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Lower activity tours?

I am recovering from minor heart surgery and am looking for a RS tour for this September that has low end activity. I've been cleared by my cardiologist and encouraged to travel to Europe again. We have been on three other RS tours but after negotiating the steep streets in Volterra, the Swiss Alps and everywhere in between, this is the first time we would need a tour with lower activity. I notice the Eastern France tour states "fairly active." We will be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary and have traveled with RS for our honeymoon and every five years since. I'm interested in any thoughts you may have. Thank you!

Posted by
8235 posts

I'm glad you are doing well from your cardiac surgery and are ready to travel!

I am signed up for Belgium and Holland in April so I've not got hand's on experience yet but it's marked as moderate for activity. There are some towers I'm sure many will climb but I've got a height fear so no way will I be tromping up those steps, lol!

I did do the Scotland tour last June and it is rated as moderate and I agree with that. There would have been ways to make it more active but not necessary. There are visits to Stirling Castle and Urquhart Castle where you could do a lot of stairs if you wanted or ...not. The toughest day on that tour was Day 1 with the Edinburgh walking tour plus Edinburgh Castle. The path in to that castle is not stairs but it's a steepish path in spots. Again, we had free time to explore so you could do as you wished on this one.

Best of England is marked as moderate but I remember that as being more active than that. Both the London and the Southern England tours are ranked between Moderate and Most active and that's where I would put the Best of England tour.

Paris is marked moderate - and I would agree with this as you can always take a cab back to the hotel if you tire. The biggest day on this tour was Versailles. There is a LOT of walking there. After the guided tour thru the Chateau you are on your own and I headed out thru the gardens for the rest of the day. I got back to Paris about 6PM which was probably way too long there, lol!!

All the trips in Italy that I've done have had lots of steps or steep patches like Volterra so I'd probably count those out until you've recovered a bit more.

I am also guessing the office has a list of least to most strenuous tours. I wish they had that on the website!

Good luck with your choice! I'd love for you to come back and let the forum know how things worked!

Posted by
745 posts

Using the current (2019) RS Europe Tours catalog, it seems there is a three-way tie for the "least active" tours - using the bar graph at the bottom of each page.
Those three are: "Best of Eastern France in 14 Days", "Best of Scandinavia in 14 Days" and "Best of Munich, Salzburg and Vienna in 8 Days".
I have not taken any of these tours, so I have no personal opinion.
Hopefully, one of these will appeal to you.

Posted by
371 posts

Glad you are on the mend!

  1. I encourage you to call the office and get their advice on which tours are the least active or most easily customizable to be less active.
  2. Have you considered doing a My Way tour? You'll be able to do exactly as much or as little activity as you decide.
  3. I I did Basque Country of Spain and France last June....I have to be careful about too much walking but found the trip very manageable. I loved the trip overall - great guides, food, architecture, culture, natural beauty, and it was well paced with 2 nights in each of 4 cities. The morning spent walking the Camino de Santiago is customizable--there are three walking segments and you can ride the bus instead of walking for any or all of them. And the tour has plenty of free afternoons for you to decide how much you want to do.

Happy Travels!

Posted by
917 posts

I wonder if the MyWay tours may offer less activity? After all, the action is up to you for those tours. Given the locales for MyWay Alpine, even though you are in the mountains, you do not have to hike. You could stroll or just look at the beautiful scenery. I did this tour, btw, and can easily imagine relaxing and just taking all the settings in.

If looking at Eastern France, call the office to check where you might stay in Vaison. My hotel there was a very strenuous hike. Perhaps they could make special arrangements if you are staying in a very hilly area? I also did not think Heart of France was strenuous, except for Mont St. Michel.

Posted by
3477 posts

Depending on your rehab and exercise routine you should be fine. But I'm not a doctor so please go by what the doctor says. Suggest you print out the RS definition of the activity levels, show it to your cardiologist, and follow his advice. We took the Eastern France tour several years and did not find it strenuous at all. Lots of walking but mainly on flat or nearly flat terrain. The only two possible exceptions were getting to the hotel in Vaison-la-Romaine and a castle named Koenigsburg (sp?). Both involved uphill walking, but certainly not mission impossible.

