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Oberammergau Passion Play 2022 #1

Germany and the Best of Bavaria with the Oberammergau Passion Play

August 16 – 24, 2022 • 9 Days • $4850

We are excited to share the Oberammergau Passion Play, a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience and a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual event! Our tour through Germany starts in the Rhine River city of Mainz, home of the Gutenberg Museum, and includes walks and sightseeing en route to Bavaria and the foothills of the Alps where we attend the Passion Play and enjoy other iconic sights of Bavaria and the German Alps!

NOTE: This is the 1st of two departures for Oberammergau Passion Play 2022. Click here to view the itinerary for Oberammergau Passion Play 2022 #2.

Tour Type: Classic Curated

The performance of the Oberammergau Passion Play dates back nearly 400 years to 1633, when the town of Oberammergau was in the throes of the bubonic plague. Villagers got together and made a vow to God that if He would remove the plague, they would produce a play regularly, in perpetuity, depicting the last week of Jesus’ life, including his crucifixion and resurrection, which is commonly known as the Passion of Christ. The plague did subside, and the villagers kept their promise. The first play was performed in 1634, and eventually, it became an event performed every 10th year for five months, between May and early October. The next summer of performances is in 2022!

Walking Adventures has taken groups to the Oberammergau Passion Play in the years 2000 and 2010. We now offer two tours to see the rescheduled play again in 2022.

The play takes place in the afternoon and evening. It’s an outstanding performance conducted by the villagers themselves. There are no professional actors in the play. All actors must be residents and rigid qualifications for residency are rigorously enforced. For example, actors must have resided in Oberammergau for 20 years, but can shorten that requirement to 10 years by marrying a true local.

Our tour starts in Mainz, Germany, on the banks of the Rhine River. We visit the remarkable medieval city of Würzburg in the region of Franconia, then spend two nights in charming Rothenburg. From Rothenberg, we journey south to the Bavarian Alps and the world-famous castle of Neuschwanstein, a creation of the hopelessly romantic King Ludwig II of Bavaria.

The centerpiece of the tour, of course, is Oberammergau and the Passion Play Experience. Leaving Oberammergau, we have an opportunity to ascend Germany’s highest point, the Zugspitze, then spend our last two nights in the lovely town of Freising. Munich is the theme of our final day with a club walk and a tour of this renowned heart of Bavaria and seat of the House of Wittelsbach, the Bavarian dynasty nearly bankrupted by King Ludwig II.

What’s Included:

  • All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • 13 meals: all breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 4 dinners as listed (BLD)
  • 6 Walk routes
  • Fees for walking credit (for those collecting IVV credit)
  • Cultural and historical expertise of local guides and national guide throughout the program
  • WAI guide service throughout – 2 guides
  • All tipping for national and local guides, coach drivers and group meals
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy; a limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $600. We also provide a roommate matching service.

Activities/Visits to:

  • Mainz walking tour
  • Gutenberg Museum – Mainz
  • Würzburg walking tour
  • Würzburg Residence
  • Neuschwanstein Castle – Bavaria
  • Linderhof Palace – Bavaria
  • Oberammergau Passion Play
  • Garmisch excursion with carriage ride and Partnach Gorge walk
  • Munich guided tour

Optional Excursions:

  • Ascent to the Zugspitze – Day 7

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Contact Us

Important Info

Group Size

Approximately 15-18 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Superior Tourist Class hotels or better

Meals

13 meals: all breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 4 dinners as listed in the itinerary (BLD)

Airfare

Not Included. Travelers should arrive into Germany at the Frankfurt Airport (FRA) and depart from Munich International Airport (MUC).

Transportation

Included. We use motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 40+ seats.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your National Guide

Scott and Ruth Burk have spent much of their free time over the last two decades exploring the world, while successfully instilling wanderlust in their two adult children. Ruth now operates her own business as a writer consultant for high tech companies, and Scott recently retired from a career as an air traffic control manager for the Portland, Oregon airport. They love traveling and sharing their experiences with others!

Itinerary

Click on each day to reveal more details – BLD refers to meals included, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

DAY 1-August 16: Arrive Frankfurt – transfer to Mainz, Germany (D)

We rendezvous today in the Rhine River city of Mainz, Germany. Frankfurt is the airport best serving Mainz, and about a 30-minute taxi ride from our hotel. Mainz is a lovely old Rhine city with a rich and deep history and a plethora of delightful lanes to explore and picturesque, traditional architecture to admire.

The first official group activity is a Welcome Orientation in our hotel this evening followed by dinner together.

