The Alpspitzbahn and AlspiX Viewing Platform, Garmisch, Germany

Posted on
May 5, 2014
Posted in: Attractions

It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Bavarian, and all Rand wanted to do was go to Garmisch. He wanted to sit in the sunshine in a picturesque Bavarian town and do nothing all morning, besides eating a pretzel or three.

“But we’ve been to Garmisch a dozen times,” I whined.

“That’s because Garmisch is amazing.”

And that’s fair: Garmisch is lovely. But I wanted to see what else this corner of Germany had to offer. So when my stepmother suggested we visit the AlpspiX – a viewing platform high up in the mountains, reachable only by cable car, I insisted we go there.

“For the blog,” I said. And poor Rand, he caved, even though all he really wanted to do was sit around. He is a good man.

A good, patient man who deserves lots of pretzels.

The drive from my father’s home to the Wetterstein Mountains, where the AlpspiX can be found, is as lovely as a postcard.

We arrived at the bottom station of the Alspitzbahn just as the cable car was about to leave, and managed to catch it without having to wait 20 minutes for the next one.

It was a 10-minute ride to the top station of Osterfeldekopf (elevation: 2050 m).  Even from the very start, the view is ridiculously beautiful, because Bavaria.

Honestly, all that was missing was a free-spirited nun and a bunch of adorable children dressed in curtains. It was lovely enough that I think that someone may have even started to forgive me about that whole skipping Garmisch thing.

And it wasn’t even like we were skipping it, because the tramway technically is within the border of Garmisch. And as you keep going higher …

And higher …

 

You can even see the little town in the distance!

Of course, someone was quick to point out that “seeing Garmisch on the horizon” and actually “visiting Garmisch” aren’t the same thing (also, there go my plans to “take” the entire family “to” Disneyland.)

Fortunately, at this point in the ride, everything out the window was pretty darn breathtaking:

Isn’t this just, like, 16 kinds of spectacular?

As soon we reached the top, I headed straight for the AlpspiX, and was kind of shocked to find that it wasn’t crammed with people. It consists of two platforms which cross over one another and extend well over the edge of the mountain.

I marched right out onto them.

Okay, calm down. It’s not wide open at the end – there’s glass.

The bottom, however, is just an open grate.

It was rather difficult for me to take a photo that properly illustrated how steep the cliff face below it was. The ground drops away sharply, you can easily see down for several hundred feet.

None of these photos really do it justice.

I took this from the cable car. Note: the snowy cliffside you see is actually in the foreground – the AlpspiX is much further from the ground than it appears here.

 –

When we first arrived, Rand was slightly more hesitant to walk onto the platform than I was.

Nor was he too enthused when I insisted he stay out there long enough to take a few photos with me.


Eventually, though, he got used to being up there.

He began to relax …

And I think he even started to enjoy it a little bit.

Unless you plan on skiing, there isn’t that much to do up in Osterbahnhopf.

We are not skiers.

Nor our we sunbathers.

We were told that there was a hiking trail that led to one of the other cable car stations, but we weren’t really dressed for it, so instead we just decided to enjoy the views.

I love how old-timey Rand looks in this photo.

We even got to spend a little time at the cafe, sitting in the sun, like Rand had wanted.

I offered to get him a beer but he said he wanted a cappuccino. It’s like I DON’T EVEN KNOW HIM ANYMORE.

And we finally got the pretzel he’d been craving. (I ate most of it.)

Though it wasn’t really how he’d wanted to spend the morning, I think Rand ended up enjoying himself.


Before we left, he even insisted we walk back out onto the Alpspix one last time.

I told him that on our next visit, I’d take him to Garmisch. This time, he’d have to settle for admiring it from afar.

I think he was okay with that.

—————

The Essentials on the AlpspiX and the Alpspitzbahn, Garmisch

  • Verdict: Maybe. The views are lovely, but the ticket price is a bit steep (for us, it was 35 Euros each, roundtrip, but this varies by season) for just the views. It’s well worth it if you spend the day hiking or skiing, though.
  • How To Get There: Rand and I took a rental car, and the drive, as you can see, is positively lovely. It’s just over an hour away from Munich.
  • Ideal For: outdoor adventurers, anyone who loves a fantastic view (and isn’t afraid of heights)
  • Insider Tips: there is another cable car just adjacent to this one that goes up to the Zugspitze (the tallest mountain in the Wetterstein range), but it’s pricier and the views aren’t much better. I’d stick with the Alpspitzbahn, and if you go in the spring, note that there will be lots of snow and sun. Dress in layers, wear sunblock, and bring your hiking shoes and camera.
  • Nearby Food: there’s a small cafe at top, but it’s a bit pricey. Opt for a snack there, but eat a proper lunch or breakfast down below (Garmisch has some good options)
  • Good for Kids: it is a mountaintop, so you’ll want to exercise some serious caution, especially with little ones who won’t come when called or who are prone to running off. But if everyone is able to stay up on skis, or can handle some trail hiking, it could be a great outing.

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