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  • Open-Air Folk Museum, Arnhem, Netherlands
    The Netherlands
  • Rhine Valley and Bacharach, Germany
    Bacharach in the Rhine Valley
  • Rothenburg, Germany
  • Neuschwanstein Castle
  • Gondola ride, Venice, Italy
    Venice
  • Florence
  • Colosseum, Rome, Italy
    Rome
  • Italy's Cinque Terre
  • Swiss Alps
  • Wine tasting, Beaune, France
    Wine Tasting in Beaune, France
  • Paris

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Best of Europe in 21 Days Tour

from $5,895 per person + air

Single Supplement $975

See Dates & Prices

Our classic, three-week Best of Europe tour packs more travel thrills into a single vacation than you can imagine. Starting in the Netherlands with your Rick Steves guide, you'll experience the best of Amsterdam, Germany's Rhine Valley and Romantic Road, castles and forests of Austria's Tirol, canals of Venice, Renaissance Florence, the art and history of Rome, seaside villages of the Cinque Terre, the majestic Swiss Alps, country charms of France's Burgundy region, and the City of Light — Paris. Join us for the Best of Europe in 21 Days!

Dates & Prices

2022

What's Included

You'll get at least 34 group sightseeing events — at no extra cost!

Here's what you'll see and do on our Best of Europe tour:

  • Haarlem walking tour
  • Amsterdam walking tour
  • Rijksmuseum
  • Amsterdam canal cruise
  • Dutch open-air museum
  • Rhine River cruise
  • Rheinfels Castle
  • Bacharach walking tour
  • Rothenburg Night Watchman's tour
  • Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial
  • Wieskirche
  • Neuschwanstein Castle
  • Mountain luge ride (weather permitting)
  • Venice walking tour
  • St. Mark's Square and Basilica
  • Florence Renaissance walking tour
  • Florence's Accademia Gallery (Michelangelo's David)
  • Uffizi Gallery
  • Vatican Museums
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Evening walk through Rome including Trevi Fountain
  • St. Peter's Basilica
  • Colosseum
  • Forum
  • Pantheon
  • Italian hill town
  • Orientation for "vacation" day in Cinque Terre
  • Hiking orientation in the Swiss Alps
  • Hôtel Dieu in Beaune
  • Wine tasting in Burgundy
  • 2-day Paris Museum Pass
  • Paris walking tour
  • Sainte-Chapelle
  • Louvre Museum

Plus you'll get all this, too.

  • A small, friendly group of 24–28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of Europe come alive for you
  • All group transportation from Haarlem to Paris
  • 20 nights' accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (or books), 3-in-1 French, Italian, German phrase book, and a moneybelt
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2022
  • 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 your tour

Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions for important details regarding everything listed above.

Group sightseeing events subject to change.

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to the Netherlands

We'll start in quintessentially Dutch Haarlem, a quick train, bus, or taxi ride from the Amsterdam airport. We'll meet at our hotel at 3 p.m. for an orientation and chance to get acquainted, followed by a walking tour of this charming town and a traditional rijsttafel dinner together.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. No bus. Sleep in Haarlem.

Day 2: Progressive, Artistic Amsterdam

This morning we'll hop aboard the train into Amsterdam and begin our day with a guided tour of the remarkable Rijksmuseum, featuring masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer. Our introduction to this progressive, artistic city continues with an informative walking tour of Amsterdam's historic streets, lined with teetering, gable-topped houses overlooking centuries-old canals. After a break for lunch, we'll cruise the canals on a relaxing boat ride. Then you'll have free time to visit the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House (reserve online, well in advance!), or whatever strikes your fancy. Your evening is free for more adventures in Amsterdam or back in Haarlem. Dinner is on your own.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Train: 1 hour. Boat: 1 hour. No bus. Sleep in Haarlem.

Day 3: Dutch Treats and Rhine Views

We'll travel to Arnhem's open-air museum this morning to see what life was like in this corner of Europe centuries ago. We'll wander among the quaint houses, village storefronts, and working windmills. After lunch, we'll work our way down to Germany's castle-studded Rhineland, enjoying dinner together at our half-timbered hotel nestled in the medieval village of Bacharach on the Rhine.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Bus: 6 hours. Sleep in Bacharach.

Day 4: Rhine Castles and a River Cruise

This morning, we'll take a walking tour of Bacharach with an entertaining local guide. Afterward, at nearby St. Goar, we'll hike up the hill to tour the mighty medieval Rheinfels Castle and enjoy its commanding view of the Rhine Valley. We'll then board a boat for a relaxing Rhine River cruise, passing picturesque villages and feudal castles, followed by free time for dinner on your own.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Boat: 1 hour. Bus: ½ hour. Sleep in Bacharach.