DAY 2:-August 17: Activities from Mainz (B)

Mainz Walking Tour – 5 km, rated 1B
Club walk in nearby town to be disclosed – 5/10 km, unrated

Our first day in Germany begins with a walking tour of Mainz. At the close of the second millennium (about 20 years ago) the consensus among historians was that Johann Gutenberg was the Man of the Millenium, the one who made the greatest impact on the world during that 1000 years! Our walking tour stops to see one of Germany’s, and mankind’s, most precious inventions, the printing press, at the famed Gutenberg Museum. Our local guide then leads us on a walk across historic Mainz to visit the lovely St. Stephen’s Church and appreciate the only stained-glass windows in Germany created by master artist, Marc Chagall.

Following free time for lunch, explore more of Mainz on your own or join us for a local club walk in one of the neighboring towns. We have a few from which to choose. Dinner is on your own this evening, and Mainz offers several eateries with Old World German charm.

DAY 3:-August 18: Mainz – Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany (BD)

Wiesbaden, Germany club walks – 5 km, unrated
Würzburg Walking Tour – 2 km, unrated

The Rhine courses generally north from Mainz and our first activity is downstream in the town of Wiesbaden, capital of the German state of Hessen. The local club has several routes we will consider for a 5 km walk in this important spa city dating back to the Roman period.

Today’s afternoon stop is the city of Würzburg, situated attractively in a bowl-like bend in the Main River. The town is surrounded by vineyards producing the light, dry, white Franconia wine, which is also the name of this northern region of the State of Bavaria. We start our visit with a walking tour of the core of this city which has played a conspicuous role in Germanic politics, culture, and religion. Germanic Franks controlled the area in the 7th century before accepting Christian beliefs offered by Irish missionaries. Catholic bishops of Würzburg doubled as civic rulers of Franconia until the region was absorbed into the Kingdom of Bavaria in the 19th century.  After free time for lunch, we enter the spectacular, UNESCO-listed Residence, commissioned by the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg in 1720 (the title emblematic of the dual civic/church nature of leadership throughout Germanic Europe). The chapel, Imperial Hall, and grand staircase are particularly famous highlights of Baroque architecture.

From Würzburg, we join the Romantic Road bound for Rothenburg ob der Tauber and a two-night stay.

DAY 4-August 19: Activities in Rothenburg (B)

Medieval Rothenburg Walk – 8/12 km, unrated

Many observers rightly consider Rothenburg ob der Tauber the foremost jewel in the medieval crown of Germany. Visitors see it as the iconic German fairytale town; it takes little imagination to picture Hansel and Gretel walking down the cobblestone lanes! Our walk offers a tantalizing introduction to this lovely medieval gem.

Rothenburg was well-place geographically for trade, was granted Free Imperial City status in the Middle Ages, and as a result became one of the most prosperous towns in the Holy Roman Empire.  The 30 Years War and resulting famine and plagues took a devastating toll, however, and the town drifted into obscurity, falling into a slumber which preserved its monuments from the natural transformation that follows change and development.

Rothenburg was re-discovered in the 19th century at the advent of the modern age of tourism, awakening from its slumber to welcome visitors with its picturesque, old half-timbered houses, majestic stone churches, winding cobblestone passages, and fully intact fortifications. Our walk takes us through the captivating center to pastoral landscapes outside the town for a multi-faceted Rothenburg experience.

Following free time for lunch, the afternoon is free to wander, window shop, and delve deeper into the delights of Rothenburg.

DAY 5-August 20: Rothenburg – Oberammergau, Germany (BD)

We drive south, this morning, into the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. Nestled here in well-chosen locations overlooking the peaceful, bucolic countryside are a pair of castles belonging originally to the Wittelsbach royal family of Bavaria.

Hohenschwangau was the childhood home of Ludwig, who ultimately became King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Ludwig was a romantic who ruled in the middle of the 19th century, when monarchies and castles were fading into obsolescence. His response was to dissipate the family fortune on three spectacular royal residences, one of them up the hill from Hohenschwangau, the world-renowned Neuschwanstein Castle, reputed to be the model for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

One of our fond memories from early in WAI’s history is climbing the hill to Neuschwanstein. The tour is fun—the interior is phenomenal—but the setting of the castle and the hike to the Marian Bridge behind for the classic views of the castle are what makes it one of our favorite German experiences.

Later this afternoon, we find ourselves in another famous German setting. Oberammergau is a charming community set on a mountain plateau in the Alpine foothills. Wood carving is the traditional occupation and this, along with fresco-covered walls of Alpine chalets, and window boxes bursting with colorful geraniums, gives the town a photogenic, storybook ambiance. We check into our hotel in the area for a two-night stay, looking forward to the main event of the tour tomorrow afternoon.

DAY 6-August 21: Activities in Oberammergau (BLD)

Morning plans are impacted by the location of our hotel, determined by the Passion Play organization and not divulged until early 2022.

