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Best of Adriatic vs. Best of Holland & Belgium

Hello everybody,

I'm thinking (dreaming) ahead to the summer and am weighing these two tours. They both sound terrific and as an historian/general geek, I think I would enjoy them both. I'd love to hear reports from anyone who's been on one or both. A couple of people I've met on other tours weren't wild about their guide for the Adriatic trip, and the Holland/ Belgium trip doesn't seem to come up much.

Thanks in advance!
Caroline

Posted by
817 posts

Caroline - We went on the Holland/Belgium in April 2016 (right after the bombing). That changed our itinerary of skipping on Brussels. We loved the weather, tour Guide, sites, museums. etc. All of the local guide were top-notch and very passionate about their respective city. It was a great tour, wish it was longer. We stayed two half day in Brussels, then caught the train to Ghent. Stayed 2 days in Amsterdam after trip. One couple stayed in Antwerp, which I never thought of. Food was great, hotels were great. Did not really care for the Amsterdam hotel, but it was OK, nothing bad. Just did not like the location or area where you eat breakfast. Was not cozy like the smaller quaint ones in Bruge, Ghent or Delft. My favorite city was Bruge.

Your welcome to PM me if you need other info.

Kim

Posted by
2466 posts

We were on the Adriatic tour several years ago. We loved the tour but of the 7 RS tours we've taken this was the one where we did not click with the guide. But the places we saw, the people we met, were great. Remember this part of the world was behind the iron curtain for a very long time. And the ethnic conflicts are still evident. It's not as developed or as sophisticated as much as Western Europe, with exceptions, such as the city of Lubjliana. We extended our stay with a week in Montenegro. That was a great week in a country visited by few Americans, excluding those who dock at Kotor on a cruise ship.

Posted by
12205 posts

We are in Slovenia right now, on a different tour--with REI Adventures. Our guides (we have two, one male and one female, for a group of nine participants) are fantastic. They are professional and attentive, very funny, and kind. We have done some tough hiking in rain/snow and they make it fun and possible. I have come to love this country--so welcoming, and beautiful. There is nothing " undeveloped" about the tourist infrastructure, even in the remote places we have been. It is too bad the RS tour only spends three days here. This is my new favorite country in Europe.

And we are traveling with my sister and her husband, who did an REI of Croatia last year. They loved their guides and the whole experience. Great food, great people, fun adventures.

So I would totally recommend visiting these two countries---but maybe a RS tour is not the best way, given the apparent issues with the guide.

Posted by
2466 posts

Let me add this: our problem with the guide was personality and there are several guides who do this tour. And, other people on our tour liked the guide, so, maybe it's us. Also, when I refereed to undeveloped I was thinking more of rural parts of Croatia and Bosnia. It was all good. Just don't expect France.

Posted by
1939 posts

I would echo what Lola said about Slovenia only I was on a Rick Steves tour. We loved our guide! She was terrific and actually had lived some of the history she was "teaching" us, an added bonus. Since taking that tour a couple of years ago, Slovenia also has become my newest favorite country and Ljubljana my newest favorite city. As a matter of fact, I just came home from there a week ago. If you decide to take this tour, I highly recommend spending several days in Ljubljana before the tour begins-it's an amazing city. I have traveled the itinerary of the Holland/Belgium tour but not with a tour company so can't really speak to that particular tour experience.

Posted by
927 posts

We took the best of the Adriatic in 2014 and absolutely loved the experience. It was our second rick Steves tour at the time and we were smitten with Slovenia and Croatia. While I appreciate the educational experience of Bosnia, I could have left that out of the tour...

For what it's worth we had Marijan as our guide Daria as our co-guide. Marijan was simply amazing. He's what you expect from a quintessential RS tour guide. He is from the area, knows the history, lives it and breathes it. We loved this tour!

Posted by
1173 posts

I am a fan of the Adriatic tour too. I took it a couple of years ago. I found Slovenia to be relatively undiscovered or maybe just not on most tourist's radar. In May it was uncrowded. Food was good and fairly inexpensive. Croatia gets crowded, even in May.

