An Alpine Adventure and the Oberammergau Passion Play
20 Magnificent Days
- Best seats for the Passion Play
- Leisurely 2, 3 & 4 night stays
- Small group size from just 10 to 28
- Genuinely inclusive, no extra costs
- Designed for Australians & New Zealanders
- 'My Time' guaranteed
Discover the breathtaking scenery of the French and Swiss Alps from the remarkable Aiguille du Midi, to the meadows of the Bernese Oberland, climb high into the mountains to the Jungfraujoch, see Zermatt and the mighty Matterhorn, ride across the breathtaking Alps on the Glacier Express and explore delightful Lake Garda. Explore Innsbruck, Bavaria’s ‘fairytale’ castles and experience the extraordinary Oberammergau Passion Play!
- Stay 3 nights in Chamonix under the shadow of the Mont Blanc massif
- Explore the Swiss city of Geneva and see the Jet d’Eau fountain
- Experience two incredible mountain rides – a cable car to the top of the stunning Aiguille du Midi (3,842 metres high!) & the famous ‘Little Red Train’ up to Montenvers station
- Visit the exclusive, chic ski resort town of Megeve and enjoy a guided tour of the delightful lakeside town of Annecy
- Stay 3 nights in a superb spa hotel in Grindelwald
- Drive over the spectacular Forclaz Pass
- Enjoy a guided tour of Byron’s Château de Chillon in Montreux
- Explore hilltop Gruyères, one of the great sights of Europe
Take the incredible funicular train up to the Jungfraujoch, explore the Ice Palace, look down on the massive Aletsch Glacier
- Visit lovely lakeside Luzern and wander the medieval cobblestoned streets of Bern
- Stay 2 nights in the stunning village of Zermatt with views of the mighty Matterhorn
- Visit Lauterbrunnen, in the magnificent ‘Valley of the Waterfalls’ and see the thundering Trummelbach Falls inside a mountainside
- Experience the spectacular scenery of ‘Le Valais’ and enjoy a day free to explore the chic mountain resort of Zermatt and surrounding areas
- Stay 2 nights in a chalet style hotel in the mountain resort of Klosters
- Ride in panoramic carriages on the amazing Glacier Express, passing over chasms and through the mighty Alps
- Explore Chur, Switzerland’s oldest village
- Stay 4 nights beside stunning Lake Garda and enjoy lunchtime in centuries old Bolzano
- Spend a day at leisure exploring the lakeside port and villages of Lake Garda
- Enjoy a guided tour of Romeo and Juliet’s Verona
- Enjoy a morning visit to historical Salo and a wine tasting & lunch at the Redaelli de Zinis wine estate
- Stay 2 nights in the cobblestoned city of Innsbruck and see the famous Golden Roof and visit the pretty town of Hall - the oldest in the Austrian Tyrol
- Drive over the stunning Fern Pass into the Bavarian mountains, visit Füssen & Ludwig’s ‘fairytale’ Neuschwanstein Castle
- Relax in the ancient medieval town of Füssen and visit the most beautiful church in Europe, Wieskirche - the ‘Church in the Meadows’
- Your ‘grand finále’ - stay 2 nights in selected 4 star accommodation and enjoy Category 1 ‘best in house’ seating for the marvellous Oberammergau Passion Play
DAY 1: Zurich welcome
Your tour commences this evening in Zurich. Join us tonight for a welcome drink before dinner. This is an ideal chance to meet, and get to know, your Tour Manager and fellow travellers.
Swissotel or similar
DAY 2: Geneva and Chamonix
We arrive in Geneva around lunch time. You will have time at leisure to explore Switzerland’s second largest city and once home of the Red Cross. Make sure you take a walk along the beautiful foreshore of Lake Léman (Lake Geneva) to see the city’s symbolic 140 metre high Jet d’Eau fountain which is set offshore in the lake. Crossing back into France we continue deep into the heart of the mighty French Alps and the Chamonix Valley in the Haute Savoie, to Chamonix, where we stay the next three nights. Set at an altitude of 1000 metres, and surrounded by a dozen world class ski resorts, Chamonix is the world capital of skiing and mountaineering.
