Oberstdorf owes its fame to the Four Hills Tournament. The town is home to one of the event's four ski jumps, and it was here that Sven Hannawald won the first of his four jumps in the 50th tournament, held in 2001-2002. His four victories put paid to the myth that it was only possible to win three jumps. Oberstdorf is winter sports: the town is considered to be the largest site for hiking and mountain sports on the northern flank of the Alps.
Getting here, and getting into the mood
It's easy to get to this picturesque corner of southern Bavaria with DB Regio's local trains. The station is in the heart of the town, so every place of interest is just a short walk away. That fantastic holiday feeling starts even before you get to Oberstdorf, as the train passes through the beautiful landscape of the Allgäu region, with its many mountains and lakes.
Must-sees in the town
The very first sight on your itinerary is waiting for you when you get off the train: the Wildes Mändle statue just outside the station. Local legends feature the "wild man", known as a woodwose in English. He is a kind of primitive being that lived in the wilderness of the mountains and forests. To this day, Oberstdorf hosts its traditional woodwose dance every five years.
Now, walk south along Hauptstrasse for 10 minutes to reach the Oberstdorf Haus events complex in the centre of town. Its tourist office will provide you with all the information you need for a perfect day in the mountains and valley.
If you want to remain in the valley, take a walk around the old town to discover what it has in store. We have picked out three highlights for you, all just a five-minute walk apart. The folk museum is just a short stroll from the tourist office. Occupying an old 17th century farmhouse, it takes you back in time and also contains the world's largest ski boot – size 480! The next stop is the church of St John the Baptist, which belongs to the southernmost parish in Germany. Finally, make your way to Villa Jauss for a taste of art. Built to look like a Tuscan mansion, this wooden gallery houses works that range from photography to fine art, with something for every taste[AJ1] .
If you want to spend your trip to Oberstdorf in the great outdoors, pack your hiking boots and get ready for a trek with magnificent views. The town's website contains a great list of different hiking trails, all offering something different. You can take one of the four mountain railways up the slopes surrounding the town. Visit one of the traditional farmhouses, known locally as Alpen, located high among the peaks. They make traditional Allgäu mountain cheese. The German term, Allgäuer Bergkäse, is now a protected product name, which means it may only be produced in certain parts of this region. One thing you really must see is the breathtaking Breitach gorge, a good hour's trek from the centre of Oberstdorf. You can also take the bus to get there – the Walsertal line runs from the town's bus station to the upper entrance to the gorge, located at Walserschanz road, while the Tiefenbach line goes to the lower entrance. Your Bayern-Ticket is valid on both buses. The famous ski jump at the Audi Arena is just 20 minutes' walk away from the town centre.
Allgäu's lip-smacking specialities
The Allgäu region is a very special part of Bavaria and has its own traditional dishes. The best known include Kasspatzn, a cheese-covered noodle dish, Krautkrapfen, a rolled savoury pancake filled with sauerkraut and ham, and the aromatic mountain cheese from the area's many family-run businesses. If you want to stop for a hearty meal, we can recommend Das Jagdhaus (Ludwigstrasse 13, just around the corner from the folk museum) or one of the restaurants in the mountain huts above the valley, such as Berggasthof Riefenkopf. Your train home gives you one last view of the Alps as you think back over your day in and around Oberstdorf. The station is an easy walk from the centre of the town: go to Marktplatz square and just follow Hauptstrasse.
A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and a perfect spot for simply relaxing: Oberstdorf has a lot more to offer than the winter sports it's famous for. Don't miss out!