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Walking from Bavarian Lake District to Zugspitze  The Natural Adventure

Walking from Bavarian Lake District to Zugspitze

Overview

Immerse yourself in European history, and explore a world of castles, medieval towns, beautiful lakes and panoramic trails from the Bavarian capital of Munich to the Olympic town of Garmisch.

On this 8-day walking adventure, you will hike along the blue Isar River and through the Bavarian Lake District before arriving in the great mountain region on Zugspitze. Change the scenery from waterfalls and turquoise lakes to impressive mountain backdrops, high-altitude hiking tours with leisurely cable car rides.

Enjoy every walk, infused with the untranslatable feel-good air of Gemütlichkeit (cosiness) that makes exploring the region such an easygoing experience.

  • Munich – the city of art and beer 
  • Fascinating gorges and ravines with roaring waterfalls 
  • Turquoise Lake Walchensee at the Karwendel-Mountain range
  • Boat ride on Lake Kochelsee
  • Quaint Alps in the Zugspitz-region

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Munich

Seize the day of arrival to visit the centre of Munich with its numerous sights. Nowhere else in Europe has a beer tradition quite like the Bavarian capital with six mammoth breweries pumping out world-class suds to hundreds of beer gardens and halls.

Day 2: Munich – Schäftlarn | 12 km

From the Bavarian metropolis, walk along the river Isar through forests and meadows, along the Way of St. James to the famous Schäftlarn monastery. Take a break there and enjoy Bavarian delicacies and freshly brewed beer in the beer garden of the monastery. A short steep ascent takes you out of the Isar-valley to Schäftlarn.

  • Walking for the day: 3.5-4 h, 12 km ↑200 m ↓100 m
  • Accommodation: Gut Schwaige or similar

Day 3: Schäftlarn – Bernried | 18 km

After breakfast, walk through the impressive Maisinger Gorge to Lake Maisinger. Your route then takes you to Possenhofen, where Elisabeth, the Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, spent her childhood.  Take the path that runs the lakeside of Lake Starnberger, past Roseninsel island and the Feldafing lido to arrive in Bernried.

  • Walking for the day: 4-4.5 h, 18 km ↑150 m ↓150 m
  • Accommodation: Seeblick or similar

Day 4: Bernried – Kochel | 16 km

Visit the Benedictine monastery at Bernried before continuing your route along the lakeshore, through the Bernrieder park and picturesque nature reserves. Head to Seeshaupt at the southern end of the lake and continue through the beautiful lake district of the Osterseen lakes, perhaps taking the opportunity for a swim in one of the lakes. Lake Ostersee is home to a multitude of waterfowl and has a fantastic view of Mt Zugspitze.

Day 5: Day of rest or circular walk Lake Kochelsee | 11 km

Enjoy a day of relaxation at Lake Kochelsee or follow a hiking route via bridges and walkways to the Lainbach waterfalls. Walk along the rock path around the lake as far as Schleedorf before taking a boat back to Kochel.

  • Walking for the day: 3-3.5 h, 11 km ↑200 m ↓200 m
  • Accommodation: Alpenhof Postillion or similar

Day 6: Kochel – Wallgau | 7 km

You’ll do your first mountain walk today. The route takes you to Herzogstand on a bridle path that was used by King Ludwig II to reach his hunting lodge. At the top of the path take a well-earned break in the beer garden or climb up to the Herzogstand – enjoy a view all the way to Munich. Take the cable car into the valley and from there a bus to Wallgau.

  • Walking for the day: 3.5-4 h, 7 km ↑750 m ↓0 m
  • Accommodation:  Zur Post or similar

Day 7: Wallgau – Garmisch-Partenkirchen | 16 km

Enjoy a comfortable summit walk onto Mount Wank. Walk through the deep Finzbach ravine and ascend to a little hut before continuing on to the Esterberg alp where you can enjoy the specialities of the chalet. Your final ascent takes you through the forest to the summit. You can see the entire Zugspitze massif and the Wetterstein mountains. Take the cable car down to Garmisch. 

  • Walking for the day: 5 h, 16 km ↑950 m ↓100 m
  • Accommodation: Vier Jahreszeiten or similar

Day 8: Departure

Departure on your own or extension upon request (highly recommended!).

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in a mix of 3-star hotels, country inns, traditional guesthouses and a 4-star hotel in Munich. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

Note that hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel (from the ones pictured above) is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on all days. Packed lunches are available from your accommodation (order the night before), or you can stop on the way; there are plenty of beer gardens and small shops to satisfy your thirst and appetite. Dinners are available at all overnight accommodations or close by.

Difficulty & terrain

The first part of your hiking week leads on just slightly hilly terrain through the Alpine foothills. On the last day, enjoy two hiking tours with splendid mountain panorama. Daily walking times of up to 5 hours. For both days in the mountains, you always have a choice between easier and more athletic options (read more about difficulty grades). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from May to October with departures on Saturdays only.

First two nights for all arrivals after mid-September would be in Schäftlarn.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Munich.

By train or bus
  • The best way from Munich airport to city center is by train. You can get S-Bahn S1 and S-Bahn S8 is running every 10-20 minutes from Munich airport to city center starting from 4 am to 1:44 am.
  • Parking: Hotel underground parking for approx. EUR 50 per week, no reservation. Parking spaces near the hotel are free of charge and unguarded.  
  • Return journey from Garmisch to Munich by train, duration approx. 1.5 hours.
  • For more information, visit Deutsche Bahn or use the Omio planner above.
  • Munich is about 10 hours from London by rail (via Paris Nord, for timetables and tickets, visit Eurostar & OUI).

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 overnight stays as stated above
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers on walking days
  • Welcome briefing
  • Transfer from Schäftlarn – to Starnberg
  • Boat fare Lake Kochelsee
  • Cable car to Herzogstand
  • Cable car to Wank
  • Detailed route descriptions, travel and tour documents (one set per room)
  • GPS-data to use via our smartphone app
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses such as phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Local tourist taxes
  • Any items not specifically mentioned in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights in Munich and Garmisch
  • Option of bringing your ‘four-legged friend’. When booking, simply let us know the breed and size of your dog. Possible additional costs are payable locally on site.

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