Day 5: Medieval Rothenburg

We'll get an early start today, arriving in Rothenburg, Germany's best-preserved medieval town, just before lunchtime. After a helpful orientation tour, the afternoon is yours to see the best woodcarving in Germany (Riemenschneider's altarpiece), walk the medieval wall, tour the Crime and Punishment Museum, or hunt down the best apple strudel in town. This evening we'll tag along on the legendary Night Watchman's tour.

Light to strenuous walking (your choice). Bus: 4 hours. Sleep in Rothenburg.

Day 6: Dachau and Austria's Tirol

Today we'll make a 21st-century pilgrimage to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial near Munich, where we'll learn powerful lessons about the Holocaust and World War II. We'll then drive across the Bavarian countryside to visit Germany's greatest Rococo-style church, the Wieskirche. Winding our way toward Austria, we'll arrive at our rural Tirolean guest house in time for a traditional dinner.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Bus: 6 hours. Sleep near Reutte.

Day 7: Neuschwanstein and a Luge

It's a short drive and a half-hour hike to "Mad" King Ludwig's deservedly famous Neuschwanstein Castle. We'll tour the castle and have time for lunch. Afterward, you can barrel down the Tegelberg summer luge track (weather permitting). This afternoon you'll be free to visit another nearby castle, take a stroll in the woods, or just relax at our peaceful hotel before dinner on your own.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Bus: 1 hour. Sleep near Reutte.

Day 8: Italy's Incomparable Venice

We'll take a scenic, all-day drive to Venice today, stopping en route for lunch together in a characteristic Italian-Tirolean village. In Venice, we'll park our bus and board a vaporetto boat for a Grand Canal ride to our hotel in the historic heart of this seductive city. Tonight we'll take an alleys-and-canals orientation stroll to our first Italian dinner together. Afterward your guide will organize an optional gondola ride for a uniquely Venetian experience. If the moon is out, it will hit your eye like a big pizza pie.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Boat: ½ hour. Bus: 7 hours. Sleep in Venice.

Day 9: The Art of Wandering in Venice

This morning our local guide will take us on a winding walking tour through Venice, blending historic and modern-day stories of this one-of-a-kind treasure and giving us a local's perspective on Venice's fascinating past…and its uncertain future. We'll finish our morning walk in St. Mark's Square and the mosaic and marble-filled St. Mark's Basilica. The rest of your day is free to visit the Doge's Palace or the Titian- and Tintoretto-packed Accademia art gallery. Better yet, get lost (remember, it's an island) exploring the alleys, cruising the canals, and "crawling" the pubs.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus (too much water). Sleep in Venice.

Day 10: Florence and Michelangelo's David

An early morning vaporetto ride will reunite us with our bus and driver. We'll drive straight to Florence and hit the ground walking with a Renaissance tour of the city's historic center. We'll see and learn about Brunelleschi's magnificent cathedral dome, Ghiberti's Baptistery doors, and other creations that helped define this world-changing era. We'll end our walk at the Accademia Gallery to marvel at works of sculptural genius: Michelangelo's rough-hewn Prisoners and his greatest masterpiece, David. Afterward, we'll have dinner together.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Boat: ½ hour. Bus: 4 hours. Sleep in Florence.

Day 11: Wonders of Renaissance Florence

This morning is on your own. You can sleep in, get an early start and scramble to the top of Brunelleschi's dome, or browse through Florence's colorful food and craft markets. After lunch, we'll tour the wealth of Botticellis, Leonardos, and Raphaels in the greatest collection of Italian paintings anywhere — the Uffizi Gallery. This evening is free to make your own discoveries.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Florence.

Day 12: Rome and the Vatican Museums

This morning we'll drive straight to the heart of Rome. After getting oriented to our neighborhood and time for lunch, we'll focus on Renaissance (Catholic) Rome at the sprawling Vatican Museums. With your smartphone in hand and the Rick Steves Audio Europe™ app, Rick's voice will personally guide you through a limitless collection of treasures as you make your way to one of the world's most famous works of art: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. After dinner on your own, we'll regroup to celebrate la dolce vita Roman-style, with an evening stroll through the floodlit heart of the city, lacing together lively campos, classy piazzas, and the splashy Trevi Fountain.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Bus: 4 hours. Sleep in Rome.

Day 13: St. Peter's and a Walk Through Caesar's Rome

Early this morning we'll introduce you to the greatest church in Christendom: the awe-inspiring St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà and other artistic and architectural treasures. Then we'll uncover ancient Rome as a local guide takes us through the monumental Colosseum, history-drenched Roman Forum, and spectacular Pantheon. You'll have the rest of your day free to explore more of the Eternal City on your own (don't forget to taste some refreshing gelato along the way).

