Germany’s Munich is well known for its lively beer halls, street cafes, and lederhosen-clad thigh slappers, but more important to all of us, Munich is also an ideal destination for skiers wishing to access resorts in Austria and Germany, not to forget Italy and Switzerland?
Garmisch Classic, Wilder Kaiser-Brixental, Zugspitze, Kitzbuehel and Zillertal are all within two hours’ driving distance of Munich Airport. For more information on this important Lufthansa Airlines hub.
There are plenty of advantages to flying into Munich Airport and taking off to ski and ride from there. Airmundo.com, an airport guide website, writes “Munich Airport is a huge international airport, so looking for a good flight is not a problem. You can fly to Munich from any airport in the world.
“There some disadvantages of such a big airport, like longer waits for luggage and ski equipment and there is a great deal of traffic around the terminal. So, what? Those ski resorts are close and that’s what we care about. Convenient transfers to ski resorts are even easier than driving.
Ski resorts within two hours of Munich Airport:
Garmisch Classic, Germany: 120km/1hr25 from Munich Airport
Garmisch Classic has more than 60km of terrain divided into two areas: 21km of long, easy runs on the Zugspitze glacier (2962m) and more challenging, tree-lined terrain lower down the mountain (700-2050m).
The snow-sure glacier has spectacular views and a number of long runs ideal for intermediates. More advanced skiers will find some excellent, challenging descents through the trees – enough to keep them happy for several days. The resort has good-value hotels and a number of cheap eateries.
From Munich Airport: By car take the A95 followed by the B2 road to Garmisch. Alternatively, a regional train runs hourly from Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental, Austria: 140km/1hr45 from Munich Airport
Austria’s largest linked ski area, Wilder Kaiser, has 280km of ski slopes and four villages: Ellmau, Going, Sheffau and Söll. It is a paradise for beginners and intermediates with plenty of gentle, tree-lined cruisers.
Ellmau is a traditional ski village well-suited to families and beginners. So too are the smaller, idyllic villages of Going and Scheffau. Those looking for lively nightlife should head to the larger village of Söll.
From Munich Airport: By car, take the A12 Munich – Rosenheim – exit at Kufstein Süd – or to exit Wörgl Ost via the new fast road and all the villages at SkiWelt can be quickly reached. Alternatively, the villages of Hopfgarten, Brixen and Westendorf each have a direct railway station. The villages of Ellmau, Going, Scheffau, Söll and Itter are easily reached from the Wörgl, Kufstein or St. Johann train stations.
Zugspitze, Germany: 160km/2hrs from Munich Airport
The Zugspitze is Germany’s highest peak (2962m) and is home to three glaciers and Germany’s highest ski resort. The 20km of pistes have reliable snow cover and are open to skiers six months of the year. From 2962m, take in the impressive 360-degree panorama over 400 mountain peaks spanning four different countries. You’ll also find two toboggan runs, Germany’s highest church, an igloo village and mountain restaurants.
From Munich Airport: By car take the A95 followed by the B2 road to Garmisch then on to Eibsee. Or take the hourly regional train from Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Once you arrive at Garmisch-Partenkirchen station it is a short walk to the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn station from where you can purchase a ticket to Eibsee. Once you arrive in Eibsee, you can decide if you will continue up the mountain by train or by cable car.
Kitzbuehel, Austria: 170km/1hr50 from Munich Airport
A firm favourite with Brits, Kitzbuehel is a charming medieval town with an extensive, varied ski area and vibrant nightlife. Kitzbuehel’s Hahnenkamm downhill race at the end of January is the most exciting on the World Cup circuit. But this resort is no one-slope wonder – its diverse terrain straddles several mountains and offers access to the vast Wilder Kaiser Brixental SkiWelt area. All ski levels are well catered for here and freeriders will often find plenty of untracked powder due to the number of non-skiing attractions on offer. The only downside is the low altitude, although snowmaking is fairly extensive.
From Munich Airport: By car take the A8 towards Salzburg – A93 towards Kufstein – exit Kurfstein Sud – B178 towards St. Johann in Tirol – B161 towards Kitzbuehel. Alternatively Austrian Railways runs trains between Munich Airport and Kitzbuehel.
Zillertal, Austria: 180km/1hr45 from Munich Airport
The vast Zillertal Arena is made up of 139km of slopes and extends from the village Zell am Zillertal via Gerlos to Wald-Königsleiten and Krimml-Hochkrimml. A couple of the most popular villages in Zillertal include family-friendly Zell am Ziller, an idyllic village with a good beginner area, and Gerlos at the centre of the Zillertal Arena, with ski-in/out accommodation, a snowpark and a popular apres-ski scene.
From Munich Airport: Take the A12 Inntalautobahn (Inn Valley Motorway), Exit “Zillertal”, Federal Highway B169 or drive toll-free over Achensee. Or by train from the airport, take the DB / ÖBB-EC to Jenbach /Tyrol. From there take the Zillertalbahn to the terminus in Mayrhofen. From there, continue with the bus to all villages in Zillertal.
Drive a bit further from the airport (3-4 hours) and you won’t go wrong at Lech (3 hours); Mayrhofen (2.5 hours) and Saalbach (4 hours).