This tour has been significantly changed for 2002 and beyond.  The following is an archived image of Rick Steves' Best of Europe II page as it appeared in July 2001.

See the new version of this tour, The Best of Village Europe, on Rick Steves' web site here.


 

Best of Europe II in 21 Days

What begins and ends in Europe's most exciting cultural capitals (London and Barcelona), comes filled with 3000 miles of great sights, rich history, gorgeous art, scrumptious cuisine, small-town meet-the-locals thrills, even smaller groups than the normal Back Door tour (maximum 24 rather than 26 tour members), and is lead by Rick Steves' most experienced guides? Our Best of Europe II tour!

London toots it's own horn

Fly to London early to catch a show. Then join us as we poke around neighborhood London, zoom through the Chunnel, stroll along the tiny canals of Bruges, cruise the vineyard-lined Mosel, prost with gusto in Munich, frolic in Dolomite meadows, get goose-bumpy over Shakespeare's lovers in Verona, drift along the shores of Lake Maggiore, check out fashions in Milano, eat more than you should in a Piedmont trattoria, play the tables in Monte Carlo, gently bake on the Riviera, dive into an outdoor market in Provence, time-trip through the best Roman ruins in Europe, scale the battlements of Carcassonne, gasp at Costa Brava clifftop vistas, and join the locals on their evening paseo along Barcelona's romantic Ramblas.

This is the perfect seven-country European Grand Tour for first-timers who want to save the intensity of urban Italy for a future trip. It's also a perfect "sequel" for alums of our classic Best of Europe tour—there is no overlap.

As with all our fully guided tours, you'll enjoy two guides and a big bus with lots of empty seats. We include all breakfasts, half your lunches and dinners, all group sightseeing and transportation (including the Chunnel train), and stays in characteristic Back Door-style hotels. Interested? Read on...

How you'll experience the Best of Europe II in 21 days:

Day 1: Welcome to London!

We'll meet at our centrally located hotel this afternoon for a stroll through our neighborhood and a chance to get acquainted. Plan on having a light dinner together tonight. Sleep in London (2 nights).

Day 2: All Day in London
We've got one full day here, so we'll make the most of it. Our day begins with a bus tour of central London to get the lay of the land and continues with a visit to the Tower of London. We'll pause for lunch at the British Library before tackling the awesome British Museum this afternoon.


Day 3: Chunnel to the Continent
It's a quick Eurostar train ride through the Chunnel to Brussels, Belgium—Europe's capital. We'll end our day in cozy Bruges, just a hop, skip and canal away. We'll enjoy a Belgian feast this evening...fries with mayo anyone? Sleep in Bruges (2 nights).


Day 4: All Day in Bruges
We'll spend our morning on foot touring this delightful city's main sights together, then turn you loose for a free afternoon to do as you please. Some will appreciate a hill-free canal-path bike ride through pastoral farmland, while others will prefer observing daily life from a canal-side cafe.

Day 5: To Germany and the Mosel River
We'll head south and east today, where we'll enjoy a mid-day walk through pedestrian-friendly Trier, Germany's oldest city and one-time Roman frontier capital. We'll end our day in the charming town of Zell. Sleep in Zell (2 nights).

Day 6: All Day on the Mosel River
This day is devoted to exploring Germany's scenic Mosel river valley by boat, bus and on foot. Our day begins with a tour of Rick Steves' favorite castle, the fantastically medieval Burg Eltz, and continues with a cruise on the vineyard-lined Mosel river. You'll have the afternoon free to wander through half-timbered villages and enjoy the Mosel at your own pace.


Day 7: To Munich
Today we drive east, passing terraced vineyards, walled villages and story-book landscapes. We'll arrive later this afternoon in Munich, with time to get well-oriented to this lively city before heading out for a beerhall dinner. Sleep in Munich (2 nights).


Day 8: Free Day in Munich
You'll be free to sightsee the city's great museums on your own, or rent a bike and enjoy a fine network of parks and bike paths.

In the mighty Dolomites!

 

Day 9: South to Italy's Grand Dolomites
Not far from Munich, we'll pause for lunch in the quaint town of Hall. Then we'll buckle-up and prepare for awe-inspiring panoramas as we roll south into Europe's monumental mountain range, the Dolomites. Sleep in or near the Italian Tirolean village of Kastelruth (2 nights).

Day 10: All Day in the Dolomites
This is your day to hike as far as your legs will take you, or simply take a leisurely stroll and admire incredible views from a mountain café (imagine seeing the massive towers of Monument Valley perched atop endless Sound of Music meadows). Frolic through the high country all day, or spend the afternoon exploring our quaint village on your own.


