A Perfect Holiday in Grainau: 10 Easy Routes With Panoramic Views

 // by Sonja Wilms
A Perfect Holiday in Grainau: 10 Easy Routes With Panoramic Views
Thursday, 27 May 2021

Mountaineering is not for everyone. Only the toughest have the endurance to walk uphill for hours. However, hiking should bring joy and make you happy, instead of being a prolongued torture making you unable to enjoy the day out in the nature. The Bavarian Alps in our area offer lots of opportunities to experience the mountains along light routes, enjoying great views and fascinating encounters with nature. Try out hiking with joy.

Here are some of the best panoramic routes in our neighborhood you can easily enjoy on foot.

1. The Eibsee Circular Route ('Eibsee-Rundweg')

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Lake Eibsee should really be the #1 on your must see list in Grainau. With its emerald green water, numerous lovely small islands and the incomparable mountain scenery topped with the Zugspitze, the Eibsee is worth a visit in any season. A circular trail leads you around the lake. The 7.2 km long trek would take 1.5 - 2 hours, depending on your speed. The path is mostly level, with just a couple of light uphill and downhill sections, and it works perfectly for winter hikes as well. You can reach the start point of the hike by Zugspitzbahn cogwheel train from the Badersee station or take the Eibsee Bus next to the hotel.   

Paddling is possible on the Eibsee as well. Optionally, you can go paddling after hiking the Eibsee: rent a boat and experience the lake in a different way. Read our blog on this!

A Perfect Holiday in Grainau: Paddling Lake Eibsee

2. From Lake Eibsee Down To Lake Badersee

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If you are still open for challenges and willing to extend your Eibsee hike, take the trail to Lake Badersee on your way back to the hotel. The trail goes slightly downhill all the way, it is maintained in winter as well. However, in winter you should wear non-slip shoes. You can take walking sticks with you for a better grip. Depending on the season, your hike will be embellished with flowers on the wayside - orchids and gentians to name just a few - and from spring to autumn by squirrels running up and down the trees. Here and there the trail offers great views of the Zugspitze range, you can take a rest on numerous benches and the small private Christlhütte Chalet is a special highlight. You will need around 45 to 60 minutes to reach Lake Badersee on this trail.

3. From Lake Badersee Over Neuneralm Chalet To Grainau And Back

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This 1.5-2 hours long route lets you experience fantastic views of the neighboring mountains in Grainau. From the Hotel am Badersee you should first take the trail in the direction of Lake Eibsee. It goes slightly uphill with occasional level sections, until you reach the Eibsee Road. Here you should walk on the left side following the railway for a short time, until you reach the junction in the direction of the Neuneralm. Turn left, the forest road goes slightly uphill, but very soon it will go downhill - the whole way till you reach the chalet. As soon as you leave the forest behind you, the impressive panoramic view with alpine meadows and mountain views reaching as far as the Wank takes your breath away. The meadows stay in blossom from spring till autumn, until they get mowed. Cows, sheep and goats graze on the meadows.

At the end the road takes you down to Grainau. You can walk past the Zugspitzbahn station back to the Hotel am Badersee or stay on the panoramic trail ('Höhenweg'), that goes as far as Hammersbach. There you have the option to take the Eibsee Bus that brings you to the hotel.

4. The Hammersbach Trail ('Hammersbacher Fußweg')

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This trail offers great views of both Waxenstein peaks, the Alpspitze, the Kramer and the Wank. We locals traditionally use the route for an evening walk or for jogging. You can reach the trail by taking the Eibsee Bus to Hammersbach. In winter the neighboring meadows are a great area for cross-country skiing. The trails are maintained in winter as well, and they are separated from the cross-country trail. The best about this route are the sunsets, especially when the sun throws its last rays on the mountains and makes them glow pink and red.

5. The Kramerplateauweg Trail

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The famous Kramerplateauweg Trail connects Grainau and Garmisch-Partenkirchen with a 12.5 km long route and takes you as far as the Werdenfels Castle Ruin. Frankly speaking, to reach the needed elevation of the  Kramerplateauweg from Grainau you need to go uphill for some time. However, this section is relatively short and offers numerous benches for you to take a rest. As you reach the top, there are two things to enjoy: the view of the Zugspitze is simply amazing and, even more important, the rest of the trail is almost level.

The best about the Kramerplateauweg Trail is that you can decide for yourself how far you want to go. Say, you may want to stop at the Almhütte Chalet, here you can go down to Garmisch and take the bus back to Grainau. Or you go as far as the war memorial and then down to Garmisch. If you decide to walk along the whole trail to the Werdenfels Castle Ruin, there are 3 (!) chalets on the way where you can make a break: the Almhütte, the guest house at Lake Pflegersee and the chalet next to the castle ruin. Here you can go down and quickly reach the bus stop at the Hotel Sonnenbichl, take a bus to the Marienplatz and change to the Eibsee Bus that takes you back to Grainau.

