The Best of Europe: It's Still the One
|Twenty-five years ago, I realized I could take more travelers to Europe if I hired professional drivers and full-size buses.|
Dear Back Door Traveler,
This summer we're celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first edition of my Europe Through the Back Door guidebook. It's the project that planted the seeds for everything we do here at Rick Steves' Europe, including our tour program.
Teaching people how to travel smartly is just part of our mission. We also believe in teaching THROUGH travel. That's where our tour program really shines. And for that, this summer marks a 25-year milestone.
Originally, I personally guided every three-week "Best of Europe" Back Door tour, as I drove each group across Europe in a rented minibus. In the summer of 1985, I realized that I could open up the experience to more travelers – in a safer, more comfortable way – by hiring professional drivers to drive full-size buses. I also began apprenticing guides with a passion for Europe's art and history who could take my "rolling classroom" concept of touring to new heights.
Twenty-five years later, our tour program will take 10,000 free-spirited travelers to Europe this year on about three dozen different itineraries, from the majestic fjords of Norway to the archaeological wonders of Turkey. In all this time, though, a few things have remained constant: my tour program's Ten Commitments; my dedication to designing every tour as a "rolling classroom"; and the "flagship" status of our Best of Europe tours.
As I've said before, if Europe were a fine restaurant (which, come to think of it, it is), our two- and three-week Best of Europe itineraries would make up the "degustation" menu. As any great chef loves to wow diners with his favorites in a special "tasting" menu, we Europhiles at Europe Through the Back Door love to wow our first-time travelers (and those who've been to just a city or two) with our "Best of" selection of Europe's wonders.
To give you a taste, this month's Tour News features our value-packed, perfectly-named Best of Europe tours.
Twenty-five years later, it's still the one.