Whether blanketed in snow or bathed in sunlight, Oberammergau has a magical setting. It nestles into one of the most stunning, unspoilt regions in Germany: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria. The imposing Bavarian Alps towers over the adorable gabled houses of Oberammergau.
The amazing wood-carving skills of Oberammergau natives came to be recognized as early as 1520. The locals have nurtured this gift and kept it alive even today. You can visit Pilatushaus (for free) to see an artist deep at work, and with patience and some luck, see a beautiful creation emerging out of a slab of wood. At the Pilatushaus workshop, artists also create beautiful drums, stained glass, and pottery. Everything produced here is available for sale, for those who wish to take home a little part of traditional Oberammergau. The Pilatushaus is a sight in itself, with its eye-popping façade painting for which Oberammergau is known.
The elegant structure of Parish Church St. Peter and Paul may seem simple from the outside, but its interior never fails to drop jaws. The church houses incredible frescoes created by the legendary Matthew Guenther born in 1705. The stunning ornate decoration of the church, and the statues and figures, is credited to Franz Xaver Schmädl. This church is not just a place of worship, but a celebration of art.
While the rest of the world paints its buildings, the people in Oberammergau create masterpieces out of them. In Oberammergau, you get to see unbelievably beautiful façade painting (Lüftlmalerei). Biblical scenes, peasant paintings, classic representations, and even fairy tales come alive in Lüftlmalerei. The most stunning examples of Lüftlmalerei in the region are Forsthaus, the Mußldomahaus and the Pilatushaus.
Back in 1634, the town of Oberammergau was hit by a devastating plague. The townsfolk vowed that they would perform the Passion of Christ once every ten years if that plague spared them. Over 380 years later, the promise is still kept, and how! Hundreds of locals put up an unforgettable show every last year of the decade, that is attended by over 500,000 people from all over the world. The show is complete with impeccable costumes and makeup, haunting music, brilliant scripts, and gorgeous settings. At other times, visitors can take a tour of the Passion theater.
While the views from the ground delight visitors, the views from the cable cars render them speechless. The Kolben-Chair-Lift whisks visitors from Oberammergau to the Kolbensattel at an altitude of 1,250 meters. Also, the historic Laber cable car brings visitors from the Oberammergauer district of St. Gregor to the peak of Oberammergau’s very own mountain peak, Laber, for gorgeous views, hiking and skiing.
As the golden sun shines down on Oberammergau, the entire town glows with the prospect of beautiful days and exciting activities. Oberammergau boasts of several scenic hiking and biking routes, while serious adrenaline-seekers can go mountain biking, mountain climbing, and paragliding. The WellenBerg Leisure and Fun Pool promises a great swim and a huge sand arena for ball games. The Alpine Coaster is a great idea for a whole lot of fun for the entire family.
In winter, blanketed in a thick layer of snow, Oberammergau transforms into a monochromatic magical land. This is also the time thrill-seekers head to Oberammergau for exciting winter activities, including skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snow hiking, and snowboarding.
While Oberammergau has enough charm to keep travelers happy for days, a few gems in its surroundings are not to be missed. The gorgeous Ettal Abbey resembling a castle just outside Oberammergau, and the ornate Linderhof Palace in the middle of a beautiful parkland a few minutes drive away from Oberammergau, are the most notable stops.