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. No bus. Sleep in Rome.

Day 14: To Italy's Cinque Terre

We'll drive along Italy's west coast today, with a refreshing stop at an enchanting hill town. This afternoon's destination is the dramatic Cinque Terre: five perfectly preserved fishing villages, laced together with hiking paths that meander between vineyards and the deep blue sea. As we approach the Cinque Terre, we'll park our bus and take a short train ride into seaside Monterosso al Mare. Tonight we'll gather together for a feast of local specialties, from homemade pesto to the fresh catch of the day.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Train: ¼ hour. Bus: 6 hours. Sleep in Monterosso al Mare.

Day 15: Free Day in the Cinque Terre

Ahh, it's time to take a "vacation from your vacation" today in our Mediterranean getaway. Pick a Cinque Terre village and spend your day exploring the stairways and alleyways, sunning yourself on the rocks, or sipping a cappuccino and catching up on your journal at an outdoor café. Or, if you're looking for lots of exercise, fresh air, and panoramic views, start your day early and hike the cliffside paths that connect the towns.

Light to strenuous walking (your choice). No bus. Sleep in Monterosso al Mare.

Day 16: To the Heart of the Swiss Alps

Today we'll catch an early train back to our bus and head over the hills, past the farms and pristine lakes of northern Italy, and into the alpine wonderland of Switzerland. After a breathtaking drive into the very heart of the Swiss Alps, we'll arrive at our creaky chalet in the magnificent Lauterbrunnen Valley, where we'll have dinner together.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Train: ¼ hour. Bus: 7 hours. Sleep in the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Day 17: Free Day in the Alps

The day is all yours to enjoy some of Europe's most dramatic scenery. You may want to join your guide for an optional mountain excursion that could combine the local narrow-gauge railway, a gondola lift, and a spectacular alpine walk above the tree line, surrounded by a panorama of cut-glass peaks…or ride a gondola lift up to the Schilthorn at 10,000 feet, loiter in the thin air, and hike down…or wander through the valley and walk to the thundering Trümmelbach Falls, a unique set of waterfalls encased behind the valley walls.

Light to strenuous walking (your choice). No bus. Sleep in the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Day 18: A Hearty Taste of Burgundy

Today we'll say auf Wiedersehen to the Alps and bonjour to la belle France. We'll drive into profoundly French Burgundy for a look at small-town France. We'll have an orientation walk through the heart of Burgundy's inviting wine capital, Beaune, visit the famous Hôtel Dieu medieval hospital, and enjoy a wine tasting together.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Bus: 5 hours. Sleep in Beaune.

Day 19: Parisian Cityscapes and Masterpieces

This morning we'll drive straight to Paris, where you'll have an orientation to the neighborhood markets and cafés to find lunch on your own. After checking into our nearby hotel, we're off to visit the magnificent Louvre Museum. With the Rick Steves Audio Europe™ app in hand, Rick's voice will guide you through the Louvre's timeless treasures, including Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, and hundreds more. Your evening is free for dinner and more discoveries.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 4 hours. Sleep in Paris.

Day 20: Historic and Neighborhood Paris

This day provides a busy, star-studded finale for our tour. We'll start the day with a transportation lesson and Métro ride to the historic heart of Paris: the Ile de la Cité, where we'll meet our local guide and take a stroll through the city’s early history. We'll continue on to the bohemian Latin Quarter and two of the world's most important Gothic churches: the resilient and legendary Notre-Dame and the exquisite Sainte-Chapelle. You may wish to round out your Paris sightseeing with a visit to museums like the Orsay and Rodin, or perhaps a walk down the Champs-Elysées — armed with your included Paris Museum Pass, the choices are endless. This evening we'll have our final dinner together, sharing memories and toasting our newly made friends. Salut!

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Paris.

Day 21: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. If you're staying on in Paris, today would be a great day to hop on the train and tackle the sprawling palace and grounds at Versailles. If you're headed home, it's a breeze to reach Paris' airports by taxi, shuttle, or public transportation. Au revoir!

(This tour does not include the Eiffel Tower. To avoid its long lines, we recommend booking tickets several weeks in advance. For details, see our Eiffel Tower ticket tips for tour members.)

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Physical Demands

Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Europe in 21 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily…

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (possibly several blocks) and up stairways to reach your hotel, then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing, for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
  5. Be content with the possibility of sharing bathroom facilities at one hotel during this tour.