Day 11: South to Lake Maggiore via Verona
It's a few hours downhill to one of Italy's most delightful mid-size cities, Verona, where we'll spend much of our day strolling its pedestrian streets and rubbing shoulders with its Romeo and Juliet past. Italy's fjord-like Lake Maggiore is our ultimate destination. Sleep overlooking Lake Maggiore (2 nights).


Day 12: Free Day on Lake Maggiore
Today is yours to ride the ferries, explore lakefront villages or hike up to remarkable views. There's not a museum in sight—this is your day to drift, recharge your touristic batteries and catch up on your journal.

Day 13: Milan and wine villages of Piedmont
We'll spend the morning touring Italy's bustling, economic capital: Milan, home to great opera, stylish boutiques, and a fairy-tale-spired cathedral. Then we'll cruise into the lush countryside of Italy's Piedmont region. Here we'll spend the afternoon exploring villages and tasting the local wines before sitting down to an Italian feast. Sleep in or near the famous wine village of Barolo (1 night).


Day 14: South to Monaco and the Mediterranean
It's a beautiful drive to the Mediterranean where we'll stop to visit Prince Rainier's tiny but rich principality of Monaco, and take a scenic ride along the Cote d'Azur before checking into our waterfront hotel. Sleep in the cozy seaside village of Cassis (2 nights).


Day 15: Free day on the Coast
The afternoon is yours to take a side trip to Aix-en-Provence or Marseilles, simply relax in Cassis at a beachfront cafe, or take a dip in the Mediterranean.


Day 16: Roman Arles and the Pont du Gard
We'll begin our day in awe of the flawlessly preserved Roman aqueduct spanning the picturesque River Gard, before touring the city of Arles, its new ancient history museum, and some of Europe's biggest and best preserved Roman buildings in the city Vincent van Gogh once called home. Sleep near St. Remy de Provence (2 nights).


Day 17: Into the Heart of Provence
Today is devoted to Provençal landscapes, hilltowns, and medieval monuments. We'll wander villages in the Peter Mayle-famous Luberon region and scale the rock-top castle in spectacularly situated Les Baux before enjoying a Provençal dinner together this evening.


Day 18: More Wine and Carcassonne
Today we'll drive across the South of France, stopping at a relaxed rural wine tasting en route to Europe's grandest fortified city, Carcassonne. After an orientation, you'll be free to tour Carcassonne's impressive walls on your own before sitting down to a hearty dinner of cassoulet, the local specialty. Sleep in Carcassonne (1 night).


Day 19: To Barcelona
We'll head south along the Mediterranean this morning as we head for Barcelona, Spain's art-loving, sea-going, cafe-hopping city. Sleep in Barcelona (2 nights).


Day 20: All Day in Barcelona
We'll spend most of our day together touring this magnificent city, from its impressive waterfront and romantic Gothic Quarter, to the fantastic architecture of Gaudí, and stunning art of Picasso. Tonight, we'll have a farewell dinner together.


Day 21: Tour Over After Breakfast
Look back at the past three weeks, amazed at all you've experienced. Getting to Barcelona's airport by taxi or public transport is a snap. For those extending their trip, our guides will help with post-tour planning to set you off in the right direction.

Note: Itinerary specifics subject to change.

YOU'LL GET ALL THIS FOR $3,200:
$100
For every tour taken
Rick Steves fully guided Best of Europe II tours include...
A smart, well-traveled Back Door guide, and an energetic assistant guide, who are dedicated to making the art, history and culture of Europe come alive for you A family atmosphere with a group of only 24 about half the size of most tours 20 nights in cozy, local-style hotels or pensiones, couples always in double rooms All your breakfasts, half of your lunches and dinners All bus transportation in a large, comfortable bus with plenty of empty seats Moneybelt, earplugs, souvenir patch 200 page Tour Handbook Rick Steves' French/Italian/German Phrase Book $3,000 in tour interruption/cancellation coverage, a $150 value (you will receive a more detailed explanation of this coverage) All guide, driver, and hotel tips All group sightseeing tours and admissions, including: Daily history lectures, orientation talks, and language tips from your guide London bus tour Tower of London British Museum and Library Chunnel train to Brussels Bruges walking tour Trier walking tour Mosel River cruise Burg Eltz castle tour Beerhall dinner Munich walking tour All day free to hike in the Dolomites Verona's Roman Arena Visit to Milan Italian and French wine tastings Chagall Museum Visit to Monaco Provence villages Pont du Gard aqueduct Roman sights of Arles Picasso Museum Barcelona walking tour, and more.

 


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Unless otherwise noted all text and images are copyright Robert Williams.

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Last updated 11/12/2005 .  Email me at bob@besttravelbarcelona.com.

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