Historic Berlin & The Berlin Philharmonic, 14 March 2019


Berlin is a dynamic and cosmopolitan city and is ranked as one of Europe’s most exciting destinations. Enjoy three-nights in the vibrant cosmopolitan city of Berlin and immerse yourself in the cities rich cultural history. During your stay in Berlin, you will enjoy a magical concert performance by the Berlin Philharmonics on the Saturday evening guest conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.


  • Return scheduled flight from Dublin, taxes
  • Three nights bed and breakfast in the four-star Leonardo Hotel Berlin Mitte
  • ‘Highlights of Berlin’ sightseeing tour by coach
  • Jewish Berlin walking tour
  •  Pre-concert dinner in your hotel
  •  Performance by the Berlin Philharmonics in the Philharmonie on the Saturday evening
  •  Free time for independent sightseeing
  •  Private coach and guide assistance for all transfers and excursions


Day 1

Your tour will start with a morning flight to Berlin. Flying with Aer Lingus, flight departs Dublin at 07:10 and arrives into Berlin airport at 10:25. (please note that flight times are subject to change at airline’s discretion)

On arrival in Berlin, meet your local guide for private coach transfer to the 4* Leonardo Hotel Berlin Mitte where you are booked for three-nights on a bed & breakfast basis.  

The 4* Leonardo Hotel Berlin Mitte is located in the heart of Berlin,100 m from Friedrichstraße Train Station. Leonardo Hotel Berlin Mitte offers free WiFi and a unique property design by Philippe Starck. Part of the YOO international design project, all rooms at Leonardo Hotel Berlin Mitte are air-conditioned and feature a flat-screen TV as well as a private bathroom. Some rooms also feature a balcony with views of central Berlin. At Leonardo Hotel Berlin Mitte you will find a fitness centre. It also offers meeting facilities and luggage storage. The hotel is 30 m from the Friedrichstadtpalast Theatre and within a 5-minute walk of many of Berlin's nicest shops and restaurants. Leonardo Hotel Berlin Mitte is 800 m from The Brandenburg Gate, 900 m from the Natural History Museum and 900 m from the German Historical Museum. Excellent bus, underground train and city train connections are also available from Friedrichstraße. Mitte is a great choice for travellers interested in history, museums and architecture.

Relax over lunch before your afternoon city tour.

After lunch, meet your local guide and depart for your “Highlights of Berlin City” tour. See the city sights including Charlottenburg Palace, Checkpoint Charlie, the Branderburg Gate, Unter den Linden, Potdamer Platz and the Reichstag Building. 

Evening at leisure.

Day 2

Today, join your local guide for a 3-hour guided walking tour of Jewish Berlin. Jewish life in 'Scheunenviertel'

This morning, visit the Jewish quarter in Berlin and learn about the city’s Jewish heritage from the 17th century to today. Learn about past and present Jewish life and see the New Synagogue, one of Berlin’s most significant Jewish landmarks (from exterior as the Synagogue has announced it is closed for renovations until April 2018). See landmark sites like the “Block of Women” Memorial, the Old Jewish Cemetery, the New Synagogue and much more. Visit the Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt, a 1940s-era factory where workshop owner Otto Weidt protected his blind and deaf Jewish workers from persecution during the Holocaust.

Day 3

Enjoy the morning and afternoon at leisure before attending the highlight of your stay in Berlin – a performance by the Berlin Philharmonics guest conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, returning in one of only a few appearances in 2019.

The Berlin Philharmonic is consistently ranked as one of the best orchestras in the world and this evening a wonderful performance awaits you. Tickets for the concerts sell out extremely fast and we have been lucky enough to secure tickets for this concert event.

In the evening, meet your fellow traveller for a two-course pre-performance dinner in your hotel restaurant and afterwards transfer by private coach to the Philharmonie for concert performance.

