Question for those who have taken the My Way Alpine tour - When traveling between countries, on those long(er) bus rides, how to they handle it versus a standard RS tour? On a standard tour they often stop someplace to see ‘something', trying to break up the ride but also to add to the experience. I know we would be on our own in regards to paying for anything, but are there any sightseeing opportunities between the tour cities? Some of these bus rides are long, 6 hours!
I don't know about Alpine specifically, but we did the Best of Europe My Way in 2013 and we had really long bus rides but I don't think we did any sight-seeing stops, just normal rest stops.
On the My Way France in 2016, we had a couple stops along the way to see "something." They were on the itinerary, though. If they're not on the Alpine itinerary, I would think there is not a scheduled stop.
I did the My Way Alpine in 2019 and loved every minute! I do not remember the bus rides feeling long. Our accompanying tour guide would share stories and helpful tips/information regarding the next stop. I do remember stopping regularly due to the rules for bus drivers to have regular breaks from driving. Always interesting places. I have taken 3 RS tours this one was by far my favorite.
We stopped for food etc. every 2 hours I believe. We did not stop to see things, but the scenery outside the bus was always amazing. The tour manager would visit every traveling party (my sister and her husband were with us) and talk to us about what hike we planned, or what we planned to do at the next stop, and she offered excellent suggestions specific to our abilities/interest. The best thing was that in Chamonix she arranged a wine tasting for us at a wine shop. Only about 8 of us went, but it was one of the best wine tastings ever.
Hi. I did this tour its first year, in 2013, and leaving Salzburg travelling to the Dolomites was different with an overnight in Hallstatt, The longish drive from the Dolomites to Füssen was broken up by lunch and an opportunity to travel up the Zugspitze. The tour manager took a poll of who and how many wanted to go and arranged it. I am sure we paid extra, but it was worth it. I finally got over my fear of gondolas!
Between Füssen and Lauterbrunnen, I really can't remember how we handled this. Take a look at some of the Alumni Scrapbooks. I see stops at places I know I did not visit: Ballenberg Open Air Museum for one. I have done the Switzerland in 12 Days tour as well as Alpine, and I tend to mix up some of the extra experiences - if only I kept my notes on my computer!!
Enjoy the trip. This is on my list of repeats.
We did this tour, and it was our favorite! Our escort, Dan, was great telling stories of when he lived in Europe and giving us each advice on what might be best suited to our likes and abilities at each destination. We stopped frequently at very nice rest stops. You are going to love it!
Thank you for your replies.
The current itinerary says that on the way to Bavaria we have an opportunity to visit Zugspitze in 'our free time', which Debbie says they have done before. There is also mention of a mid-day stop for lunch on the way to the Dolomites. It was this in particular that I was curious about. Just a road stop or something else? On last weeks MNT, European castles, Rick just off-hand mentioned that he took his people to Reifenstein Castle on the My Way Alpine tour. As this castle is on the way to the Dolomites, I was wondering if there was an opportunity to visit it or this version of the tour does not include that stop. I would have loved the version with a stop in Hallstatt, which of course they no longer do.
Kathleen, I hope you report back. I am serious in saying I will do this tour again and would love to know what the stop on the way to the Dolomites is. Btw, I have been to Hallstatt three times, twice during the MSV tours in December. Very fine in December. In summer, the place was v. crowded. You can read elsewhere about the crowds overwhelming Hallstatt. I was happy to have the intro, but appreciated it more in winter. Still, in the three times I visited, I noticed changes in local shops turning into tourist-focused places. So do not mourn the stop too much. Plan a visit sometime in less-travelled months.
Wishing you a fun tour. Our group was especially caring and group-oriented, maybe because we had to form those bonds outside of the usual tour structure.
I took the tour in 2015. Zugspitze was a long stop and most of us went up to the top. Note that the stop is dependent on good weather. A few stayed in the town below for a leisurely lunch. If visibility is poor, they may just continue on to Fussen and you'll have more time to enjoy that charming town. Other than that, lunch stops were usually at roadstops - much nicer than what you find in the US. The tour leader spent a lot of the bus time helping each of us individually planning our next day's hiking or sightseeing.
Good point about the weather. No sense stopping if the weather does not cooperate.
I appreciate your thoughts on Hallstatt. We are thinking about traveling from Salzburg to Hallstatt for a day or two prior to the start of the trip. I thought if we stayed overnight the day crowds would be gone and we could enjoy the town when it is quiet. Do you think the town has so changed that even an overnight is not worth it?
I would have loved the version with a stop in Hallstatt
Yes, but now you get an extra night in Lauterbrunnen. Not a bad trade.
Hallstatt: In addition to Alpine, I visited Hallstatt as part of MSV in Dec 2017 and Dec 2019. All three visits, I was fortunate enough to stay in the Seehotel Grüner Baum. Such a fantastic hotel. Staying in this hotel is like taking a vacation! Even if just for one night. Please check it out. The location is beyond good. There are numerous dining options, in the hotel and the town itself.
The hotel is one good reason to stay over - avoid the crowds and lap up the experience. Another crowd avoiding tip is to cross the lake on the ferry and hike on the paths over there. I know there is a description by Rick himself that I read and used. That was when it hit me that we - him at 6 feet plus and me at 5 foot three - have different strides and it surely does take me longer to walk anywhere than it takes Rick. Yes, I know he says Swiss grandmothers have walked and timed the trails around Lauterbrunnen, but somehow, it takes me longer.
Challenges: overcrowding -- I have no idea what the tourist traffic is like now, but it is sure to be less if you stay overnight. And, head's up, though I am sure they are coping: In November 2019, just days before my MSV group was scheduled to visit Hallstatt on Dec 5 (the entire reason for my trip), a fire blazed through several buildings on the lakefront. The events of Dec 5 went on as planned. My group was v. lucky to stay at Seehotel Grüner Baum, and we did some little detours as we walked around the town. I am not seeing anything in the news about lasting damage. Thank goodness for that lake!!
I say go if Hallstatt beckons you - go and stay over. Oh, and be savvy consumers. Just because there is an attractive but heavy pink salt candle for sale does not mean it came from the Hallstatt environs. You really don't need to carry that home. Just sayin...
Another recommendation to go to Hallstatt pre-tour and stay night at Seebruner. Got some of my favorite pictures there.
Thanks for asking the question. We are doing the My Way Alpine tour next fall. Looking forward to it! Our first Rick Steves "tour."
I also appreciate this question as we are going on this tour in August. My husband and I are getting together with our travel buddy this weekend to go over the itinerary & this is helpful information.
Great info. Taking this tour in late May after cancelling in 2020 and we are beyond excited!
Great question. Thank you for asking. We too are going on the Alpine tour in late August. I am a tiny bit nervous as we have done 4 RS tours but never a My Way.. we were booked to go in 2020 thenCOVID hit.
Looking forward to it. I think I have read the tour book cover to cover several times..