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!
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
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:
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
Day 5: To Germany and the Mosel River
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
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.
Day 9: South to Italy's Grand Dolomites
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
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
Day 15: Free day on the
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
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
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
Note: Itinerary specifics subject to
|YOU'LL GET ALL THIS FOR
Rick Steves fully guided Best of Europe II tours
For every tour taken
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
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.