Reviews

Mark

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was jam-packed with sites to see, information to learn. I was able to see so many beautiful churches, amazing castles and see the gorgeous countrysides and mountains. It was for me an exhausting trip, but that is what I wanted in order to get the most out of the experience. This was my first time being in Europe. To see societies that are different from that of the United States gives me a much better perspective of the world and of the USA.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first wow moment for me was standing on European soil! The biggest wow moment was being in the Swiss Alps and being completely awed by the beauty of the Alps. Seeing that beauty makes me wish I could live forever."

Lisa

New Port Richey, FL

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing! It was such a great experience and overall a nice taste of the various cultures in Europe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our last night in Paris, sharing our last moment with our tour group at the Eiffel tower drinking champagne, it was a great way to end the tour."

Sharon

Henderson, NV

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

21 Day European tour was amazing! Everything was organized so we could experience the food & cultures of each area, I enjoyed the bus trip part which gave us time to relax, visit & have Jody give us information about the next stop. I also liked the truck-stops, they were so interesting, each country had different toilets & lots of goodies for a little break. Jody handed-out treats from the regions we were visiting, so many sweet experiences. The hotels had great walkability for our free time

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My cousin & husband, who live in Wiesbaden, came to Bacharach, Germany to visit & they performed at a local restaurant. It was a joyful evening for me & the tour group in general! The tour meals were amazing & I tried things I wouldn't have if left to my own devices. Our reviews & goodbyes in the light of the Eiffel Tower."

David

Escalon, CA

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour exceeded our expectations .Our tour guide Jody was the single most Important reason we had the vacation of a life time . She provide the history of where we were going and what we would see . She set us up for success in cities that we visted and provided information on local food and sites to see on our own . She pick excellent restaurants for us to eat at as a group. She worked with local guides to make our experience memorable . She always asked if need any more info and check

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are to many WOW moments to single out one thing . A combination of being in the medieval small cities of Germany and mountain towns Swiss land . Too the historic cites of the Netherlands,Italy and France with their museums and art work that you have read about your whole life and to have them there in front of you was breath taking"

Elizabeth

Kings Mountain, NC

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an excellent experience! Everything was well planned and executed. Our tour guide did an excellent job of bringing the culture to life as well as making the tour historically significant.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments from the tour it is difficult to choose a favorite! Making friends and sharing the experience with them was certainly one "wow" for me. We saw some of the most beautiful parts of God's creation, and they all were "wows" to me. We also saw some of man's most significant accomplishments, and they, too, were "wows"."

Thomas

Saskatoon, SK

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This is a long tour and I must admit the bussing around did get to me sometimes as I was fighting a cold for a number of days, but, in general, this tour delivers the "greatest hits" of Europe and does them well. I felt that two stops needed more time - Amsterdam and Rome. Both felt overloaded to me. Jody did an excellent job of moving us from place to place both physically and mentally as we journeyed from country to county. I liked the focus on the World War II as an ongoing theme.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tough to pick one but the boat trip along the shore line of the villages of Cinque Terre reminded me of the importance of waterways to Europe and it was such a lovely overview of the area. My second wow moment was the group gondola ride in Venice at night, with music, and that surprised me as I thought it would be corny but instead it was romantic and a great way to end that day. Northern Italy going into Switzerland and Switzerland landscapes were stunning. Dachau was an emotional journey."

Barbara

Carrollton, TX

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

With the exception of weather related cancellations, the tour was exactly what I expected, and RS did throw in a few perks to help offset the missed activities. The pace and physical demands were every bit as rigorous as promised. Although a couple of stops seemed to be more about the number of hours in the bus than the significance of the location (Beaune) other places I was completely unfamiliar with like Haarlem and Bacharach where delightful and obviously places of significance.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I love Florence, so my first visual of the Duomo impressed me tremendously, but the tour was filled with so many visually stunning sights that it is difficult to pick only one. Something that I was so delighted by was the camaraderie of the group! By dinnertime of day 3 our group had already gotten to know each other and our table conversations filled the room. It was a particular blessing to me as a single traveler to be so well accepted by the couples in the group."

Marie Diane

Fort Mcmurray, AB

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything seemed to go smoothly with meals, bus times, tours etc always at the times indicated. There were surprises along the way like stopping at an old city or heritage park, or having a traditional lunch together. There was never a problem with hotel check-ins as we basically were handed our keys and able to go to our room.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Would be the Lauterbrunnen Valley and our stay in Mürren. Taking the gondola up with a beautiful blue sky. The next day climbing down from the Birg peak. Then the afternoon with pouring rain and watching all the waterfalls in the valley come to life. Then the next morning waking up to see the valley covered in a beautiful blanket of snow!"

