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2022 Oberammergau Passion Play: Vienna & Salzburg

Program No. 23494RJ
Celebrate centuries of tradition as you attend Germany’s Oberammergau Passion Play, an artistic reenactment that happens once every 10 years, and explore Vienna, Salzburg and Munich.
9 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at

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At a Glance

In 1634, with the bubonic plague ravaging Europe, the people of the Bavarian town of Oberammergau pleaded with God, promising that they would perform a Passion Play — an artistic reenactment of the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ — if they were spared from the plague. The number of deaths declined, and the Oberammergauers attributed this blessing to their bargain; ever since, the entire town has come together every 10 years to perform the elaborate play. Be a part of this centuries-old tradition in 2022 by attending this epic performance. Spend the week learning about religious history in Oberammergau while also exploring the musical history of Vienna, cultural history in Munich and architectural history of Salzburg.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Attend the Oberammergau Passion Play, a tradition in which more than 2,000 villagers work to perform the life of Jesus through spoken drama, musical accompaniment and tableaux vivants (“living pictures”).
  • Visit the Melk Abbey, one of the most impressive baroque monasteries in Europe.
  • Explore the monuments dedicated to Vienna's greatest musicians – such as Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn – while learning about their cultural impact.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Vienna Map
by Berndtson & Berndtson
A handy laminated map of the city center.
Prost! The Story of German Beer
by Horst D. Dornbusch
The Munich-based aficionado weaves history and culture with the marvels and mysteries of German beer in this brief, authoritative guide.
Lonely Planet Central Europe
by Lonely Planet
With dozens of maps, color photographs and sections on history and culture, this practical guide introduces Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and their neighbors.
German History in Modern Times: Four Lives of the Nation
by William W. Hagen
This history of German-speaking central Europe offers a very wide perspective, emphasizing a succession of many-layered communal identities. It highlights the interplay of individual, society, culture and political power, contrasting German with Western patterns.
The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Medieval World
by Andrew Jotischky
Richly decorated with photographs, illustrations and full-color maps, this compact atlas explores the empires, people, cultures and religions of the Middle Ages, providing an excellent introduction to European history.
A Tramp Abroad
by Mark Twain, David Eggers (Introduction), Kerry Driscoll (Introduction)
Written 11 years after "Innocents Abroad," this is Twain's second foray into European travel. Filled with his characteristic wit and humorous observations, it documents his journeys through Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy.
Baroque and Rococo Art
by Germain Bazin
An excellent illustrated survey of Baroque and Rococo art and architecture, this volume in the acclaimed "World of Art" series is a good companion to the golden age of Middle Europe.
Oberammergau, The Troubling Story of the World's Most Famous Passion Play
by James Shapiro
A cultural history of Oberammergau and the monumental influence its Passion Play has had on its development.
The Swan King: Ludwig II of Bavaria
by Christopher McIntosh
Ludwig II, the so-called Mad King of Bavaria, was one of the most enigmatic figures of the 19th century. He has gone down in history for his patronage to Richard Wagner, and for the palaces he created.
The German Way
by Hyde Flippo
A slim volume on the German-speaking world's cultural psyche, this is a great resource for anyone seeking insight into why the Germans do what they do.
Eyewitness Guide Vienna
by Eyewitness Guides
Take along this handy, compact guide featuring history, culture, color photography and excellent neighborhood maps.
The Story of the Trapp Family Singers
by Maria von Trapp
The true story of the von Trapp family singers, as remembered by Maria von Trapp herself. Maria was indeed a novice nun, but there ends her resemblance to the Julie Andrews character in the Sound of Music.
The Blue Flower
by Penelope Fitzgerald
Set in the Age of Goethe, this exquisitely written short novel is a fictional account of the life of the Romantic poet Novalis. It paints a vivid picture of German intellectual and mercantile life in the late 1700s.
Fin-de-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture
by Carl E. Schorske
A landmark study of turn-of-the century Vienna -- one of the key chapters in modern intellectual history. Among its luminaries were Freud, Klimt, Kokoshka and Schoenberg.
The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
by Peter Gay
This concise, entertaining portrait delves into Mozart's complex relationship with his father, his daunting role as a child prodigy and his exploration of new musical territory.
Munich Map
by Borch Maps
A handy, laminated map of Munich at a scale of 1:11,000.
Lonely Planet Austria
by Lonely Planet
A highly recommended introduction to Austrian history and culture, as well as a good overview of popular destinations including Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck and more.
The Habsburgs, Dynasty, Culture and Politics
by Paula Sutter Fichtner
A concise chronicle of the 600-year Habsburg Empire, essential for those interested in European history. Fichtner reveals how the dynasty used propaganda, political maneuvering and public performance to maintain control over an array of cultures and ethnicities.
The Third Man and The Fallen Idol
by Graham Greene
A haunting tale and penetrating portrait of Vienna after World War II, "The Third Man" is the result of Greene's collaboration with Carol Reed on the classic movie. "The Fallen Idol" is a separate tale of intrigue set in Britain.
Germany, Benelux, Austria Czech Republic Map
by Michelin Travel Publications
This handy map shows road and river routes from Amsterdam and Berlin to Prague, Vienna, Munich and Salzburg at a scale of 1:1,000,000.
Vienna Music Guide
by David L. Nelson
Written by a professional music tour director, this well-produced, independent guide provides excellent coverage of Vienna's musical heritage, with special attention given to its orchestras, museums, famous gravesites and opera houses.
The Burgermeister's Daughter, Scandal in a Sixteenth-Century German Town
by Steven Ozment
Meticulously researched and absorbing, this narrative by a Harvard historian traces the legal battle of the daughter of a well-to-do family who was thrown out of her home and disinherited in 1525.
Every Pilgrim's Guide to Oberammergau and its Passion Play
by Michael Counsell
This pocket travel guide by a retired Anglican priest includes information on Oberammergau and the Passion Play, performed five times a day, five days a week for five months every 10 years. With hymns and bible readings.
13 Reviews
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5 Average
This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 9/22/2022

