Contemporary Germany including the Oberammergau passion play 2020
Contemporary Germany including Oberammergau is a specialised small group tour exploring Germany, long-regarded as one of the planet's most convivial nations. The spirit of hospitality is palpable from port-city Hamburg in the country's north, all the way down to Munich: heart of Bavaria. This small group tour includes the once-in-a-decade Passion Play in Oberammergau. But we will also discover why Germany is proud to host visitors to its diverse and memorable cities.
Small group tours Oberammergau - Contemporary Germany itinerary
Our tour of contemporary Germany begins in Heidelberg, a university town famous for its narrow, cobblestone streets flanked with intricate Baroque architecture. After exploring Heidelberg and its surrounds, we venture south to the romantic Black Forest, long associated with the dark fairytales of the Brothers Grimm. Our base is Titisee, from where we will visit the stunning cathedral and city gates of Freiburg. We will also visit nearby Feldburg, where a cable-car ride will provide us views across Feldsee Lake. From Titisee, we travel to the village of Oberammergau. But along the way, we pause to visit - by a horse-drawn carriage ride - the hill-top Neuschwanstein Castle, nestled in the Bavarian Alps. On arrival in Oberammergau, the village will be bustling with excitement for the Passion Play. After two days here, and an unforgettable performance, we continue on to Munich, the capital of Bavaria.
Travelling north to west
Munich is renowned for its annual Oktoberfest, but the spirit of celebration is not confined to a single month in Bavaria's jovial capital. We learn about the cultural heritage of this memorable city over two days, including a city tour with a local guide, and a visit to the Deutsches Museum, the world's largest museum of science and technology . After Munich we head to Nuremberg, pausing on the way to take a walking tour of Regensburg, recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site for its historic Gothic buildings. In Nuremberg, we learn about Germany's history, including a visit to the haunting Nazi Rally Site. As we travel from Nuremberg to Wagner's hometown of Bayreuth, we pause in Bamburg and Coburg for sight-seeing. We finally reach Erfurt: a city of flowers, horticulture, and history. This is also our base for a visit to Weimar: birthplace of the cultural movement Weimar Classicism, and an awe-inspiring list of intellectuals.
Dresden is our next destination. It is beloved for its intricate old town and impressive museums and architecture. Dresden will be followed by cosmopolitan Berlin. In Berlin we take a guided tour of all the main sights: the tree-lined Unter den Linden boulevard, leading to the iconic Brandenburg Gate; Checkpoint Charline on the Berlin Wall; and the Reichstag building, which famously burned in 1933, allowing Hitler's first moves towards dictatorial power. From Berlin we make a morning trip to the royal castles of nearby Potsdam, the Cecilenhof Palace and the rococo Sanssouci. You will also have plenty of spare time to experience modern Berlin's cutting-edge artistic culture.
After three nights in Germany's vibrant capital, we journey west to Schierke, where we will board a train set for Brocken: the peak of the Harz mountain range. After spending time at the summit, we reboard the train for Wernigerode. This charming town is distinguished by its half-timbered houses, and the legend of witches who occupy the nearby mountains.
After Wernigerode, we continue west for our final stop in Konigswinter. For the last three nights of the tour, this will be our base upon the Rhine. We take a city tour of Bonn and explore a cathedral in Cologne, and take a cruise along the iconic Rhine River. Afterward, our tour draws to a close.
Oberammergau 2020 Passion Play is a key feature of this tour
The small town of Oberammergau is located in the Bavarian Alps. Set on the banks of the Ammer River, it's known for its traditional woodcarvings and military affiliations. But of course, the name is most famous for its staging of the Passion Play. This is a 380 year-long tradition that puts Oberammergau on the map. In 1634, Europe was rocked by the plague, which swept across Germany and toward the Bavarian region. When a man carried it with him on a trip home for Christmas, all seemed to be lost. He died, and locals began contracting the deadly disease. But desperate residents vowed to God that if they were spared from the plague's cruel effects, they would perform a passion play every ten years. Miraculously, it's said that all infected residents subsequently recovered and survived. The residents upheld their pledge, and so began an inspiring tradition.
The play is performed in years ending with the number zero, with the exception of 1940, owing to the Second World War. In addition, performances were staged in 1934 and 1984, to mark the 300th and 350th anniversaries, respectively. The play involves more than 2000 actors, singers, instrumentalists and technicians. All reside in the village. In 2010, half of all Oberammergau's residents took part.
