To travel solo is to have no one telling you what to do.
This is great until you miss doing something because you hadn't committed to doing it with anyone but yourself. This is the type of thing that would happen to me regarding a sunrise.
Yes, the evening before, the notion of getting up to see the sun rise over Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany, would be very enticing. But, at 4:30am, I suspect that I would hit the alarm, roll over and mentally excuse myself from an itinerary that no one was monitoring.
Fortunately, when I was in the Zugspitzarena in the Tyrolean Alps of Austria, I was on a schedule controlled by others. The result was a spectacular sunrise and lost sleep that I did not regret for a moment.
Solo Travel Rise and Shine for Zugspitze
I was in the Zugspitzarena thanks to Tyrol Tourism staying near Biberwier, Austria. It's right on the border with Germany and, interestingly, provides the access to Germany's highest peak.
There were four of us on this small tour. Our bus was scheduled to pick us up at 5:30am. It was also our last day in the area so we had to be ready with bag packed and checked out as well. The schedule was barely kept and the four of us arrived at the gondola just in time.
The ride up the mountain was in the dark. People were quiet – a combination of the early hour and a sense that this was a rare opportunity to commune with mother nature. At the top, people spread out to three platforms to take in the view.
Having risen for the occasion I was ready for the sun to shine. But, as you can see from the photos, it is not a fast process. The sun has a sense of drama at that time of day. It filled the sky with color, shifting and changing, before actually showing itself. I shifted too, from one platform to the next to see which view was best. And I didn't just look at the sunrise. I turned to look at it's affect on the mountains which began in the dark, then gained a hint of deep orange and finally turned almost pink.
If I had not gone, I would not really have cared. I wouldn't have known what I missed. But, truly, I was glad that I did go. It's a beautiful travel moment that I will not soon forget.
To get to the top of Zugspitze for the sunrise, 2952 meters, you need to buy the Z-ticket which is 67Euros. You can download a brochure here. Be aware of the temperature up high. There was snow when were were there yet I packed for 20 degree temperature. Fortunately, our guide outfitted me with warm shoes and hiking socks.