Danube & Oberammergau Passion Play 2022
Optional Two Day Prelude In
Depart USA on August 11, 2022
Depart the United States on Thursday, August 11, 2022 for flights arriving the next day in Budapest, Hungary (airport code BUD). Spend two days and two nights exploring this charming city and the surrounding countryside. Budapest still exudes an Old World atmosphere and a distinct Eastern European culture. Budapest continues to reverberate both the past influences of the Soviets and a city yearning to integrate with the European community. Enjoy your five-star accommodation at the newly renovated Marriott with views of the Danube.
Our day will begin with a walking tour of the "Pest" side of the city and a guided visit of St. Stephen's Basilica and observation tower. After boarding your luxury coach, your knowledgeable guides will introduce you to the Hungarian wine region of Etyek. Amid old oak barrels, you will enjoy a private wine tasting event hosted by the vintner and finish your visit with a private luncheon at the charming estate. On the second day of your visit, partake in another taste of Hungarian countryside. Your tour will include a trip to an equestrian park for a stunning show of horsemanship. Lunch includes Hungarian cuisine accompanied by gypsy music. Other sites in the city of Budapest are included in the Core Itinerary on August 15.
Pricing and additional details will be available summer 2021.
Twelve Day Core Itinerary
August 13 - 24, 2022
Saturday, August 13, 2022
Depart United States
Depart the United States for overnight transatlantic flights to the charming city of Budapest (airport code BUD).
Sunday, August 14
Arrive in Budapest
Hop in a taxi at the airport for transfer to the AmaLea, docked in the heart of the city, waiting for your arrival. It’s all aboard by mid-afternoon with a welcome cocktail in the company of the ship’s crew. After our first five-course dinner is served on the ship, you may enjoy a stroll along the river toward the brightly illuminated Parliament Building, arguably one of the most stunning landmarks in the city. As one of the iconic architectural masterpieces in all of Europe, the House of Parliament contributed to Budapest being named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Monday, August 15
Explore Budapest, a city marked by old world culture and tradition. This city is aptly named "Queen of the Danube." On the Pest side of the city, we will wander the famed Great Market Hall, discover Heroes’ Square, and marvel at the multiple bridges connecting the city, including the famous Chain Bridge. The historic castle district of Buda offers cobbled, medieval streets and dramatic views of the city from Fishermen’s Bastion. For those with energy to burn, join a guided hike up Castle Hill for breathtaking views of the city.
Tuesday, August 16
Host to the crowning ceremonies of eleven Hungarian kings and queens, Bratislava certainly has earned the title “Coronation City of Kings” as you’ll discover during your walking tour of Old Town. Visit Michael’s Gate, built in the 1300s, now the last vestige of this once fortified medieval city. Known among locals as the “Blue Church,” the Church of St. Elisabeth exhibits unique Hungarian-style architecture.
More active adventurers may hike up to Bratislava Castle, situated on a rocky outcrop of the Little Carpathians. From this vantage point, your excursion is rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the city and river valley.
Or join a local culinary host to sample traditional Slovakian specialties. Learn how to prepare stuffed potato ravioli with an opportunity to taste your own creation.
Wednesday, August 17
Vienna offers a treasure trove of architectural gems. Your city tour showcases its regal splendors, including the majestic Opera House and Hapsburg Palace. Conclude your tour in Vienna’s historic city center with a visit to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. During the afternoon, enjoy leisure time exploring this iconic city even further. Partake of Vienna’s famous Sacher-Torte, one of the most well-known cakes in the world.
For a more active exploration of the area, take a guided bicycle ride to Klosterneuburg Abbey. Housed at this monastery is both the 12th-century Verdun Altar and Austria’s oldest wine estate.
Spend the afternoon visiting the splendid Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the rulers of the Hapsburg Empire, including famed Maria Theresa. In the evening, take in a performance at a concert hall in the “City of Waltzes.”
Thursday, August 18
Dürnstein, Melk & Grein
The steep, terraced hills on both sides of the Danube in the Wachau Valley boasts abundant acres of vineyards. Throughout this scenic section of the river, our ship offers the perfect perspective to view Schonbuhel Castle, built a millennium ago. And if one castle is not enough, you can glimpse almost a dozen others along the banks, including Hinterhaus Castle, a well-preserved 13th-century fortress.
Our ship docks in Weissenkirchen, and this morning you’ll have a choice of three excursions in Dürnstein.
Take a walking tour of Dürnstein before visiting the UNESCO-designated Melk Abbey. For nearly 1,000 years, Benedictine monks have continually lived and worked on this rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube. The baroque abbey boasts an impressive nave and a famous, medieval library.
For a more culinary-focused experience, partake in a walking tour along storybook streets to the luminous blue facade of the Baroque Stiftskirche then enjoy a wine tasting hosted by a local vintner and sample special apricot treats from a local boutique.
If you prefer a more active adventure, hike up to the fortress where Richard the Lionheart was once held or join a guided bike tour to Melk.
