Garmisch-Partenkirchen became one big unhappy family in 1935, at the request of Adolf Hitler.
The town was going to host the 1936 Winter Olympics, and the 1100 year histories of Garmisch and Partenkirchen as independent villages did not stop Hitler from forcing them to unite.
Almost 80 years later you’d think that would be ancient history?
That the area is colloquially as Garmisch, implying that Partenkirchen is the lesser of the two towns, still upsets native Partenkircheners. And both towns have tried to keep their unique spirit, so you will notice that Garmisch is more sleek and modern, while Partenkirchen has more cobblestones, half-timbers and old churches.
Of course, no one is in this town to play compare and contrast. Not by a long shot! Visitors flood Garmisch-Partenkirchen because of the high quality winter sports offerings. All throughout the year you can go skiing, try snowboarding, do ski jumping or simply hike through the hills of the mountain peaks. Hikers will want to take in the views of the surrounding areas from the Zugspitze, which is the highest mountain in Germany.
The winter fun kicks off on New Year’s Day, with the annual ski jumping contest, a part of the Four Hills tournament. Many of the Ski World races and competitions are held here, usually on the Kandahar Run just outside town.
One major upcoming event will be the 2011 Alpine World Ski Championships — locals have a countdown clock set up in Richard Strauss Plaza already! Also, if Garmisch-Partenkirchen succeeds in their bid, the 2018 Winter Olympics will be held here.
There are five valley runs operating, and they can be flooded with artificial snow in as little as 70 hours. Men’s and women’s ski runs were redone in 2008, so you can really treat yourself to first-class facilities now.
Also, even if you don’t want to ski or are tired, you can do some wonderful people watching here as all the major ski sports champions from Europe seem to be in Garmisch-Partenkirchen at least once a season.