Oberammergau & The Castles, Mountains and Lakes of Bavaria
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One of most iconic Passion Plays in the world, performed over one summer every decade, the Oberammergau Passion Play is a magnificent sight to behold. Take in this fantastic spectacle along with the fairytale beauty of Bavaria, with its mysterious castles and forbidden forests.
We begin our Bavarian adventure at our dedicated Departure Office at St Pancras International where we travel by Eurostar to Paris in Standard Premier Class. Here, we continue to Stuttgart by First Class rail where we overnight.
Day 2 sees us travel on to the village of Füssen on Germany's Romantic Road where we stay for the next four nights. After checking in, you have time to explore this picture book village, taking in the colourful houses, medieval walls, and historic churches before we dine together this evening.
Füssen finds itself hidden away at the base of the Alps, enjoying all of the beautiful landscapes which this iconic mountain range provides. Sitting on the Lech River, Füssen is a charming base from which to venture out and take in everything this marvellous part of the world has to offer
Today we enjoy an enthralling journey on the Zugspitze Railway (Standard Class) which makes the delightful journey to the summit of Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany.
Trawling through pine trees and foothills, passing through charming Bavarian villages with chocolate box railway stations, and straddling ancient mountains, the Zugspitze Railway is panoramic, scenic and beautiful. Chalets, barns and farmlands dot the meadows, and these delightful carriages offer breathtaking views of the Zugspitze mountain range.
The final leg sees us take a cable car over the forests to the very top, where we have free time. The Zugspitze Mountain is instantly identifiable by its unique shape as it looms over the valley and forests below.
Our excursion today takes us first to the glorious Neuschwanstein Castle. This fantastic fortress, nestled in the Alps, is a stunning sight, both outside and in. With a storied history reaching back to the wealth of empires before it, this castle is famously the inspiration for the 'Sleeping Beauty' castle which makes up part of the Disney logo. With its towers, buttresses and grand halls, you would be hardpressed to find a better example of a fairy tale castle, as it stands tall and proud, as if straight from the pages of a Brothers Grimm story.
Neuschwanstein was built originally by Ludwig II of Bavaria using his own funds, and was intended as both a private retreat and a home. Sadly, the king was killed in suspicious circumstances in 1886 and consequently was never able to enjoy the fruits of his economic investment. However, his design has attracted millions of visitors to the region and the castle to enjoy the superb architecture and interiors. Designed in a Romanesque style, the architecture of Neuschwanstein recalls the old medieval castles and fortresses of old, with Ludwig II enjoying significant input into the design.
We also visit the delightful yellow castle of Hohenschwangau in the pretty village of the same name. Perhaps a less grand affair than its larger and more majestic neighbour, Hohenschwangau Castle sacrifices grandeur for a more relaxed charm. It was the childhood home of the aforementioned Ludwig II and looks more like a country palace rather than the castle it claims to be. The honey coloured walls make this an iconic building, and both the exterior, interior and garden areas are a joy to discover. This part of the valley also offers fantastic views of Neuschwanstein.
Today, you are at leisure to enjoy the charms of the quintessentially Bavarian Füssen. Füssen is actually a very old town, found on the banks of the Lech River and near the Forggensee lake, with its settlement dating back to the times of the Roman Empire. The town is filled with delightful buildings with rust-coloured red roofs and squares of bars, cafés and restaurants.
Well worth a visit is the pretty St. Mang's Abbey. This wonderful old Benedictine Monastery boasts ornate plasterwork and splendid interiors within its noble old buildings. With the town itself being used as a retreat for the Prince-Bishops of Augsburg, there are strong religious connotations here, and St. Mang's Abbey is a demonstration of the wealth which the visiting Prince-Bishops bestowed upon the region.
The nearby Forggensee lake is also an attractive proposition for visitors to Füssen, with the town itself having many transport links to this gentle lake where you can enjoy a leisurely boat ride.
This morning, we travel to Oberammergau where we check into our hotel in or around the town. After settling in, we enjoy the undisputed highlight of our tour - the Oberammergau Passion Play. This extraordinary event is run by the residents of the villages with a cast and crew of over 2,000. The production itself covers the Passion of Jesus Christ and is famous across Germany and the rest of the world, for its scale, history and quality. An enormous amount of work goes into each production, which a myriad of fantastic props, costumes and backdrops combining to make this a true spectacle to be remembered by the audience.
The play itself was first created by villagers in the 17th century. When the village became infected by the bubonic plague, the population believed (as many did) that it was a sign of God's displeasure at humanity and human sin. In an attempt to appease God, they promised that if he spared Oberammergau from the plague, they would put on a play every ten years, detailing the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As the story goes, the village was saved, and all those with the plague were cured, and since then, Oberammergau has organised a production each decade, and has done so ever since, apart from a brief break during World War II.
Our top tier tickets grant us seats at the front and centre, with some of the best seats in the house. Split into two halves, with each half lasting three hours with a two hour break, we spend the rest of the day here, enjoying a special dinner in the two hour break.
Leaving Oberammergau this morning, we travel by rail (Standard Class) to Munich, from where we continue on to Nuremberg, where we stay for the final night of our tour. By evening, you may wish to venture out into the streets and explore a little of Nuremberg's medieval streets. Founded on important trade routes, Nuremberg lies in the shadow of an enormous castle made up of various buildings and keeps.
On Day 8, we make our return journey, travelling in First Class to Frankfurt before connecting with the Eurostar back to London via Paris.
For the Passion Play Performance you will be seated in category 1 seats, located at the front and centre of the theatre.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enhancing your tour
This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Fantastic spectacle along with the fairy tale beauty of Bavaria