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Best of Italy in 17 days Tour Reviews?

My husband and I are thinking of taking the Best of Italy in 17 days tour. Has anyone been on this tour recently? Wondering what you thought? Hotels, food, organized, transportation?
Sounds fabulous to me!

Also, my husband was wondering about the bus ride portion of the trip? He is a tall guy ( needs a little leg room) and do they stop enough times for (potty breaks)?

Thanks in advance :-)

Posted by
3931 posts

mtzx4dj: We haven't taken this tour, but we have taken 14 other RS tours, most of them bus tours. The buses vary from tour to tour, but they are very modern, usually with adequate leg and hip room. One of the buses we were on had wifi. All have an on-board toilet, but folks are asked to use them only in an emergency.

However, the bus will stop for rest (potty) breaks about once every 2 hours. EU rules are very strict about how long drivers can drive without a break, so we get plenty of chances for snacks, coffee, and bathroom use.

Have you been on other RS tours? We have found a wide range of hotels, some decidedly quaint and funky; some downright luxurious. And we've seldom been disappointed in the food.

Posted by
1036 posts

This is an amazing tour. I had been to Europe on 5 prior vacations and planned everything myself. This was my first tour and my best vacation ever. The hotels were great and the food was great. By law, the bus has to stop ever 2 hours so there is plenty of potty stops plus there is a toilet on the bus. I have put together two, 10 minute YouTube videos of our tour that you might find interesting and hopefully will get you excited about this tour. If you watch the video, turn up the volume. If you have any questions, you can send me a personal message and I will try and answer them.

https://youtu.be/c5mdy0OzRC4

https://youtu.be/MZia6oOs8iA

This is is a good video of what to expect about your bus.

https://youtu.be/hKZsnSVx_xk

You will love this tour.

Posted by
3931 posts

And the buses almost always have about 2 seats per person, so you can stretch out if you want.

Posted by
894 posts

Go to the tour portion on this site and read the recent reviews.

Posted by
1869 posts

We have not been on this particular tour but have taken 4 RS Tours and 2 with another similar company. As others have alluded to, we found "the hotels, food, organized and transportation" exceeded our expectations. You may want to read the reviews in the "Best of Italy in 17 days." They can be a good resource. So far we've never been disappointed.

As far as bus questions, good information up thread. We are of average height and did not have an issue with leg room. That said, some of the taller folks found sitting in the rear of the bus or perhaps a front seat may help. We had one fellow who was well over six feet who we fondly called "Grande' " He preferred the front seat. And to Jane's point, usually we've had two seats to ourselves.

I wouldn't hesitate taking this tour!

Posted by
595 posts

This was one of my favorite trips yet! It has a perfect blend of sights on its itinerary. Consider searching the website for the tour alumni scrapbooks and looking at those websites for the tour. There is always a lot of inspiration and information about the tours there.

Posted by
296 posts

Check out the tour alumni scrapbooks for an idea of what the tour is like and what others did during their free time.

https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/scrapbooks/tour-alum-scrapbooks

As for the bus rides and potty breaks, yes buses are required to stop and take a break. Usually the bus stops approximately every two hours. The bus is never full, generally there are two seats for each person. If you husband wishes, he could sit by himself and stretch is legs.

Posted by
7606 posts

As far as leg room is concerned....as Jane mentioned you'll usually have enough room for 2 seats per person. One side of the bus may have a smidgy more space than the other side, so test back and forth. On one recent trip there was a tour member that was an ex-football player so was a pretty big guy. He and his wife usually sat in the rear seat which generally goes all the way across the back so he could have the middle seat and stick his legs out in the aisle without obstructing anyone. You may need to rotate if there are several people interested in that location, lol!! No assigned seats on the bus but people are asked to be polite and switch around.

I have had my eye on this one for years....I REALLY want to see Otzi the Iceman. That is just fascinating to me! I also want to visit the Dolomites.

Posted by
36 posts

This is a great tour! My husband and I took this tour in 2013. It was our first RS tour or any type of organized tour for that matter. We selected it based on the many varied locations and the ease it afforded getting from place to place. We were concerned about long bus rides but we actually enjoyed them. The scenery was beautiful and it gave us a chance to rest, haha. We met some very nice people and were able to bond over the 17 days easier than during a shorter tour. The bathroom breaks were well spaced and the bus had an emergency bathroom as well. The hotels were not the highlight for us but were certainly all acceptable and in excellent locations. Meals were good, some excellent, and all enjoyable. Suggest you spend a few extra days at the end of the tour in Rome. We went on to Sorrento on our own after the tour and had a great time there as well. If you love art, beautiful scenery, food and wine and a bit of history, you will love this tour.

Posted by
5 posts

We did this tour, our first, last April/ May. Since it was our first, we have nothing to compare it to, but we loved it. Our tour guide, Elena was fantastic. There were 27 of us and a bus that held 50, so we had room to spread out. The hotels varied from fantastic to ok, most were very good. Our group dinners were wonderful, especially the ones in Cinque Terre and Varenna. We would definitely go on another with Rick Steve's. It was very active, but also allowed for some down time.

Posted by
270 posts

This was my first Rick Steves tour and is still my favorite. (I have taken 5 additional Rick Steves tours). The food is wonderful (better than France). I especially loved all the art and cathedrals. I got to celebrate my 60th birthday seeing Michaelangelo’s “David”. What a thrill. The bus will stop at Autogrill’s along the road. These are different than highway stops in the US. We ate several meals t these. The food is very good, and they are interesting. The wine is fabulous and can be purchased at meals for the same price as bottled water. It is such a variety of art, architecture, scenery, big cities, small cities, cathedrals, history and food. Your tour mates will become family. We have spent vacation time with several of our tour mates. The bus time can be used for resting, watching the scenery, catching up on journals and/or getting to know your travel friends. You will see mountains, beaches, lakes and the beautiful Tuscan hills. I heartily recommend this tour.