Le Refuge des Aiglons or similar
DAY 3: Aiguille du Midi and the ‘Sea of Ice’
Today we have included not one, but two incredible mountain rides. The first, arguably one of the world’s greatest mountain rides, is by cable car up to the very tip of the Aiguille du Midi - the ‘Needle of Midday’. At an altitude of 3842 metres (12,605ft) you are seemingly within reach of Mont Blanc and the views across the French, Italian and Swiss Alps are astounding. The second ride is on the famous ‘Little Red Train’ – a funicular railway that follows a scenic route through the forests of conifers up to Montenvers station. Soaring high above you is the spike of the Drus Mountain and the massive rock wall of the Grands Jorasse. Filling the valley below you is France’s largest Glacier, the ‘Mer du Glace’ or ‘Sea of Ice’. You can even take a cable car (subject to opening) down to explore the hand carved ice caves, beautifully illuminated deep inside this glacier*. The less adventurous can of course relax in Montenvers panoramic restaurant or enjoy an afternoon at leisure exploring the shops and boutiques of lovely Chamonix.
* From the foot of the cable car you need to go down a large number of steps to access the ice caves entrance.
DAY 4: Chic Megeve and lakeside Annecy
First stop this morning will be in the exclusive, chic ski resort of Megeve. Running from the delightful cobblestoned central square, the main pedestrian street is lined with medieval buildings, al fresco cafés and some hideously expensive designer boutiques. The rest of the day will be in the delightful French lakeside town of Annecy. A local guide will show us around the cobblestoned streets, half-timbered and beautifully painted houses that sit beside picturesque canals which are criss-crossed with stone bridges. With a back drop of mountains and the turquoise lake, the Vieille Ville (Old Town) is incredibly pretty.
DAY 5: Château de Chillon, Montreux and Gruyères
Driving over the spectacular Forclaz Pass into Switzerland we reach Montreux. Our first stop will be to enjoy a guided tour through Château de Chillon. Made famous in Byron’s poem ‘The Prisoner of Chillon’, this 13th century fortress juts out imposingly into Lake Geneva. The rest of the morning is at leisure on the grand lakeside promenade and foreshore of Montreux. In the afternoon we visit the fortified village of Gruyères, which rises out of the flat valley floor, perched on top of a steep rocky hill. The broad cobblestoned main street, flanked by centuries old houses, is an astounding time capsule and one of the great sights of Europe. Later we drive deep into the heart of the Bernese Oberland to Grindelwald where we stay the next three nights. Grindelwald is known the world over for its dramatic setting surrounded by massive snow covered peaks and meadows. The views of the north face of the Eiger are exceptional! The village is full of restaurants, cafés and shops.
Sunstar Hotel or similar
DAY 6: Jungfrau mountain ride & ‘My Time’ in Grindelwald
Boarding a local train we climb high into the mountains to Kleine Scheidegg. Changing on to the Jungfrau Railway we travel into a tunnel which takes us through the inside of the north face of the Eiger, and up to the Jungfraujoch – the highest rail station in Europe. At 3,454 metres (11,332 ft) the views down onto the Aletsch Glacier are magnificent. You will find several restaurants, an Ice Palace and the Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven display. You can also take a lift another 100 metres higher to the dramatic Sphinx lookout point. Your afternoon is entirely free for you to enjoy the spectacular Swiss scenery. Perhaps go for a walk in the hills or catch a train to explore nearby Interlaken.
DAY 7: Lakeside Luzern and medieval Bern
Our morning will be spent at leisure exploring the lovely lakeside town of Luzern with its quaint old town and the famous Chapel and Mill wooden bridges which cross the river. In the afternoon we set off to explore the medieval cobblestoned streets of Bern. A UNESCO World Heritage Listed landmark, this capital city is set on a spectacular bend above the River Aare, and boasts kilometres of sheltered arcaded shopping ways, an intriguing clock tower and the famous ‘Bärengraben’ bear pits.
