We are considering the MY WAY ALPINE for 2018. We always enjoy arriving a few days early and extending a few days. Any ideas on the best way to do this? At the end, is it best to extend in Chamonix, or should we go on to Geneva where we will fly home from and spend time there? We appreciate any suggestions on pre, post, and inbetween recommendations. We have been to Vienna and many cities along the Rhine & Danube already. Also, our dates are open - is there a 'better month' to go?
Since I haven't been to Vienna, I would probably want to spend a couple of days there at the beginning of the tour then move on to Salzburg and spend a day or two there. I might just leave the days post-tour to plan later after I've been on the tour for a few days or even after the end of the tour. This tour sounds great! I'm considering a "My Way" tour and this one would take me to some places new to me.
My Way Alpine is one of my favorite tours. There are lots of options for extending on either end. When I did this tour a few years ago, it was much cheaper to fly into Frankfurt rather than Munich or Salzburg, so after arriving in Frankfurt I took the Romantic Road bus to Rothenburg and stayed there a couple of days. Really enjoyed Rothenburg.! Then caught the train from Rothenburg to Salzburg for the Alpine tour. I had prepurchased a Swiss railpass and at the end of the tour went from Chamonix back to Switzerland and took advantage of the railpass (then caught the plane home from Zurich) - - - there is lots to see in Switzerland that's not covered in the tour.
A recent post titled "Hotels in Annecy France" that you might want to check was referring to your same tour. Annecy is a lovely town! We were in Annecy last year then on to Lyon & Paris. We really enjoyed exploring Lyon for 3 days, and stayed at a quirky apartment in a traboule of the Vieux Lyon area.
A pre-tour location could be Munich since you have already been to Vienna.
I had 4 days between my Berlin Prague and Vienna and my My Way Alpine RS tour. I rented a car and drove around Germany visiting some of my old haunts I knew from my 2 years in the US Air Force in the early 70's. At least one extra day in Salzburg would be good. Or any other city you haven't visited before. Amsterdam, Berlin or ....
I spent an extra day in Chamonix before I took a shuttle bus to Geneva for one day before I flew home. I stayed at a hotel near the airport and I think they gave me a free travel card for public transportation around Geneva.
I took my tour in late August and that was fine. I had good weather for my tour.
I just booked the My Way Alpine for May 2018. I like to travel in spring. I spent 21 days in Scotland last May with only 2 days of light rain. I was repeatedly informed that was unusual. I am hoping I get lucky next year. I had the same question, the shuttle from Chamonix to Geneva is so convenient I am thinking of adding days pre tour. I noticed they dropped the Hallstatt portion on the 2018 tour. I am going to try to see that on my own. I haven't book flights yet but I like the idea of the Romantic Road.
Good luck to you.
We were on this tour last September. We had warm weather at the start, but then had some rain (which didn't stop us at all), and we were blessed with beautiful days to hike in Switzerland and Chamonix. We flew into Munich for a day or two and then took the train to Salzburg. We spent an extra night there before the tour started. We did not stay over in Chamonix, but took the shuttle to Geneva and then caught the train to Innsbruck for a couple days before heading back to Munich to fly home. It was a wonderful tour, and we really enjoyed the time pre and post tour as well.
I was sure that Robert & I were on the same tour . . . early June 2015. That tour had more bad weather than good - thunderstorm first night in Salzburg, overcast the next day, a couple hours of steady afternoon rain in the Dolomites on the hiking day, lots of clouds in Hallstatt, and then so cloudy in Lauterbrunnen that the Swiss alps were invisible. You just never know. I chose early June, thinking there'd be a better chance for good weather than late May. Turned out the late May and late June tours had mostly great weather. On the other hand, there were lots and lots of beautiful wildflowers, especially in the Alpi di Siusi . . . till the rains came.
