Which RS tour was your favorite?

RS tours are wonderful! For those who have taken more than one, which ones did you take and what was your favorite (to help others decide)?

I've been on:
Germany, Switzerland, Austria
Northern Italy
Paris City Tour

Our favorite comparatively was the Northern Italy tour because each location was a "wow" moment, the food was fantastic, and there was such a nice variety of city/village and mountains/water.....and Venice! : )

Posted by Debra
Celina, TX, USA
196 posts

My very favorite tour was Village Italy. Small villages and a very active tour. Loved the food, wine, and people. I would take this tour again, it was that good. The tour I like the least, was the most recent one taken, Belgium and The Netherlands. There were many hi lights, Flanders Field, the Delta Works, and The Keukenhof Gardens, but overall blah.

Posted by Laura
Williamstown, MA
191 posts

I loved the southern Italy trip too. Actually, the only trip I didn't like very much was Belgium Holland. Thought it was kind of dull, although some of the towns were lovely. I loved all the Italian trips that I did, and also the French trips. The tours are very well done. I am taking the Slovenia and Croatia trip in a week. Report on that one when I get back.

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
2184 posts

I have been on 11 RS tours and leave this coming Friday for my 12th. I often get asked which one was my favorite to which I reply that I enjoyed all of them and to pick a specific one is so dependent upon the person taking the trip. I really enjoyed Scandinavia but others would rather go to Italy. I really enjoyed Turkey and would go back there in a minute but others might want to avoid a Muslim country. I really enjoyed Village Italy along with G/A/S, and Eastern Europe. If my life depended upon picking only one tour I would have to say that the Best or Europe - 21 days was my favorite as that was my first trip to Europe and we saw so many countries (quickly!) We will be going to Greece soon and hope to do Bulgaria next year. After that who knows.

Posted by Frances
San Diego
812 posts

I've been on 7 different tours.
My 2 favorites are both in Italy.
Village Italy was really wonderful - I have always loved the smaller towns and this trip was just perfect.

My other favorite was a few years ago when Sicily was included in Southern Italy tour and it started in Palermo and ended in Rome. (They are now 2 separate tours.)
I loved this trip and the most important Plus was that we had a truly excellent guide - he was the very best RS guide I've had (Alfio) I've seen other comments on these threads that everyone loves Alfio.

Posted by Gretchen
Andover, MA, USA
432 posts

Hi Jean,

I have been on three so far; my fourth is coming up soon. I've done Village Italy, Scotland and Istanbul (city tour). Village Italy was my favorite - cool activities, "coziness" factor, and relatively fewer tourists (than the big three cities of Italy). This summer is Loire/South of France. I can't wait! Interestingly, I was going to take the Belgium/Holland one this summer originally, but the dates didn't work out, which is how I chose the France one. Seeing that two people mentioned it was their least favorite makes me glad I made my France choice. :). Hopefully my next one will be Eastern Europe and/or the Adriatic. So far the dates just haven't worked for me. (I'm a teacher, so I can never leave until late June).

Now I wanna know what everyone else's LEAST FAVORITE is...
Looking forward to seeing others' responses. :)

Posted by Jean
Mill Creek, WA, USA
681 posts

I appreciate your replies, and it's interesting that the Village Italy Tour is rising to the top.
For those who have taken the Village Italy, we saw Assisi & Orvieto and stayed overnight 2 nights in Cinque Terre & an agritursimo during the RS Northern Italy tour. Also, we have been to Padua on our own for 3 days and will be in Stresa at Lake Maggoire for 2 nights this year. In your opinion, do you feel like we would still enjoy the Village Italy tour or are there specific towns from that tour you would recommend for a custom itinerary?

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8973 posts

I have only been on one RS tour.. and I have to say , it was wonderful, not only for the places we saw , ( because actually I had already been to many of them before on my own) but because it was the Family Europe Tour and it was a special "mom and daughter trip.
I chose to take my 11 yr old on the tour as part of a longer trip to Europe, we did 9 extra days in Paris and 3 xtra days in Rome.. before and after tour.. but I wanted to try the tour as I thought it would be an easy and fun way to take my daughter to many places in a relatively short time( 13 days) .. and it was exactly that.. easy and fun. \

I totally recommend the tour for families.. it frees you up to enjoy yourself,, no worries about checking out of hotels and getting to train stations or airports with kids in tow.. and more importantly the kids really enjoy having the company of other kids and we did some kid friendly tours and activities ( luging in the alps!)

I will likely try a few more tours in a few more years.. right now I am quite happy travelling independently.. and frankly the tours are simply more then I want to pay.. I have am experienced at my travel planning and I can do it cheaper then the tours.. but I do think they are great VALUE.. and for those not willing or able to spend the literally hours I do on the computer researching for my trips , they make sense.. since doing the homework is essential to getting the deals ( and not ending up in cheap dumps.. a deal is no deal if you have to compromise your standards)

I think I would love to try the Switzerland /Austria one.. and maybe the one to Turkey.

Posted by Claudia
Land of La
2584 posts

My Istanbul tour. Great diverse group of travelers. Wonderful hotel. Our guide Mert was top notch. The city's history is amazing. My favorite part of the tour was the day Mert guided us into a building that looked like it had been abandoned. We climbed up to the roof for a stellar 360 degree view of Istanbul where we enjoyed some tea as we sat on the roof. I must also add my tour of Florence was special simply because we were the first folks admitted to the Accademia. Turning the corner to see David in all is glory took my breath away.

