My wife and I enjoy travel – especially in Europe. Through the years we’ve watched many episodes of Rick Steves’ Europe on PBS – plus we found his tour books to be the best – but, we’ve never taken any of his company’s tours.
However, we know at least five couples who have taken his tours – some multiple times – and everyone endorsed them! So, this past late September-early October, we ventured on our first Rick Steves’ Europe tour to a land we didn’t know – Eastern Europe. (After Bled, we continued on our own.)
Several broad points about Rick Steves’ Europe tours – especially two very important limitations:
- Group size in the mid-to-upper 20s (so there is plenty of room on the full-sized bus)
- One carry-on luggage and one backpack per passenger – after all, travelers are responsible for carrying their own to/from the hotel
For the tour,
- A tour guide was with us the entire time (we had a wonderful Czech named Jana)
- When in a new location, local guides shared their expertise
- Most hotels are for multiple nights (which allows ample opportunities to do some laundry)
As a philosophy, Rick Steves’ tours want travellers to get the most of their experience by emphasizing history, culture, and interacting with the people because he wants travellers to understand the people, their place, and what is important to them. Besides the local guides, our activities included
- tasting wine at a winery
- visiting a school and meeting with an English teacher and her students
- tasting honey at a local producer
- eating local cuisines
- being entertained by traditional music.
- having two transit day-passes in Budapest good for buses, trams, and subways
- after leaving each country), Jana led us in a toast to that country with a local liquor and toasting in the native language
The hotels exceeded our expectations. All were clean, spacious, conveniently located, and with a hearty breakfast to start our day.
Rick Steves’ Europe offers tours throughout Europe – and a surprising number of offerings, plus each frequently offered. I invite anyone interested to visit ricksteves.com. Regarding this tour, the previous post featured Prague, and my plan is to post at least one stop a week.
Bus touring isn’t easy and isn’t for everyone. However, I can honestly say that we would not hesitate to take another Rick Steves’ Europe tour. Actually, we even have our eye on another Rick Steves’ Europe tour in the future.