There are several "scrapbooks" from previous Alpine tours. You'll get an idea of what to expect and lots of recommendations. I think there was only one person who stayed on in Chamonix after breakfast on the last day. I rented a car and spent another 10 days in eastern France. A few went home, others continued their adventures. I'd been to Salzburg so I arrived (by train from Vienna) just in time to check in before the meet-and-greet. You could probably start just about anywhere, then fly into Salzburg.
I noticed they dropped the Hallstatt portion on the 2018 tour.
I am glad I experienced Hallstatt. I will have another chance this winter in the Munich, Salzburg, Vienna tour. But, I must say, the elimination of it will make the chances of my taking this tour again much higher. In fact, it has risen to the top of the list for 2018. Adding an extra day to the Berner Oberland is great! And, I would have a chance to visit the Wieskirche and the Alpe di Siusi that I missed out on before.
For my earlier My Way Alpine, I started in Innsbruck - flew into Munich. Depending on time of year, personally, I might try to fit in a little Venice. I am a fan of the train rides between Venice and Salzburg.
We are late joiners to this tour beginning on September 25th - yes that's seven weeks away. We decided to fly into Frankfurt via Amsterdam, stay one night at the Hotel Victoria to rest, and then are taking the train to Salzburg the next morning and will arrive two days before the tour starts. Lots to do in Salzburg before the tour starts. After the tour ends we decided to not stay an extra night in Chamonix but instead head to Annecy and stay at the Splendid Hotel for two nights (after seeing wonderful reviews) and then take the train to Geneva for two nights before we fly home to Minneapolis. I am so looking forward to this. We took the RS MyWay Europe Tour the same time frame in 2015 and had fabulous time - 12 couples, a set of female siblings and a single gal, our guide Travis and driver Coos. I think that the most important thing about a Rick Steve's My Way tour is that being inclusive is encouraged, but when you want to go off on your own it is very much respected. Our group still keeps in touch - that says something.
I did the My Way Alpine tour about one year ago today! Still think about it as it was GREAT. We started in London, then Bullet train to Paris, and finally got to Salzburg. It was my favorite town,and we spend 2 nights prior to the RS tour start. Went to see the Eagles nest and the Sound of Music bike tour. If you have any interest in that wonderful move, by all means spend half a day on the "Bike" tour, not the bus tour, unless you are not able to ride a bike for a few hours. After the tour offer the guide a few Euros and you can keep the bikes the rest of the day and really see Salzburg. At the end of the trip,fly out of Geneva. It was a great tour except for the hotel in Wengen, but even that could not spoil the most beautiful area on Earth, Luaterbrunnen!
I haven't done this tour, but I have done almost all of this country during late June/early July. The weather wasn't bad, although I did think one or two locations were very warm with sufficient walking about.
If I were to do a trip in this area again, I'd consider going earlier in June or sometime in September. Yes, you're going to have rain and chilly evenings then, but I think that would be a decent trade off for day time heat in the middle of summer.
We are also planning for the MY WAY ALPINE in 2018 and have similar questions. We do want to visit Hallstatt at the beginning of the trip--best way to travel from the Salzburg airport to Hallstatt? We understand public transportation requires several different legs and considerably more time than simply renting a car and driving? What was the reason for dropping Hallstatt from the itinerary? Finally, should we book an extra day in Geneva at the end? Our flight from Geneva leaves at 9 am, and we're assuming we need to take the shuttle from Chamonix , spend the night in Geneva, then fly home. Any recommendations will be most apprieciated!
