Please sign in to post.

Which Tour to Choose?

So many places to see and I just can't decide! I'm trying to decide the top 3 from these 6 choices to present to my travel partners. For those of you who have traveled on just one or many of these what did you like and not like about each one? We like history, architecture, natural scenery, gardens, photography, museums, wine and are very active on our tours. Our last tours were Greece and GAS.

  • Loire to the South of France
  • Best of Eastern Europe
  • Best of Italy
  • Best of Europe in 21 Days
  • Best of the Adriatic
  • Best of South Italy

Thanks!!

Posted by
24 posts

Hi ... we have been on BOEE and BOI (plus BOScan). Additionally we have traveled through France and Germany on our own extensively. We are scheduled for our 4th RS tour. I would suggest BOEE as a must-do tour which should be considered. For us it provided a wonderful variety of history, culture, languages, and geography. The locations , having been under communist control, were “dark places” in our minds before going on this tour. We were wonderfully educated on our misperceptions. Not to discount BOI, which was great, I would suggest looking hard at BOEE first. Regardless have a fun trip!

Posted by
6258 posts

I've done 10 RS tours but of your choices, only the 21 BOE. I did this one as my 3rd tour and combined it with Best of Paris and Village Italy.

I loved the 21 BOE! Before I took it, another RS guide told me he had gone on this tour as an assistant and loved it because there were blockbuster sights every. single. day. He was SO right! This is a fast moving, active tour. There were 2 days where we did 10-12 miles on just on the group sightseeing (Amsterdam and Rome). I loved that we got the taste of so many different areas - landscapes, architecture, culture, food, art, history.

Since you've done the GAS tour you'll have a little repetition as you'll stay in the Lauterbrunnen Valley for your Switzerland nights. The year I did the 21 day tour we stayed on the valley floor at Stechleburg but I think they might have moved those overnights to Muerren where you likely stayed on the GAS tour. I actually took the GAS tour BECAUSE I loved Switzerland so much on the 21 day tour so this is not a disadvantage to me! Neuschwanstein will also be a repeat. Since I'd been there on the 21 day tour I walked around the lake when we visited on the GAS tour. I enjoyed that very much.

One thing that was fun on the 21 day tour was that with the 3 weeks with one group we had a stronger bond than any of the 2 week tours I've done. I am still FB friends with a number of my tour mates 4 years later.

Since it was early on in my RS "career", I didn't do as much research on the sights in different locations as I should have but still managed to see quite a bit in my free time.

I went the end of August. I've done that time frame twice, for the 21 BOE and the GAS tour and I won't travel that time frame again. There is too much chance of hot weather which I don't tolerate at all.

I'd recommend adding several days in Paris at the end. The 1.5 days you have on the tour is just enough to get you oriented to the Metro system and there is SO much to see. I'd been to Paris in the 70's and had no desire to go back. Just didn't like it. I had decided before taking this tour there must be something to Paris I missed all those years ago so scheduled the Best of Paris to follow the 21 BOE, plus another week with a friend. I couldn't believe it when at the first night meet up the guide said - By the way, if you've been to Paris before and hated it, I will make you love it. Well, not sure if just his saying that led to me loving Paris or if he just taught me enough that I felt comfortable but I've been back nearly every year, sometimes twice!

You can't go wrong with this tour!

Posted by
1039 posts

So many great choices! From your list, our first RS was Loire to the South of France. WONDERFUL! We added 5 nights in Paris pre tour and an extra night in Nice at the end. Our most recent RS tour (Sept) was The Best of the Adriatic. Another top favorite! We have been to Italy several times on organized/self touring. We loved Tuscany/Umbria, South Italy/Sicily. We travel in September. Our favorite time to travel. Any of your posted choices would fit your travel wishes. We too are active traveler's and your list matches our priorities.

** Edit: You might want to consider looking at RS Scrapbook's for help with your decision.
Great representation to help with your choices!

