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Tauck is introducing a new in-depth, 8-day exploration of the Swiss and Bavarian Alps that will immerse travelers in the region’s culture, and be highlighted by a performance of the traditional Passion Play in the alpine village of Oberammergau, Germany. Residents of Oberammergau have been staging the performance depicting the final days of Jesus Christ since 1634, when villagers vowed to perform the play each decade if they were spared from a plague ravaging Europe at the time. The 2020 staging of the play was postponed due to COVID, and is now rescheduled for this year.

“After a 2-year wait, we’re so excited to showcase the wonder and pageantry of the Passion Play to our guests,” said Tauck’s Chief Operating Officer, Jeremy Palmer. “The Passion Play was first inspired by a pandemic, which certainly brings an extra level of meaning and poignancy to the performances our guests will experience later this year.” Tauck guests will view their performance from the Passion Play theater’s ‘best-available’ Category 1 seating before enjoying an overnight stay in the region.

While the Passion Play performance is certainly a highlight of Tauck’s new Swiss Highlands & Bavarian Alps journey, it’s just one element in an immersion into local culture. The itinerary begins in Bern, where guests will join a local guide to tour the flower-filled Rosengarten, and learn about the city’s long association with bears during a visit to Barenpark, or Bear Park.

Later, they’ll pass by the one-time home of Albert Einstein where the acclaimed scientist developed his groundbreaking Theory of Relativity, before visiting the Einstein Museum inside the Bern History Museum. During their 2-night stay in Bern, guests will also venture outside the city to visit the Craftman Village in Wasen, attend a wrestling demonstration at the “Schwingen” club in Affoltern, and enjoy an interactive cheese-making tour in Emmental that concludes with a light tasting dinner.

Meeting Royals
After departing Bern, and while en route to the Swiss city of St. Gallen, guests will enjoy an opportunity to “meet” members of the Habsburg family at medieval Habsburg Castle, one of Europe’s most powerful and influential royal houses during the Middle Ages. This Tauck-exclusive experience features performers in period dress sharing insights into the Habsburg’s daily lives and family history, while guests enjoy a three-course meal in one of the castle’s banquet halls. Afterward, guests will participate in a unique chocolate-making experience during a visit to a Swiss chocolatier whose roots date back 170 years. Arriving in St. Gallen, guests will enjoy a walking tour in town, a demonstration at the city’s textile museum, and a visit to the Abbey Library of Saint Gall.

Guests on this tour will experience the Passion Play. (Photo courtesy of Tauck.)

Guests will also visit the picturesque alpine village of Appenzell, where a cable car excursion will bring them to the summit of Santis Peak, before crossing into Germany the following day to experience the Oberammergau Passion Play. After an overnight in the Oberammergau region, the tour concludes with a 2-night stay in Munich highlighted by a visit to the Baroque Nymphenburg Palace and its Carriage Museum, housed in the palace’s former riding stables. A visit to the nearby Nazi-era Dachau concentration camp provides an opportunity for contemplation, followed by a return to Munich and free time to explore the city before the tour’s farewell reception and dinner at a local restaurant that evening.

Pricing for the new Swiss Highlands & Bavarian Alps tour is from $5,790  pp, dbl, plus airfare, and includes all accommodations, sightseeing, excursions, and performances, plus admission to all attractions, luggage handling, most meals and gratuities, and more. Departures will operate from May through September, with all 2022 journeys including a performance of the Oberammergau Passion Play.

The Oberammergau Passion Play is also a featured highlight on several other Tauck land tours and river cruises, and additional information on those journeys can be found here.

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