One of Germany’s natural wonders lies just around the corner from the twin towns of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps.
The Partnachklamm is a spectacular 700m gorge that frames a surging white-water river.
You can walk the length of the gorge along a pathway cut into the limestone rock just a few metres above the river.
Walk the line
GORGE-OUS: A waterfall flowing into
You weave through pitch-black tunnels and emerge into daylight to gaze up at waterfalls feeding into the gorge from 80m above.
It’s best to go on a sunny day to see the sunbeams play off the rocks and falling water.
The power of the water is amazing – it flows down from melted glacial snow ice and snow produced by a slow-dying ice-age glacier, the Schneeferner, further up in the Alps.
The gorge is equally spectacular in winter, but for a different reason.
Ice from the waterfalls freezes the walls of the gorge into a wonderland stalactites.
You can also cross the top of the gorge on the Eisernen Brücke
(Iron Bridge), which was built back in 1914.
Take a raincoat if you have one in any season, or be prepared to get a little wet from dripping water.
Compared to Neuschwanstein this palace was tiny. And quiet. Only a few groups of tourists were lingering at the long pool in the forecourt. It’s an incredibly peaceful setting nestled in a valley at the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. Ahh…the serenity! So much serenity.
The Partnachklamm in numbers
Visitors per year: about 200,000
Length of the gorge: 699m (2293ft)
Length of the tunnel sections: 247m (810ft)
Height of the highest rock wall: 86m (282m)
Height of the Iron Bridge (Eisernen Brücke): 68m (23ft)
Average height of the gorge: 80m (262ft)
Why stop there?
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: The
Konigshaus am Schachen
makes a nice extension to a trip to the gorge.
Visiting the gorge is enough of a reason by itself to make a day trip from Munich.
But there’s plenty of things to see you want to explore a bit further from the far side of the gorge.
A good option to round out a full-day’s hike is the Konigshaus am Schachen
, a little-known cottage built by King Ludwig II further up into the mountains.
It’s a good three to four hours past the gorge.
If you’re very ambitious you can even climb all the way to the summit of Germany’s highest peak, the Zugspitze
It which soars 2962m (9718ft) over Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This trek takes at least eight hours, so count on bedding down at the guesthouse on the summit
Details for visiting the gorge
GO TOPO: Part of a
topographical map of
the gorge. Find links to
more maps below.
summer 8am to 6pm, winter 9am to 5pm.
The gorge is open seven days a week, all year round - except for a while in spring (March or April) when melting snow makes the pathway too wet and dangerous.
The official website here
is only in German.
Adults €2, children €1.50
Directions to the Partnachklamm
From the Garmisch-Partenkirchen train station you can catch local bus No.1 or 2. to the gorge, jump on a horse-drawn carriage or take a 40-minute walk.
Follow Bahnhof Strasse directly out from the station and turn left at Reintal Strasse, follow it to the end to get the Olympic ski jump (Große Olympiaschanze).
Walk around the stadium and follow the signs to reach the Partnachklamm.
Hiking maps of the gorge and beyond
• Here’s a topographical map of the area around the gorge: see the map
• This interactive map lets you roll over the different routes around the gorge and a few guesthouses and kiosks you can hike to on its far side: see the map
• And this great map
shows hiking routes around Garmisch-Partenkirchen, including those leading up to the Konigshaus am Schachen. see the map
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