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21 Day Rick Steves Europe Tour - no Munich, Salzburg, or Vienna

My girlfriend and I are seriously looking at the 21 day European Rick Steves Tour. We absolutely love the itinerary, but the only thing I'm bummed about it is that it does not include Munich, Salzburg or Vienna, and those are places I definately wanted to see. My girlfriend wants to see Italy and I do too.

Paris - I could do this later but it's cool that it's on the todo for this tour.
Amsterdam - Could do this later but cool that it's on the tour.

Any thoughts on the itinerary? Are we just trying to do too much in too little time? Is there anyway to combine tours? Just curious. Thanks so much for your comments and input!

Posted by
10344 posts

Rick and his people know what they're doing on the 21-day tour. This is way different than you trying to cover the same ground on your own in 21 days: with Rick's tour you have experts taking care of booking your rooms, driving the bus, etc for you. And if you want to see other places, people often do this on their own , usually after the tour ends, or sometimes before the tour.

Posted by
408 posts

My husband and I did the 21 day tour and it was great! We did stop in Munich for Oktoberfest for a few hours. We added three days at the begining of the tour in Amsterdam. It is a good way to see alot of Europe and decide where you want to go back to for a longer stay. We had been to several of the places on our own and we still enjoyed seeing it with a guide again. It is nice to have most of your meals planned for you and meeting others on the tour. i thought it was great. Good luck!

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello William. You said you want to go to Munich, Salzburg, Vienna. Those cities certainly are great places for tourists. The best palace in Europe is in Vienna : Schonbrunn Palace. And everyone likes Salzburg. Munich is good for people who like museums or art galleries. And you said visiting Amsterdam and Paris is not a high priority for you, in this trip. Therefore, considering the very extremely high price for the 21 day bus group tour, I recommend plan your own trip in Europe. Read the Rick Steves' travel guide books, and travel in trains.

Posted by
3 posts

So is octoberfest the whole month of October? Or is it only 1 week of October? When should we go on the Europe 21 Day tour if we want to possibly experience Octoberfest? Anytime of the month, or a specific week?


Posted by
216 posts

Oktoberfest starts well in September (usually about 24 Sept.) and ends after the first full week in October. Dates vary from year to year. It celebrates the marriage of a Bavarian king and the revelry that ensued - combined with the harvest festivals common in that part of Europe - led to that permanent event. There are small Oktoberfests all over Bavaria, but only the one in Munich draws those huge crowds.

If you miss those, you may be able to snag a Waldfest or outdoor celebration, usually on weekends, where a volunteer fire dept., a village organization, or a regional fair (Jahrmarkt) takes place. Not quite up to the madness of Oktoberfest, but still a hoot in the beer tent.

Of course, if you are in an organized tour, you will likely miss these.

Posted by
193 posts

This year Oktoberfest runs from September 20 through October 5. I'll be there the week of the 29th. I can't wait!

Posted by
31 posts

If you're cool with the idea of travelling on your own, check out Rick's suggested 3-week itinerary across Europe, oth on this site and in his Best of Europe book. It doesn't include Viena per se, but I used the same route more or less and added in Viena by takinga night train from Venice. From there, I did Salzburg as a day trip on the route from Viena to Munich (just store your luggage in the Salzburg train station). Worked out really well for me. Good luck

Posted by
1449 posts

I have gone on the 21-day tour and highly recommend it. Think of it as a survey; you spend about a day to a day and a half in most places after you take the bus time into account. So you have a chance to see highlights, and also free time on most days for your own explorations. The tour is very organized and efficient, and I think to cover the same places and attractions on your own would take more than 30 days. Plus his local guides are excellent, and hiring them for 2 would be costly. So overall I'd say the tour is not too much in too little time, but its not 3-4 days relaxing and soaking in the ambience of a town either.

If you go to the tour pages you can find a link where RS posts the unedited feedback from people who have taken the tour and responded to the post-trip email.

If you want to see Munich, etc. on your own after Paris you could take a nite train to Munich which would be as low as 98E for 2 persons in a 4-person couchette, or fly for less than $150 apiece.

Posted by
240 posts

Why don't you fly into Italy..see what you want in 11 days, then head North to see everything else. Sometimes when you are on a are limited to a specific time frame to get on/get off the can you really explore a City in such a short time frame. European airlines have inexpensive flights from country to country and taking trains and/or driving is lovely. You will really get a good feel for the people and the country if you do it on your own. We planned our whole trip on the internet and were in Italy for 3 1/2 weeks. We met some amazing people in the small villages and we able to capture some wonderful photos. Just think about it..doing it on your own and planning your OWN tour!