• Hallstatt, Austria
  • Salzburg, Austria
  • Munich Beer Hall
  • Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland
  • Near Gimmelwald in the Swiss Alps
  • Rhine Valley, Germany

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

My Way® Germany, Austria & Switzerland in 12 Days Tour

Lacing together the region's beautiful scenery, fairy-tale castles, and beer-garden friendliness — from Vienna to Hallstatt, Salzburg, Munich, the Swiss Alps, and the Rhine — Rick Steves' money-saving My Way tour gives you the freedom to decide your own daily sightseeing priorities and pace. We cut the stress by providing comfortable rooms in centrally located hotels, private bus transportation from city to city, and a travel-savvy escort to help advise you along the way. Join us for My Way: Germany, Austria & Switzerland in 12 Days!  

What's Included

  • This is an "un-guided" tour — giving you the freedom (and responsibility) to manage your daily sightseeing schedule and meals
  • A small, friendly group of 24–28 people will share our big, comfy bus during the trip, but not do organized sightseeing together
  • A Rick Steves escort will manage the group's transportation and hotel arrangements, and provide advice for sightseeing, meals, etc.
  • All group transportation from Vienna, Austria to Rhine Valley, Germany
  • 11 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts are included
  • All tips for escort and driver
  • Free Audio Europe™ app for Apple and Android (or get free podcast/mp3 files) featuring Rick's audio walking tours of sights, museums and neighborhoods in Germany and Austria. Also includes Rick's radio interviews with experts on destinations covered in this itinerary
  • More free stuff including Rick Steves' Germany and Rick Steves' Vienna, Salzburg & Tirol guidebooks; Europe Through the Back Door travel skills handbook (one per household); Switzerland Sightseeing Guide; German phrase book; moneybelt; and earplugs
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2014
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above

Itinerary

Sightseeing notes

* = included in Rick's audio walking tours

Day 1: Welcome to Vienna

Welcome to Vienna, the capital of classical music, home of the rich Habsburg heritage, and one of Europe's most sophisticated cities. Depending on when you arrive, today is a great day to take in one of the city's amazing museums. We'll rendezvous at our Vienna hotel at 5 p.m. for a welcome meeting. Your escort will give an overview of the days ahead, answer your questions, and offer a quick orientation to our neighborhood and Vienna's easy-to-use public transportation. Then you're free for dinner on your own, and maybe an evening stroll around the Museums Quartier. Sleep in Vienna (2 nights).

Day 2: All Day in Vienna

Vienna is all yours, all day. With the help of Rick's Vienna guidebook and Audio Europe™ app, you might begin your day riding the Ringstrasse Tram* followed by Rick's favorite Vienna city walk*. To wallow in the wealth of the Habsburgs, explore the art and jewels of the Hofburg Palace's Imperial Apartments and Treasury, then head to the outskirts to tour the family's spectacular summer residence at Schönbrunn. This evening, take in a concert. As with every day of this trip: it's your choice! No bus today.

Day 3: Hallstatt and Salzburg

This morning we'll pack up, bid auf Wiedersehen to Vienna, and hop aboard our comfortable bus for Salzburg. On the way, we'll stop for a few hours in the picture-perfect lakeside town of Hallstatt. We'll arrive in Salzburg with plenty of time for you to stroll around the Old Town* and maybe take in an evening dinner concert in the town that Mozart made famous (reserve ahead). Sleep in Salzburg (2 nights). Bus: 6 hrs.

Day 4: All Day in Salzburg

Today is for savoring Salzburg. Climb up to the fortress to reward yourself with a sweeping view of the city, and a cold beer. You can also rent a bike for an easy ride and picnic along the Salzach River, try your hand at Doe-a-Deer by joining a Sound of Music bus tour, or take an excursion out to Berchtesgaden to see Hitler's infamous Eagle's Nest retreat. No bus today.

Day 5: Marvelous Munich

It's just a three-hour drive to Munich this morning, which gives you all the more time to play in Bavaria's historic capital. Enjoy the glockenspiel in the Marienplatz, Munich's main square, or take in the dazzling Deutsches Museum. This evening, feel free to join the party at the Hofbräuhaus beer hall, where you can hoist a liter-size mug of beer, gnaw on a pretzel as big as your head, and oom-pah through the night. Sleep in Munich (2 nights). Bus: 3 hrs.