These villagers bring to life the story of Jesus. It commences with his entry to Jerusalem, moves to his death on the cross, and then concludes with the resurrection. In all, the play lasts up to seven hours, but thankfully includes an interval. On this small group tour, dinner will be provided between parts one and two. While previous productions took place in the morning and afternoon, the 2010 play broke with tradition. It began at 2.30pm, and lasted into the night: the 2020 Play will follow suit.
For more information about the Passion Play, you can read our article about it here (https://www.odysseytraveller.com/articles/oberammergau-passion-play/).
Frequently asked questions about our Contemporary Germany Tour and the Oberammergau Passion Play:
Who stars in the play?
By law, to participate in the play you must be born in Oberammergau - or live in the village for over 20 years. In 2018, director Christian Stückl and his assistant director Abdullah Karaca auditioned all registered applicants and cast them in their various roles or duties. 1,830 adult residents have registered to perform in the play, along with over 500 children. Participants range from tiny infants to Anni Drohmann, who at 96 will be the oldest participant on stage. For more information about the local cast, take a look at the play's website.
What language is the play performed in?
Following tradition, the play is performed in German - but don't worry if you don't speak the language, as a booklet with English translation will be made available.
What will the weather be like in Germany in September?
Temperatures in September are a little cooler than the highs of July and August, but the weather will still be warm and sunny, making it a perfect time to visit - without the summer crowds. Make sure to bring a light jacket, as temperatures can dip at night.
Contemporary Germany including Oberammergau small group tour.
Places on this tour are strictly limited. The Passion Play is performed just once per decade, and attracts people from all around the world. With limited ticketing available, don't delay should you wish to experience this truly unique event. If you would like to learn more about this tour, please get in touch with us.
Overview: Upon arrival in Heidelberg we transfer to our hotel individually. Welcome dinner will be in the hotel, with a couple of glasses of wine per person.
Accommodation: 3 nights at NH Heidelberg or similar.
Overview: We have a morning city tour with a local guide to see the main sights of Heidelberg. We transfer on to Worms for a guided city tour before transferring back to Heidelberg.
Accommodation: NH Heidelberg or similar.
Overview: Today we travel from Heidelberg to Wurzburg, where we will be met by our local guide for a tour of the main sights of the city including entrance to the Residenz. On our return journey to Heidelberg we pause in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, known for its well-preserved medieval old town. Dinner this evening will be in Heidelberg.
Accommodation: NH Heidelberg or similar.
Overview: Today we travel to Baden Baden, with a stop to view the town, before transferring on to Gutach with entrance to the Black Forest Open Air Museum. We transfer to Titisee with the remainder of the day free before dinner.
Accommodation: 2 nights at Bruggers Hotelpark Am See or similar.
Overview: Today we travel from Titisee to Freiburg, with a city tour with a local guide, taking in the main sights of the city. From Freibrug we travel on to Feldberg, with return tickets on the Cable Car to take in the views over Feldsee. We have a final transfer back to Titisee in time for dinner.
Accommodation: Bruggers Hotelpark Am See or similar.
Overview: We travel from Titisee to Friedrichshafen, with entrance to the Zeppelin Museum. We transfer on to Hohenschwangau and take a carriage up to Neuschwanstein Castle, with entrance and a guided tour of the castle interior. We will take a carriage back down from the castle before transferring on to Steingaden, where we visit the Wies Rococo Church, before finally transferring to Oberammergau, where dinner will be served.
Accommodation: 2 nights at Hotel Wittelsbach or similar.
Overview: After spending our morning at leisure,we transfer to the Oberammergau Center. We have entrance to the Museum, and a light lunch will be provided.
We then attend the Passion Play, with a break for dinner between the two parts.
We return to our hotel following the performance.
Accommodation: Hotel Wittelsbach or similar.
Overview: Today, we make our way to Munich. This afternoon there will be free time to explore this amazing city before our dinner.
Accommodation: 2 nights at Eurostars Hotel or similar.
Overview: This morning we enjoy a city tour with our local guide, including entrance to the Deutches Museum. We have an afternoon visit to the BMW Welt Building, with entrance and a brief tour.
Accommodation: Eurostars Hotel or similar.
Overview: We travel from Munich to Regensberg with a short guided walking tour of Regensberg. From Regensberg we head on to Nuremberg for an afternoon tour with a local guide to take in the main sights of the city, including a visit to the Nazi Rally Site and entrance to the German National Museum.