If going uphill is not okay for you and you would be happy just walking a part of the trail, you can arrive by car and park at the Almhütte or in one of the parking lots on the Pflegersee road.

A Perfect Holiday in Grainau: Kramerplateauweg Trail

Video: Hiking Kramer Plateau Trail in Winter

6. From the Alpspitze to Hochalm and Kreuzeck

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The trail goes from the Osterfelderkopf, the upper station of the Alpspitzbahn cable car, down to the Kreuzeckbahn cable car and lets you enjoy the mountains from above. This broad road is actually a skiing slope in winter, so it goes downhill all the time. You would need non-slip shoes and walking sticks for a better grip. During the summer season this is a moderate and relaxed trail, some sections of it are even relatively level. You can make the route shorter by taking the Hochalm cable car back to the Alpspitzbahn. If you prefer a sporty option, walk the route in the opposite direction - at least from Kreuzeck to Hochalm the ascent is not that violent. Or you can take the small path down to Hochalm from the Alpspitzbahn station - it is somewhat steeper but very picturesque. Whichever option you may choose, the panorama of the Alps stays in view during the whole tour, you would enjoy it from every chalet between the Alpspitze and Kreuzeck as well.

Please mind that in winter walking on the slopes in ski areas is not allowed, and most trails in the Garmisch Classic area are closed due to avalanche danger. This is a high altitude area subject to alpine dangers. Check the weather conditions before you go.

Video: Alpspitze & Kreuzeck

7. Panoramic Circular Route On The Wank Summit

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The Wank offers one of the best views in the neighborhood, it has a long reputation as the 'panorama mountain' - and not for nothing. Here you can take a cosy ride with the cablecar as well. As you reach the summit, you would discover a circular route that leads you around the whole plateau to enjoy great views of the Wetterstein chain, Ester Mountains, Ammergau Alps and Karwendel range, as well as Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Grainau and other localities down in the valley. Take a break on one of the numerous benches. Visiting one of the two Bavarian restaurants is a local highlight, especially on public holidays.

8. The Philosophenweg Trail

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The famous Philosophenweg trail connects Farchant and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, here again you have a number of options to choose from. For a small round, just park your car at the 'Schützenhaus' restaurant and walk in the direction of Farchant and back. If you have time for the complete tour, we recommend to start from the railway station in Farchant (arrival by train, bus or train + bus) and follow the directions to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. On the way you can take a gastronomic break at the Schützenhaus and follow the route further to the historic centre of Partenkirchen. There you can take the Eibsee Bus back to the Hotel am Badersee. Of course, you can walk this route in the opposite direction. We personally find the panoramic view on the way from Farchant to Partenkirchen is simply worth it.

You can easily combine the Philosophenweg trail with a visit to the Kuhflucht Waterfalls in Farchant, those are some of the highest waterfalls in Germany.

Video: Kuhflucht Waterfalls & Gorge

9. Through The Partnachklamm Gorge

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Unlike the Hell Valley Gorge, to visit the Partnachklamm Gorge you don't have to go uphill - you can even arrive directly to the gorge entrance, by horse-drawn carriage. Of course, you can just go through the gorge and then back, however, you can make a small circular trail out of it as well. We suggest two options. For a longer route, take the Eckbauerbahn cablecar (you will find the valley station next to the Olympic ski jumping hill in Partenkirchen) and then go down from the summit to the back entrance of the Partnachklamm, then through the gorge back to the ski jumping hill parking lot. For a smaller round, take the Graseckbahn cable car, which is located next to the Partnachklamm entrance, and go up to the Hotel Graseck. From there you can take the relaxed trail to the back entrance of the Partnachklamm and then walk through the gorge back to the parking lot as usual. For both options, the 'Kaiserschmarrn-Alm' Chalet invites for a cosy break. The Partnachklamm Gorge is a special highlight in winter, when in cold weather giant icicles build up in the gorge.

If our both suggestions are not enough for you, you can still make it a longer tour by trekking to the Bockhütte Chalet in Reintal Valley (approx. 8 km in one direction, only 300 m uphill). Alternatively, Section 3 of the Spitzenwanderweg long-distance trail goes through the Partnachklamm from Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the direction of Krün.

Video: Winter Hike Through The Partnachklamm

10. Spitzenwanderweg Etappe 1 & 2

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The Spitzenwanderweg is a long-distance trail that leads you through the whole Zugspitze Region. Sections 1 & 2 are really panoramic routes down in the valley. These are initially long trails with 21 km and 16 km, however, you can easily make them shorter by breaking each of them in two. Instead of walking the whole distance from Murnau to Eschenlohe, you can finish your hike in Ohlstadt and walk the rest of the trail on the next day. Section 2 from Eschenlohe to Garmisch-Partenkirchen can be ended in Oberau or in Farchant, where you can start the next day. Both sections allow arrival by train, as the trains from Garmisch to Munich stop in Farchant, Oberau, Eschenlohe, Ohlstadt and Murnau.