Day 6: All Day in Munich

Germany's most livable city, Munich, is pleasantly explored by foot, bike, or public transit. Today you can take in the opulent Residenz palace or the sprawling English Garden; enjoy a leisurely outdoor lunch with beer at the Viktualienmarkt — or take a bus or subway ride to Dachau Concentration Camp or the state-of-the-art BMW Museum. You can also join a local tour company for an excursion to Mad King Ludwig's fairy-tale Neuschwanstein Castle (2 hours each direction). No bus today.

Day 7: Bavaria and the Swiss Alps

Today we'll drive across Bavaria and climb high into the heart of the Swiss Alps. By dinner time we'll be in the Berner Oberland's magnificent Lauterbrunnen Valley, flanked by towering, waterfall-laced cliffs and crowned by a trio of Switzerland's most formidable peaks: the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. After settling into our creaky old chalet, you'll find hearty dinner options and spectacular views just a short walk away. Sleep in the Lauterbrunnen Valley (3 nights). Bus: 7 hrs.

Days 8 & 9: Hiking the Alps

For the next two mornings, you'll wake up in one of the most beautiful spots on Earth. Take off on a mountain excursion that combines the local cog railway, a gondola lift up to Männlichen, and a spectacular Alpine walk above the tree line, surrounded by a panorama of cut-glass peaks. You could also explore what's above the opposite side of the valley, ride a gondola lift to the top of the 10,000-foot Schilthorn, loiter in the thin air, and enjoy the mighty view. For a more restful day, stick closer to home and walk to the thundering Trümmelbach: a unique set of waterfalls encased behind the valley walls. No bus today.

Day 10: To the Rhine Valley

This morning we'll get an early start as we make our way from the Swiss Alps to Germany's Rhine Valley, with a stop for lunch and leg-stretching along the way. Arriving at our hotel in the early evening, you'll have time to watch the parade of river barges, stroll the river bank, and enjoy the charms of a small Rhine village. Sleep in the Rhine Valley (2 nights). Bus: 8 hrs.

Day 11: Castles and Cruising the Rhine

The Rhine Valley is storybook Germany, a fairy-tale world of legends and robber-baron castles. Today you may want to tackle the nearby Rheinfels Castle, once the mightiest in the region. You can also climb aboard a Rhine steamer and cruise the best of the Rhine*, home to craggy castles, steep vineyards, and legends galore. No bus today.

Day 12: Tour Over After Breakfast

From the Rhine Valley, it's a convenient 90-minute train trip to Frankfurt's airport. Your escort will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Auf Wiedersehen!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

Our tours are physically active! It’s an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our My Way: Germany, Austria & Switzerland in 12 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel, then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  3. Be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
  4. Be responsible for your own daily sightseeing, admissions, meals (except breakfasts) and non-group transportation

 

Reviews

Marcia

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was exceptional. We were able to see and experience more than we thought we would be able to do each day. We appreciated getting up and getting to the next destination. It was just the right amount of time in each location.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking in the Swiss Alps and going up to Piz Gloria on Schilthorn to see the amazing 360 views from the top of the world."

Steven

Naperville, IL

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I had a great experience. The tour guide, Mary , was wonderful. The info provided by Rick Steve's tours was very helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Swiss Alps. They were magnificent, majestic and the highlight of the trip."

Tim

Sebastopol, CA

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The character of Vienna, music of Salzburg, multiplicity of Munich, magnificence of the Alps, and the restful Rhine were all a part of this glorious trip. My way tours do require more "involvement" and I'm sure there are missed opportunities but it is your vacation, all the way. Plenty of time to enjoy the fellow travelers and benefit from the knowledgeable escort. Mary made sure to address everyones questions and concerns and her recommendations were always exceptional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Besides Chris proposing to Emily and lightning striking the sidewalk next to Gordon it was probably Paul conversing with a group of children touring from Hong Kong in cantonese on the street one early evening in Salzburg. Wow, we're all connected."

Glenn

Columbus, NC

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There were no glitches in any of the arrangements. Mary was simply the best. Her knowledge of our tour stops was very helpful and accurate. The hotels were all good. We could have used some A/C in Vienna where the temps were in the 90's. Hotel location was excellent and each was very friendly. Our bus driver Francoise was also the best. The "My Way" tours are our choice for future European adventures. The tour group had very good chemistry, which also helped with the enjoyment. Danke.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our walk to Murren with the big three in full view. I really felt like a native Swiss with the meadows in a riot of wildflowers and hearing cowbells and meeting one especially friendly Swiss gentleman who wanted to talk with with us because we were American."