Bruce

Fort Mcmurray, AB

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip turned out to be everything I expected and more. Jody was an amazing guide performing beyond her young age. The hotel locations and conditions were perfect. The local guides were knowledgeable and passionate. The bus was very comfortable and the driver very skilled and friendly. The itineraries provided a perfect taste of the areas with adequate spare time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favourite wow moment was the Swiss Alps. This was the my number one bucket list item when I planned the trip to Europe."

Carl

Henderson, NV

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exactly as advertised. Exceeded every expectation. Expertly packed with every touring dimension: historic context, cultural interaction, scenery, even custom soundtrack and live entertainment.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking in picture perfect Alps ( both Bavarian and Swiss ), and very intimate touchstones of birth of Renaissance in Florence ( including Galileo's actual fingers ). So many more!"

Keri

Littleton, CO

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fabulous trip. A really good balance of organized events and free time. Our guides provided good history that was very informative. We met a lot of great people and enjoyed every minute (although is was exhausting). Glad I had my walking shoes!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two: Bacharach Germany - such a quaint and beautiful little town The cows in Switzerland - so cool to hear the bells at all hours"

Matthew

New Port Richey, FL

Tour: 09/29/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall tour experience was everything and more that was published in the tour pamphlet. First and foremost Jody our guide was amazing. She made the trip that much more enjoyable and was very informative about different things to do and places to eat that were "off the beaten path" but made our first experience in Europe amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Switzerland was amazing as the day we arrived it was clear and sunny. Taking the gondola up the mountain you could see everything so clearly. The next morning it was slightly cloudy when we ended up hiking to the top of waterfalls. After an amazing lunch in town we took the gondola and train back to our hotel. The rest of the day it rained, but being on vacation we didn't let that ruin our day. There was a fitness center/spa next to the hotel so we ended up making the rest of the day a spa day."

Roberta

Orland Park, IL

Tour: 09/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was exciting. Learned a lot of history from the guide. A whirlwind of activity. Saw everything I wanted to see.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all "wow"."

Todd

Dayton, OH

Tour: 09/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved everything about it. It exceeded our expectations. Our guide/host, Dimitri, was outstanding and very knowledgeable and accommodating.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pretty much everything. The Swiss Alps stop turned out unexpectedly to be one of our favorites. More than thrilled with the bus and driver, Peter, and loved that we essentially had a row apiece on the luxurious bus. Also, wowed by the bonus stops not on the itinerary at Oktoberfest in Munich and at Orvieto, Italy."

Thomas

Bandon, OR

Tour: 09/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Couldn't be more satisfied with our recent BOE tour. Scheduling, bus travel, hotels, activities, and our excellent guide Dimitri. It exceeded our hopes for an entry into travel in Europe. Kudos!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lauterbrutten Valley....We had no idea were wete entering into a place such as this! Kudos to Rick Steves and Dimitri!"

Christine

Leechburg, PA

Tour: 09/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour. We loved traveling with an experienced guide and a group of like minded people. Our group jelled early on. The education we received with invaluable. The extra little demonstrations, tastings etc. were a pleasant surprise and something we would not have experienced on our own. The sights were amazing with so many high points and few low points. The lowest point was the crowds at the Vatican and in Rome in general which is beyond the tour company's control.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of Switzerland and the symmetry of Paris. Our guide organized a hike through the Alps on what was to be our own time and his time off. The visas on the hike and waterfalls were beautiful. Paris was a pleasant surprise."

Cameon

Bandon, OR

Tour: 09/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was my first trip to Europe and I feel I have waited my entire adult life to take this trip. Approaching 60, I finally was able to take this trip with my husband. My bar was set very high and this tour did not disappoint in anyway. The itinerary was the perfect mix of bigger cities and smaller towns. I was concerned the bus time might eat up too much time, but it was a welcome rest each time from the busyness of the on the ground time. Our tour guide was superb & the group camaraderie great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lauterbrunnen Valley was my peak experience on this trip. Taking the cog train up to our hotel in Wengen and seeing our view from he Hotel Belvedere took my breath away. The next day we took a gondola up even higher to take a hike along the ridgetop, ending at the base of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains. Also our time in Venice and hiking the Cinque Terre trails were highlights for me. Seeing the Colosseum and Forum...very impactful. The whole trip was really one constant WOW for me."

Mary

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was wonderful. I really enjoyed the hikes and visiting all the beautiful sites. The means were super! All of the staff were outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the hike in the Swiss Alps."

Serena

Mcdonough, GA

Tour: 09/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I planned this trip for our 25th wedding anniversary. We both wanted to goto Europe for the first time and this trip hit all the big cities and some smaller ones that were on our list. The trip exceeded our expectations in every way imaginable. Our guide Dimitri and the local guides enriched our experience a hundred fold. The trip had the right amount of guided and free time which allowed us to have a romantic vacation and make lifelong friends with our group mates.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day of our tour had a "wow" moment so it is very hard to chose just one. Hiking in Austria, Switzerland, and Cinque Terre, riding in a gondola in Venice, and standing in front of the statue of David in Florence were the most amazing and awe inspiring moments for me."

