Rick Steves' Best of Europe in 14 Days Tour
Dreaming of how to pack Europe's top travel thrills and cultural treats into a two-week vacation? You've found it! On this tour through Europe, your Rick Steves guide will surround you with the must-see sights of Rome, followed by Renaissance Florence, a countryside stay in Tuscany, the romantic canals of Venice, festive Munich, a hike in the majestic Swiss Alps, a hearty taste of Burgundy, the art treasures of Paris — and chances to connect with Europeans like you never thought possible. Here's a sneak peek at what it's like to discover the Continent on a Best of Europe in 14 Days tour. Let's go!
Days 1 & 2: Welcome to Rome
We'll gather at our hotel in Rome at 3 p.m. for a group meeting. After an orientation walk through our neighborhood, we'll celebrate the start of our European adventure with dinner together, followed by a la dolce vita-style floodlit walk through the heart of Rome, lacing together lively campos, classy piazzas, and the splashy Trevi Fountain.
Early the next 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're off to uncover ancient Rome as a local guide takes us through the monumental Colosseum, history-drenched Roman Forum, and magnificent 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).
Day 3: Timeless Tuscany
This morning we'll focus on Renaissance (Catholic) Rome at the sprawling Vatican Museums. We'll stroll through a limitless collection of treasures to one of the world's most famous works of art: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. After free time for lunch, we'll wind our way through the verdant Tuscan hills to a working family farm that also serves as our country hotel. You'll have free time this afternoon to take a scenic stroll amid the peaceful vines and olive groves, relax by the pool, or taste some of our host's family-made wines. Before we sit down to a hearty country-style dinner together, we'll see how it's made, as our chef gives us a special Tuscan cooking demonstration.
Days 4: Renaissance Florence
We'll drive to Florence this morning and hit the ground walking with a Renaissance tour of the city's historic center — learning how Brunelleschi's cathedral dome and Ghiberti's Baptistery doors helped define this world-changing era. Then we'll visit the Accademia Gallery, where we'll marvel at works of sculptural genius: Michelangelo's rough-hewn Prisoners and his greatest masterpiece, David. We'll end our morning with a tour of the Uffizi Gallery, home to masterpieces by Leonardo, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and more. We'll set you free to explore more of Florence before we return to our countryside hotel, with plenty of time to relax and freshen up before dinner together.
Days 5 & 6: Seductive Venice
We'll take a scenic drive to Venice today, stopping for lunch along the way. At the edge of the lagoon, 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. Tonight we'll take an alleys-and-canals orientation stroll to St. Mark's Square and enjoy dinner together. Later, your guide will organize an optional gondola ride for this romantic, uniquely Venetian experience. If the moon is out, it will hit your eye like a big pizza pie.
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 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.
Days 7 & 8: Munich and Bavaria
Today we say "ciao, Venezia" as we hop back aboard our bus and drive north into Germany, stopping en route for lunch in a characteristic Tirolean village. Our destination is the heart of Bavaria: Munich. After some time to settle in, we'll take an orientation walk through the city's pedestrian-friendly historic core, ending with a raucous beer-hall dinner where you can hoist a liter-size mug of beer and a pretzel as big as your head.
The next morning we'll meet our local guide and explore Munich on a walking tour. From its medieval roots to its turbulent role in the first half of the 20th century and amazing post-war recovery, you'll gain an appreciation for the small-town feel of this city, dubbed "Millionendorf" — the village of a million people. Your afternoon and evening are free: You can rent a bike to explore the sprawling English Garden, be dazzled by the Deutsches Museum, or poke around Marienplatz and the Viktualienmarkt looking for the cuckoo clock of your dreams.
Days 9 & 10: Scenic Swiss Alps
Today we'll start with a short drive to Dachau, where we'll have a guided tour of the infamous Concentration Camp Memorial and learn powerful lessons of the Holocaust and World War II. Then we'll continue on our scenic drive past pristine mountains and sparkling lakes as we climb high into the heart of the Swiss Alps to our destination — the magnificent Berner Oberland, flanked by towering, waterfall-laced cliffs and crowned by a trio of Switzerland's most formidable peaks: the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. Tonight we'll share a hearty Swiss dinner together at our creaky old chalet in the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
The next 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, for a more restful day, just wander through the valley and walk to the thundering Trümmelbach Falls, a unique set of waterfalls encased behind the valley walls.
Days 11: Beautiful Burgundy
This morning we'll hop aboard our bus and roll into the French countryside, passing pastures and vineyards en route to the "profoundly French" town of Beaune, in the heart of Burgundy. We'll take an orientation walk through Beaune, visit the Hôtel Dieu — the town's medieval hospital — and discover why Burgundy's wine is world-renowned as we enjoy a tasting together. You'll have ample free time to explore the many charms of village France and find dinner on your own.
Day 12 & 13: Captivating Paris
Today we'll leave the rolling hills of beautiful Burgundy and journey to our grand finale in captivating Paris. On arrival, we're off to the magnificent Louvre Museum, where we'll see the works of Raphael, Delacroix, and Leonardo and timeless treasures that include Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, and hundreds more. Your evening is free for exploration and dinner on your own in this elegant capital.
The next morning we'll meet our local guide and take a stroll through the city's early history, beginning at its birthplace, the Ile de la Cité, and continuing on to the bohemian Latin Quarter and two of the world's most important Gothic churches: the resilient and legendary Notre-Dame Cathedral and the exquisite Sainte-Chapelle. This afternoon you'll have time to visit museums such as the Orsay, Rodin, and Orangerie, or perhaps take a walk down the Champs-Elysées. With your included 2-Day Paris Museum Pass, the city's best museums and monuments are yours to discover. Tonight we'll have our final dinner together, sharing memories and toasting our newly made friends. Salut!
Day 14: 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!
Learn more about our Best of Europe in 14 Days tour!