Marilyn

Columbus, NC

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed the entire tour--the hotels, the cities, the transportation arrangements and the driver, and the other tour members. Mary, the tour guide, was effective, efficient and a delight to have around.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the behind the scenes stable tour at the Spanish Riding School, and we really enjoyed a walk between two alpine villages above the Valley. We had a young couple get engaged while on the trip and it was wonderful to share their happiness"

Cynthia

Ashburn, VA

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The My Way tour met my needs due to a new medical issue. The flexibility of being able to plan and eat my own meals was a major plus for me. We went over early and extended by an extra day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Lauterbrunnen valley and the view from the Shilthorn were breathtaking!"

Gordon

El Paso, TX

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Previously I have traveled independently. This was my first tour of any kind. I was hoping for a mix of independent exploration and social experiences, and in this regard the My Way tour was perfect. The size of the tour group (27 travelers) was just right. When exploring each locale, I frequently bumped into members of the group. Small groups would form, and explore together. Then, we would go our separate ways only to encounter other people from the group who would join me for further sights.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Trummelbach falls ("the falls inside the mountain") in Lauterbrunnen... No, the trail from Mannlichen across the alpine pastures... No, the collection of impressionists at the Neue Pinakothek museum... No, I can't decide."

Cliff

Tomball, TX

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Good group. Mary was diligent, knowledgeable, and helpful 100 percent of the time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Switzerland was breathtaking."

Archie

Alameda, CA

Tour: 07/20/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved it, and Mary was a gem. It's hard to imagine anyone being better at their job than she is. Knowledgeable, patient, friendly - she has it all. Highest marks from us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had a great 3 hour bike tour of Salzburg with 'Fraulein Maria's Sound of Music Bike Tours' (tour guide Nick) that featured a bit of everything - rain, mud, sun, singing. As our 11 yr old daughter accompanied us, this was a highlight and perhaps the most giddy fun we had on the whole trip.)"

John

Lebanon, CT

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful tour. As experienced travelers, the "My Way" approach was the best of both worlds: on the one hand we were relieved of the hassle of booking hotels and transportation, while the guidance provided through the assigned staff member was nothing less than excellent; on the other hand, we had the freedom to plan our own itinerary to suit our goals as a family. I would highly recommend the "My Way" approach!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This trip was filled with "wow" moments; however, my favorite occurred in the Swiss Alps. Five of us went on the hike from Manlichen to Kleine Scheidigg. At first, clouds blocked our view of the highest peaks along much of the trail. Then, the skies opened up, and just like that we stood before the terrifying glory of the north face of the Eiger. It's as if the fates had awakened the "Ogre" to show its face exclusively to us! Bravo!"

Howard

Salem, VA

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An excellent tour with fine organization and accommodations. The tour offered just the right amount of time in each location on the itinerary. The tour escort was available with just the right amount of helpful information and advice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Munich experiences (Beer Garden, Viktualienmarkt, Kings Hotel) were our favorite."

Mary

Redding, CT

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour had the perfect combination of big city, smaller city and outdoorsy moments. We had a very congenial group, led by the wonderful Ruth Anne, and we had the ability to socialize as we wanted, but had plenty of time to do our own thing. I liked that we were given guidance about what to do, but really were on our own to choose our activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Switzerland! Even though the weather was dismal, the sheer beauty of Lauterbrunnen and its environs dwarfs the imagination. It is something that you can't quite imagine until you are there and walking the paths and taking in every single moment."

Roberto

Oro Valley, AZ

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my second Rick Steves tour, but the first My Way. I prefer this arrangement of not having the hassle of making hotel and transportation reservations and having the freedom to choose daily activities. The bonus was that the accompanying 'guide' gave us plenty of suggestions on what to do. There must be something about Rick Steves tours that attracts like-minded individuals. Both times, we thoroughly enjoyed the company of everyone in the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Arriving at the hotel in Lauterbrunnen and taking in the view from our hotel balcony. A WOW moment, indeed."