Juana

Encino, CA

Tour: 09/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first trip to Europe was all that I wanted it to be and then some. I truly appreciated from booking to the last day in Paris. I loved our tour guide Dimitry and our driver Peter. I was amazed by the activity we had on leaving one country to another. Even the pit stops were amazing! The historians that guided us throughout the cities and provided details I would not have know on my own. From this experience, I feel confident to travel to Europe on my own next time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The moment I landed in the first European country-Holand! However, I was enchanted by the Villages like Bachrach, Rothenberg and Reutte and Cinque Terre! I cannot leave out our amazing hikes and walks we did, The Cinque Terre-Yay!! The beautiful path to Neuschwanstein castle! And the icing on the cake was the Swiss Alps. Everything was delicious to my soul!"

Michael

Plano, TX

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an absolute joy to have been on this tour. Everything was phenomenal from the hotels to the tour guides. Matt was excellent and always kind and helpful. Everything on this tour was first class. I absolutely feel I received my money's worth from this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a lot of wow moments, but I think that walking into Piazza San Marco in Venice and seeing the gold mosaic tiles on the Basilica shining from the setting sun was really special."

Debby

Lansing, MI

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third Rick Steves tour and it did not disappoint. From our tour guide Matt, to our coach driver Richard, all the local guides, sights and sounds, everything was planned out expertly. This is the reason why we take a RS Tour. We had such a good group of travelers as well. We truly enjoyed the time we spent with everyone and the group meals were the best. We will continue to highly recommend RS Tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each location has it's own flavor so it is truly difficult to pick just one. Loved them all for different reasons. Wonderful tour that that offers a very busy but well organized view of Europe."

Martha

Dewitt, MI

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide was outstanding. Our coach driver was fantastic. The local guides were terrific and significantly added to my overall enjoyment. Hotels were pleasant and well situated for exploration of each city. The overall itinerary, timing and logistics were so well calculated and handled. Even though it was busy and sometimes tiring, I always felt fulfilled. I would highly recommend a Rick Steve's tour to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick, there were so many. The Cinque Terre had special appeal, it's the Mediterranean! The beauty and majesty of Austria and Switzerland are hard to beat, but I would say that Rome surprised me and with the help of Marta our local guide, I fell for the 'layers' of Roman history and culture."

Valarie

Roseville, CA

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour exceeded all of our expectations. The planning of everything - hotels, transportation, meals, tours, all of it - was very accommodating. The tour guides that took us on our history walks were great. Each one just kept getting better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have to pick just one "wow" moment?? Each destination kept getting better, too! We really loved Germany, Austria and Switzerland."

Jim

Hillsboro, OR

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great experience and truly enjoyed it. It was our first time traveling to Europe, and having all of the hotels, museums, transportation, and many meals arranged for made it relaxing and easy for us. We could focus on the present and on the sites we were visiting, and we didn't have to worry about driving, navigating our way through the bureaucracy of travel, or deal with the nagging background worry of "Do they still have our reservation?" I would recommend your tours to others.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed Florence, Rome and Paris. I was especially taken aback by the power of Michelangelo's David, and was overwhelmed at Dachau."

Erick

Sebastopol, CA

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fabulous and exceeded our expectations. Our group really clicked together. Matt was a superb guide who is very personable, patient, and did a great job preparing us for our itinerary each day of the trip. And our driver, Richard, was awesome too. The tour was very physically demanding, as we expected, but still had a nice balance of busy and leisure time. Also a nice balance of the heavy history stuff with low-key relaxing areas to experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Riding on TOP of the gondola in Switzerland with my wife, Linda, Matt, and a few of our braver tour-mates!"

Rayna

St Maries, ID

Tour: 09/22/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second RS tour . Last year, I took The Heart of France tour, and this year the Best of Europe. The tour was trip of a lifetime. Although we covered a lot of ground in 21 days, I feel we saw so much. I found it both exhausting and exhilarating . The itinerary was excellent. Having hotels, transportation, museum tickets and so much more planned out so well , makes traveling much more affordable, fun, educational and provides an element of safety which I appreciate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many wow moments to choose just one. I was very interested in the Netherlands, so I arrived a few days early and read some history on WW2 and the Resistance. Just walking around Amsterdam and Haarlem was so interesting and moving. Between visiting the Anne Frank house, the Dutch Resistance Museum, Van Gogh Museum and adding on all our tour activities, I felt that I learned so much. Hiking in the Alps, Octoberfest and the Rhine were memorable. Loved Bacharach"