DAY 8: Lauterbrunnen, Trummelbach Falls and Zermatt
Our first stop of the day will be in the nearby delightful village of Lauterbrunnen. Set spectacularly with 1000 foot sheer cliffs rising either side, this valley is often called the ‘Valley of the Waterfalls’ – these are the cliffs that James Bond keeps leaping off when he is being chased by the baddies. Here we visit the unusual Trummelbach Falls. Taking a funicular up inside the cliff face we then walk through the mountain caverns that are still being carved by these ‘living waterfalls’ which thunder right beside us, down through the inside of the mountain. An extraordinary sight and sensation! Later we drive through spectacular scenery into ‘Le Valais’ and Taesch where we catch a cog railway train up to the world-famous alpine resort of Zermatt. Set at an altitude of 1620 metres (5315 feet), the village is surrounded by a dozen huge peaks and dominating all is the mighty Matterhorn. Petrol-driven vehicles are banned from the village and as such the peace and quiet enhances the beauty of the wooden chalets and small winding village streets. Stunning!
Hotel National or similar
DAY 9: ‘My Time’ in Zermatt
Today has been left free for you to explore the town, walk on the well sign posted hiking trails to mountain restaurants and waterfalls, and relax in the crisp clean air. Alternatively pamper yourself in the hotel’s excellent indoor pool, spa and wellness centre. Looking for another classic mountain ride? The Sunnegga Paradise cable car is situated right beside the hotel, or maybe jump on the nearby funicular train which takes you up to the Gornergrat station and terraced restaurant with its massive views across to the Matterhorn. Alternatively if you want to spend a day skiing, maybe catch a cable car ride up the Kleine (little) Matterhorn, where there are twenty-five kilometres of pistes and eight ski lifts which remain open all summer long!
DAY 10 Glacier Express, Chur & Klosters
This morning we board the famous Glacier Express train which takes us along the ‘Valais’ through Switzerland’s finest mountain scenery. Ranked as one of the world’s top train trips, you will be seated in panoramic carriages as we cross some of the 291 bridges, the 2033 metre Oberalp Pass and go through 91 tunnels. Early afternoon we arrive and have time to explore Switzerland’s oldest city, Chur. The traffic free zone in the old town has a wonderful atmosphere with its boutiques, shops, bars and restaurants. Later we continue to Klosters where we stay two nights.
Hotel Alpina or similar
DAY 11: 'My Time’ in Klosters
Your day is free to relax and explore Klosters.
DAY 12: Bolzano and lakeside Bardolino
Today we go to Italy! Passing through the Alps, we enjoy lunchtime in the centuries old town of Bolzano. Influenced by both Tyrolean and Italian cultures, you will find intricately carved gables, painted timber façades and an elegant arcaded main street. Later we continue to the charming lakeside town of Bardolino, where we stay the next four nights. Dinner tonight will be in our hotel restaurant.
Hotel Caesius Thermae & Spa Resort, Bardolino or similar
DAY 13: ‘My Time’ in Lake Garda
We have left today entirely free. Do as little or as much as you want. Lake Garda is Italy’s largest and perhaps most beautiful lake, and its shores are lined with quaint villages and colourful ports. The shopping is excellent and the cafés, lakeshore restaurants and shady gardens, all have that distinctly Mediterranean feel. Perhaps catch a ferry across the lake and wander around Gardone Riviera with its botanical gardens on the hill, or explore the characterful ‘picture postcard’ ports of Lazise or Sirmione.
DAY 14: Verona and the lakeside town of Garda
Skirting the lake we will visit Romeo and Juliet’s Verona. A local guide will bring to life this beautiful city, where these tragic lovers avowed a love that spanned the centuries. After free time to explore and find a restaurant for lunch, we return to glorious Lake Garda and enjoy an afternoon visit to the delightful lakeside town of Garda, after which the lake is named.
DAY 15: Lakeside Salo and Redaelli de Zinis
This morning we visit the delightful lakeside town of Salo to explore its historical centre filled with lanes and little squares with noble houses, elegant shops and the longest promenade on Lake Garda. Later we continue to Redaelli de Zinis in Calvagese della Riviera. This is a famous local winery and restaurant. Here we enjoy a wine tasting and sample some of the locally sourced produce before lunch.
The rest of the day is at leisure to explore lakeside Bardolino.
