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For experienced RS tour peeps

Quick Question (i think)

We are doing the BO Berlin, Prague and Vienna 12 day tour in 4 weeks time. I was wondering on the timing of the days (in general.)

What time do they usually start in the Morning?
What counts as a "full day of sightseeing". 4pm, 5pm or 6pm. (or is it random.)

And finally:
When the tour description says "The morning ends..., and the rest of your afternoon is free." What time would that generally be? 12 noon? 11:30am or 1:00pm (or all three.)

We are interested in doing additional exploring on our own in all the cities, and some of the sights we want to visit, need tickets in advance. (with time stamps etc.)

It is a bit hard to plan, when I am not sure (at all) the time parameters of the guided tour days.

Thanks in advance everyone....Jenn

Posted by
610 posts

We are going on that tour in September - it looks great! On most of our tours we started our sightseeing around 8:30 am, with breakfast available sometime between 7 and 8:30. Most of the morning sightseeing was done around lunch time, if it was a city tour. When it says a full day of sightseeing, I would expect it to get done around 5 or 6. Someone who has taken the tour might be of more help. Also, the RS office staff might be able to give you better estimates on specific days, if you call them. I'd love to hear about your trip when you're done! Have fun!

Posted by
11294 posts

If you want to buy a timed ticket, definitely check with the Rick Steves tour office beforehand. I assume the exact time the "morning ends" will be different each day, and you'd want to know so you don't miss your timed entry.

Posted by
241 posts

It’s been a while, but I recall morning activities ending 12-1300. It usually ended in an area convenient to eating and other activities. I remember 2morning tours in Berlin and Prague and I think Vienna. I can’t remember the timing of arrival for Dresden, but I think it was just prior to lunch. We got tickets for the Green Room and went. Arrival in Cheske Krumlov was after lunch and allowed for exploring. Some in our group did boating on the river. Arrival in Vienna was late—time to relax before a walk together to orient, then dinner. Overall the tour was great. We got to Berlin 3 days early and loved it. Museum Island and the history museum were great. After the tour we went to Hallstatt and Salzburg. Have fun.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for the info Tamara and everyone else as well.

I would be happy to give some feedback on the tour after we finish up. This will be our first escorted tour. We travel often and either set up everything on our own, or we do a cruise (both River and Ocean.)

We have followed RS for years (books and t.v.) and have visited so many of his recommendations over the years. I have finally given in to the idea of going around in Europe by bus and if we like this trip....who knows, maybe Ireland will be done with a RS tour as well.

On this trip, we are doing a week in England beforehand (including York) and then another 9 days in Austria (yes even the Sound of Music tour) and Germany afterwards .

I will set this site up on my mobile and try and do a bit of logging in on the road during perhaps!

Posted by
2461 posts

My experience has been that even if they say "afternoon free" it will depend on the on-the-ground situation (e.g., what time you start in the morning, museum hours, impact of holidays, unexpected closures, etc.) and the tour guide (they do have some flexibility within the schedule). That said, you probably will be fine picking a time slot for 2:00 or later. Even if not, tell the guide you have reservations for a specific time - you may just need to cut loose from the group a little early. Just be sure to build in time to eat as generally "afternoon free" days mean you are on your own for food. For the full days, don't plan to do anything with a timed ticket during the day - an evening concert or dinner reservations would probably be fine.

Posted by
606 posts

I had these same kinds of questions about the free time on my Basque Country tour last month and the person I spoke to in the RS Office was able to provide much more detailed info on the timings than the itinerary we received by email. For example, for the group visit to the Guggenheim, the rep told me that RS groups either have the 10 am guided tour or the 1 pm tour. She looked up my specific trip departure and saw that our group was scheduled for the 10 am tour so our free time would start around 12 noon. This helped with my planning of free time. All this with the caveat that, as has already been pointed out, the group schedule might have to change on the day for unforeseen reasons.
Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
3 posts

Fishers...You are Amazing!

So grateful to you for sharing.

Thanks so much for writing your blog AND for taking pictures of the daily schedules (Genius.)

I am a runner and I was thinking the mornings started earlier than they do (very glad to see I will have more time than I thought.) Jana is STILL the tour guide and the hotels are the same ones. We live in SW Florida and LOVE heat and humidity, so I am hoping for HOT weather (we were all over Asia in Feb and March...Thailand was pretty hot and I did almost say "Uncle" in Singapore, but the rest were nice for us.)

Your descriptions and your pictures of the places were great as well...makes me feel bad, that I am not as helpful to others, since I can never get around to writing and sharing my travels (except on Facebook, where all my friends are sick of hearing about my travels.)

Thanks are awesome.

Posted by
2488 posts

I went on this tour in June 2015, a fantastic itinerary! We had a list of things we wanted to do in our free time but did not purchase tickets in advance. We were able to purchase tickets for the Jewish Museum, the Gemaldegalerie, the Berlin Oper - the Comic Opera, the museums on the Museum island all with no difficulty, in Berlin. The only advance tickets we bought was for a performance of Rigoletto at the Staatsopera in Vienna, a bucket list item!
You will love this tour!