Janice

Lebanon, CT

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour, but our first My Way tour. In the past we have traveled independently with our family, but traveling this summer with just our 19 year old daughter, we wanted the peace of mind of having the lodging and transportation taken care of, while having the independence to plan our days. This tour was perfect! Having Ruth Ann available to give advice when planning our days was invaluable. The camaraderie of the tour members was a great experience for our daughter.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The vertical nature of the Swiss Alps is indescribable, and photos simply can't capture the sights and sounds adequately. Though the weather wasn't perfect, we still managed fantastic walks and views. My second "wow" moment was the day our family took a Mike's Bikes tour to Neuschwanstein. We started out in pouring rain, which stopped 5 minutes into the bike tour, and we had a very nice ride, stopping for great photo ops of the castles."

Patricia

Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized and wonderful. I truly enjoyed all the cities we went to and made the most of the suggested places to visit. Breakfast was great at all the hotels. It was hot in Vienna and Bacharach when we were there, so sleeping was a little uncomfortable without air conditioning. This was the trip I have wanted to make to Europe for the last 40 years and I wasn't disappointed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was hiking through the Alps the second day there when it wasn't raining and actually getting to see the might and majesty of the Alps. It was absolutely beautiful. It made me feel like belting out a song, which we actually did."

Barbara

Oro Valley, AZ

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Having been on a regular tour, and now a "my way" tour, I can say that I do have a preference for "my way." My overall experience was very satisfying.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Swiss Alps are "wow" but my favorite location is Bacharach."

Sherryl

San Mateo, CA

Tour: 07/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the tour very much. It was nice having the hotels/breakfast, bus transportation, and tour escort, Ruth Ann! The hotels were centrally located, which is a plus. The cities included a good mix of large and small/quaint cities. The majority of the tour group bonded quite well, so we enjoyed meal times and touring/hiking around with many of these couples/families.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We enjoyed the beauty of the Swiss Alps. Despite the rain on the first day, that didn't stop us from enjoying a long hike and seeing the beautiful sights along the way (the lush rainforest, quaint villages, farmland,and a private cheese factory). On the second day of hiking on the other side of the valley, we had no rain. The clouds cleared away revealing the Eiger, Munchen and Jungfrau peaks. We were very excited about that. Picture perfect!"

Patricia

Glen Allen, VA

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had traveled independently to Germany using RS tour guide in 2000. 2009 we participated in the fully guided Heart of Italy tour. The My Way Tour was a wonderful blend of our two previous trips. I appreciated lodging and transportation being taken care of; leaving us to pick and choose activities at each location. We took full advantage of RS guides and recommendations at each location. We wanted a blend of cultural experiences as well as physical activity. We experienced all of that.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I wish we could say viewing the Alps, but there was a cloud cover when we were there. Disappointing; none the less, our hiking and views were still wonderful."

John

Mechanicsville, VA

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderfully relaxing to have all the driving and lodging taken care of so we were free to enjoy each location.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The fresh food market in Munich. I loved those donut shaped peaches."

Hazel

Mechanicsville, VA

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was all great! All the accommodations were excellent-very clean and well maintained, within easy walking distance of major sites without being on "tourist row", quiet, with pleasant, helpful staff and fantastic breakfasts. Our bus driver was very friendly and we were quite comfortable and relaxed while traveling in the bus. Ruth Ann, our tour escort, was super! She presented options clearly, answered any questions, offered personal help when requested. Rate it a 10++!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two come to mind... Watching the wait staff in the Munich Beer Garden carry 10 liter size mugs full of beer, 5 in each hand!! Most everyone used 2 hands to drink from the mug!! Also, walking into the bakeries in Germany and seeing all the beautiful sweets and the many breads! Memorable for sure!!!"