I was surprised to find our guide was replaced at the last minute by a polish speaking man who had not spoken English in 3 years and was not a road scholar guide. On the last day, we find that he did not have an RS itinerary but was relying on the coach drivers for information. Because of this, we missed a visit to the Schonein palace On several occasions, we had to make our own way back to the hotel by public transport and pay for it ourselves. We also had to pay for one of our site visits. At Oberamagau we had to make several trips on foot to find our coach. Our hotel in Vienna was not in a central place and had to spend almost a whole day before we got access to our rooms. The room was very small and had little provision for my personal belongings. as a result I lost my hearing aid. I had to purchase my breakfast as Austrian airlines only provided a beverage. My return flight was booked through Air Canada. I was not given information regarding entry into Canada and only found out at check-in. When I requested help from air Canada staff they refused. As a result of the confusion, I lost my green card. Had to check in to a hotel with no vacancies at the airport so had to take a cab for an additional night. When I called Road Scholar had great difficulty as no one was answering the phone. I had to report a lost card to the airport police there were no working escalators or escalators I had to climb 5 flights of stairs with my luggage. No mean feat for a 71-year-old lady. As a result, I had to obtain a flight direct to the US which RS refused to pay for. MY trip Cost doubled the amount I budgeted as a result of a lack of information and difficulty speaking with RS personnel for many hours. I did not get back to the US until 19 hours later than my original time. I do expect financial compensation as I was insured through RS. In all a poor and disappointing experience for my first RS trip. Hannah

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 9/05/2022

Wonderful experience! I highly recommend this program. The itinerary was fast paced, but captivating the entire time. We saw some beautiful parts of Austria and Bavaria, and learned SO much about the history of the area. The Passion Play was everything that I hoped it would be! Our accommodations were right across the street, which made it easy for the group to see the play, have lunch at the hotel, and return to the play in the evening. And we were located right in the middle of wonderful shopping, so the tight schedule didn't prevent us from having time to look around and shop for souvenirs. I would easily do this entire program again!!!

(5) Review left 8/29/2022

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the Road Scholar Tour for Austria & Germany! It was one of the most INCREDIBLE life experiences I have ever had! You will not want to leave these countries! I came back to America a changed & more grateful woman! I have never seen such beauty in nature & the people in the countries of Austria & Germany will forever hold a special place in my heart, as well as our Group Leader Markus Rickermann de Brus, and the Road Scholar travelers that I got to know & share this experience in life with! Thank you again for this amazing experience overseas! It will forever stay with my heart! Much love!

(5) Review left 8/27/2022

Easy access to programs by date, interests, activity level, places.

(5) Review left 8/26/2022

I took am Ipad mini with me to access the final instruction on the web site during the trip. When I tried to access them multiple time during the trip they were not available. I had not printed them, because I would be accessing them on line. This was not available and left me with question about where we were in the program, and what was next. The guide covered the items, but when I wanted to reinforce the information, it was not available.

(5) Review left 8/16/2022

As always, Road Scholar provided an outstanding experience, with great attention to detail, including providing us with the best tour guide ever.

(5) Review left 8/16/2022

So much history, so little time!

(5) Review left 8/12/2022

I just got back from a week in Vienna, Salzburg, Oberammergau and Munich with Road Scholar and our over the top great tour guide, Markus! Fabulous trip. People within our group made for a cohesive group, adding to knowledge and entertainment. Our group leader was knowledgeable, gentlemanly, a great sense of humor and caring. I highly recommend Road Scholar

(5) Review left 7/18/2022

Fulfilled a lifelong dream to experience, view the Passion Play, Obergammerau! It was an amazing experience!! Michael, our tour guide was exceptional!

(5) Review left 7/15/2022

Wonderful experience. Michael, our tour guide, was exceptional. He was knowledgeable, patient, organized, and positive. A good mix of guided experience and free time. The food was terrific. Highly recommend.

(5) Review left 7/09/2022

Excellent program! Highly recommend this program to others. The Passion Play is an amazing event to watch and the other locations visited during the program were beautiful and interesting. Cannot say enough good things about our tour guide, Michael, who led us all with humor and an amazing knowledge of the culture.

(5) Review left 7/08/2022

Really enjoyed this trip- a great exploration of Vienna, Salzburg and the lake district. Very well planned with an excellent leader and interesting guides. Hotels, food, sight-seeing added to the experience. Of course, seeing the Passion Play in Oberammergau was outstanding.

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 6/24/2022

While the tour was my first with Road Scholar after a lifetime of travel, it was one of many for my fellow tour mates. Almost to a person, we agreed our tour guide, Michael, is a gem who made postponed travel to and from a lifetime bucket list event, Oberammergau Passion Play, stimulating and engaging. His ability to coordinate personal, tour, on-site guide, hotel and coach needs while providing timely information along the way that enhanced our experience was stunning. His ability to assess individual personalities and respond with tour options amid group requirements is unmatched in my experience. You may hear about our experience with Tanya, our guide on the last and rainy day in Munich. Please give her a chance to work with Michael to optimize her tour. As a career educator, I believe she is knowledgeable and only needs to tweak her technique to share all the expertise she clearly holds. Judith Hansen

Important registration tip:
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If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.