Later in the day, sail through the Strudengau Valley to medieval Grein for a private tour of the more than 500-year-old Greinburg Castle, looming regally from above. While here, enjoy a folklore show and wine reception.
Friday, August 19
Linz & Salzburg
Upon arrival in Linz, Austria, we set off on a day-long excursion to the foothills of the Eastern Alps and historic Salzburg. The birthplace of Mozart and the site of the filming of The Sound of Music, Salzburg sports a wonderfully well-preserved city center along the Salzach River.
En route to Salzburg, stop at Mondsee, home of the Basilica St. Michael, the site of the filming of the wedding in The Sound of Music.
Your guided walking tour will include Nonnberg Abbey, Mirabell Palace Gardens, Residence Fountain, and various sites in the Altstadt (Old Town) area of the city. Lunch is at your leisure, so be sure to duck into one of the many cafés and enjoy a legendary Viennese coffee and the Salzburg Nockerl. But don't try to eat this soufflé on your own; it's too heavy for one person!
Or join a morning walking tour through the old city center of Linz and by the Mozart House; or go on a bike tour of the city’s famed “Cultural Mile” and the Danube. In the afternoon, you can also choose to visit charming Český Krumlov, located just over the Czech-Austrian border.*
*These options are not available with full-day excursion to Salzburg.
Saturday, August 20
Passau & Vilshofen
Discover the city of Passau in one of three ways. Enjoy a walking tour and marvel at Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Alternately, choose between a guided hike up to the Veste Oberhaus fortress or a guided bike tour along the Danube River. Later, cruise to Vilshofen, where you will be treated to a festive Oktoberfest celebration.
Sunday, August 21
We'll sit down for our final breakfast on AmaLea before we travel together by coach to Munich, the largest city in Bavaria. Our time here will include a guided tour of Munich Residenz, the seat of Bavarian government and home to dukes, kings, and the royal court from 1509 to 1918. The magnificent palace began as a castle and fortress in the 14th century but steadily grew to include multiple inner courtyards as the complex expanded in grandeur. Through the original collections of art, furnishings, and architecture, visitors can see the changing forms of princely self-representation in the ages of humanism, Counter-Reformation, the Enlightenment, the divine right of kings, and constitutional monarchy.
After a lunch at leisure, enjoy either a walking tour of Old Town or a guided tour by coach. Be sure to catch a view of the famed Glockenspiel in Marienplatz. Enjoy a dinner of your choice near our centrally located five-star hotel, The Charles Hotel of the Rocco Forte Collection.
Monday, August 22
Ettal & Oberammergau
Following breakfast at our hotel, we board private, luxury motor coaches and journey again toward the Alps. Ettal Abbey, a masterpiece of Bavarian architecture, overtakes a sweeping valley. Founded in 1330 by Benedictine monks, the abbey was rebuilt in the 1700s following a devastating fire. This imposing complex with a massive basilica rises dramatically out of the countryside.
We will also visit Linderhof Palace. Completed in the late 19th century, Ludwig II designed Linderhof as a miniature Versailles – the symbol of the sun can be found throughout, identifying God-given monarchy with divine right. From the opulent Hall of Mirrors to his grand bedchamber, this palace conjures the memory of a romantic era.
Between these visits, we will lunch at Ludwig der Bayer, featuring regional ingredients such as produce from the monastery’s farms, gardens, and dairy, as well as local fish and game.
Upon arrival in Oberammergau, we will enjoy dinner and have time to explore this small village nestled in the lap of the Alps.
Tuesday, August 23
Oberammergau Passion Play
After being spared the worst of the Black Plague in 1634, this modest, unassuming community committed to performing The Passion of Christ every ten years. Keeping this promise for twenty generations, nearly half the inhabitants of the village assemble to bring the story to life right before our eyes.
Complete with impeccable costumes and makeup, haunting music, brilliant scripts, and gorgeous settings, this depiction of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ will move your heart. This once-in-a-decade production and nearly 400-year-old tradition is not to be missed!
The day begins with breakfast at our hotels. Wandering the heart of the village will allow you time to absorb the charm of this small, remote community. Be sure to look for traditional wood carvings, Christmas decorations, and cuckoo clocks.
Lunch at leisure with Bavarian delights at several local, homey restaurants offering outdoor seating.
The Passionsspiele is a two-part performance beginning mid afternoon. During the extended intermission, you will enjoy a three-course meal as the sun sets behind the Alps. As darkness descends on the village, return to the theater to witness the interpretation of the death of Christ and the hope of his resurrection.
Wednesday, August 24
Or a possible Extension to Nuremberg, stay tuned....
Motor coach transportation will be provided to the Munich airport for transatlantic return flights, or choose to extend your stay in this quintessential region of Germany. We kindly request flights depart Munich after 12:00, noon.
In 2021, our office will contact current registered guests to explore interest in an Extension to Nuremberg. Sites would include the infamous Nazi Rally Grounds and Museum and the Nuremberg Courthouse where WWII criminals were tried and sentenced.