Hayden Marie

Myrtle Beach, SC

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful meeting all the tour members on the first day, this let us have friends to do things with the whole trip! Staying in all the local hotels was great because many of them had their own unique quirks that made them cozy and fun. Finally, my dad and I never had a boring day because we always had our guide book with great suggestions and Ruth Ann, our tour guide, in case we couldn't decide which event in the book to do! I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Couldn't say. The Vienna Opera was AMAZING even with just standing seats and the castles were quite awing as well! All of it was greater than expected :-)"

Dianna

Ladera Ranch, CA

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As expected, using the Rick Steves company to realize the dream of touring these areas was wonderful. We knew that a lot of bus time was involved due to nature of the expansive schedule, yet the time on the bus seemed to fly by. We planned on having a more active than restful vacation and this was true as we booked a few excursions ahead and did not spare one moment than wasn't needed in the hotel for rest! The "My Way" concept is one that we thought we would prefer and ended up being perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Positive- Eagles nest, the fortress in Salzburg- both for their beautiful location/scenery and history, sitting outside listening to the Opera on the big screen in Vienna, first glimpse of Neuschwanstein castle from the bike tour, hiking in the Alps (our room had a view of the falls), Augusteiner Bier Garten (USA lost to Germany but so much fun). Negative- Hallstatt- Beautiful but hard to appreciate with bus after bus(literally) of tourists descending on this little area."

Alton

Newberg, OR

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every day was fantastic - chocolate for the mind!! The trip was all that I had hoped and imagined that it would be.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The wonderful Mozart music at the Sunday Mass at the Augustinian Church in Wein."

Loren

Newberg, OR

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was above and beyond any expectations. The preparation, the hotels, the travel, the escort, the itinerary and the commitment to excellence was outstanding. I did expect to have an amazing time in Vienna, Salzburg, Munich and the Alps but I didn't expect to also come away with a group of new friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was how at ease I felt throughout the entire trip. I never felt overwhelmed, tired, stressed or pressure. The schedule was relaxed, due to our "my way" preference but there was always an atmosphere of relaxation. Of course my next "wow" moment was our experience in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Eve though it was cloudy and rainy during 1 entire day, our overall experience there was one of wonder and amazement."

Holly

Savannah, GA

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

good combination of freedom and guidance

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Music at Augustiner Church on Sunday in Vienna"

John Bratton

Myrtle Beach, SC

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My daughter and I had a wonderful time and picked the right tour for us. It was nice not to have to figure out how to get to town to town and have my lodging set up for us. The bus we took had plenty of room and was very clean. The stops along the way made the bus trips go by fast.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I am not a WOW person, but I did have a number of memoriable moments. We enjoyed the opera in Vienna more than we thought we would. We enjoyed something different about each location we visited. Watching Germany play the US in the World Cup at a beer garden in Munich was also something we will not forget."

Marietta

Littleton, CO

Tour: 06/22/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, the tour was well organized and the information we received was helpful in planning our day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beautiful Lauterbrunnen Valley."

Pat

Litchfield, MN

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We chose a My Way Tour to have more freedom. That's what we got. The motels were good choices. Very comfortable overall. Some are always going to be noiser than others. Our escort was fantastic. She handled all situations that arose very well. Lots of patience. ALWAYS had a great attitude. The bus service was fantastic. We had plenty of pitstops, so always comfortable. The long days on the bus were very well planned out. Nice to stop at small towns instead of truckstops.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The HANDSOME.....very professional bus driver from Bavaria!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!! OK, .....the ALPS by cable car and the small towns where cows have rights. We loved the small towns to really feel the culture."

Edward

Oak Park, IL

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Although our other Steves tours were fine, this was our first "My Way" tour and our thinking that this was a good concept was born out by our actual experience on it. Joyce and I know what we want to see and do and primarily need the tour to take over the logistics of transportation and hotels. But the "escort" is still an excellent idea and was invaluable in assisting us in accomplishing what we wanted to see and do.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Putting aside my irritation at this entire "wow moment" idea, I'll just mention two disparate experiences. 1. The valley walk from the Trummelbach Falls back to Lauterbrunnen with the Swiss Alps all around us, the waterfalls, and the Alpine meadows and the cow bells with their own peculiar music on the cows out to pasture - beautiful!! 2. Hofburg Museum Gift Shop in Vienna and the very professional serious gentleman clerk behind his counter, sipping from his glass stein - of beer!"

Joyce

Oak Park, IL

Tour: 09/29/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My Way filled my two needs, handling the logistics of transportation and hotels and allowing freedom at this stage in my travels to do what I most wanted to do on this journey.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Swiss Alps."

