Rich in culture, history, and nature, Oberammergau is located in a verdant valley between Munich and the Austrian border. The Passion Play is the town’s big draw. Legend has it that the town was spared from the worst effects of the bubonic plague after a resident vowed to perform a play depicting the Passion of the Christ every 10 years. The tradition has persisted ever since.
If you’re a culture geek, check out the frescoes, the Oberammergau Museum, and the Pilatushaus, where artisans demonstrate the town’s wood carving techniques. Oberammergau features on numerous day trips from Munich—some itineraries include stops at nearby attractions such as Linderhof Palace and Ettal Abbey. The town is also popular with hikers and winter sports enthusiasts. And don’t forget to sample Bavarian delicacies like bratwurst, sauerkraut, and apple strudel.
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Things to Know Before You Go
The Passion Play takes place in German, though accompanying English texts are provided.
The 4,500-seat Passion Play Theatre is partly exposed, so wear layers.
For the most impressive panoramic views of the town, take a cable car to Kofel, the nearest mountain.
How to Get There
To get to Oberammergau from Munich (the closest major German city), take the train to Murnau, then transfer to the regional train to Oberammergau—about a 2-hour journey. If you’re driving from Munich, take the A95. The town is also a quick road trip from Innsbruck, Austria.
When to Get There
Oberammergau is busiest during Passion Play years. If you’re there in an off year, there’s no bad time to explore.
How to Attend the Oberammergau Passion Play
Oberammergau’s Passion Play dates to the 17th century, and attracts some 500,000 visitors to its stagings. As the play is held only once a decade (in years ending in a 0), it’s worth making plans in advance. Performances happen roughly 100 times between May and October, and you can purchase tickets and 2- or 3-day packages online.
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- Linderhof Castle
- Neuschwanstein Castle
- Hohenschwangau Castle
- Andechs Monastery
- Bavarian Alps
- Bavaria Filmstadt (Bavarian Film Studio)
- Hellabrunn Zoo (Tierpark Hellabrunn)
- Paulaner Brewery (Paulaner Brauerei München)
- Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg)
- Jewish Museum (Jüdisches Museum)
- Deutsches Museum
- Victuals Market (Viktualienmarkt)