Marijan is a great guide. Knowledgeable, easy going, organized. He speaks English like an American.. Absolutely no accent. Slovenes seem to have a sweet tooth so he knows all the places to go for cake, gelato and coffee.

Posted by
57 posts

We took the RS Adriatic tour in late May/early June and loved it. So much natural beauty! We also had Marijan as our guide and thought he was great! This was our 5th RS tour so we expect a lot from our guides. He met every expectation-so knowledgeable and kind.

We fell in love with Ljubljana. We arrived 3 days early and were glad we did-not for any specific sites, but just to enjoy the city. Take time to sit by the river and enjoy a nice drink or lovely cake (Marie cake at Bar Fetiche is to die for.)

I highly recommend this tour.

Posted by
217 posts

Thank you all for the thoughtful and informative replies! It sounds like it's hard to go wrong with he Adriatic tour.

Caroline

Posted by
18892 posts

I'm sure you'd have a great time on either tour. One advantage of a tour is the dedicated transportation that moves you from place to place efficiently. I think that would be a greater advantage on the Adriatic tour than on a Holland/Belgium tour. Slovenia, Croatia, etc., do not have a lot of trains, and it can be a bit tricky to get information on bus schedules ahead of time. Population density in the Netherlands and Belgium is higher, and I think dealing with the transportation aspects of independent travel would be simpler there.

Note: I've traveled in the area covered by the Adriatic tour three times, using only public transportation. I'm not suggesting that the area should only be visited on a tour, just that having a tour bus available would make some things simpler.

Posted by
65 posts

We took the Best of Holland and Belgium tour earlier this year. I loved it. I especially liked that the only time on the bus was between cities, i.e., only three bus days (I think that's the reason some people say they could do this trip on their own but we prefer tours to handle all the logistics so that we can relax and take it all in without stress) . We choose to stay three extra days in Ghent before the tour to get over our jet lag and we were glad we did (one of those days we took a day trip into Brussels). This tour had more opportunities to see art museums than some other tours and we liked that aspect of the tour. It was also easy for us to converse in english with the locals in these countries. I haven't been on the Adriatic trip but it sounds like a much different experience so it all depends on what you are interested in for your next trip.

Posted by
65 posts

We took the Best of Holland and Belgium tour earlier this year. I loved it. I especially liked that the only time on the bus was between cities, i.e., only three bus days (I think that's the reason some people say they could do this trip on their own but we prefer tours to handle all the logistics so that we can relax and take it all in without stress) . We choose to stay three extra days in Ghent before the tour to get over our jet lag and we were glad we did (one of those days we took a day trip into Brussels). This tour had more opportunities to see art museums than some other tours and we liked that aspect of the tour. It was also easy for us to converse in english with the locals in these countries. I haven't been on the Adriatic trip but it sounds like a much different experience so it all depends on what you are interested in for your next trip.

Posted by
500 posts

Regards to history I would suggest the Holland & Belgium tour. I did travel this tour in 2012 when it included Brussels as a 2N stay.
In fairness I have not been to the Adriatic.
Brussels: "Royal Army andMilitray History Museum, one of the largest militarty and aviation museums. ( It has vast collections and a wide array of aircraft in a seperate hangar, both mounted from the ceiling and on the floor) On my own time pre-tour I spent a full 1/2 day there.
Ypres: guided WWI Flanders field tour. Amsterdam: Dutch Resistance Musuem, Anne Frank House, Jewish Deportation Memorial and Jewish Historical Musuem.
Guided tour of the Delta works "Maelslantkering' and how the Dutch manage storm surges. The many excellent museums featuring Flemish and Dutch artists; and don't forget the chocolate and the beer!

Posted by
10 posts

I just returned from my 12th Rick Steves tour and whenever anyone asks me which was my favorite - I always say Best of Adriatic. Marijan was such a good guide, but I also loved the mix of big cities/small villages, the chance to hike in a national park, getting a taste of island life on Hvar and Korcula, and just learning about and exploring this part of the world that I knew nothing about before I went.