Bob

West Milton, OH

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our sixth tour with Rick Steves, and our first "My Way". Transportation and hotels were comparable to previous tours.Great as always. Tour "escort" exceeded expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moments are always lurking around t the next street corner or bend in the hiking trail. Listening to unseen cow bells in the foggy Swiss alps, Chocolate torts in Vienna, beer halls in Munich. There are WOW moments every day and every hour, just look for them"

Karen

Cleveland, TN

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was run exactly like I had hoped. We had the comfort of arranged hotels and travel but the freedom to spend our time on what interested us - under the most excellent guidance of our leader. I enjoyed interacting with our compatible group but liked not being tied to them. It's a lot easier exploring and dining with a small group rather than 28 people. We ran into group members off and on, shared time, information or a meal and then went on our separate ways. Very pleasant.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Mozart Mass in Vienna, biking in Salzburg, hiking in Switzerland - none of which I would have predicted from pre-travel planning!"

Erik

Harahan, LA

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed the My Way tour. It allowed us the freedom to explore the cities on our own. The hotels were centrally located. We were able to walk to all of the local attractions. The group of people we traveled with were the nicest people. They became our family. That made the tour more enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was our hike through the Swiss Alps. Our escort was going hiking and extended an invitation for anyone to join. A small group of us took him up on his offer. This was the "WOW" moment of my trip. Just being surrounded by the beautiful mountains and breathing in that fresh air was amazing. Hearing the cow bells was so relaxing. Having lunch high in the mountains surrounded by glacier capped peaks was the perfect way to spend our time in Switzerland."

David

Mercer Island, WA

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We booked this tour as a family reunion to celebrate my aunt's 80th birthday who lives in Germany. We decided on the My Way tour through Austria, Switzerland, and Germany and couldn't have been more pleased. My German aunt particularly enjoyed the trip and she was the queen of the party, everybody loved her! Our guide, Martin, was very informative and fun. He led an epic day hike in Switzerland, which will remain etched in our memories forever.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide led a group of us on a day hike in the Lauderbrunnen valley of Switzerland. The views were spectacular. Our destination was a small dairy farm where they just finished producing cheese for the summer. We enjoyed local beer and cheese at the farm while listening to the cow bells in the pasture below and viewing the Jungfrau across the valley. It was truly a spiritual experience."

Francis

Bradford, MA

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed the second Rick Steve's trip very much. The variety of big cities and small villages was a wonderful mix. Overall we really enjoyed Austria and Switzerland. Germany was OK as some of the Germans were not in good humor and we got flicked off a few times

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We fell in love with Vienna (our favorite big city in Europe) Halstat was as beautiful as expected and Lauterbunnen (Swiss Alps) were breathtaken"

Antoinette

Bradford, MA

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall experience was amazing..our guide was fantastic and very helpful. The tour group was fun and we met wonderful people. The only issue was the very last day..our hotel in St. Goar was awful. There was no heat in our room, you had to enter the hotel from a side door that took you through the boiler room that was a mess. The front of the hotel was non existent with cave ins at the front. The room itself was fine...and a great shower but overall I would refuse to stay here.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to mention...although the Swiss alps is definitely in the front running with Vienna second. I could have done without staying a second day in Munich....not my cup of tea. Another day in Vienna would have. Even much better."

Barbara

Winston Salem, NC

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide was wonderful! ....he really tried to follow our cues as to what we all wanted out of a "my way " tour. The only complaints I have is the fact that we were not notified about the train schedule at St. Goar . We had an early flight and found out the earliest train was too late for us to make our flight. Mid tour we had to book a hotel for the night before in Frankfort. Thankfully we could get a hotel room but what if we couldn't have???? Overall .though, a great trip!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Swiss Alps were ! We did our own hike in Lauderbrunnen.....absolutely breathtaking! Loved the panorama view at the top of the mountains too! :)"

Patty

West Milton, OH

Tour: 09/22/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had traveled many times with Rick Steves tours but this was our first "My Way" Very relaxing - everyone did their own thing and then we compared notes

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick just one - every day was a new adventure. Having lunch along the lake in Halstatt and hiking in the Alps were at the top of the list but the group and staff singing "Happy Birthday" to me in many languages brought tears to my eyes."

Michael

Mission Viejo, CA

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Overall it was a great experience. New cities I have not been to and beautiful scenery in Switzerland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The initial arrival in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Majestic mountains, beautiful waterfalls and a welcome reprieve from the crowds in the large cities."

