Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the Passion Play

Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the Passion Play

Discover the rich traditions, medieval heritage and distinct cultures of the northern Alps in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Enjoy stays in Oberstaufen, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Salzburg and Munich as you traverse untrammeled countryside to quaint towns, pure lakes and baroque cities set against lofty mountain peaks. Cruise on Lake Constance to Lindau with its delightfully storybook setting, and witness a legendary monastic library in St. Gallen. Visit historic Innsbruck, nestled in the lap of the Austrian Alps, and revel in a remarkable decennial performance of Oberammergau’s legendary Passion Play with a cast of some 2,500 residents. From the cultural heart of Munich to the celebrated landmarks of Salzburg, each day of this incredible journey offers unforgettable experiences that will fill your heart with joy and provide a cultural immersion like no other. This exceptional program features an extensive meal plan, including a fondue dinner and traditional beer garden lunch, plus wine with dinner.

Trip Itinerary:

June 29 Depart gateway city

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Munich, Germany. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: MUC.

Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service

June 30 Munich, Germany/Oberstaufen

Arrive at Munich Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.

Transfer to the Lindner Parkhotel & Spa. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

After settling into your hotel, join your Travel Director and other travelers for an orientation walk around Bavarian town of Oberstaufen.

Get to know your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception and Dinner.

Accommodations – Lindner Parkhotel & Spa
Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service and dinner

July 1 Lindau

Enrichment: The History of Lake Constance. Learn about the history of Lake Constance, known locally as the Bodensee, which is surrounded by Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Discover the lake’s role in the economic and cultural development of the region.

Discovery: The Bodensee. Take in the majestic mountain vistas during a scenic drive to Friedrichshafen on the shore of the Bodensee, the glacial lake also known as Lake Constance. Cruise to Lindau to explore its old town. Lindau’s famous lighthouse and lion statue greet you as you enter the harbor. See two famous towers: Diebsturm, a turreted 14th-century tower that once was a prison, and Mangturm, a 12th-century tower that once served as the town’s lookout post. Lindau’s other highlights include the baroque Haus zum Cavazzen, which houses the art collections of the Stadtmuseum Lindau, and fascinating Old Town Hall. Stop for lunch at a waterfront restaurant.

Free Time: The afternoon is yours to explore Lindau on your own. You might decide to return to the Haus zum Cavazzen for a look at the paintings, furniture, musical instruments and more that are on display. Stroll along Lindau’s waterfront, sometimes called the Bavarian Riviera, and admire the stately villas and gardens that line the lake. Indulge in a little shopping on Maximilianstrasse, Lindau’s delightful main shopping street.

Accommodations – Lindner Parkhotel & Spa
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

July 2 St. Gallen, Switzerland/Appenzell

Enrichment: Three Nations, One Language. German is spoken in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, but each country has its own dialects. Discuss similarities and differences in language and culture among these three countries.

Discovery: St. Gallen and Appenzell. Discover 12 centuries of monastic tradition and architecture at the Abbey of St. Gall. Gallus, an Irish monk, built a hermitage, which blossomed into a monastic community that became one of Europe’s most significant educational institutions. Today, its library, with thousands of rare books and manuscripts in its collection, remains a treasure. Visit a dairy in Appenzell to see how the city’s namesake cheese is made, and savor a delicious cheese fondue lunch at a mountaintop restaurant, a cozy Alpine mountain hut decorated in the local traditional style.

This afternoon, return to Oberstaufen and gather for a German barbecue with German beer and bratwurst on the hotel terrace.

Accommodations – Lindner Parkhotel & Spa
Meals – Breakfast, lunch and dinner

July 3 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany/Oberammergau

This morning, take in the Alpine views on a scenic drive to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Upon arrival, check in to the Hotel Zugspitze and have time to enjoy lunch on your own.

Discovery: Passion Play. Witness the immense production and once-in-a-lifetime experience of Oberammergau’s world-renowned Passion Play. Since the mid-1600s, residents of this tiny Bavarian village have staged the play every 10 years, a pledge made to stop the suffering and death caused by the plague that swept across Europe. The entire cast of participants, whether on stage or behind the scenes, are from Oberammergau, including men, women and children. All who participate in the play must have been born in Oberammergau or lived in the village for at least 20 years. There are approximately 1,000 onstage roles; however, other Oberammergau residents participate as musicians, backstage staff, and set and costume designers. There are also a host of sheep, goats and donkeys onstage! This 2020 event will be the 42nd production of the play.

The musical drama will immerse you in the life of Jesus. Follow the later part of Jesus’ life, including the Crucifixion and Resurrection, and view powerful moments such as The Last Supper, Jesus at the Mount of Olives and Jesus before Pilate and Herod. Take a break for dinner during the intermission.

Accommodations – Hotel Zugspitze
Meals – Breakfast and dinner

July 4 Innsbruck, Austria/Salzburg

Spend the morning gazing at the majestic Alps and exploring Innsbruck, Austria, as you travel to Salzburg.