Accommodation: 1 night at Woerhdersee Hotel Nuremberg Centre or similar.
Overview: Today we journey from Nuremberg to Bayreuth, with a stop to view the Bavarian city of Bamburg. We will pause in Coburg, with entrance and a guided tour of the castle before continuing our journey to Erfurt, our base for the next 3 nights. After check-in there will be some time to freshen up before our dinner.
Accommodation: 3 nights at Radisson Blu hotel or similar.
Overview: We have a morning city tour with a local guide to take in the main sights. We travel from Erfurt to Weimar with a city tour led by a local guide to view the main sights, including entrances to Goethe’s House and Museum, and the Castle and Museum. We return from Weimar to Erfurt.
Accommodation: Radisson Blu hotel or similar.
Overview: From Erfurt we arrive in Eisenach and have included entrance to Bach’s birthplace and Museum. We transfer back to Erfurt with the remainder of the day at leisure.
Accommodation: Radisson Blu hotel or similar.
Overview: From Erfurt we travel to Leipzig, with stops en route to the Battle of Nations site memorial and the Russian Orthodox Church. We arrive in Leipzig and take a city tour with a local guide to view the main sights, including the Gewandhaus tour and visits to some of the local churches. We travel on from Leipzig to Colditz, with entrance to the castle. Dinner will be served in Dresden.
Accommodation: 2 nights at Holiday Inn Express Dresden or similar.
Overview: We have a morning city tour with a local guide to view the main sights of Dresden, including entrance to the Zwinger, Old Masters gallery. From Dresden we go to Meissen for an afternoon factory tour and museum visit of the Porcelain Factory. We transfer back to Dresden for the night.
Accommodation: Holiday Inn Express Dresden or similar.
Overview: We travel from Dresden to Wittenberg, with a stop to explore. From Wittenberg we go to Berlin, with the remainder of the day at leisure. Dinner will be included this evening.
Accommodation: 3 nights at Maritim Pro-Arte hotel or similar.
Overview: We have a morning excursion to Potsdam with entrance to both Cecilienhof Palace and Sansoucci Palace. We transfer back to Berlin with the remainder of the day at leisure.
Accommodation: Maritim Pro-Arte hotel or similar.
Overview: We have a morning guided city tour with a local guide to view the main sights of the city, including the Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie. Pending availability, we may have the opportunity to take a Reichstag tour (TBC).
Accommodation: Maritim Pro-Arte hotel or similar.
Overview: From Berlin we go to Schierke, with an excursion on the Brocken Railway from Brocken to the mountaintop and then back to Wernigrode. We arrive in Wenirgrode for our dinner.
Accommodation: 1 night at Garni Hotel Alt Wernigerode or similar.
Overview: We travel from Wernigrode to Hameln, with a stop to view before transferring on to Konigswinter. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Dinner is included this evening.
Accommodation: 3 nights at Maritim Konigswinter or similar.
Overview: From Konigswinter we travel on to Bonn with a city tour with a local guide, viewing the main sights including entrance to Beethoven’s birthplace museum. From Bonn we go to Cologne, with an afternoon visit to the Cathedral and free time to explore the city. We transfer back from Cologne to Konigswinter.
Accommodation: Maritim Konigswinter or similar
Overview: From Konigswinter we go to Mainz, with a city tour taken by a local guide, viewing the mains sights and including entrance to the Gutenberg Museum. We transfer from Mainz to Boppard and take a Rhine River Cruise from Boppard to Sankt-Goar. We arrive in Sankt-Goar and transfer back to Konigswinter (or similar location).
Accommodation: Maritim Konigswinter or similar.
Overview: Our tour concludes after breakfast.
What’s included in our Tour
- Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
- Services of a study/group leader.
- 22 breakfasts and 13 dinners.
- 22 nights of hotel ensuite accommodation in Germany.
- Transport, field trips, and excursions as indicated.
- Gratuities and necessary tips.
- Detailed tour information booklet.
What’s not included in our Tour
- Return international airfares and departure taxes.
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.
- He was born a Jew in Munich.
- He came to Oberammergau as a Catholic convert in the 1930s, and lived there until attacked on Kristallnacht in 1938, when he was taken to Dachau Concentration Camp.
- He was eventually released from Dachau, and lived in England for the remainder of the war. After the war, he returned to Oberammergau. The question is why. Salk's wonderful book answers that question, and relates how Hirsch's return transformed the lives of Alison and Trudy.