Richard

Creswell, OR

Tour: 09/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The entire tour was virtually without incident, except for the Heidebloume Coaches. Our tour had to have our coach replaced 2-3 times in mid-tour. That was completely out of the control of Rick Steves and did not impact my tour review in any way. Everything from our tour guide, Tim, to the local guides we had, to the Transportaion in the cities to the museums etc. ran flawlessly. Tim was truly outstanding in every way. He made sure everyone was respected and had a great time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to single out just one. Seeing the Eiffel Tower, Ancient Rome, the Vatican, the Duomo in Florence, Rothenburg Germany, Venice, the Cinque Terra, the incredible scenic beauty of Wengen Switzerland, our Tour Guide.....WOW's were everywhere and every day! Thank you for making this such a special trip of a lifetime."

Mary Scott

Reno, NV

Tour: 09/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I'm struggling to come up with descriptors to convey how I feel about this tour. I loved it. I loved all of it. The food. The music. The scenery. The wine. My travel companions. My new found friends. Tim Tendick, our guide. Dirk, our coach driver. The local guides. Getting lost. . .a lot {me, not the tour). And trying hard to connect with locals through my stumbling, mispronounced greetings, pleases and thank you's in unfamiliar languages.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seriously? One? I loved being thrown around by Cinque Terre waves. And the songs Tim and fellow travelers, Jeanne and Jim, played on the coach. Thanks to them, I can close my eyes, listen to my uploaded music and instantly be back in Europe with them. Then there was that hug shared with a gelato maker. And that kiss on the cheek of a wonderful chef in a tiny restaurant. And the luge. And dancing with Russians to Pink Floyd played by a local band in a public square. Nope, I can't stop..."

Jan

Columbus, OH

Tour: 09/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was incredible. We enjoyed our visits to 6 different countries, getting a taste of the culture and vibe in several cities. The food was incredible, Tim, our guide was great and the folks we toured with made the trip particularly special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two "wow" moments stand out for me: hiking in the Cinque Terre and standing atop Schilthorn. There are other moments that are particularly special: visiting Dachau and knowing that people had died in every spot where I placed my feet. It was moving and brought a re-commitment from me for "Never again". Walking the gardens of Versailles was wonderful. The food, the food, the food! The evening meals that were part of our tour were fabulous."

Jimeva

Eugene, OR

Tour: 09/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The best trip I've ever taken! Our tour guide, Tim, was engaging and charismatic. His knowledge of history really added so much to the tour! The hotels we stayed in had unique character and charm, which is what I prefer. The meals were top notch, and Tim went out of his way to guide us to wonderful restaurants and activities to enjoy in our free time. Our tour group really bonded and had some amazing adventures together! This was my first Rick Steves tour, but hope its not my last!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite "Wow" moment? That's a hard choice, as the BOE 21 is packed with them! I love history and its depth in the cities we visited is astounding. My favorite man-made "Wow" moments would be the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and the Roman Forum ruins. Also, Brunelleschi's Dome in Florence. It's astounding to think these structures were erected hundreds, or thousands, of years ago and still remain. The biggest "Wow" of nature goes to the Lauterbrunnen Valley - breathtakingly spectacular!"

Gaye

Snohomish, WA

Tour: 09/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was better and more than I even hoped for. I have never been to Europe and it was fabulous. The way Tim shared history made places even more interesting with an understanding of some of the history. The size of our tour group was good. Everything was just so great and I can hardly wait to book another tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many things that I enjoyed. Every time we would move to another place I would think no this is my favorite. I loved Venice, the Swiss Alps, and Paris. On our way to Monterosso we stopped for lunch in a small hill town and that was fabulous. I also loved Cinque Terra. Wine tasting in a wine cellar from the 1600's was definitely a highlight for me."

Anna

Wauna, WA

Tour: 09/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

How can I express my absolute delight in all that this trip held for me? For 50 years I desired to make this trip. I know for certain that this older woman went with the excitement of a young woman in search of adventure. The unbelievable beauty and amazing ancient sights and places we visited on this trip left me with more wonder than i began with. I only got a taste of the experience, and can say that this trip has left me hungry for more. Thank you for doing what you do.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite WOW moments would be seeing and being in the presence of the most beautiful works of Michelangelo. I experienced truly great works of art and they left me with wonder and amazement. Seeing the truly breathless beauty of the masters made me ponder how they lived their lives in light of the gift they were given by the true MASTER. It is truly HIS STORY, after all."