DAY 16: The Brenner Pass, Europa Bridge and Innsbruck
Driving north over the Brenner Pass into Austria we cross the 190 metre high Europa Bridge and descend into the Inn valley and Innsbruck, where we will stay the next 2 nights. Mid-afternoon your Tour Manager will take you on a brief walking tour of the old city centre, with its cobblestoned streets, stone archways and the re-nowned Golden Roof.
Hotel Grauer Bar or similar
DAY 17: The pretty town of Hall and Innsbruck ‘My Time’
This morning we board our coach and drive along the dramatic Inn Valley to the 800 year old town of Hall. Surrounded by the rolling Tyrolean hills, Hall is often considered the most beautiful town in the Tyrol. Your afternoon will be at leisure in Innsbruck’s wonderful Altstadt (old town) where you will have ‘My Time’ to explore the sights such as the Hofburg Imperial Palace, and shop in the covered arcades.
DAY 18: Neuschwanstein ‘Fairytale’ Castle, Füssen and the ‘Church in the Meadows’
We start the day with a drive over the stunning Fern Pass to Hohenschwangau into Bavaria. On one hill overlooking the little village you have the neo-gothic castle of Hohenschwangau and on the other side above the village is a wooded mountain spur and Neuschwanstein – the fairytale castle of ‘mad’ King Ludwig. We take a leisurely stroll up the wooded road to enjoy a guided tour through Neuschwanstein Castle’s state rooms, king’s apartments, halls and throne room; all reminiscent of a Wagner operatic saga. Lunchtime will be spent exploring the ancient town of Füssen. In the afternoon we will drive through Bavarian farmlands and forests to make a stop in arguably the most beautiful church in Europe, Wieskirche - the ‘Church in the Meadows’. Surrounded by green fields, the interior of this World Heritage Listed church is an astounding Rococo creation.Later we continue to your 4 star hotel, where we stay the next 2 nights, in preparation for an incredible ‘Oberammergau Passion Play experience’.
Your hotel in the Oberammergau area:
As an appointed Tour Operator for the 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play, and handling such a large number of Oberammergau packages, we have been fortunate to be allocated stays in a variety of excellent, 4 star hotels in Oberammergau itself, as well as in the nearby towns of Murnau and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Please note: The guided tour through Neuschwanstein Castle incorporates climbing up and down a number of staircases and, as there are no elevators, the inside visit to the castle this morning may not be suitable for those with walking difficulties or limitations.
DAY 19: An incredible Oberammergau Passion Play Experience
An easy start to the day before we enjoy time exploring the colourful village of Oberammergau with its beautiful houses and buildings adorned with “Lüftlmalerei” - ornately painted murals depicting assorted religious scenes. Throughout the afternoon and evening we enjoy the huge spectacle that is the Passion Play from our Category 1 seating. The famous Passion Play has been performed every ten years since 1633, a time when the Thirty Year’s War and Bubonic Plague were ravaging Europe causing so much suffering and death. With a backdrop of Kofel Peak and surrounded by the Ammergau Mountains, the massive open-air stage erupts with colour, music, song and up to 2,000 local inhabitants enacting the story of the Passion of Christ. Meals:
DAY 20: To Munich
This morning we drive to nearby Munich where your tour ends on arrival, mid-morning. Drop off points will be in the city centre and Munich airport. We recommend you book flights or trains that depart Munich after 2pm.
Incredible Value Inclusions
Over $2,200 value of extras already included
- Category 1 seating for the Oberammergau Passion Play
- ALL excursions, scenic drives, sightseeing and entrances as described
- Fully escorted by our experienced Tour Manager
- Travel in a first class air-conditioned touring coach
- 19 nights specially selected hotel accommodation
- Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
- 30 Meals – including breakfast daily (B), Lake Garda wine estate lunch (L) and 10 dinners (D)
- Welcome drink in Zurich
- Hand Selected Albatross Experiences - Lake Garda wine tasting,
- cable car excursion to Aiguille du Midi, Glacier Express train, fairytale castle visit
- Local guides as described in the itinerary
- ALL tips to your Tour Manager, Driver and Local Guides
- Free WiFi on most coaches and at hotels
NO additional ‘on tour’ costs!
