We enjoy a journey on the narrow-gauge Zugspitze
Railway on some of our tours. The line takes us from the
charming Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen on an 11-mile
journey to the peak of Germany's highest mountain - overcoming a
height difference of 2,897ft.
On leaving Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the electric train runs
through the gentle countryside surrounding the town, including
flat, fertile farmland and glorious meadows. Continuing past a
scattering of small villages, the line begins its ascent; about
four miles from Garmisch the train begins to use a rack-and-pinion
system to negotiate the steep gradient.
From the base of the mountain, the scenery becomes ever-more
dramatic, with the spiky, snow-covered peaks towering over dense
patches of woodland below. After pausing at Eibsee station, our
journey continues into the mountains, using a series of wide curves
to gain height. Zugspitze Railway then passes
through Höllental or 'Hell Valley' named for its dramatic slopes
and narrow gorge that made climbing the mountain difficult. We then
run through an area thick with pine trees before disappearing onto
a long tunnel built to protect the railway from the most extreme
weather. We emerge near the summit of Zugspitze, where the views
out over Bavaria and Austria are incredible.