow-sure for most of the year.  Apres-ski parties were in full swing, and I don’t know if I was drunk but I am sure I spotted a BMW. At 2950m I was clearly suffering from altitude sickness!!!

4 beers too many!
4 beers too many!

The Germans do many things well.  Public transport, beer, skiing, cable-cars, views! Did I mention beer?  Franziskaner Weiss is the best of the best.

For 53 Euros, I felt I got my monies worth.  By South African standards it is an expensive day out, but it’s one of those things you just have to do at least once.  Who can say they’ve drunk beer at 2950m outside of an airplane?

Steve looking

Parting thought. You can also take your dog with you for 4 Euros!!!

From the Zugspitze website: Gerne können Sie Ihren Hund mit auf die Zugspitze nehmen. Der Unkostenbeitrag für Berg- und Talfahrt beträgt einmalig € 4,00.

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