Saturday 16 March 2018, 19:00


Berliner Philharmoniker

Sir Simon Rattle conductor

Magdalena Kožená mezzo-soprano

Camilla Tilling soprano

Mark Padmore tenor (Evangelist)

Christian Gerhaher baritone (Petrus)

Roderick Williams baritone (Jesus)

Andrew Staples tenor

Peter Sellars stage direction

Rundfunkchor Berlin

Simon Halsey Chorus master

Johann Sebastian Bach

St John Passion, BWV 245


Programme (taken from the Berlin Philharmonie website)

“When you hear this music for the first time, you are simply not prepared for this surging sea of sound and these dissonances,” says Sir Simon Rattle looking back on his rather late first encounter with Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion. At that time, the conductor was 30 years old and completely overwhelmed by the enthralling, almost modern-sounding music as well as the dramatic power and complexity of the work.

Bach’s passions must also have had an unsettling effect on his contemporaries. Many, for example, were outraged by the theatrical style of the works. “God forbid, children! It is as if one were in the opera house,” as one aristocratic widow is reported to have said. Johann Sebastian Bach had just completed his first year as Thomaskantor when he presented the first version of his St. John Passion to the people of Leipzig and took his audience on a disturbing journey into the depths of human existence. It begins with the arrest of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and the denial by Peter, who had been his most faithful disciple. It takes us from the interrogation by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate who can find no blame in Jesus, but who nevertheless bows to the demands of the people and allows the man who steadfastly calls himself the Son of God to be crucified, to the place of his death, Golgotha.

“It’s a dirty, disgusting parody of justice,” says director Peter Sellars who, after his sensational production of the St. Matthew Passion with Simon Rattle, also presented a staged version of the St. John Passion. “There’s a lot of secrecy in this piece, and at the same time that unadorned brutality, as if it were a story from today.” This brutality is particularly evident in the choral scenes in which the aggressive crowd demands the death of Jesus – and at the same time Bach makes this choir, with its contemplative chorales, the haven of peace of the Passion. The narrative of the Evangelist in the form of recitative describes the Passion story of the Gospel of John in an almost reportage style, while the arias reflect moments of personal reflection and subjective perception. Sir Simon Rattle has performed Bach’s masterpiece with the Berliner Philharmoniker on several occasions, most recently in 2014 in Peter Sellars’ production which was performed in Berlin and at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden. This impressive production is revived this season with the almost same ensemble of singers and the Rundfunkchor Berlin.

 At the end of the evening, coach transfer back to your hotel.


Day 4

Today, meet your local guide for coach transfer to airport for return flight.

Flight departs Berlin at 19:10 and arrives Dublin 20:30 (please note that flight times are subject to change at airline’s discretion)

Extra Information

Booking Information

Performance information

Please note that this tour offer is based on The Berlin Philharmonics performing at the Philharmonie. This tour is based on the venue performance and not the artists. Please note that artists/orchestra can change at the venues discretion. The Philharmonie reserves the right to change the advertised arrangements of any performance in the event of illness or any cause beyond their control. This includes non-appearance of any named artist/orchestra. IFC have no control over performing artists and will substitute the performance should any changes out of our control be advised by the local venue.

Booking Deposit

Booking deposit is €250 pp.  Balance is due 10 weeks prior to departure date.  No credit card charge on deposit payments. 


One standard piece of hand luggage is included in your tour price. (10 kilos). Checked in luggage is available to purchase prior to travel, prices may vary. Please note this must be booked with a minimum of 14 days prior to travel. Bags booked within 14 days prior to travel will incur an administration fee of €25 per piece.


It is your responsibility to ensure your passport will be valid for your holiday. Please contact IFC should you have any queries regarding your passport.

Travel Insurance

IFC strongly recommends travel insurance and can offer a competitive quotation if not already purchased. The EHIC is a European Healthcard available to all EU citizens and is recommended to carry for travel within Europe. Please check www.ehic.ie for more information. IMPORTANT: If you have purchased travel insurance with IFC. If you or any person travelling has a pre-existing medical condition then you must declare that condition to Health Check.

Flight and tour timings are subject to change

  Cost per person: €789pp
  Number of nights: 4
  Dates available: Thursday 14 March 2019

Single Supplement €129

Tour supplied in Partnership with:

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