Our hope is to share another of King Ludwig’s spectacular creations, Linderhof Palace. It sits nearby Oberammergau in a very different setting than Neuschwanstein, and leaves a very different impression on the visitor, one of overstated opulence and an elaborate detachment from reality. Up the hill from the palace is the Venus Grotto, a private opera stage inside an artificial rock hillside. The grotto offers insight into Ludwig’s infatuation with musician Richard Wagner’s view of an idealized German heritage portrayed in operas like Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, and Tristan and Isolde.

The performance of the Oberammergau Passion Play dates back nearly 400 years to 1633, when the town of Oberammergau was in the throes of the bubonic plague. Villagers got together and vowed to God that if He would remove the plague, they would perform a play regularly, in perpetuity, depicting the last week of Jesus’ life, including his crucifixion and resurrection (the period commonly known as the Passion of Christ). The plague did subside, and the villagers kept their promise.

The first play was performed in 1634, and eventually became an event performed every 10th year for five months, between May and early October. After morning activities, we have lunch in town before attending the performance, which is offered in two 3-hour acts with dinner at a nearby restaurant served in between.

DAY 7-August 22: Oberammergau – Freising, German (B)

Partnach Gorge Walk ~ 3 km, rated 1B (unsanctioned)

After a late and memorable evening in Oberammergau, we start this morning today a bit later, heading for the 1936 Olympic Stadium outside the town of Garmisch. A horse & carriage ride through town is followed by a hike through the stony, hidden wonderland of Partnach Gorge. The trail is a pathway cut into limestone rock just a few meters above a surging whitewater mountain river.

Following an introduction to charming Garmisch, and free time for lunch, we leave by bus to rendezvous with those who opted for the Zugspitze Ascent Excursion (see below).

Leaving Garmisch, we continue north to Freising, our home for the next two evenings. Upon arrival, considering joining us for a no-host dinner at delightful Weihenstephan Brewery, considered by some the oldest operating brewery on the planet!

Optional Excursion: Ascent to the Zugspitze!
Those opting for this side-adventure will forego activities in Garmisch and Partnach Gorge in favor of an opportunity to ascend Germany’s tallest peak. The journey begins with a cogwheel train ride from Garmisch through alpine countryside, climbing through a 2½ mile tunnel to the Zugspitzeplatte (plateau).

Time for lunch in an alpine chalet is followed by the chance for a unique and stimulating 1-mile hike through permanent snowfields. The Glacier Cable Car then takes us to the summit of Zugspitze, at 9,718 feet above sea level, providing commanding, 360-degree views over Austria to the south and the German plains of Bavaria to the north. A high-speed cable car returns us to the valley floor in short order to rendezvous with our bus and the rest of the group. Estimated price – $75 per person.

DAY 8-August 23: Activities from Freising (BD)

Munich from a Local Point of View – 5-7 km, not rated

We explore Munich today from several perspectives. A number of club walks are available and we will select one short route (5-7 km) outside the center to see this capital of Bavaria from a local’s point of view.

Later this morning, a guided tour introduces us to Munich’s better-known attractions. Using a combination of bus and walking, we’ll see Munich sights such as Nymphenburg Palace, Olympic Park, BMW World, and old Munich highlights like the Viktualienmarkt (food market), the Hofbräuhaus, arguably Germany’s most famous beer hall, and, of course, the Glockenspiel on Marienplatz.

We’ve seen a wide swatch of Bavaria in the past few days, and we return to Freising late this afternoon to prepare for tomorrow’s departure from Munich airport and to enjoy the camaraderie of a Farewell dinner this evening.

DAY 9-August 24: Depart Germany (B)

Munich’s International Airport is just a 10-minute drive from Freising. Following breakfast, you are free to depart by taxi or ride-sharing according to your flight schedule. Our hotel may offer a transfer service as well for a fee.

Without a doubt, the Passion Play at Oberammergau was the centerpiece of this odyssey through Germany. But what a cornucopia of diverse landscapes and tales of Germany’s rich history and culture lie within a short radius of this small Bavarian village in the German alps.

Thank you for sharing the adventure!

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

How Do I Lock In My Place On This Adventure?

The Oberammergau Passion Play is a unique, once-in-10-years experience. Adding to the singular nature of this tour is our shared, worldwide experience with Covid-19. Because the Passion Play is in high demand, and tickets are difficult to obtain, we were initially required to pay non-refundable deposits before we finalized hotel and other bookings for the tour and officially opened the tour for registration.

A $300 non-refundable deposit is the first step to hold a spot on this tour. A second non-refundable payment of $600 is due January 8, 2022 with a final payment due 90 days before departure. Payments are non-refundable after each due date.

An Adventure Advice email with critical information on flight arrangements will be sent soon after registration, with important details about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review the Adventure Advice email.

Please follow this link to read our full General Tour Conditions.

