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Considering Best of Europe 14 Days-Questions

My husband and I are considering Rick Steve's Best of Europe 14 Day Tour, and have some questions (we've never been to Europe before). Would anyone who has already taken the tour be able to help?

The inclusions/itinerary lists visits to places like Notre Dame Cathedral, Sainte-Chappelle, the Vatican Museuems, and the Roman Colosseum. Are these visits more like tours (going inside and looking around/getting information) or are they just 'drive-by' on the bus?

We're choosing RS Tours because it seems like a much better experience than the 'big bus' tours, but want to make sure that it will be a worthwhile $ investment. We definitely don't want a 'drive-by' type bus tour experience.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Posted by
851 posts

RS tours do not do the drivebys the big tours do! I think you will find the tour well worth the expense. If you read the itinerary and what's included sections of the tour, you will get a good idea of what things you will visit. Usually on foot and with an excellent local guide.

Posted by
7681 posts

My experience on several Rick Steves tour that were in Paris and Rome is as follows:

Paris - the guides walked us to the outside of Notre Dame. Talked about the facade, the center point of Paris which is right there in front of the doors and then gave us time to go in on our own. At Sainte-Chapelle we entered as a group thru the security zone, the guide discussed the chapel and then got us in the right line to enter with the Museum Pass. None of the guides accompanied us into either of the buildings so I assume they are not allowed to guide in either one. We met at an appointed time outside to continue our tour or head to lunch.

Rome - You will enter the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel (guide cannot talk in here)/St Peter's Basilica with a local guide. You'll go in to the Colosseum and Forum with another local guide.

As indicated, I feel Rick's company is pretty specific about what you will visit as opposed to some companies who shade the issue by saying see - meaning a bus drive by and view - meaning actually going in to.

I've not done the 14 day tour but did the 21 day. Both are excellent samplers of lots of sights so you can decide where you want to focus your next trip!

This will be fun!

Posted by
406 posts

Did this tour two years ago. There are no drive by tours. There was a drive around Paris tour that was added but we skipped it because we had tickets to the Eiffel Tower. Some of the things you mentioned they talk about it outside because they can not give a tour inside. The Colosseum they have a wonderful local guide that takes you inside.

It was a great tour. Highlights were the time in Switzerland and Munich. Two areas I wasn’t as interested in to start. We had two amazing guides (that tour does not always have two guides) my teen aged kids and us saw more and did more than you could on your own. Because it is a small group you can get to places large tours can not. You do know that the bus is only used between towns? To get around most of the time it is public transport or you walk. The hotels may not have air and may do not have elevators.because of that I think you get a certain type of travelor that is easier to have in a group.

If you would like to know more please PM me. We have been on 5 RS tours and going on our 6th one at Christmas.

Posted by
61 posts

Hello Barbara,

I just did this tour and the visits are inside with the guide. The 2018 did not include the Vatican Museums so I did that on my own, I think it's great they have included it, so much better. The Colosseum guide was awesome and got us into areas others are not allowed. The first evening in Paris we had a night drive by tour but it was to see the lights which was nice. Nothing was drive by.

It was my first RS tour and first ever tour and I loved it so much this week I'm going on my second RS Athens and Greece! You will love it, small friendly groups, I cried when if finished!

Lynn

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks for all of the replies-they were super helpful! It sounds like this tour would be a good fit for us. I'm glad that it won't be like those 'big bus' tours:)

Posted by
7681 posts

Well, it IS a full sized bus - but only 24-26 people so everyone has 2 seats to themselves! But NOT a big bus tour with 52-60 people jammed together and all with name tags on!

Very different.

The guides will also teach you travel skills like how to use the Metro in Paris and Rome, will give you a guideline for how much money you should get out of the ATM in Switzerland (which does not use the Euro - uses the Swiss franc), and will give you all sorts of cultural and historical information on the way. This is a different concept from many guided tours because the RS guides WANT you to become independent. It's the only tour company I know that teaches you to be independent so you don't nee a tour, lol. Of course most of us enjoy the tours so much we can't help taking more!

(That last sounds like I'm a shill employed by RS Europe. I'm not but I do love their tours. My dream job as a retired person would be as a mystery shopper on his tours! Wow!!)

Posted by
4018 posts

Pam, OMG!!! RS has mystery shoppers? Oh, pick me, pick me!

Posted by
7681 posts

"Pam, OMG!!! RS has mystery shoppers? Oh, pick me, pick me!"

Jane! They don't (as far as I've ever heard) but I believe wholeheartedly they should, hahaha!!! We could do it part time....and job share!