Oberammergau Passion Play

First performed in 1634,  the Passion Play resulted from a vow made by the inhabitants of the village that if God spared them from the effects of the bubonic plague then sweeping the region they would perform a passion play every ten years. A man traveling back to the town for Christmas had accidentally brought the plague with him. The man died from the plague and it began spreading throughout Oberammergau. After the vow was made, not another inhabitant of the town died from the plague. All of the town members that were still suffering from the plague recovered.

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Oberammergau Travel Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Expect to be charmed by this quaint Bavarian town nestled below the breathtaking mountains. The people of Oberammergau are friendly and welcomingthey have been preparing for your arrival for years!  

Because the Passion Play is such a special and rare event, you can expect large crowds and may experience a longer wait time for admittance into the theater or access to restrooms. 

In 1633 while the 30 Years’ War raged across Europe, a deadly plague reached the town of Oberammergau, located high in the Bavarian Alps. In an act of faith, the town council vowed that, if God would protect the village from the plague, the townspeople would express their gratitude by performing the life and suffering of Christ for the rest of their existence. Miraculously, no more lives were taken from the town, and the people of Oberammergau performed their first Passion Play in 1634. 2020 will be 42nd performance season of the Passion Play! 

As part of the vow, all actors who perform must be born in Oberammergau. More than 2,000 residents are involved in the production each season as actors, singers, instrumentalists, and stage technicians. Local citizens composed the musical score, created thousands of elaborate costumes, and even designed and built the theater itselfThe Oberammergau Passion Play is a source of pride for townspeople and a tremendous labor of love!  

Click here to learn more about how the citizens of Oberammergau prepare for the Passion Play. 

The Passion Play is in German. Travelers should have no difficulty following the performance as the music is powerful! An English translation is provided in the program to help engage the audience in the events unfolding on stage. 

Each ticket includes a light lunch before the performance, admittance to the Passion Play, dinner during intermission, and accommodations arranged by the Oberammergau Passion Play Committee. 

Accommodations in Oberammergau are arranged by the Passion Play Committee. Due to the large number of travelers visiting the town, your group could be placed at more than one hotel. Lodging may be rustic, and rooms may not have air conditioning (which is common in the Alpine region). Travelers who elected the twin bed rooming option may be accommodated in German twins—two single beds with separate bedding supported by the same bed frame.  

Your Passion Play ticket consists of a light lunch and dinner. Lunch includes your choice of a onecourse dish at a restaurant in Oberammergau or Ettal. Dinner features an appetizer, choice of three different main courses, and a dessert. Drinks may be purchased individually for an additional cost.  

Travelers with severe or life-threatening allergies should advise our office as soon as possible so we can notify the Passion Play Committee accordingly. While efforts will be made to provide meals to travelers with dietary requests, the Committee does not guarantee that all requests can be accommodated. 

If you have a food allergy and are concerned about being able to communicate to a waiter or waitress what your exact needs are, we recommend (before you depart the USA), visit www.selectwisely.comHere, you can input your food allergy and print off a card that lists the restriction in the language of the country you are visiting. You can then provide this card to a server so they can best accommodate you at a meal. If you do have a severe food allergy or restriction, please let our office know in advance. 

Approximate show times are as follows: 

May 16 – August 16, 2020 

  • 02:30 PM            Part 1 (duration: about 2 – 2.5 hours) 
  • 05:00 PM             Break for dinner 
  • 08:00 PM             Part 2 (duration: about 2.5 hours) 

August 17 – October 04, 2020 

  • 01:30 PM             Part 1 (duration: about 2 – 2.5 hours) 
  • 04:00 PM             Break for dinner 
  • 07:00 PM             Part 2 (duration: about 2.5 hours) 

Before entering the theater, guests will be subject to security screening (bags and pat-down)Each ticket reflects the attendee’s name on the back, and travelers must present a valid form of identification (such as a passport or driver’s license) matching the ticket name to gain admittance into the theater. Carry your ticket with you at all times during the performance, as you will have to present it to re-enter the auditorium after intermission. Event staff may also ask to reference your ticket at other times. 

Gates open 30 minutes before show time and the audience must be in their seats 15 minutes before show time. No one is permitted to enter the theater after the start of the play. 

The Passion Play is held in an outdoor theatre featuring covered seating and an open-air stage.  

Because the play is performed in an outdoor setting, you should dress appropriately for the weather.  We recommend dressing in layers and bringing some type of water-repellent clothing in the event of rain.  During the Spring and Fall months, the mountain air can be quite cool by the end of the performance. We recommended bringing gloves and a hat if you are prone to feeling coldThere is no set dress code required for this event; guests are advised to wear comfortable clothing. 

Public restrooms are located at the Ammergauer Haus in Oberammergau (Eugen-Papst-Str.) or at the theater. Since the Passion Play is a long production, consider planning ahead by limiting liquids before the performance. 

Red Cross staff will be positioned at the theater gates to assist with health concerns. There is also a professional security team in place to ensure the safety of all guests. 

Handicap seating and seats for accompanying persons are limited and based on availability. If you require a handicapped seat for the performance, please contact our office immediately. On the day of the performance, handicapped travelers must bring a medical confirmation indicating that they are dependent on a wheelchair.  

Due to space limitations, walkers and walking sticks are not allowed in the theater. 

The following objects are not permitted: 

  • Food 
  • Beverages exceeding 0.5 liters 
  • Glass bottles 
  • Bags must be no larger than 8.25” x 11.5” 
  • Other objects such as walking sticks, walkers, umbrellas, flashlights, etc. 
  • Weapon-like objects such as knives, fire, etc. 

In addition to the prohibited items above, only resealable beverage bottles and mini umbrellas may be taken into the theatre. If you get cold during the performance, blankets are available to borrow. 

Electronic devices must not interfere with the performance. Please ensure that your cell phone, camera, or similar device does not produce sound, vibration, or light signals(We recommend putting phones on airplane mode.) 

We understand your Oberammergau tour is a once in a lifetime experience and provides the opportunity to extend your tour individually! Some travelers have already contacted our team to extend your hotel stay an extra night before or after your tour. Due to the high volume of interest, Corporate Travel has reached the maximum number of pre-night and post-night requests we can accommodate.  

If you are a Land Only traveler interested in spending an additional night at your hotelplease contact your hotel directly to arrange an additional nights stay. Hotel information will be emailed to all travelers approximately 45 days prior to departure. 

If your last tour night will be spent in Oberammergau, these properties cannot accommodate an extended hotel stay as the rooms are already reserved for the next group of Passion Play attendees. We recommend transferring to the airport with your tour group and making arrangement in the group’s departure city! You can also contact our friends at Carey Transportation to secure a private transfer to a destination of your choosing. Private transfers can be booked at careyconnect.com with code #WA 835389. 

If you would like to continue your travels in another location and need assistance planning and arranging your extended tour, our Exceptional Journeys division is happy to help! You can contact info@exceptionaljourneys.net to begin planning! A $500 nonrefundable deposit is required as part of this planning process and will be applied to your future travel arrangements. 

Still have questions about Oberammergau? 
We are more than happy to take your call!

International Tours, please call 866.468.1420

General questions? Check out our FAQs!

Performances begin in May 2020 through September 2020