Rick Steves' My Way® Europe in 14 Days, Day by Day
Following a two-week "greatest hits" route that takes you from Paris to Rome — via Burgundy, the Swiss Alps, Munich, Venice, and the Cinque Terre — this free-spirited "un-guided" vacation lets you break away from the crowd to choose your own sightseeing priorities and pace — flexibility that traveling families can appreciate. Hop aboard this slideshow preview of what could be your next My Way Europe in 14 Days adventure! (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)
Days 1 & 2: Welcome to Paris
Welcome to Paris, one of the world's most thrilling cities! Today is a great day to start tackling some of Paris' amazing museums: the Louvre, Cluny, Rodin, Orsay, and Pompidou. We'll rendezvous at our hotel at 5 p.m. to meet your tour manager and have a group get-together. Your tour manager will give an overview of the days ahead, answer your questions, and offer a quick orientation to our neighborhood and Paris' easy-to-use public transportation. Then you're free for dinner on your own. This evening you could stroll around the brilliantly lit Eiffel Tower and enjoy a twilight ride to the top. Or enjoy the view from below, aboard one of Paris' numerous floodlit Seine River cruises.
The next morning, Paris is all yours. With your Best of Europe guidebook and Rick Steves audio tours in hand, you might begin your day where Paris did — on the Ile de la Cité — visiting Notre-Dame Cathedral and the exquisite Sainte-Chapelle. Or explore the sprawling grounds of the ultimate royal palace at Versailles — every king's dream. This evening, head up to Montmartre to savor the bohemian flair of Amélie's "village Paris" and take in the breathtaking vistas from the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Or go to the Arc de Triomphe and stroll down the grandest boulevard in the world — the Champs-Elysées. As with every day of this trip: it's your choice! (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)
Day 3: Burgundy’s Wine Capital
This morning we'll pack up, bid adieu to Paris, and hop aboard our comfortable bus. Then we'll roll into the French countryside, passing pastures and vineyards en route to the "profoundly French" town of Beaune in the heart of Burgundy's wine country. After dropping your bags at our hotel early this afternoon, you'll have time to stroll around the town's center, rent a bike for a ride along the Côte d'Or vineyards, enjoy a wine tasting, and savor the rich regional specialties over dinner. Bœuf bourguignon et escargots, anyone? (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)
Days 4 & 5: The Swiss Alps
We'll leave the rolling hills of beautiful Burgundy this morning, and climb high into the heart of the Swiss Alps. By suppertime 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 hike away.
You'll wake up in one of the most beautiful spots on Earth…and the day is all yours. 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 then hike down. Closer to the valley floor, you can witness the roaring, thundering, crashing, splashing display of nature's awesome power in Trümmelbach Falls — a series of subterranean waterfalls that plunge hundreds of feet into darkness behind the valley's cliffs. (photo: Sandra Hundacker)
Days 6 & 7: Marvelous Munich
Today's drive is a good time to catch up on your journal, listen to music, curl up with a good book, or just sit back and enjoy views of pristine mountains and sparkling lakes as we make our way into the heart of Bavaria. Our destination is the people-friendly city of 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, the fascinating Deutsches Museum, the sprawling English Garden, or take a short bus or subway ride to Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial or the state-of-the-art BMW Museum. This evening, feel free to join the party at the Hofbräuhaus beer hall, where you can hoist a liter-size mug of beer, and a pretzel as big as your head. (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)
Days 8 & 9: Seductive Venice
We'll take off early this morning for a scenic, all-day drive to Venice. At the edge of Venice, we'll board a vaporetto boat for an "am-I-really-here?" Grand Canal ride to our hotel in the historic heart of this seductive city, arriving late this afternoon. Tonight, you can enjoy dinner at an out-of-the way trattoria and soak in the outdoor nightlife of St. Mark's Square. If the moon is out, it will hit your eye like a big pizza pie.
The entire next day and evening are yours to experience (with the help of Rick's audio tours) the Byzantine majesty of St. Mark's Basilica, the formidable Doge's Palace, the masterpiece-packed Frari Church, and more. Along the way, take time to simply get lost (remember, it's an island) exploring the alleys, cruising the canals, and "crawling" the pubs of this amazing city. (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)
Days 10 & 11: Italy’s Cinque Terre
Today we say "ciao Venezia" as we hop back aboard our bus and make a beeline for the relaxing beaches and villages of the Cinque Terre. To get there, we'll traverse Italy's agricultural breadbasket and the forested spine of the Apennines, finally winding our way down to the seaside village of Levanto, where we'll board a train for the 10-minute ride to Monterosso. We'll arrive late this afternoon, with plenty of time to enjoy Monterosso's pleasant eateries and ambience.
Ahh, the next day it's time to take a "vacation from your vacation" 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. For dinner tonight, enjoy what's local and fresh: the seafood and pasta with pesto. (photo: Rick Steves)
Days 12 & 13: Eternal Rome
This morning we'll get an early start as we make our way from the Cinque Terre to Rome. Arriving at our Rome hotel late this afternoon, you'll have the cooler part of the day to eat at the outdoor café of your dreams, then celebrate la dolce vita Roman style, with an after-dinner stroll through the floodlit heart of the city, lacing together the lively campos, classy piazzas, and splashy fountains. Don't forget to taste some refreshing gelato along the way.
Rome is the grand finale of our trip, packed with historical riches, cultural delights, and an infinite supply of wows. Aided by Rick's audio tours, you can follow the footsteps of emperors through the Roman Forum, Colosseum, and Pantheon. If the Renaissance is more your speed, the immense St. Peter's Basilica (home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà) and the sprawling Vatican Museums (home to his mind-boggling Sistine Chapel) are a metro or bus ride away. It's your final night in Rome, so get out and make it special. Salute! (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)
Day 14: Tour Over After Breakfast
It's a breeze to reach Rome's airports by taxi or train. Your tour manager will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Grazie e ciao! (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)
(Itinerary specifics subject to change.)
Learn more about Rick Steves' My Way Europe in 14 Days.