Posted by
2441 posts

I did Best of Italy. Enjoyed it immensely. Of the 10 tours I have taken with RS, the only one where I gained weight due to the never ending fantastic food. Who would have thought the best place to get lunch was at truck stops along the Italian Auto Strade? The sights were just indescribably wonderful too with the architecture in the various stops simply things of wonder.

Posted by
87 posts

Mmmm, delicious choices from which to choose. I've done the tours that bookend your list, Loire to South France and Best of South Italy. I enjoyed, adored, loved both of them and honestly only have memories of what I liked for each. France is an amazingly diverse country in so many different ways and the food and wine were symphonic (or maybe that was me humming while enjoying every meal). The broad variety of activity on the Loire to South France was especially enjoyable. Now to Italia, I admit a familial bias for every. last. thing. Italian! The Best of South Italy is incredibile and that is most definitely pronounced with an accent and a flourish. The further southeast you go is beyond charming, gorgeous, less touristed. Only 2-night stops on this tour which keeps you moving but wow, the places you are in. Being on both the Adriatic when on the Gargano Peninsula and then the Mediterranean when you hit the Amalfi Coast, woo hoo those are very fine coastal locations. Sublime seafood in Positano with a beautiful view. Oh and the cow spa, musn't forget that. Lots and lots of fun activities, super tasty food and drink, crazy unique spots (thinking of Matera and the Sassi). I am a fan of Naples and know it is not everyone's cup of tea. I adored its exuberance and the 'bella chaos'. Both of these tours are fantastic, no wrong choices here. Have a great time making your pick and an even better time enjoying your travels.

Posted by
815 posts

Since Italy is the top destination in the RS tour universe, why not include the two Italy tours in your list?

We have signed up for our sixth RS tour - Village Italy, and have been on the Loire Valley South of France tour. We prefer the itineraries that offer a deep dive into region or country and do not involve a lot of bus time. The tours have all been excellent, and our favorite so far has been the Sicily tour.

Posted by
590 posts

I have 2 in there Bob and I would like to include Village Italy but it would probably be too strenuous for 1 member based on what I've heard of it's activity level.

Posted by
815 posts

According to the tour descriptions, Viilage Italy is less active than some of the other tours.

Posted by
590 posts

I know it says that but those who have been on the tour say it is very active because of hills and stairs and that the activity level should be adjusted. But maybe I'll include it anyway and she can decide when we give her the info.

Posted by
1769 posts

In your original post you say your partners are very active, but in your responses you mention one member with limitations. We’ve been on both the Loire and Adriatic tours. There were days on both where mobility limitations would likely lead to that person sitting it out. More so on the Adriatic tour. Both were very good tours but did not rank highest on the RS tours we have taken, a very subjective ranking. It rained the entire time we were in France, and we did not like our guide on the Adriatic tour. Those we enjoyed the best are Greece, Spain, Portugal, Village Italy, London.

Posted by
1144 posts

Of the 6 tours you have listed, the only one I have taken is the Best of Italy in 17 Days. It was a comprehensive tour of the Northern part of Italy ending in Rome. I loved it and have such fond memories.

I think the Best of Europe in 21 Days would cover other areas of Europe you have not seen yet (GAS, Greece). You will see Paris & Rome, 2 of the biggies. Or London, the 3rd biggie, could be added on.

Posted by
1550 posts

I've been on all but two of these tours. In my opinion, the Village Italy tour is no more strenuous than Greece and I was um..."younger" when I went on the Greece tour. I loved all the tours I was on but if I had to rank favorites, I suppose I would say #1 the Adriatic-such varied history both current and past. It ticks every one of your "likes". I loved Ljubljana and Slovenia so much, I returned for several days at the end of the EE tour. South Italy was unique and covered some beautiful and less often visited parts of Italy. Loire to the South of France was right up there as a favorite also just because it's France and at the time I took the tour, it began with a couple of Paris days, which I extended to several Paris days-and I do love Paris. I would second heartily the suggestion to take a look at the scrapbooks from the RS site and see if something just screams "Take me! Take me!" to you and your friends. I think you would enjoy any of those tours you have listed and hate to mention this but have you considered Sicily? As an extension to one of the Italy trips or a stand alone maybe? I loved Sicily so much I took the tour twice (slightly different itineraries). Which ever tour you choose with be the right one for you and I just know you will all enjoy it!