Modified Payment Terms

Because of the payment terms of the Passion Play and the payment terms of our European supplier, WAI standard payment and cancellation terms must be modified. A non-refundable deposit of $300 is due at the time of booking. A second non-refundable deposit of $600 is due no later than January 8, 2022. These payments go to the Passion Play. The balance due is due 90 days before departure. Payments are non-refundable after each due date.

What's a Classic Curated Tour?

With help from local experts and walking guides, these itineraries are hand-crafted with extensive on-site planning by WAI tour planners.

When planning Classic Curated Tours, our objective is to capture the essence of a destination–the history, culture, and natural wonders unique to that part of the world. We then build activities and walks that take us inside these characteristics.

Yes, these tours are educational, but they are also interactive and immersive; walking gets us off the bus and penetrates local cultures to not only see but touch, smell, and feel these special spaces.

Along the way, local walking guides amplify the experience by sharing insights into the magic of that particular location.

Walk Ratings

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Several walks on this trip are oriented more towards education, and therefore take longer due to stops for guide commentary. Nature walks, on the other hand, generally continue at a steadier pace because we’re stopping less to talk.

In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please contact our office at [email protected].

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented on the table below:

INCLINE

1. Minimal hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: <200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.

Elevation on Tour

All hotels and walks are situated at relatively low elevations. Our hotel in the Oberammergau area is the highest, situated below 3,000 feet above sea level. The optional Ascent to the Zugspitze excursion on Day 7 takes travelers to the highest point in Germany by cogwheel train and cable car. The highest elevation we experience is about 9,700 feet above sea level. A walk of about 1 mile in length is available during this excursion at elevations of around 8500 to 9000 feet above sea level.

How is Airfare Arranged?

This Adventure officially starts in Mainz, Germany (closest airport is Frankfurt; airport code FRA) and finishes in Freising, Germany (closest airport is Munich; airport code MUC).

We recommend that you contact Laura Pfahler, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment!

More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided by email after you register for the Adventure.  Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

Travel Insurance

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. This is now especially true in the era of COVID-19, which is typically treated like any other illness for travel insurance purposes. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler and Sharon Mitchell of World Travel Inc. are travel agents who provides air travel and insurance services to many WAI travelers.

Check out Insurance Tips from World Travel for a short introduction to travel insurance. (NOTE: WAI receives no commission or financial remuneration from World Travel Inc.).

As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the SquareMouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

  • Allianz
  • Betins
  • Travel Guard
  • Travel Insured International

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). Travelers interested in purchasing “cancel for any reason” insurance coverage should be careful to check pricing and terms BEFORE they register for a tour. Recent changes in the international travel landscape has caused changes in the policies of some insurance companies, and made the purchase of this particular type of policy even more time-sensitive.

Tour Cancellations

Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel this tour departure if participation drops below 12 participants, in which case registered participants will receive a 100% refund of payments received.

This refund policy contains one exclusion related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Many suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Unforeseen circumstances linked to the virus can force us to cancel a tour. Due to these supplier’s non-refundable policies, WAI intends to retrieve as much of these deposits as possible, but cannot guarantee a 100% refund.

In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained for a cancelled tour, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.

View our full General Tour Conditions for more details.

Current COVID-19 Restrictions and Requirements

Germany now requires visitors to be fully vaccinated and is currently defining “full vaccination” as the last shot having been administered within the 6 months preceding the visit. Furthermore, the USA currently requires citizens returning from abroad to produce a negative COVID-19 result from a test taken within one day of departure (our local partner will help meet this requirement). Cost of this test is not included in the tour price.

Participation in this Oberammergau Adventure requires compliance with current vaccine requirements.

COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

The Our Approach to Fun but Prudent Travel document identifies and explains Covid-19 mitigation policies and procedures WAI is using as a starting point for our 2022 tours.

Because the knowledge base about COVID-19 changes regularly, we review these policies and procedures on an ongoing basis, and will, of course, notify travelers on tour of updates as we approach the departure date of your tour.

COVID-19 Travel Waiver

During this age of COVID-19, WAI evaluates worldwide reports and conditions on an ongoing basis. Please read our COVID-19 Policies and Procedures document before signing the COVID-19 Travel Waiver. Participation in this tour requires your signature on the COVID-19 Travel Waiver.

What Happens Next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome email and initial invoice notifying you of your tour balance and due date.

Soon after registration, an Adventure Advice email with critical information on booking your flights, as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip, will be sent. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review the Adventure Advice email.

About 70 days before departure, you will receive a final statement reminder about the final tour payment, which is due 60 days before departure. Payments are non-refundable after each due date. Please see our General Tour Conditions for the full terms and conditions for participation in this Adventure.

Around 2-3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final email packet with details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.