Near the Austrian border, and the gateway to Germany's highest peak, the nearly 10,000-foot-high Zugspitze, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
first became famous around the world when it hosted the fourth Winter Olympic Games. Before then, Garmisch and the cobblestoned Partenkirchen had been separate villages and each still retains different atmospheres-Garmisch having a reputation as the livelier of the two.
More than a century ago an Englishwoman built herself an "English Castle," just outside of town. Today it houses Das Kranzbach spa hotel.
The early-20th-century landmarked Schloss Elmau spa hotel is reason enough to travel to the Bavarian Alps. Its setting, at 3,300 feet high in the Wetterstein Mountains, makes for a fairytale scene in all seasons, whether the nearby hills are covered in snow or wildflowers.
High up on the Zugspitze peak, and reachable by cable car, the Gletschergarten restaurant offers diners traditional dishes and stunning views. In the heart of Garmisch, the menus reflect what is at the peak of freshness at Koch's as well as at nearby Vaun restaurants.
King Ludwig II is famous for his Neuschwanstein confection of a castle, but of the three palaces he commissioned, the only one that was actually completed was the rococo Linderhof Palace with its fanciful rooms and splendid fountains. The AlpspiX is a high-design viewing platform high up in the local mountains, reachable by cable car.
Tip: The home and lifestyle accessories line Alpenterieur is the brainchild of local artist and muralist Bernhard Rieger whose themes reflect mountain life rendered in modern design.