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Eastern France vs. Portugal

Can’t decide between these 2 tours. France is more expensive, not only for the tour itself but for meals on our own. We’re two couples in our 60’s who get around pretty well but worry a little about the activity level on the Portugal tour.

Any thoughts and input would be much appreciated!

Posted by
2466 posts

We loved the Portugal tour last summer. We did back to back tours, Portugal followed by London. Portugal had a fair amount of walking but nothing too strenuous. In London we walked forever! Portugal and Spain are still relative bargains. We dined well and the wines were excellent and inexpensive. Eastern France is on our list for 2020 so I can’t give you a side by side regarding activity. I’m not sure what “get around pretty well”means. Can you walk 2-4 miles on very uneven pavement ? (Lisbon is all cobblestones and tiles). As for the tour price remember you are comparing a 14 day tour with an 11 day tour, so Portugal would naturally be less expensive. You can do the math on cost per day and I suspect Portugal is less as hotels and food are less expensive.

Posted by
144 posts

We did the Portugal tour 2 years ago. Loved it and would go back to Portugal in a heartbeat. People are super friendly, most speak English, the weather was fantastic in late September and prices were very reasonable. That tour had a few things that you could not do if you were not on a Rick Steves tour - the cork/olive oil/wine farm was a highlight as was painting our own ceramics and stomping port wine grapes in the Douro Valley with our feet. It was our first Rick Steves tour and we've been on 2 more since. All are wonderfully different. The cultural tours are my favorite. Eastern France is on my list but we're doing Village Italy this year.

Posted by
1582 posts

For comparison sake, we did the Eastern France tour 2 years ago. It is not cheap, but there was so much included in the itinerary.

As regards the food, we did not find the need to spend that much on our own. We were happy with the food at the group meals, although one family out of our 28 was not. On two occasions, there was enough food leftover from picnics that people didn't even go out to eat. Some would bring a bottle of wine, someone else would have cheese, sausage, crackers or fruit to share and we just enjoyed a relaxing meal. That tour has lots of wine tasting opportunities, so many didn't order extra wine at meals. If there was going to be a group meals, we were frequently satisfied enjoying a sandwich and the time to see more of the area rather than a sit down meal.

This tour, our 4th RS, had such variation - there's champagne tasting in Reims, but you can also see The Museum of Surrender (WWII) or the cathedral light show at night. There is a solemn visit to Verdun, and a wander in Alsatian vineyard. You can see the breath-taking Aguile Midi as well as the breath-taking Theater of Orange. I could go on, but hopefully this gives you an idea of the tour.

Bottom line, you won't go wrong either way.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks everyone for your advice. We decided on Portugal for May 2019....maybe someday Eastern France!!

Posted by
2466 posts

You’ll have a great time. Try to get to Lisbon a few days early and visit Sintra. You can do it on your own but we splurged on this company http://yourfriendinlisbon.com and felt we more than got our moneys worth in transportation convenience, a terrific guide, a stop for a seafood lunch, and visiting a local pastry shop. You will find pastry is wonderful in Portugal so lose a few pounds before you go!