Please sign in to post.

Basque Country or Berlin, Prague, Vienna

Hello fellow RS tour alumni.
I’m at an impasse. I want to take my 3rd RS tour solo in fall 2024. I did the Best of Paris in 2018, and Best of England in 2022. I was down to 3 options…Belgium and the Netherlands, Basque Country, or Berlin, Prague, and Vienna. I dropped the “safe” Belgium and the Netherlands, and am now on the last 2. I want some adventure and want to get a bit out of my comfort zone. The political changes (The Velvet Revolution) happened in my time. I remember exactly what I was doing when Kennedy died and when the Berlin wall fell. Both of those events were world changing for me. Basque Country is interesting for its proud culture, and the opportunity to see France again.
I also have an interest in WW2 history and the Jewish experience of the time.
I am using Westjet points, so will be flying from Vancouver to Paris either way, and connecting to where the tour starts, and travelling back to Paris for a my return flight.
I would appreciate any responses from this knowledgeable crowd. Anybody been to one or both these tours?

Posted by
799 posts

We didn't do the RS tour, but we used the RS itinerary as a template for independent travel to Berlin, Prague, Cesky Krumlov and Vienna. Berlin seems well aligned with many of your interests, and it is a truly amazing city, so I would highly recommend that tour. And you might want to add extra days to Berlin pre-tour, to cover the major sites related to WW2 and the Soviet era not covered by RS.

Vienna is so easy to navigate that I wonder whether a tour is even necessary. Berlin is a bit more challenging, although still relatively easy, and I can see where a tour would be most useful for Prague and CK. Extra days in Vienna at the end could also be useful, although it's Prague that actually deserves more time.

For a preview, check out the Living Prague web site for a vast amount of well-presented information on the city.

Posted by
564 posts

I've done the Basque Country tour last year and really enjoyed it. The tour is very active. One day you walk a small section of the Camino Frances. Not sure what kind of adventure you are seeking? In Pamplona, you learn about the running of the bulls, but you aren't going to be running it.
The only part of France you visit on the tour is Bayonne, where the tour starts, and that's a snooze, but it's included because the Basque museum is there. Then they do a stop in St. jean Pied de port, where the Camino Frances starts.
So I did a couple of pre-tours days in St. Jean du luz and then traveled to Bayonne when the tour began, but a pre-tour in Paris, is always a treat. The rest of the tour is in Spain. The tour ends in Bilbao, so you would probably fly from Bilbao back to Paris.

You can find my trip report of the Basque Country tour here and see if there's enough adventure for you.

Posted by
6532 posts

It's a very good question and in the end it is up to you to find out what you are looking for and what you want to see and do.

If you are interested in WW2 that would make Berlin-Prague-Vienna a good choice. On the other hand, there is so much to see there so you might want to go there on your own instead in a slower pace.

Posted by
688 posts

There is a ton of great Jewish history in Prague; the downside to the tour is that, because it’s the middle city, you won’t be able to book extra days there. We did the Eastern Europe tour in 2018; it starts in Prague and we got there a few days early, took a day long trip to Terezin with the amazing Pavel Batel (one of the best tours I’ve ever experienced—Pavel is exceptional) and also did a private half day tour of the Jewish quarter. The EE tour also visits Krakow, where we booked our free time for the Schlindler Museum and enjoyed dinner and music in the Jewish quarter, and there’s also the Jewish synagogue in Budapest. I’m sure the Vienna Prague Berlin tour is great, but it may leave you wanting more. If you do choose that tour, I’d recommend going to Vienna a number of days in advance. It’s an easy city to navigate, and there’s tons to see and do (and so much wonderful pastry to enjoy!).

Posted by
76 posts

We did the Berlin, Prague and Vienna tour last August. We enjoyed it but it was our first organized tour ever so, I don't know what to compare it to. We spent an extra 5 nights in Berlin before the trip and 5 nights after in Vienna after the trip. I wish we could have had more time in Prague. My only regret. When you arrive in Prague the first day it is at the end of the day as you visit Terezin on route to Prague. You will get two full days in Prague. So, something to consider if Prague is important. I really enjoyed the Berlin guide. I think, it is a great trip minus the lack of time in Prague and I thought they could have skipped Dresden. I did like Cesky Krumlov. Also, do not go to Vienna in August because the theaters are closed.

Posted by
185 posts

A big thank you for your thoughtful responses. After reading Derek’s trip report on Basque Country, I saw that the Berlin, Prague, and Vienna tour is what I’m more drawn to.

A few have suggested doing the tour on my own at a slower pace, spending more time in each place. I really like leaving the planning to RS, especially as I’m travelling solo. My husband has travelled to Europe a few times with me, but much prefers to be fly fishing on a river on Vancouver Island. I research my destination, and just sign up for the tours knowing I will be well cared for and have unique experiences. I like travelling with like minded people who are open to learning and having their world views challenged.

Booking a couple of days in Berlin at the beginning, and in Vienna at the end will give me a bit more time to pursue my interests. I also noted that there is some free time in all major places. Could use that time to create my own adventures….or use it as down time from the hectic pace.

I’ll book the Sept 8th tour and hope for some good weather! If anybody else is taking the tour at the same time, PM me and maybe we could meet up in Berlin.