Mary Ann

High River, AB

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great time , everything was so interesting and informative.There was a great variety in the locations along the tour. The Gottard Pass was unbelievably beautiful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several, beginning with our tour guide, Andy who took such good care of us. You should be very proud of him. I loved the area in Switzerland that we visited. I was ready to see " Heidi "swooping down the hills on her toboggan towards Grandfather's house. We walked along the valley , it was so lush and green and peaceful.The Sistine Chapel was totally amazing, even though it was our second time in Rome, it was a wow moment to see it again. The Eiffel Tower at night was amazing."

Catherine

Laguna Niguel, CA

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Perfect for those who love to travel, but who don't want to organize the trip. It was a very well coordinated tour...everything was taken care of, leaving you to enjoy the experience. The expected highlights were included, along with off the beaten path alternatives to make sure you got the most from your trip. Exceeded our expectations...best decision we made was to take a RS tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The spectacular Alpine walk above the tree line, surrounded by a panoramic view of the cut-glass peaks during early autumn with the foliage beginning to turn shades of red, yellow, purple, black, blue, orange, magenta, and brown is breathtaking!"

Steven

Laguna Niguel, CA

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour had no surprises and met or exceeded all of my expectations. I learned a lot and was very pleased with the entire experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say just one as they were all the places we visited were all so different and unique. The Swiss Alps (Wengen) were probably the most breathtaking in beauty. But the castles on the Rhine were also a wonderful experience."

Brenda

Sublimity, OR

Tour: 09/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It's a road trip thru Europe! Good combination of guided tour and free time. Guided tours give you sooo much more than you would get going on your own. And the RS guides are the best! Biggest unexpected bonus for me was the instruction given in each country and city in local language, cultural customs, using public toilets, using public transport, etc. Without a guide we would have floundered. Hotels very comfortable and in great locations. Food was over the top delicious and plenty of it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just seeing the "best" of Europe for the first time. It was surreal in so many respects and each day felt like, wow. But, I was surprised how much I loved Paris. It was our last stop on the tour and after the breathtaking beauty and clean air of the Swiss Alps, which was also a WOW! I was not looking forward to Paris. Paris itself changed my mind. Yes, it's a big city with lots of people but I felt the joi de vivre of Paris!"

Jennifer

Langley, WA

Tour: 09/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding...Plus! This tour was much more than I expected because there is no substitute for actually being there to see, smell, touch, taste and hear these places. Then add to that our new group of friends to share the experience with....topped off with our friendly, fun, funny, knowledgable guide, and it was the formula for a trip of a lifetime! Also what I expected to be long (possibly boring) bus rides from city to city were a perfect sight-seeing classroom.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Because I had waited over 50 years to go there, it was Paris. We were there just long enough to confirm that we need to return with much more time. What an exciting city! The local guide on our city bus tour was fabulous too. So many wows on this trip!"

Amy

Hood River, OR

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Murren, Switzerland was fantastic! Wish we had more time there, I look forward to going back!"

Vickie

Goodyear, AZ

Tour: 09/01/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steve's tour and introduction to traveling in Europe. I have to say, our experience far exceeded any expectations we had. The beautiful sites, accommodations, the history, our fabulous guides, our drivers, local guides, lifetime of memories, the friends we made...everything. We felt like we were leaving our family when it was over. Absolutely wonderful. We truly experienced what could possibly be the most amazing days in our lives..,so far. Thank you. ??

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wowed several times a day. Too hard to pick a favorite."

When To Go & Weather

Any time between April and October is a good time to take a Best of Europe tour. However, the months of April, May, September, and October are best for offering generally good weather, lighter crowds, and the full range of tourist fun.

Netherlands / Amsterdam

Amsterdam Weather


Germany / Munich

Munich Weather


Austria / Vienna

Vienna Weather


Italy / Venice

Venice Weather


Italy / Florence

Florence Weather


Italy / Rome

Rome Weather


Switzerland / Bern

Bern Weather


France / Paris

Paris Weather

Hotels & Flights

Tour Hotels

In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, the contact information for the tour's first and last hotels is included in your tour confirmation email, as well as in the Itinerary section of your tour account. One month prior to the tour departure, you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying in the Documents section of your tour account.

Flights

Our tours don't include airfare, so your flight arrangements are completely up to you.

Most tour members arrange to fly into Amsterdam (AMS) and out of Paris (CDG or ORY) — choose "multicity" on flight-booking websites. The Amsterdam airport is about a 40-minute train, bus, or taxi ride from Haarlem, where the tour begins. Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Europe.

We suggest arriving a day or two before your tour begins to allow ample time to get over jet lag and be well-rested for the first few days of your tour. For more information about transportation options for getting to and from your tour, see your Rick Steves Best of Europe guidebook.