William

El Cajon, CA

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best trip we have ever taken. Janene is a real treasure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Switzerland"

Susan

Seatac, WA

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour. I knew I was going to like Switzerland and I wasn't disappointed. But I was not looking forward to Munich. Well, I was pleasantly surprised with the old town of Munich, the Glockenspiel, the Nymphenburg Castle, the Maypole. It was easy to get around on foot, thanks to Janine. She took us on a little walking tour to the train station and stopped every 5 minutes or so to point out something new. As a result I loved Munich.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Mt. Schilthorn going up the cable car, Wow! I was half afraid and half in awe of the ride. Later we had some cake and coffee at the rotating restaurant, and got there early enough to get good seats in the window. I also fell in love with Murren. We want to return there in the future. The water flowing down thru the public faucets was the best water in the world!"

Janice

Spruce Head, ME

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The best thing for me about the 'My Way' tour was the ability to meet other travelers while maintaining my independence. It was also good to be able to ask our escort questions and advice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Lauterbrunner Valley in Switzerland was the highlight of my tour. Exquisite scenery and excellent hiking."

Dan

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour experience was very much as expected. We've used Rick Steves' books for independent travel several times so we were prepared for the type of lodgings to expect. We've always resisted fully guided tours so were looked at the My Way as a bit of a compromise. We tried it based on the recommendation of a friend and were not disappointed. Having the lodgings and transportation arranged eliminated some of the normal stress of foreign travel without losing too much of the sense of adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were blessed with perfect weather in Switzerland so the hikes around Gimelwald, Wengen and Murren have to stand out as the high point of the trip. Truly magnificent."

Jerry

Olympia, WA

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As a former independent traveler in Europe, the My Way tour was an ideal experience to not have to drive and still visit key locations of prime interest. The smaller group was a major benefit to a larger guided tour which allowed you to get aquainted with interesting people who were also fairly experienced travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Lauterbrunnen valley in the Swiss Alps was so much more than I had hoped for. We were fortunate to hit ideal weather. All of the locations were great but the valley topped all the stops."

Karen

Everett, WA

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I enjoyed the tour from start to finish. It was the first time my husband and I took a tour and the "my way" was a good experience as we could pick what we wanted to do each day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Swiss Alps on a beautiful sunny day was truly a "wow" moment"

Gary

Everett, WA

Tour: 09/15/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A well organized tour meeting our needs having been independent travelers. Morning breakfast may be a highlight for this brought many of us together for sharing of ideas and experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our 'wow' moment or experience has to be the Swiss Lauterbrennen Valley; a stop we previously held in low expectation. Of course the outstanding weather made this stop a highlight, may have a lower value if wet and windy."

Jim

Lamar, AR

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

After attending a guided "Europe through the backdoor" tour two years ago, we decided to take this "My Way" tour and despite the rainy weather our experiences were wonderful. The "wonderful" part of it is that we were able to go at our own pace, stop when we wanted to, and not be confined to a group-schedule. Each time we visited a POI and saw other tours with the herd of attendees standing and listening to the tour guide, I thanked my lucky stars.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our advance three day arrival in Vienna before the tour started. The leisurely and repeated visits to the Museum Quarter were a series of WOW's. Despite being a country boy, we accustomed ourselves to the inner-city public transportation system and had plenty of time to visit all the attractions in this historical part of Wien. Unbeknownst to us at the time, this advance arrival offered the best weather of the tour. It's unfortunate that Lauterbrunnen miserable weather."

Julia

Ann Arbor, MI

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip is a dream come true. It won't happen without the help of this well designed tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sound of cow bells in the Swiss Apls is so serene, so peaceful."

Jan

Whittier, CA

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great way to travel! It was the perfect balance between having important details handled (hotel, breakfast, transportation) and doing what we really wanted to do. The audio guides and guide books were our "bible" and we used them to the fullest. They even came in handy before and after the tour when we did some rail travel on our own. The itinerary was perfect---that's what drew me to the tour in the first place---it included all the places we really wanted to go

Favorite "WOW" moment

"there were so many it's hard to pick one out!!Probably wandering the cobbled streets above Hallstatt and looking out a window from a covered walkway on to the fairy tale village nestled on the edge of beautiful Lake Hallstatt. The view of the Alps from our window at the Oberland Hotel in Lauterbrunnen was also a peak moment."

