Oberammergau - need to know
Topflight (01-240 1700; www.topflight.ie) organises tailor-made package holidays to Oberammergau, with bolt-on holidays to the Austrian Tirol. The trip is particularly group-friendly -- Topflight is offering one free place in 20 for all groups.
A two-night package, including return Aer Lingus flights to Munich from Dublin and Cork, transfers (under two hours), hotel, tour guide, full-board and tickets to the play costs €1,199 per person. Expect to pay taxes of about €70.
If you want to extend your trip, you can add on an extra five nights in the Austrian Tirol or Lake Garda for just €120.
In Oberammergau, we stayed in the three-star Hotel Feldmeier (0049 8822 3011; hotel-feldmeier.de). It's centrally located in the village, comprising 17 double rooms and six single rooms. Throughout winter, it costs from €340pp for a double room (half-board and breakfast) for seven nights. If travelling to the Passion Play, check website for deals closer to the date. Early booking advisable.
In Tirol, we stayed in the four-star Sporthotel Austria
(0043 535 262 507; sporthotelaustria.at). Rates start from €92pp (half-board) for a double room. Special ski packages are also available in winter.
WHEN TO GO
The Oberammergau Passion Play starts on May 15 and continues with daily performances until October 3. For more information, see www.passionsspiele 2010.de.
FOUR OTHER MUST-SEE PASSION PLAYS
- Australia: They are held annually in the run-up to Easter in Brisbane, and in Turramurra in New South Wales.
- Brazil: The Passion of the Christ is performed every year during Easter in a purpose-built 100,000sqm theatre-city in Pernambuco, north-eastern Brazil. Some 500 actors appear on nine separate stages throughout.
- Canada: The Canadian Badlands Passion Play is performed annually in an amphitheatre in the Drumheller valley in Alberta, with around 300 actors and musicians involved.
- USA: Many cities host their own Passion plays yearly, including Wichita (Oklahoma), Glen Rose (Texas), Eureka Springs (Arkansas) and at the Park Theatre in Union City, New Jersey, which caused a small controversy in 1997 by casting an African-American actor in the role of Jesus.