One visit to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, feels like stepping into a perfect postcard picture. During the winter holidays, this village feels like it could be home. Located near famous Neuschwanstein Castle, often referred to as Sleeping Beauty’s castle, this quaint German town is easy to miss. Many pass by without even realizing it. But on your next visit to see Sleeping Beauty’s castle draped in snow, spend the winter weekend in Garmisch and enjoy skiing, seeing stunning mountaintop views, eating traditional foods, and perusing the enchanting Christmas market.


In Garmisch, stretches of snow-covered fields rest at the foot of the most majestic mountain peaks in Germany. Zugspitze, the most captivating peak, is nearly 10,000 feet in altitude. It is the highest and most popular ski area in Germany and includes Germany’s largest glaciers. Garmisch hosts three other major slopes and is well known as a ski resort town. Ski season typically begins in December, attracting skiers of all skill levels.


If you don’t ski, there are plenty of other activities for you to enjoy. You might visit the ski jumps where the 1936 Winter Olympics were held or take a gondola lift to the top of Zugspitze Mountain. Imagine what it would feel like to stand on top of the world and look across the snow-capped peaks, the sun making the snow-covered mountains sparkle. This is what it feels like on top of the Zugspitze. You’d better be sure to bundle up though because it can be pretty cold at 10,000 feet.

Visit a bakery for a famous pastry.

Visit a bakery for a famous pastry.


After you spend a crisp morning skiing or visiting sites, you can reenergize with some hearty German food. You might try the schnitzel (breaded veal cutlet) with fries and a hint of lemon or sample a variety of wurst (sausages) that look particularly appetizing. Each meal is bound to leave you satisfied and quite full.

Garmisch is also known for creating tasty treats in its bakeries, so skip dessert at the restaurant and walk down to the closest bakery for your sugar fix. You might try the Berliner, a delicious doughnut. President John F. Kennedy may have contributed to the fame of this doughnut when, on a visit to Berlin, he said, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” meaning “I am one with the people from Berlin.” Now many like to joke about the dual interpretation, claiming Kennedy admitted he was a jelly-filled doughnut!


As evening settles in, bundle up in warm clothes and take a stroll around the lit-up downtown to the Christkindlmarkt. This Christmas market typically operates from the end of November through Christmas Eve. Listen to the sounds of jolly accordion music dancing down the street, smell the irresistible aroma of candy-coated roasted almonds wafting through the crisp air, and admire the delicate handicrafts of local vendors.

Take a stroll through the Christmas market and admire the delicate handiwork of the locals.

Take a stroll through the Christmas market and admire the delicate handiwork of the locals.

It’s easy to see that the talent in this small town is impressive and that this is the place to find that perfect, one-of-a-kind souvenir. Local woodworkers carve Nativity sets, jewelry boxes, furniture, and intricate Christmas ornaments. One of the most popular German ornaments is the nutcracker, complete with a small string or handle you can move to open its jaw and crack walnuts. You can also admire the work of local seamstresses, who hand-stitch beautiful lace tablecloths and doilies.

No matter your interests, a visit to Garmisch-Partenkirchen is bound to delight. The breathtaking views, delicious meals, and magical Christmas-filled evenings will captivate you and leave you wanting more. Rather than gazing longingly at those postcard-worthy photos, plan your next December weekend in Garmisch.

Bonnie Brown

Photo credits (from top):
digital cat
Poul-Werner Dam