Italian Lakes, Tuscany and the Oberammergau Passion Play
22 Delightful 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 delightful ports and villages that litter Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda, explore Genoa, seductive Portofino and the famous Cinque Terre. Visit the fantastic Ferrari museum, dine at a Tuscan Osteria and stay in a Venetian Villa. Explore beautiful, baroque Salzburg, Innsbruck and the Austrian Tyrol, visit Ludwig’s Bavarian fairytale castle, the glorious ‘Church in the Meadows’, ancient Füssen and experience the extraordinary Oberammergau Passion Play!
- Stay 4 nights in Stresa beside wonderful Lake Maggiore
- Take the scenic Centovalli Express train to Locarno ande enjoy private cruises on Lake Maggiore and Lake Como
- Visit beautiful Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta
- Stay 2 nights in Liguria in historic Genoa
- Enjoy a walking tour of Genoa with its magnificent palaces, stately homes and massive medieval quarter
- Visit beautiful Santa Margherita Ligure
- Cruise to world famous Portofino and the hidden Abbey of San Fruttuoso
- Stay 4 nights in the typically ‘Tuscan’ town of Lucca
- Spend a delightful day exploring the famous Cinque Terre and explore the beautiful city of Florence
- Enjoy an expert Italian cooking demonstration followed by lunch
- See the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa and Cathedral
- Dine out in the olive groves at a Tuscan Osteria
- Stay 3 nights beside glorious Lake Garda
- Visit the fantastic Ferrari museum and a private collection of Maseratis
- Enjoy a light lunch at the Panini Hombre Parmesan cheese farm
- Relax with a day to explore Lake Garda
- Enjoy a morning visit to historical Salo
- Stay 2 nights in an elegant Venetian Villa hotel near Treviso
- Enjoy a guided tour of Verona and historical Vicenza
- Taste Grappa in the hometown of Bassano del Grappa
- Enjoy dinner in our historic Villa
- Stay 2 nights in the heart of ‘Mozart’s’ baroque city of Salzburg
- Discover Salzburg on a guided walking tour
- Spend a day exploring the magnificent Lakes District visiting Hallstatt and St Wolfgang
- Drive over the stunning Fern Pass to stay 2 nights in the ancient medieval town of Füssen
- Explore the cobblestoned city of Innsbruck
- Visit Ludwig’s ‘fairytale’ Neuschwanstein Castle
- Ride the Tegelberg cable car high into the Alps
- Visit the most beautiful church in Europe, Wieskirche - the ‘Church in the Meadows’
- Relax in the mountain resort town of Garmisch and visit the Abbey of Kloster Ettal
- Enjoy your ‘grand finále’ - stay 2 nights in selected 4 star hotel accommodation and enjoy Category 1 ‘best in house’ seating for the marvellous Oberammergau Passion Play
DAY 1: Stresa welcome
Commencing in central Milan at 2pm we will transfer you to Stresa on wonderful Lake Maggiore, where you will stay the next four nights. Join us tonight for a welcome drink before dinner in a local restaurant. This is an ideal chance to meet, and get to know, your Tour Manager and fellow travellers.
Regina Palace Hotel or similar
DAY 2: Scenic train journey to Locarno and visit Ascona
This morning we drive north to Domodossola at the foot of the Italian Alps. Here we board the famous Centovalli Express train which runs through the ‘Hundred Valleys’ to Locarno. Relaxing in the panoramic carriages, we pass over numerous bridges and through numerous tunnels, travelling beside waterfalls, villages and vineyards. A spectacular journey! Arriving in Locarno we will make a short stop in the grand square before boarding our coach to visit nearby Ascona. Lunchtime will be at leisure in this delightful lakeside town. As a finalé, we follow the scenic route home hugging the shores of Lake Maggiore all the way back to Stresa. Dinner tonight is in your hotel.
DAY 3: Island of Isola Bella and lakeside Orta San Giulio
Boarding our private boat we visit Lake Maggiore’s famous island of Isola Bella where we have included entrance and a guided tour of the palatial Borromeo villa and gardens, which dominate the island. The villa boasts Murano glass chandeliers, gobelin-covered chairs, intricate tapestries and paintings. The spectacular formal gardens rise behind the ornate villa, with patterned flower beds falling in terraces, with statues and ornamental stonework completing the Italianate style. Lunchtime is at leisure back in lakeside Stresa. Later this afternoon we visit the delightful town of Orta San Giulio beside the beautiful, and some say most romantic, of all the lakes – Lake Orta. Your evening is at leisure to discover a local trattoria for dinner.
DAY 4: Cruise on Lake Como to Bellagio
This morning we drive to Lake Como where we follow the western shore of the lake to Caddenabbia. Here we board our private boat and enjoy a cruise on Lake Como, past a number of striking lakeside villas, to delightful Bellagio. This beautiful town is situated at the tip of the peninsula separating the lake’s two southern arms, with the Alps visible across the lake to the north. It’s time to relax in this delightful town which boasts peaceful villas and gardens nestled by the lakeside, elegant shops and walkways plus stylish al fresco dining at its very best. Your evening is at leisure back in the lakeside town of Stresa.
