Oberammergau will forgive you for letting your eyes wander. There’s quite a lot to see! On one hand you have the natural beauty of the German Alps, and on the other hand you have the painted frescoes on the houses.
The Lüftlmalerei, as the frescoes are known, are painted right onto the fronts of the houses. It makes it feel a bit like you’ve stepped into an animated version of the German countryside, as famous fairy tales and religious stories are illustrated in life sized color. The frescoes are freshened up regularly, and the houses are good picture points.
Historical tales are also represented in full scale in Oberammergau, especially once each decade in remembrance of a 400 year old pact with God for good health. If you are lucky enough to be in the area (in 2010, 2020, etc), you can see the world-famous Oberammergau Passion Play, which stars over 2,000 village members.
By the way, they prepare for almost a year in advance to entertain over 500,000 people, so quite worth seeing!
Of course, even if you don’t make an official performance, the Oberammergau museum has a number of displays from the show. They also highlight area woodcarvings and glass paintings, known as Hinterglasbilder.
In addition to the indoor attractions, the riverside and mountains call you outside for hiking, climbing, and skiing. In the summer you can do some water sports, too, but it’s mostly about trekking and winter sports here. Spring and fall do bring traditional outdoor events you won’t want to miss, however.
On August 24th, for example, you will want to do the Kofel mountain trail. At the top of the mountain on this day the locals have a special bonfire party to celebrate King Ludwig II’s birthday. The views from the top of Kofel over the valley are incredible all year, and word has it that the party is pretty amazing, too!