Posted by andi
franktown, colorado
335 posts

Tour number 14 coming up this fall. Loved each and every one for different and varied reasons. I am frequently asked this question and always reply "the one I was last on". Just returned Monday from the Adriatic tour which was fantastic, emotional and educational. The history is so recent, close up and in your face; unlike most of Europe. Our guide, Tina, is awesome and was a teenager when war broke out in the area. Her personal story of trying to get home to her family in Slovenia from her vacation camp in Croatia is heart wrenching.

Posted by kat
278 posts

Another vote for Village Italy! Enjoyed getting away from the big cities and meandering around the rustic villages that are a bit off the beaten path. As a matter of fact it seems like they could put together a Village Italy II trip with a new set of villages.

I keep waiting for them to do the same in other countries (Village France? Village Germany?) taking the path less traveled.

Posted by Jean
Mill Creek, WA, USA
681 posts

Kat, I would love a Village France tour! It could end near Paris, so we could also spend a few days in Paris after the tour before flying home.

Posted by Grier
Carmel, IN
1174 posts

Way back when there was a Village France and a Village Europe tour. Check them out in the Tour Scrapbook archives.

Posted by Jaye
Dallas, OR, USA
162 posts

Hi Jean!

What a great question. I'm surprised more people haven't jumped in on this one. I have been on three tours
thus far; Best of Europe in 21 days, Germany, Austria, Switzerland (GAS), and Ireland. My favorite was definitely
Best of Europe in 21 days - of course, that could partly be because it was my very first time in Europe and every
moment I was pretty awestruck! The pace was just right for us and every day we woke up to new places, new
sights, etc.... Truly an amazing introduction to Europe. We wanted to experience as many countries as we
could so we would know where we most wanted to return and also to get an idea of how to travel there. This
tour was perfect for these goals.

Second favorite was Ireland, it was amazing! The Irish people are the friendliest and most welcoming - the food, the music,
the beautiful scenery. It was great to see both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland as well and to learn about all
their history. I must stop before I write a book.

I enjoyed the GAS tour but it was definitely in 3rd place - it didn't help that I was sick part of the time on that one, lol!
So many factors play into opinions. That said, there just in not a bad time or tour when in Europe as far as I'm concerned!

Happy Travels!!

Posted by Teresa
605 posts

I took the Best of Europe in 21 Days tour in 2010; it was my fifth tour with ETBD. I have since taken three others and am booked for another tour this autumn (tour goodies came the other day; one of the best days of the year!). Even though it was four years ago now, the BOE21 tour is still so vivid in my memory, and I can easily recall the feeling of being ridiculously happy nearly every day. So BOE21 is my favorite.

Running neck and neck for second place are Best of Ireland (2011) and the GAS (2012) tour, both completely brilliant and tremendous fun.

For the record (since some posters didn't enjoy it all that much), I liked the Belgium & Holland tour (2013). I can see how B&H might not compare favorably to other tours: it's a lot more laid back, and perhaps there aren't as many "WOW!" moments. But I learned a lot and had the best guide and assistant guide ever. And I ate a lot of chocolate too!

My least favorite tour was Best of Florence (2006). Florence itself is amazing, and I was more than happy to see everything again on the BOE21 tour. Unfortunately, the guide for BOF was ... well, a bit of a dud. She just was not into it at all.

Posted by ann
staten island, new york, usa
381 posts

I have been on 11 tours - week long tours, Paris, Rome and Florence twice, Istanbul, Prague and London once and 15 day France tour which is now 13 days, they cut out Paris and the Ireland tour. I thought all were excellent and had wonderful sites and museums and wow moments. But I think that if you are tired of tons of museums and big cities and want something low key but the scenery is breathtaking than Ireland is the best bet. This tour had the best night life as you don't have big dinners, eat early but then spend the evening in a pub and get to talk, drink and listen to music. This was a tour that I took after I had been to all the great cities and seen all the art and churches and wanted to be outdoors and see land and sky and nature. It is not going to be hot like in italy and your not going to eat outside and people watch but you are going to enjoy the green land and the cliffs and rocks and walk over a rope bridge and learn about the culture of Ireland. Fun tour for sure. I also enjoyed the France tour, best food out of all the tours, small quaint towns and warm weather and wonderful atmosphere. You go to places you would not normally choose for your vacation and get to see the real France, not just Paris. Sarlat was my favorite. So if your looking for non big cities and to see French chateaus this is the best trip. I do not have a favorite as I enjoyed each tour and all had something special to offer. Paris is my favorite city and Istanbul had the most amazing architecture as did Prague.

Posted by ann
staten island, new york, usa
381 posts

I did enjoy reading the responses from everyone and I must say that I am going to take a good look at the Village Italy tour as this seemed to get the most votes as being a favorite and would definitely consider this tour in the near future. I never thought about this tour but it seems to have a large appeal. Glad this question was posted, it really gives everyone food for thought if they are undecided as to what tour to pick. I am going on the 14 day Europe tour this year which I am most excited about but will keep the Village Italy in mind for my next trip! I hope more people respond to this question, as it really is a great question. Even better than the reviews as this is geared for anyone who has taken multiple RS tours.

Posted by Jean
Mill Creek, WA, USA
681 posts

Thanks for responding, Ann. I wouldn't have considered Ireland, but you're reaffirming what was mentioned about it being near the top of the personal favorites. I do think we'll have to seriously consider the Village Italy tour! : )

Posted by Gretchen
Andover, MA, USA
432 posts

Jean and Ann,

This link is to a similar discussion we had a few years back - although it got slightly sidetracked to the pluses and minuses of tour travel for a bit, but I thought this would be helpful since many of the replies are from repeat customers!


Also, did anyone notice there is now a RS Tours travel forum? I don't see the topic listed yet in the drop down menus, but I linked it below. I plan on putting information I used to include in the tour evaluations (received after a tour was over) here for others to read.