My husband and I just got home from the My Way Alpine Tour and it was wonderful! This was our second My Way tour and we felt very fortunate to be among a special group of like minded fellow travelers- folks who enjoyed being together but had the freedom to do our own thing when we wanted to. We flew into Frankfurt via Amsterdam from Minneapolis because it was practical - we had a lovely surprise at our one night stay at the Victoria Hotel in Frankfurt (recommended by Ms. Jo here on the Forum) - clean, modern, with a friendly and helpful staff. We found a little restaurant down the street called Urban Kitchen - we try to go where the locals go - the food was reasonable and terrific . We took the Euro City train from Frankfurt to Salzburg and arrived two days early at the tour hotel (Hotel Hofwirt.) I had booked a top floor room with a balcony and they let us stay in the room for the tour dates for an additional fee. I'm glad we arrived early, not only to get over jet lag, but because there is so much to see in Salzburg. This also gave us some time to just sit in a cafe or two, have coffee and strudel and people watch. Since this post was about pre and post stays I feel I shouldn't go into the actual stops on the tour, but I will tell you that I was amazed by the views - if you love the mountains this tour is for you. I will put all that information in my tour report in the next few days. We didn't stay an extra day in Chamonix when the tour was over, but decided to book advance tickets on the Ouibus (10 Euros per seat) to Annecy instead - it was a great decision. It was among my favorite stops. We stayed two nights at The Splendid Hotel (once again recommended by a tour alum) - the location was close to the lake and the Old Town and was surrounded by restaurants. We had lunch in a little restaurant called Le Napoli and it was so good we went back for dinner. We also had dinner at L'Etage, a Rick recommended restaurant. Annecy is beautiful and there is so much to see that we barely scratched the surface. We explored the Old Town, walked the promenade by the lake and had fun just wandering around. Was it crowded? Yes, but I imagine in the summer months it's much more so. We ended our adventure by taking the train to Geneva where we had one full day to explore - we saw the Old Town, the harbor and got out on the beautiful lake by taking a water taxi. We stayed at the Auteuil Manotel located several blocks from the train station. It was a nice hotel but expensive - everything in Switzerland is expensive. It was great that they gave us transportation cards which enabled us to ride the buses, trains and the water taxis for free - we made good use of them. We were quoted a price of 45 francs for a cab ride to the airport and opted to take the train for free - a 7 minute ride. We had two wonderful dinners in Geneva - the first at La Veranda and the second at Diva, both quite close to our hotel. One word of caution - we took a wrong turn while walking back from the lake to our hotel and ended up in the heart of the red light district - oops. I am not a person who is easily intimidated, but I freely admit that I was uncomfortable. Thank goodness it was daylight. Study your map, be situationally aware and ask questions of the desk staff - that is what they are there for. I personally love traveling in late September and October because of the cooler temperatures, and the weather on our pre and post tour dates was spectacular - sunny and cool (high 50s, low 60s.) For the amount of walking we did it was perfect. I hope this information helps - I've gotten so much good and useful information from this travel forum that it feels nice to be able to give back by passing on our experiences. Liz
I took the tour 2 years ago, in early June. I'm guessing here . . . that in the summer there are even more tourists that in late spring, and even then Hallstatt was packed with tourists. I had a pleasant time, but it wasn't outstanding. I imagine that there are plenty of charming small towns on scenic lake shores throughout Europe. Dropping it means getting to the Dolomites earlier in the day, so it might be possible to have a short hike on arrival day. It also means 2 full days in the Swiss Alps - which should be the highlight of the trip . . . for my tour it wasn't, we only had one full day and it was overcast so we never saw the Swiss Alps. An extra day gives you a better chance of seeing the peaks. From the brief comments in the review section, the tour before mine (late May) and the one after (late June) both had great weather. Mine was plagued by cloudy skies and downpours. There's just no knowing. I did see lots and lots of wildflowers.
I'd been to Salzburg before, so I arrived (from Vienna) just in time for the meet-and-greet. I used the next day to visit the Documentation Center and bunkers near Berchtesgaden and spent the afternoon at the Freilich Museum (outdoor museum, similar to Skansen). There's easily a full day of sights in Salzburg, more if you are a Sound of Music fan. You could fly into Salzburg from lots of other places. Munich is probably the nearest big airport. I don't think anyone from my tour stayed on in Chamonix after the tour. Annecy is a possibility. You could also rent a car from Chamonix and explore the area around Lake Geneva.