Posted by
408 posts

What about best of Paris? One City that is easy to see using the metro? No long bus rides on the tour ? Or best of London? Same as Paris?

Posted by
86 posts

I did the Best of Scandinavia tour a few years ago and remember it as being much less strenuous than any other RS tour I've been on. There is not too much walking involved, and no significant hills or steep stairs that I recall.

Posted by
2464 posts

Travel itself is a major stressor-the packing, the flying, the time zone adaptation. Cut yourself a break. You know the RS tours are active; even the least active are full days. Maybe this is the time for a river cruise where you can really pick and choose what you want to do each day? Then, if that works out, next year, when you are fully recovered, you can sign on for a RS tour.

Posted by
1580 posts

I would agree that the Eastern France was less strenuous than other tours that we’ve been on, with the exception, as mentioned, of Koeningsburg Castle and the hotel we stayed in at Vaison La Romaine. That said, there was an 80+ year old couple on our tour and they seemed to do fine. The only thing I remember them skipping was a vineyard tour one day when it was very hot and they just stayed in the town. I would second the recommendation to check with the tour office about what kind of accommodations might be made ( in Vaison La Romaine they took the luggage up to the hotel in a truck and maybe they’d take you up, too), especially as you’re a repeat traveler.

Posted by
5966 posts

Alan makes a great suggestion - river cruise. You won't see as much, but it can be fun. On our Viking cruise, the excursions all had a "slow-walkers" group, and often had taxis or shuttle vans arranged. They know their customer base.

Posted by
116 posts

Best of Paris and Best of London were mentioned as possible “lower activity” tours. I am not sure how they are rated by the RS organization, but we took these 2 tours back to back and were kept busy walking all day with both tours. Our BOP tour had an older couple who clearly could not manage keeping up with the group and, they, unfortunately, had to go off on their own, missed several of our activities. They stated that they walked daily at home and thought they would have no problem with the tour. Their walking pace was extremely slow and many in the group wondered if the couple had a good grasp of what a RS tour entailed. I felt bad for them, having paid for a tour they could not fully embrace. The pace of walking is pretty brisk, getting on and off metro, walking up stairs, and managing big city crowds on mass transit is not easy for those who are not somewhat fit. I think the advice to call the RS office is a good one. I would imagine they receive feedback all the time and would have good information on “less strenuous” tours they offer. Good Luck!

Posted by
4 posts

I am overwhelmed by the responses I have received regarding finding some lower activity tours. Thank you to each of you who have responded. You have each given me great ideas and I so appreciate it.

Posted by
2464 posts

Just to chime in on Best of London- it is strenuous. City tours have no bus days to decompress. You are on the go every day. One day we clocked 14 miles of walking! We were bushed every night and we are in pretty good shape.

Posted by
174 posts

I took Eastern France about five years ago. It's definitely not as active as other tours, but there are a few things you may want to be aware of

-There are lots of city walk tours: maybe 2-4 miles each of those days. Mostly even terrain but some have more ups and downs then others. Obviously these are optional, but they're a great intro to the city. Reims wasn't too bad; Marseille was more hilly, but I think that's been replaced with Aix now. The hotel in Reims was about a 10-15 minute walk from the train station.

-The hotel most groups stay at in Vaison la Romaine is up in the hills. About a 10-15 min decently steep walk from town. The hotel may have a little truck or golf cart-type vehicle, but I'm not sure if it's jsut for luggage or if guests are able to use it. This is probably the biggest challenge of the tour, since you obviously need to get to the hotel.

-There is an excursion to Koenigsburg (sp?) Castle. One of my favorite castles in Europe, but lots of hills.

-There was also a winery and lunch visit in Seguret. This was also up a hill; most tour members walked, but a few opted to ride in the back of the pick-up truck (mostly for the fun experience, not because of the challenge). You may also want to check into this as well.

But overall the tour was fantastic: lots of great scenery, food, and wine, and a great cultural connection.