Dates and Prices
|Start Date||End Date||Price Per Person||Availability|
|24 May 2020||12 Jun 2020||AUD $11,299||Sold Out||
|7 Jun 2020||26 Jun 2020||AUD $11,299||Sold Out||
|21 Jun 2020||10 Jul 2020||AUD $11,754||Sold Out||
|26 Jul 2020||14 Aug 2020||AUD $11,754||Sold Out||
|21 Aug 2020||9 Sep 2020||AUD $11,754||Sold Out||
|6 Sep 2020||25 Sep 2020||AUD $11,754||Sold Out||
|13 Sep 2020||2 Oct 2020||AUD $11,754||Sold Out||
Oberammergau Passion Play - FAQs
What is the history of the Oberammergau Passion Play?
The Passion Play origins date back to 1633, when the community of Oberammergau found itself under threat from the Bubonic plague – the town pledged that if God were to spare them death, they would perform a play each decade to celebrate the life and death of Jesus. Thankfully the vow appeared to work, and as a result the locals were true to their promise – the very first play happened during Pentecost in 1634, where a stage was erected in the local cemetery. Nowadays the performances take place on a much larger scale, with over 2000 of the village’s residents working together to ensure the spectacle honours the vow of their ancestors. Such is the dedication of the residents, all male actors performing in the plays take part in a “Hair Decree”– from Ash Wednesday in 2019, all men are requested to let the hair on their heads and face grow to ensure they have an authentic look in time for 2020!
What are the performance dates?
There will be up to 103 performances between 16 May and 4 October 2020.
There are usually 3, but sometimes up to 5 performances each week, on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Albatross Tours will be operating 7 unique touring itineraries with a total of 78 tour departures which include the Passion Play.
How long is the play?
The play is 5 hours long. It is held throughout the afternoon and evening with a 3-hour break for an included 3 course dinner. Based on the 2010 programme we are assuming there will be 11 Acts featured in the 2020 Passion Play programme.
19 May - 16 August | Part I : 2:30 pm - 5:00 pm Part II : 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Later in the season when the sun sets earlier the times change by one hour
17 August – 4 October | Part I : 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm Part II 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Do we have good seats?
Yes, the best! You will have Category 1 seating – the best seats in house.
How many seats are there?
The audience section is fully covered and contains 4,720 comfortable covered seats.
What language is the show in?
The shows will be exclusively in German. You can buy a programme with an English translation of the text on the day of the performance.
If the stage is open air what happens if it rains?
The massive open air stage has a fabulous backdrop of Kofel Peak and is surrounded by the Ammergau Mountains, all of which enhances the drama. However if it does rain, at the push of a button a giant mechanical cover will extend out and over the stage.
How big is the show?
Enormous! There will be 100 choristers, a 55-piece orchestra and 2,000 actors - all locals. There will be music, singing, vivid and colourful stage settings, tableaux vivants (living pictures) depicting biblical scenes, speeches and dramatic re-enactments of the story of the Passion of Christ - from his entry into Jerusalem until his death on the cross and his subsequent resurrection.
Who are the actors?
They are all locals, and to be eligible they must have lived in Oberammergau for at least 20 years. This means that about 3,000 of the town’s 5,000 inhabitants hold the right to perform; since 2000 people participate, that’s more than 60 percent of the eligible townsfolk!
What is the ‘Hair decree’?
Such is the dedication of the residents, all male actors performing in the play take part in a ‘Hair Decree’. From Ash Wednesday in 2019, all men will be requested to let the hair on their heads and face grow to ensure they have an authentic look in time for 2020! (The ‘Romans’ have shaved heads!)
Who organises the Passion Play?
The local community have an organisation called ‘Passionsspiele Oberammergau’. They appoint the artistic director and his team. They consolidate all ticket sales in co-ordination with all attached accommodation allocations in Oberammergau and within the immediate area.
Where is Oberammergau?
Located in Bavaria about 100 kms south of Munich, Oberammergau is nestled in a beautiful valley in the Ammergau Alps. The village is known for its beautifully painted houses and woodcarving shops. The whole region is delightful. Nearby towns include lively Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Unterammergau, Ettal with its magnificent Kloster Abbey, Murnau am Staffelsee - close to Lake Staffelsee, and the spa town of Bad Kohlgrub.