Discovery: Innsbruck. Explore Innsbruck, capitol of Tyrol, the western Austrian state. Discover Innsbruck’s Old Town on a walking tour that takes you down Maria-Theresien-Strasse, the city’s main boulevard, and by the Golden Roof, the Imperial Palace and Gardens, and the Court Church.

Free Time: Enjoy lunch and time to explore on your own in Innsbruck. If you wish, take a quick trip on the Nordketten Cable Car, which takes you from the city center to the peaks of the Nordkette mountains for lunch and 360-degree views. Or stay in the city center, and visit the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum, the 15th-century city tower or the triumphal arch.

Arrive in Salzburg late this afternoon and check in to the Imlauer Hotel Pitter Salzburg.

Accommodations – Imlauer Hotel Pitter Salzburg
Meals – Breakfast

July 5 Salzburg

Discovery: Salzburg. Explore Mozart’s hometown and learn about his early years in the city before visiting Hohensalzburg Fortress, which overlooks the city. See the home on Getreidegasse where the great composer was born and other significant places in his life. The earliest sections of the castle were built in the 11th century, and the existing building was completed in the early 16th century. Today, it is one of the iconic sights in Salzburg.

Free Time: Lunch and the rest of the afternoon are free for you to spend as you wish. If you choose, step inside St. Peter Stiftskulnarium, regarded as the oldest restaurant in central Europe, for a historic lunch! The first mention of this cozy restaurant was in an 803 document, putting the Stiftskulnarium in business for more than 1,215 years. Today, it is known for its modern interpretations of traditional Austrian cuisine. Later, stroll down the Getreidegasse, the charming shopping street in Salzburg’s Old Town and browse through the art galleries, traditional crafts shops, bookstores and unique boutiques. Look for the local chocolate candy — marzipan, pistachio and nougat enrobed in chocolate — named after Mozart in the confection shops.

Discovery: Dinner with Mozart. Savor delicious Austrian cuisine while listening to live performances of Mozart’s arias from his operas “Figaro, “The Magic Flute” and “Don Giovanni.”

Accommodations – Imlauer Hotel Pitter Salzburg
Meals – Breakfast and dinner

July 6 Salzburg

Free Time: Spend a full day at leisure. If you choose to explore on your own, there are myriad options to entertain you. Devote the day to Salzburg’s palaces. Hellbrunn Palace, famous for its trick fountains, is just a short train ride from the city center, and Mirabell Palace and its manicured gardens are in the heart of the city. Explore the world of modern art at the Museum der Moderne and works from previous centuries at the Salzburg Museum’s Neue Residenz. Learn about Salzburg’s coffeehouse culture at one of the many cafés and Konditerei, where you can have a quick lunch or a decadent pastry and coffee. This evening, try a local tradition and head to one of Salzburg’s beer gardens for dinner and a stein or two of the local brew. The microbrew trend has even reached this bastion of traditional brewing, so you have many choices.

Accommodations – Imlauer Hotel Pitter Salzburg
Meals – Breakfast

July 7 Munich, Germany

This morning, experience a train ride through the picturesque countryside to Munich, Germany. En route, admire the captivating view of the majestic Alps.

Discovery: Munich and a Beer Garden Lunch. A walking tour takes you to see the city’s landmarks, including the Marienplatz and Bavarian National Opera Hall. Step inside the 17th-century baroque Theatiner Church, which influenced the design of other baroque churches in Germany. Enjoy a hearty lunch at a public beer garden, a favorite tradition of Munich residents since the early 19th century, when Bavarian King Maximilian I Joseph established the Biergarten, or beer garden, and allowed people to bring their own food. Though today that law is no longer on the books, the tradition remains strong and packing a picnic to enjoy at the long communal tables is a favorite way to enjoy a meal. Today, enjoy your own picnic of sausage, cheese, potato salad, radishes, tomatoes, bread and beer.

This afternoon, check in to the Hotel Bayerischer Hof.

Enrichment: Germany Today. Discuss the current events and issues shaping modern Germany.

Accommodations – Hotel Bayerischer Hof
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

July 8 Munich

Free Time: Enjoy a full free day in Munich or join the Elective Activity, an excursion to Neuschwanstein. If you decide to spend the day exploring on your own, you may wish to visit the Residenz, the 17th-century palace-turned-museum. The Alte Pinakothek focuses on the art through the 1700s, and the Neue Pinakothek exhibits artwork created in the 18th through the early 20th centuries. The Bier- und Ocktoberfest-museum tells the story of German beer and Germany’s most famous festival. Discover Bavarian royal life at the opulent Nymphenburg Palace.

Elective Activity: Neuschwanstein Castle. Visit the renowned castle built by Ludwig II, who was inspired by the Wagner opera “Lohengrin.” This whimsical castle was the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Available at an additional cost.

Gather this evening to celebrate your journey with a Farewell Reception and Dinner.

Accommodations – Hotel Bayerischer Hof
Meals – Breakfast and dinner

July 9 Depart for gateway city

After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Munich Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals – Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service

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