Posted by
590 posts

She doesn't have limitations necessarily, but that might be a lot of verticle for her. Husband and I are in our 30s. We are saving Sicily for another time when we can go off season.

Posted by
2669 posts

I have been on 16 RS tours including all of those you listed. Two comments: One- Best of in 21 days is a great overview of Europe especially for someone who had not visited there before but it is a busy tour with lots of moving from place to place and lots of one night stays. Two- Best of Eastern Europe is one of my favorites. Whenever I get asked which was my favorite tour I always copout by saying "the last one" .

Posted by
904 posts

I have only taken one tour during my 6 visits to Europe and it was the 17 Day Best of Italy Tour. It was by far the best vacation I have taken.

I put together two, 10 minute videos of our tour. If you find time to watch them, look at all the different sites we visited. I think the variety will surprise you. Also, be sure to turn on the sound to listen to the music. It will help set the mood.

https://youtu.be/c5mdy0OzRC4
https://youtu.be/MZia6oOs8iA

Posted by
590 posts

Thanks so much everyone! I guess I should also mention we are all seasoned European travelers.

Posted by
1039 posts

yosemite1,

Just had to chime in after watching your wonderful YouTube videos of The Best of Italy Tour.
So fun to revisit this area. The photos & the music were magical. We were not on the same tour but had a similar itinerary. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by
1020 posts

Great choices but so hard to choose. You state you are all seasoned European travelers. The Best of Europe is a great choice as it hits on all different countries and hits the sites in each country and city. So if someone did not see Rome or Paris this would be a great choice. The Loire to the South of France was lovely, relaxing less on museums and more on wine, scenery, nature and more on culture and food and small towns and no real big cities. Loved it but worth seeing if your after something different and not quick paced and more cafe life.

Best of Eastern Europe is high on my list as this is far from the usual ( meaning what the Best of Europe covers). No repeats on your GAS or Greece tour or Italy or France.

The two Italy tours will cover photography as they all will, but there will be history, architecutre, nature, scenery and wine and food. Remember it's Italy!

And the Adriatic will be outstanding and big on scenery.

All so different, drill down on what you like and where you have already been to as not to repeat too much. Look at the free YouTube videos, the RS scrapbooks and instagram, facebook to get more of an idea of what to see.

Remember the 21 day tour is 21 days compared to the other tours which are shorter if that matters in any way.

Hope this helps to try to make a choice.

Posted by
50 posts

I've done 9 tours including Eastern Europe, Adriatic, and South Italy. All tours have been good but my favorite was the Eastern Europe one! It was excellent. So, of course, I think you should do that one.

Posted by
2675 posts

I've done 4 of the 6 tours, if you include earlier versions of 2 of them. I view 2 of the tours on your list as great overview tours and the other 4 as more focused. You could narrow the list by considering whether you want to do overviews or focused.

If you want to do overviews, Best of Europe and Best of Eastern Europe are both excellent tours. I've done both, and Best of Europe is my all-time favorite RS tour. Best of Italy would be the closest of the remaining 4 to an overview tour. If you want more focused tours, Loire to the South of France meets a lot of your criteria based on a similar RS southern France tour I did a while back. Best of Italy, Best of Southern Italy and Best of Adriatic all focus on great areas too.

Posted by
50 posts

I took the Best of Italy tour and loved it, especially the first half in Northern Italy. I've separately been on the several of the destinations on the Loire to the South of France tour although I didn't take that tour (I really loved the Eastern France tour) - I think that tour would be great too, it would depend on whether you prefer Italy or France for this trip.