A Perfect Holiday in Grainau: Winter Hike with a Visit on Mount Zugspitze

 // by Sonja Wilms
A Perfect Holiday in Grainau: Winter Hike with a Visit on Mount Zugspitze
Thursday, 21 October 2021

It snowed overnight and the day promises sunshine along with a breathtaking winter landscape that opens up from the window at the Hotel am Badersee. So, put your shoes on and discover the winter magic on a circular route that first goes to Mount Zugspitze and then down to Lake Eibsee by cablecar and back to Grainau on foot.

8:00 am: After breakfast we take time to put warm clothes on, since the temperature up on Mount Zugspitze is expected as low as -13 degrees Celcius, despite the predicted glorious sunshine. The last clouds are still hovering over the Zugspitze as we start our walk first around Lake Badersee and then down to the Zugspitzbahn cogwheel train, which starts at 08:30 from the Grainau - Badersee Station.

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8:30 am: Before we take the train, a photo of the romantic Catholic church in Grainau is a must. Then we board the nostalgic Zugspitzbahn and enjoy the ride through the winter landscape. You can tell that the vacation season hasn't started yet and we're traveling on a week day, since there are only a few skiers and other visitors on the train. Probably another reason is that we started so early.

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9:28 am: Just on time, the train reaches its final destination, the Zugspitzplatt, and we get off. We are curious to see how cold it is outside, so we first go out to the terrace of the Sonnalpin Restaurant for a few photo shots. Surprisingly, it's not that cold, despite the -13 degrees. The sun makes you feel warm. It's a pity that the loungers are not there at this early hour. After enjoying the first views we take a cablecar to the Zugspitze summit to get some coffee.

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10:20 am: The cablecar brings us to the summit and we take the elevator to the viewing platform. Here it's still quiet, until we meet a camera team that is filming a report on the start of the winter season in the Alps. The speaker seems to be shivering, after a few brief statements he tells his team that it's time to go back to the chalet to get warm. It would be great to take some photos on the Eibsee side, but the lake is currently hidden in the shade. As soon as we step into the shade, an icy wind grabs us by the collar. This is a huge difference we didn't expect. It was so pleasant in the sun and now it's so cold you can hardly stand it. However, I try to take a photo. Silly enough, this is only possible if you take off your gloves. My fingers get frozen in no time. So, forget about photos - go inside and keep warm.

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10:40 am: The panorama restaurant on the Zugspitze is almost empty. This is great - we can now take the best table by the window with a 'warm', sunny view. The local "Café" is already open, two glasses of Latte Macchiato should be enough to get warm again. The pretzels and sandwiches look delicious as well, so, since we have a hiking tour ahead of us, we treat ourselves to a second breakfast with an amazing view. In addition, the waitress is so friendly. We get full in no time. I should mention that the staff on the Zugspitze are always cheerful and find nice words for the visitors.

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11:40 am: My fingers unfreeze slowly on the hot coffee glass, the body feels warm again, the breakfast is delicous, and we enjoy a fantastic panoramic view from the window without freezing. That's the right way to enjoy the morning hours in peace! I'm a bit jealous of the skiers who are writing their curves on the still almost deserted slopes. Hopefully the weather doesn't change till the weekend, then I would definitely go skiing. We say goodbye to the Zugspitze and take the cablecar down to Lake Eibsee, the startpoint of our winter hike.

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12:00 pm: The winter landscape today is simply incredible. Beech and fir trees in the mountain forest are wrapped in white blankets, as if Mother Hulda Holle had been generous enough to give an extra layer, the sky is royal blue and the path is easy to walk on, so we don't need snowshoes. The winter in the Alps is simply a dream!

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12:40 pm: As we reach the Eibsee road, we then turn right to take the path in the direction of Neuneralm Chalet instead of going directly to the Badersee. We are too fascinated by the winter magic to turn back to the cosy warm hotel that quickly. Also, the temperature here is quite pleasant, and we have good winter shoes on to keep our feet warm - that is, we are in the best position to enjoy the long trail.

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1:35 pm: We walk past the Neuneralm Chalet and then continue in the direction of Grainau. Here you have an open view towards Mount Kramer and Mount Wank. Clouds hanging around the mountain tops look like blankets. Despite the beautiful weather, the trail looks pretty deserted - I had expected more people to take advantage of the sun. This section of the trail has more snow, but you can still do without snowshoes. More snow will certainly come in the next few days.

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2:15 pm: It's a pity that the last stretch to Hammersbach is closed due to storm damage. Some trees still need to be cleared after the hurricane that broke out here a few weeks ago. The municipal service is working on it, since this hiking route is quite popular both with tourists and locals. So we descend to Grainau at the toboggan run and walk past the Zugspitzbahn station back to the Hotel at Badersee. 

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What a beautiful winter hike! We will definitely do more of those this winter. Our faces glow from fresh air. We feel a bit cold, but fortunately our feet have stayed warm. Now it's time to relax and get warm at the hotel again.


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