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    Oberammergau Passion Play
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    The enchanted island

Oberammergau and Lake Maggiore

Italy and Germany

Attend the Oberammergau Passion Play, and discover the beauty of the Italian Lakes

Every ten years, the small village of Oberammergau in the Bavarian Alps stages what is regarded as the most important passion play in the world. The next performance is scheduled for 2022, when an estimated audience of some 500,000 people will watch one of the 102 performances taking place in the village.

Join us on this special holiday which begins in the beautiful Italian lakes where you can enjoy five tranquil nights in a lakeside hotel, with plenty of time to explore Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta and even to head into Switzerland on a spectacular optional rail journey. From there, transfer to Oberammergau, where you’ll take your seat at the Passion Play for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The play was first performed in 1634 after plague struck the inhabitants of Oberammergau the year before. The villagers vowed that if God would spare them, they would perform a Passion Play every 10 years. Miraculously, there were no further plague victims and the play has been performed every ten years thereafter in fulfilment of the promise (with the exception of the war years and the play’s 350th anniversary). Enacting the ‘…suffering, death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ’ and starting with Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem, this extraordinary event involves nearly half of Oberammergau’s inhabitants, all of whom (excluding children) will have been residents for at least 20 years and who will take roles ranging from actors and singers, to stage design, props and chorus. In anticipation of the play, Oberammergau men taking part will start to grow their hair and beards from Ash Wednesday, following the village “Beard and Hair Edict”, with rehearsals commencing later in the year. From the play’s origins to its outstanding ‘tableaux’, performances and the spectacle of up to 1500 actors on stage, the Oberammergau Passion Play offers a unique experience. 


15 meals: 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 7 dinners

  • Attend the Oberammergau Passion Play with Category 1 tickets
  • Official Passion Play Programme
  • Entrance to the Oberammergau Museum
  • Visit Isola San Guilio on Lake Orta and the Villa Taranto gardens
  • Explore the lakeside town of Arona
  • Welcome drink in Baveno
  • Saga tour manager
  • Optional travel insurance
  • Return flights and transfers
  • Porterage at your hotel

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK-Milan-Baveno

Baveno little town near Stresa, on Lake Maggiore

Fly to Milan and transfer to the town of Baveno, which lies on the shore of Lake Maggiore. Stay five nights at the locally rated 4-star Hotel Astoria (4Q) or the locally rated 4-star Hotel Dino (4Q). Enjoy a three-course dinner at the hotel tonight. D

Day 2 Baveno


Day at leisure.

Alternatively join an optional round trip on the Centovalli railway, which will take you to Domodossola, in Piedmont at the foot of the Italian Alps, and on to the pretty town of Locarno in Switzerland on a journey reputed to offer some of the best views in Europe. B, D

Day 3 Arona

Colossus of San Carlo Borromeo

Travel to the historic lakeside town of Arona on the west coast of Lake Maggiore (half day) and enjoy time exploring. A resort as far back as Roman times, in the Middle Ages it was the home of the powerful Borromeo family and subject to repeated attacks from Red Beard – aka the pirate Frederick Barbarossa.

The town has numerous churches, a fortress, and a towering, 115-foot high statue – the Colossus of San Carlo Borromeo. Begun in 1614, it took 84 years to complete, and was the tallest in the world until the Statue of Liberty was erected. The brave can go inside the statue and climb stairs and ladders to peep out of the eyes and ears! B, D

Day 4 Baveno

Isola Bella

At leisure. Optional private boat trip to the Borromean Islands, stopping at Isola Bella and Isola Madre. B, D

Day 5 Lake Orta and Isola San Guilio

Isola San Giulio

Travel to Lake Orta, a destination favoured by such luminaries as Byron, Balzac and Browning, on an included excursion and cross to enchanted Isola San Guilio. You’ll also visit Villa Taranto, on Lake Maggiore, to see the magnificent botanic gardens, a project begun by Scotsman Captain Neil Boyd McEacharn in 1934. He shipped in plants from all over the world and by 1940 created a space with terraces, fountains, lily ponds, winter gardens and bog gardens. He presented the estate to the Italian State, and the gardens are open to the public for six months a year. B, D

Day 6 Baveno, Italy-Oberammergau

Silvretta Pass

After breakfast travel by coach to Bolzano, and then out of Italy and via the hairpin bends of Austria’s scenic Silvretta Pass, said to be the most beautiful road in the Austrian Alps, and into Germany (261 miles, six hours). Transfer to a locally rated 3-star or 4-star hotel or pension close to Oberammergau for a two-night stay. B, D

Day 7 Oberammergau

The Passion Play

After breakfast, the morning is free to explore before a light lunch. After a short transfer, take your seats with Category 1 tickets for the start of the Passion Play at around 2.30pm. The play begins with the customary prologue and chorus, followed by two tableaux of Adam and Eve, and a representation of the original vow made in 1633. The play then follows the life of Jesus from his entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey, to the Resurrection. There will be a three-hour interval between 5pm and 8pm when dinner will be served, before the performance recommences, finishing at approximately 10.30pm. After the performance transfer back to your hotel. B, L, D

Day 8 Oberammergau-Munich-UK

Plane wing at sunset

Depart after breakfast and transfer to Munich airport for your return flight to the UK. B.

Borromean Islands

The Borromean Islands, which you can see from your hotel, is an archipelago of three small islands and two islets named after the influential Borromeo family, who began to acquire them in the 16th century. The construction of ornate palazzo and exquisite gardens which flourish in this micro-climate, transformed these chunks of bare rock into enchanted worlds. Seeing is believing!

Borromean Islands
  • Optional on 7 nights itinerary

Centovalli railway

Opened just under 100 years ago, this 52-kilometre line crosses the Italian-Swiss border. It has some dramatic inclines – the name Centovalli translates as 100 valleys – and therefore glorious views.

The Centovalli Railway
  • Optional on 7 nights itinerary
Oberammergau and Lake Maggiore

Italy and Germany