DAY 5: Explore medieval Genoa
Bidding farewell to Lake Maggiore we drive south to the coastal region of Liguria, arriving around midday in Genoa. Once the capital of a naval empire, Genoa boasts the largest intact medieval city centre in the whole of Europe. Here we are joined by a local guide to enjoy a walking tour through the city’s old heart, with its pedestrian shopping malls, beautiful churches and squares, and nearly 50 UNESCO Listed palaces and stately homes. We have included a guided visit to the opulent Royal Palace.
Grand Hotel Savoia or similar
DAY 6: Santa Margherita Ligure, Portofino and Abbey of San Fruttuoso
We spend the morning at leisure in the beautiful harbour town of Santa Margherita Ligure with its elegant shops, boutiques and cafés that litter the port. Later we take a boat along the rugged Liguria coastline to the world famous harbour of Portofino. Delightfully set in a tiny bay, overlooked by the church and castle high above, this old port makes a perfect afternoon stop. Later, we continue around the coast to visit the Abbey of San Fruttuoso, which is only accessible by boat. This evening your coach is going to the delightful seaside town of Arenzano. Join us if you choose! We suggest a stroll along the promenade before you discover a local restaurant for dinner.
DAY 7: Cruise the coastline of the Cinque Terre
A delightful day is planned as we explore the famous Cinque Terre. The name means ‘five lands’ and comes from the five unspoilt fishing villages that cling to the cliffs, overlooking the sea. Our first stop of the day will be in the pretty port of Monterosso. From here we catch a boat and cruise along the spectacular coastline of the Cinque Terre to visit the delightful villages of Vernazza and Portovenere. Arriving in La Spezia we board our coach and travel to Tuscany. We stay the next four nights in the typically ‘Tuscan’ town of Lucca – a medieval walled city, filled with palaces, churches and ancient houses. Dinner tonight is in a local restaurant.
San Luca Palace or similar
DAY 8: Leaning Tower of Pisa and ‘My Time’ in Lucca
This morning we visit nearby Pisa with its famous Leaning Tower, Cathedral and Baptistery in the magnificent Piazza dei Miracoli. Your afternoon has been left entirely free to explore delightful Lucca. Perhaps visit the former home of Puccini, where he wrote ‘Turandot’. Take a bike ride or a stroll around the entire town on top of the broad city walls. As a highlight this evening we drive into the picturesque Tuscan countryside to visit a local olive oil farmhouse estate. Before dinner is served in the Osteria, we spend time amongst the olive groves and enjoy an olive oil tasting accompanied by Tuscan wines and a selection of antipasto including local meats, cheese and bread – all specialities of this region.
DAY 9: Florence sightseeing and ‘My Time’
Today is dedicated to nearby ‘Firenze’ (Florence). A local guide will bring to life this truly beautiful city which is otherwise known as the ‘Cradle of the Renaissance’. Your tour starts with a visit to the famous Accademia Gallery, home to Michelangelo’s ‘David’ and numerous other extraordinary Italian, Florentine and Renaissance works of art. We see the Duomo and take in the magnificent statues in the Piazza della Signoria. Your afternoon is entirely free to enjoy Florence at your own pace. Espresso coffee on Piazza Santa Croce where Michelangelo is buried? A gelato whilst strolling across the Ponte Vecchio? Don’t forget the excellent shopping.
DAY 10: Cooking demonstration and lunch in Lucca
After a relaxing start we enjoy a pizza and pasta cooking demonstration, to learn how pizza, focaccia and various pasta is created. Next it is time to taste it, as we enjoy a leisurely lunch. Your afternoon and evening are at leisure in Lucca.
DAY 11: Ferraris and Parmesan Cheese lunch
Driving north we visit the fantastic Ferrari Museum at Maranello, near Modena. A local guide will join us and show us around this fantastic exhibition of bright red, old, new and future Ferraris and Formula One racing cars. Later we continue to the Panini Hombre cheese farm to learn how ‘Parmigiano-Reggiano’ (Parmesan) cheese is made, before enjoying a cheese tasting and light lunch. Continuing to Lake Garda, we reach the charming lakeside town of Bardolino, where we stay the next three nights. Dinner tonight will be in our hotel restaurant.
Hotel Caesius Thermae & Spa Resort, Bardolino or similar
DAY 12: ‘My Time’ in Lake Garda
We have left today entirely free to enjoy glorious Lake Garda. Often regarded as the most beautiful of all the Italian Lakes, Garda is also the largest and deepest. Do as little or as much as you want. Maybe catch a ferry across the lake to explore and shop in the characterful ‘picture postcard’ ports of Lazise or Sirmione.
