Oberstdorf, not only Germany’s southernmost town, is a lovely pastoral town in the mighty Allgäu and a postcard-perfect dream.
If you know anything about South Germany then you know that it’s the more mountainous half of the country. And the southerner you go the more and higher peaks you’ll find.
Maybe this is why so many people flock to towns like Oberstdorf to hike the massive German Alps and so many of its other walking trails, and to breath in the fresh air from this health resort town.
However, Oberstdorf rolls up its proverbial sleeves when winter decides to make its annual appearance. This town welcomes more than two million visitors a year; and although they come in all four seasons, winter time is the climax here.
Winter is a great time to come to Oberstdorf because on top of its 200km of walking trails, 44km of Alpine trails, and mountainbiking trails, it has twenty (20!) ski lifts. Which showcases, once again, that skiing is a top priority in this town of only about 10,000 people. It’s also a place where you’ll find a diagonal elevator. Pretty cool, huh?
Whether you choose to take the cablecar or hike up to the summit of the local Nebelhorn mountain (2,224 meter), you’ll have one of the most breathtaking views of the Alps imaginable. The same could be said from the summit of Fellhorn (2,038 m), though no cablecar will take you there — you’re going to have to do it on leg power alone.
Other winter sports in Oberstdorf include figure skating, which professionals vie for the coveted Nebelhorn Trophy.
Oh, there’s also the very popular New Year Ski Jump Tournament every year. So now you know what those two big diagonal strange looking constructions in town are… These are ski jumping hills (Skiflugschanzen in German). ;-)
For other seasonal sightseeing come see Oberstdorf’s 15th century chapel, 17th century farmhouses, or sit and have a nice cup of coffee at one of the cafes within the Pedestrian District — while you watch famous looking faces passing by, where you think you known them from somewhere but can’t put your finger on from where exactly…
There’s also the obligatory Heimatmuseum (Local History Museum) to see and spas to relax at. For older folks like me, try one of the anti-aging and Kneipp treatments — they’re heavenly. You younger people, have a good time at the spa with any other type of massage.
The best festival is during Advent (oh, bringing us back to the colder months again). It’s got a Christmas theme with Lederhosen musicians playing festive tunes and shopping galore.
Everything in Oberstdorf leads back to the St. Johann church spire, that acts as the town’s landmark. This helps if you’re out walking the Alps, or you’ve had too many beers. ;-)