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Zugspitze from Innsbruck

Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 12:39 AM
  #1  
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Zugspitze from Innsbruck

I know that this won't be a black and white answer but is it worth the travel to visit Zugspitze (and Garmisch Partenkirchen) instead of some of the mountains closer to Innsbruck? We don't ski so this would be purely for sightseeing and would be in December. We have also considered splitting our stay in the area between Innsbruck and Mittenwald but with unpredictable weather wondering whether it would be best to be in Innsbruck where there are more options for doing things indoors. Any advice would be really welcome.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 02:06 AM
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In short, no. There are two tall mountains with gondolas easily accessible right from Innsbruck. Nordkette to the north, and Patscherkofel just outside of town to the south, at the village of Igls.
At Mittenwald there are 2 ski resorts as well.

In December high up on any of the mountains will be snow covered, with excellent vistas of the Alps. The chances of Zugspitze being cloud covered are greater than elsewhere due to the height.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 04:42 AM
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Hi dreamon,

Well, yes, it can be done. People do it all the time from Munich, and Innsbruck is a little closer to Garmisch than Munich is. Of course, whether it's a wise use of time is another issue, as there are mountains that are closer to Innsbruck.

You can use the Deutsch Bahn website to check the schedules -- basically it will take 3h to get from Innsbruck to the Zugspitze glacier (where the skiing is), and after you enjoy the views, you can take the cable car to the summit.

You'll need to be watching the weather and live-cams to make sure the summit isn't obscured by clouds. If you will have a smart phone, you can download the Zugspitze app, and be looking at the live cams before you get onto the cog-wheel train.

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 01:27 PM
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Thank you very much, J62 and Swandav. Is transport etc to Zugspitze open all year around (e.g. on Christmas Eve/Day)? As with any holiday, we are having trouble fitting everywhere we want to visit into the time available so leaning towards skipping Zugspitze for this holiday. We'll talk tonight with the information you've provided and make a decision about it and also about Mittenwald. I would love to stay in Mittenwald (rather than visit for the day) but there are obvious logistical advantages in staying in fewer hotels/apartments. It's still a long way off but we have to make some reservations for the Christmas period fairly soon I suspect. Thanks again for your help.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2019, 09:05 PM
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Hi again,

Yes, the trip up the Zugspitze runs every day, *especially* on Christmas Eve and Day. That is super-high ski season, and the mountain will be jumping!

The only times it closes is if there are unsafe high winds (has happened maybe 2x in the 10 years I've lived here) or for maintenance. When there is maintenance on the cable car, the cog-wheel train picks up the slack, and vice-versa. But they schedule the maintenance for the very lowest part of the tourist season, in May or November.

Have fun!

s
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 01:10 AM
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Thank you, swandav, really looking forward to visiting.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 05:10 AM
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If anyone watches Netflix show travels with my father, season 2 episode 1, they go to the top on a foggy day but the ice bar looked fun. I wished they had filmed on a clear day.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 06:28 AM
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In some ways the weather will be quite predictable - it will be winter, and cold. It may be cloudy or you may luck out and get sunny days. There will be snow on all the mountains (maybe not in the Inn valley), and it'll be cold, very cold at the top of any of the mountains. The higher you go (Zugspitze) the colder/windier it'll be.

Cold weather does not keep locals inside, even those that don't ski. Walking along hike/bike paths or along flat hiking trails is a 4 season option. I think you've asked youself the key question - what will we do outside vs inside while you're there. I'm not familiar with Mittenwald to know how you'd pass your time.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 11:35 AM
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Normally I'd say yes, but, if it's a three hour journey each way not including the cable car (I've not checked the schedule myself, but I certainly trust Swandav on this) it may not be a wise choice in December, as days are so short.

As you know dreamon, we often travel to Switzerland, Germany and Austria in December - the weather doesn't slow us down much (if at all), but the lack of daylight certainly does.

I've visited the Zugspitze more than once in December, having wonderful weather each time, but I've not had to spend three hours each way to get there.

We've also spent time in Mittenwald, Innnsbruck and Garmisch in December on multiple trips, (the most recent in Dec 2018). We never have trouble keeping ourselves busy, despite the weather. We fell in love with Innsbruck though and there are certainly more indoor options there (including a wonderful wine bar I can recommend!), Swarosvki, numerous cafes, the Markthalle, etc. And of course 5-6 Christmas Markets and some pretty wonderful views.

Last edited by Melnq8; Apr 24th, 2019 at 11:44 AM.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 11:44 AM
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But, FWIW, we did have some less-than-ideal viewing weather in Seefeld in early December 2018.


Seefeld, Austria, December 2018

Last edited by Melnq8; Apr 24th, 2019 at 11:56 AM.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 11:55 AM
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And some lovely views days later in Innsbruck:


Innsbruck, December 2018
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 01:37 PM
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Thank you everyone for sharing your information. We have allowed ourselves up to 6 nights in Innsbruck/Mittenwald before heading to Salzburg for 4 nights.

I agree with you, melnq8, that we'll definitely feel the short days, especially coming from summer in Australia, probably more than the cold weather. I'd love to hear about that wine bar. I love going out for a glass before dinner.

J62, if we have to choose between visiting Patscherkofel and Nordkette, which would you recommend? And which is easier to reach by public transport (if that makes a difference). We'd love to do some short-ish winter hikes while in Austria - we've never hiked in snow before.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 01:46 PM
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Vinvum.in - Innsbruck Markthalle. Tiny, relaxed, with views overlooking the Inn River.

https://invinum.com/

I've just finished writing up that particular installment in my trip report, which I'm wondering if I'm ever going to finish (halfway through Austria!).

We liked the Hirtl One in Red, dense and delicious.

Last edited by Melnq8; Apr 24th, 2019 at 01:55 PM.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 03:05 PM
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Thanks for the wine bar recommendation, Melnq8. Will definitely check it out. I'm looking forward to reading your Austrian trip report. The photos you've shared above are great.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 04:05 PM
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Unless you want to see the Olympic sites like bobsled & ski jumping which are at Igls (base of Patscherkofel), then I'd recommend Nortkette. The whole range is south facing which means you can sit out on the deck with a bier and enjoy the sun, even in winter. The picture Mel posted is facing the Nordkette from the city.

It is easily accessible by public transportation. You take the new (2007) Hungerburgbahn from downtown up to the base of the gondola, then ride up from there. This new one is a 1mi route and replaced the old Hungerburgbahn which was a 100 yr old funicular railway that ran from the river straight up to the gondola. Last time I was there that's how I would travel for a day skiing (winter), or figln (spring) (look it up on youtube). There used to be a bus directly from town to the gondola as well. Not sure what's running now.

I am sure you can take a bus from Innsbruck to Igls but it's a longer ride.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 06:49 PM
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Thanks heaps, J62. A beer in the sun in beautiful surroundings is more my thing than bobsled and ski jumping so that sounds perfect. I'll cross my fingers for kind weather.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 09:12 PM
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Hi All,

I hesitate to add more info...don't want to seem like I am recommending this long excursion to the Zugspitze.

But for clarity, I want to say that it takes 1h30 just to get from Garmisch to the Zugspitze glacier, so half of that 3h travel time includes the first ascent.. It is only (well..."only"!) 1h30 to get from Innsbruck to Garmisch. On the return, the travel time is a bit less, as I suppose s/he would take the fast cable car down to the Eibsee and then the Eibsee bus back to Garmisch. So it's not 3h to begin the mountain ascent, but including it.

s
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