George

Conroe, TX

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful experience with the My Way tour in Germany, Austria & Switzerland. Margaret was a wonderful escort and was very knowledgeable. Our traveling group was also great. The advantage with this kind of tour is that you don't have to drive, but have complete control of what and how much you want to do at each location. Only negative is getting the weather at times to cooperate. Highly recommend.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No single "wow" moment, but as the tour was ending we sure enjoyed the relaxing boat ride on the Rhine and stoles through St. Goar and Bacarat. It was all great."

Anna

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was wonderful, the accomodations were great and the places we visited were perfect. The driver and bus was very comfortable and in great condition.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Halstatt, Austria"

Kevin

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic. Everything I imagined and more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The scenery and the waterfalls in Switzerland."

Bob

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rick Steves: "Heart of France" 2009 tour, "Venice, Florence, and Rome" 2013 tour, "Austria, Switzerland, Germany - My Way" 2013 tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This question always gets me. To be honest, each day was special. There were a variety of stops that were unique and left lingering memories. There are so very many things to absorb and get a sense of if you have any curiosity at all. I could easily spend a year there and not be fully satisfied. The magic of having a guide that knows and has experienced life in these places is immesurable and a constant inspiration to me."

Belva

Dallas, WI

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great experience. We have traveled in Europe on our own in prior years and this time spent days in Prague prior to the tour starting in Vienna and then to Rothenburg at the conclusion of the tour. Having the transportation provided between locations on the tour made travel between points stress free. The freedom to plan our own daily agenda based on our individual interests was the primary reason for joining this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visits to some of Europe's cathedrals and the mountain experiences, in spite of the rain, ranked high on our list of favorites. We especially enjoyed the very talented street musicians and bought several CDs of their performances. It is impossible to list just one "wow" moment."

Janet

Oakdale, CA

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything went as we had hoped - could have used a little less rain - but, that is why we bring umbrellas! Our host, Margaret, couldn't have been nicer and more knowledgeable - She seemed like a longtime friend that we hadn't seen for awhile. This was our first "My Way" tour and we would do that type of tour again

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved Salzburg the most."

Belinda

Lamar, AR

Tour: 09/08/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The "My Way" experience was very good as we could set our own pace and choose the sites we most wanted to see in the cities we visited. I did find that the travel between cities did leave some room for improvement. Long stop in small rest area. When left on your own for two/three hours in places that we didn't have on our radar nor had researched made for some tense moments, it also made us getting to our hotels later than necessary.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was so hoping it would have been the Swiss Alps as it was on a previous trip. Unfortunately, due to the weather, it was hard to see those majestic peaks. So this trip, I would have to say that Vienna, Austria was my favorite "wow" city, and since I'm not much of a city person, that is saying a lot. Beautiful architecture (must see churches), great museums, lots of history, and...wonderful pastries!"

Weather

Germany Weather

Germany / Munich

Germany Weather


Switzerland / Bern

Switzerland Weather


Austria / Vienna

Austria Weather

Pre-Tour

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Sightseeing on Your Own

When you arrive in Vienna, use your included Rick Steves' Vienna guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of German, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Walking tours make a great introduction to any town. Use your Audio Europe™ app for Apple and Android (or get free podcast/mp3 files) which includes a Vienna city walk and Ringstrasse Tram Tour.

Remember, you will be in charge of your own sightseeing for ALL destinations on this trip. We strongly suggest you begin planning well before you fly to Europe!

Transportation

Most tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. We recommend talking to your travel agent about "open jaw" airline tickets (flying into and out of different cities). It's easiest to fly into Vienna and home from Frankfurt. It is roughly a 90-minute train ride from St. Goar to Frankfurt's Main Airport.

For information about flying within Europe, ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines

Read Rick's train travel and rail pass tips and decide if your travel plans merit a rail pass.

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com. Thinking you could use some expert, in-depth help to plan your sightseeing days? Tour members enjoy a 50 percent discount on Rick's Trip Consulting services!

Trip Resources

Learn more about Germany, Austria, and Switzerland: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, plus find a list of recommended books and movies.

Packing

There will be (weather permitting) great opportunities to hike during our stay in the Swiss Alps. While hiking boots are not necessary, we recommend you bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes with soles offering good traction.

We also recommend that you consider bringing a smart phone, tablet or other device to assist in planning your activities, and to access Rick's Audio Europe app and walking tours.

For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.