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Germany: Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Fresh, pure mountain air has made this one of the most popular health resorts in the Bavarian Alps. Unlike some of Europe's more glamorous resorts, it has a down-to-earth feel that is grounded in authentic culture. Locals often dress in traditional styles and many of the older buildings are decorated with beautiful frescoes that are often centuries old.

The imposing Zugspitz rises 2,966 meters (nearly 10,000 feet) from Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Skiers will find 115 kilometers (72 miles) of downhill runs, across all ability levels. With a multiresort pass, you can also use unconnected lift systems in the area. Three rail lines, several bus lines and excellent highways connect Garmisch-Partenkirchen with southern Bavaria and Munich, the capital.

Five minutes from the center of town, the Hotel Staudacherhof is a wellness hotel and golf resort. Contact: tel. + 49/8821/92 90

Gasthof Fraundorfer hosts an entertaining Bavarian Evening with music, Schuhplattler, jodels, and a traditional Bavarian menu. Contact: tel. +49/8821/92 70,

* Most of the information in this story comes from our colleagues at SkiEurope, a longtime winter tour operator that specializes in arranging custom packages for groups and individuals. Gemütlichkeit is personally acquainted with the company's knowledgeable and caring management, and unhesitatingly recommends its products and services. Visit or phone 800-333-5533, for information about 60 resorts in six countries and online tools that help travelers find the best ski resorts to match their interests.