DAY 13: Lakeside Salo and wine tasting at Redaelli de Zinis
This morning we visit the delightful lakeside town of Salo. Explore its historical centre which is filled with lanes and little squares with noble houses, elegant shops and the longest promenade on Lake Garda, at your own pace. 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.
DAY 14: Verona and Vicenza sightseeing
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. This afternoon we continue to beautiful Vicenza, where a local guide will join us for a walking tour to explore the medieval centre. Later we arrive at our Venetian Villa hotel, where we stay two nights.
Hotel Villa Contarini Nenzi
DAY 15: Bassano del Grappa & historic Treviso
After a leisurely start this morning, we visit delightful Bassano del Grappa located on the foothills of the Alps. You will have free time to stroll across the ornate, centuries old, covered bridge which spans the River Brenta, before exploring the wonderful arcaded streets and piazzas in the heart of town. Later we will enjoy a visit to the Poli Grappa Museum to taste some Grappa liqueur. This afternoon we enjoy a stop in the historic centre of Treviso, before dinner in our historic Villa.
DAY 16: Salzburg welcome and walking tour
Heading north past rolling meadows and mountains we cross over into Austria to the enchanting city of Salzburg where we stay the next 2 nights. Mid-afternoon a local guide will take us on a walking tour of this enchanting baroque city of Mozart, from the Mirabelle Palace Gardens to the magnificent city squares, including several locations used in the film ‘The Sound of Music’. This evening enjoy dinner in your hotel.
Altstadthotel Stadtkrug or similar
DAY 17: The Austrian Lakes District, Hallstatt and St Wolfgang
Driving deep into the Lakes District we stop in the picturesque town of Hallstatt, considered the oldest inhabited village in Europe and perhaps the most beautiful in Austria. Later we follow the shores of Wolfgangsee (lake) to enjoy lunchtime in the flower bedecked town of St Wolfgang. The remainder of your afternoon and evening is at leisure in Salzburg - arguably one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in the world. You have ‘My Time’ to explore the myriad of narrow, cobblestoned streets, ornate squares and churches, fascinating shops and traditional coffee houses. The views from the enormous Festung (Fortress), sitting high above the city, are magnificent.
DAY 18: Innsbruck in the Tyrol and over the Fern Pass into Bavaria
Following the dramatic Inn Valley through the rolling Tyrolean hills we visit the nearby winter resort city of Innsbruck. There will be time at leisure to explore the sights of the Altstadt (old town) such as the Hofburg Imperial Palace, cobblestoned streets and the renowned Golden Roof. Passing pretty Alpine villages we drive over the Fern Pass into the Bavarian Alps and the ancient historic town of Füssen, where we stay the next 2 nights.
Hotel Hirsch in Füssen or similar
DAY 19: Neuschwanstein Castle and Tegelberg
We start the day in Hohenschwangau. 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. Later this afternoon we will take a cable car ride up to Tegelberg to take in the excellent views down onto the fairytale castles far below. Your evening is at leisure in Füssen.
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 20: The Church in the Meadows, Garmisch and the Abbey of Kloster Ettal
Driving through Bavarian farmlands and forests we will stop at 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 enjoy ‘My Time’ in Garmisch-Partenkirchen to relax in one of the traditional beer gardens or restaurants, or shop in the broad pedestrian mall. We will also visit the 14th century baroque Abbey of Kloster Ettal which houses a white marble Madonna. 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.
DAY 21: 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 seats. 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.
DAY 22: 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.
This tour requires a moderate level of fitness due to the unique places we visit and stay. This tour is not suited to anyone who has mobility issues.
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
- 21 nights specially selected hotel accommodation
- Hotel porterage (1 bag per person)
- 37 Meals – including breakfast daily (B), lunch in Lucca, a light lunch at Panini Hombre & wine tasting and lunch at Redaelli de Zinis (L) plus 13 dinners (D)
- Welcome drink in Stresa and Grappa tasting in Bassano del Grappa
- Hand Selected Albatross Experiences - private boat trip on Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, panoramic train Centovalli Express, cruises Portofino and Cinque Terre, fairytale castle visit
- Local guides as described in the itinerary
- ALL tips to your Tour Manager, Driver and Local Guides
- Personal audio system whilst on tour
- Free WiFi on most coaches and at hotels
NO additional ‘on tour’ costs!
Dates and Prices
|Start Date||End Date||Price Per Person||Availability|
|6 May 2020||27 May 2020||AUD $12,068||Sold Out||
|29 May 2020||19 Jun 2020||AUD $12,068||Sold Out||
|17 Jun 2020||8 Jul 2020||AUD $12,068||Sold Out||
|17 Jul 2020||7 Aug 2020||AUD $12,278||Sold Out||
|14 Aug 2020||4 Sep 2020||AUD $12,278||Sold Out||
|2 Sep 2020||23 Sep 2020||AUD $12,278||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.