An extra half hour in the morning so that there was time to use the toilet, brush teeth, etc. It's hard to describe the beauty and solemnity of the Parliament House and Buda Castle when viewed from the river at night.". Getting sick ( along with several other travelers ) the last few days made the tour less enjoyable then it could have been. To actually be on the site where so many atrocities were inflicted on the innocent citizens was a overwhelming. It was truly an amazing trip! Eszter was so organized and knowledgeable. Our guide, Jana, was the best, and everyone in our group got along well and grew close, I felt. Winery in Hungary with Gypsy violin player. Sleep in Kraków. I could never have seen and experienced so much if I had planned this trip myself. ), "There were many but maybe, after days of moving around in cities and a bit of 'cathedral overload,' arriving in Rovinj on the Adriatic coast, specially lovely hotel and Italianate city across the water for a day's exploring.". Our tour guide, George, was outstanding . This was our first Rick Steves tour, and we were very pleased with all aspects. Sleep in Kraków. We'd take a trip based on him being the guide. We enjoyed a change of pace in a Slovokia National Park with all its waterfalls. Just beautiful. Was a great pleasure to travel to these cities and both the cultural and natural sites on the schedule. Budapest looked so beautiful and magical.". "Plitvica - I would have liked a little more time here. I had never been to these countries and I'm so pleased we visited.Prague and Budapest were beautiful and fascinating, as was so much of the trip. I learned so much about this region of Europe. "Most fun: wine tasting in Hungary, during which a member of our group, a professional entertainer, sang from "Fiddler on the Roof," accompanied by the violin o played by Toni Varadi. "My WOW was a country, not a moment. The eastern Europeans loved to have us RS tourist come spend time (and minimal bucks!) Thank you Rick Steves but most importantly thank you Katka. It was a very enjoyable trip, great group of people and an extraordinary tour guide, except one night at Eger. We loved the cities of Prague, Krakow and Budapest as each had its own unique personality and charm. From our first meeting to the last the leadership, Peter, was exceptional. We'll guide you through the region's biggest and best cities, and introduce you to its charming small towns: Czech Republic. Belfast, Liverpool, and Glasgow are quirky enough to be called interesting. Most days are moderate to strenuously paced with 2–8 miles of walking, including hilly terrain and lots of stairs. But I thought the visit to Auschwitz was a profound and emotional experience (I am not Jewish). The tour was great until we stayed in Eger. The itinerary offered a variety of venues and experiences, ,beautiful and educational. Terms of Service | Privacy, Best of Eastern Europe in 15 Days Tour 2021, Lake Bled boat cruise (weather permitting). What an amazing opportunity to see and experience a part of the world that was not available to visit just a short time ago. I was overwhelmed by its beauty, charm, accessibility and history. We'll send the notification email when a tour opens within a season (spring, summer, fall, winter) or region. The most recent immigrants from the region came from the 'Astro-Hungarian Empire' The history shared by our guides became a way of trying to piece this old, but obscure, part Europe to our understanding of the larger European story. This was my first Rick Steves tour and my wife and I enjoyed it very much. "We love the stay in Rovinj on the island of Katerina. No bus. The first thing that I want to share is praise for our upbeat, friendly, informative, helpful, organized tour guide. All of our hotels, guides, group dinners and events were enjoyable and educational. I was amazed by the contrasts in Croatia. Lisbon, Oslo, Stockholm, Brussels, and Budapest are Europe's most underrated big cities. I thought there was a bit too much "on your own" time toward the end of the trip. Tour members were generally fine with me asking to go somewhere with them but I always had to do the asking. I enjoyed every event during the tour. Another great group of tour members. The tour provided a great mix of local expertise on historical and political perspectives so we could understand the sites in context. Unimaginable evil, unimaginable suffering. We think that going to a max of 28 is pushing it too far. Rovinj was truly a vacation from our vacation .". Our group came from all over the US (with one couple from UK) and our time spent together at dinners and on the bus were relaxing and enjoyable. Couldn't get enough of the "Italian coast" feel...the narrow cobbled streets, the building colors, the boats, the views, the seafood...staying in an island hotel and having to take the boat to get there. "So many WOW moments that it is hard to limit to a favorite. Everyone was flexible and adaptable, even though we dealt with a few more weather challenges than we had on our first trip. I stopped my photography after a few minutes and soaked up the magic of the cruise. But I got much more out of it than that - places/events I wouldn't have gone to on my own; food and drink I might not have tried; and getting to know new people over 2 weeks while riding a bus together. Enjoyed the group a lot. Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. "Mostly every city was a delight....each had its own character, brought to light also by the guides. I found the hotels to be much better than I expected. I loved relaxing and strolling on the island and wading in the Adriatic Sea. Just Awesome!! All in all a fantastic tour! Thermal Baths...unique, fun and enjoyable". Bear in mind, some of these guided tours were 3-4 hours long. "Maybe wow is not the right word. The getting to be buddies with the group was not a goal of this trip. The most pleasing French château is Vaux-le-Vicomte, near Paris. Max was 22. We loved walking the lake, going off to the church on the island, and hiking to the castle. I really felt a part of Eastern (Central) Europe then!". Wonderful! One of the best things about the tour was spending time with my fellow travelers! Join us for the Best of Eastern Europe in 15 Days! For me, it was what I expected. We had one of the most beautiful sunsets ever, and I don't say that lightly. Is there a musical piece that has more emotional pull than that one?". Our most ambitious tour, with stops in six countries, met our every expectation. While I enjoyed each of them, this tour surpassed the others in its combination of destinations (cities, mountains, seaside) and the quality of teaching by our tour and local guides. So much packed into such a small area. When we've finished here, your guide will be happy to orient those interested to the ornate and traditional public thermal baths. It exceeded our expectations and we were fortunate to enjoy the company of an extraordinary group of seasoned travelers. The itinerary was the reason we booked this trip and it we got to experience everything that we had anticipated. In Prague, going to see Don Giovanni performed with period instruments in the very same opera house where Mozart himself first conducted it.". How to visit Europe independently without a guide if you only have one chance independently without a guide? Sleep in Eger. Krakow is a real gem. Having been on a few RS tours prior to this one, I expected another quality experience but this one exceeded all my expectations. The occasional long bus travel is ample, "I found Krakow to be an enchanting city and the waterfalls of Plitvice National Park amazingly beautiful and abundant.". Hotels were great. "Probably the beauty of the natural surroundings in all the countries forests, mountains & lakes.". We had a great time, enjoyed our tour guide Peter. In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, the contact information for the tour's first and last hotels is included in your tour confirmation email, as well as in the Itinerary section of your tour account. This one focuses on some of the major cities and sights in Europe, and he breaks each one down into 3-day itinerary plans to help you get ideas for how to plan your trip. Exhausting and at the same time a trip of a lifetime. There was a lot to see in 15 days. We had an amazing city experience in Prague, Budapest, and Krakow, seeing marvelous cathedrals, etc. I very much enjoyed it. bOur guide, George Farkus, was excellent, upbeat and helpful. I felt confident that I would see all the most important sites in the amount of time allotted and for the most part, I did. The wine tasting at the vineyard in the hills above Eger was entertaining and good fun.". The people of course. The tour was amazing. Itinarary was good and the exellent tour guide Peter made a big difference to make the trip more special. So unexpected and stunning.". Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Our tour guide, Sanel, prepared us well for each aspect of the travel experience. This morning you'll have time to soak in Eger's Baroque beauty. Plitvice Lakes National park as well as Rovinj, Lake Bled were a nice change from large cities, we enjoyed it all!". The boardwalk would never have been approved in the US, but it was perfect for the park. It's so boring that the Romans decided to block it off with Hadrian's Wall. Tonight we'll rendezvous for a special dinner together, sharing travel memories and toasting new friends. Other "wow" moments were for some of the breathtaking scenery in the countrysides as well as the charming cities.". It was wonderful! "There wasn't really one wow moment. He and his entire crew survived the crash. "The visit to the Kolhari winery was the purest good time. But when we listened to the waterfalls at the national park after so much business I felt more on vacation even with the busy crowds there. All great! It gave an in depth understanding of the peoples and history they've endured through time, especially since WWII. I LOVED Budapest and would have loved an extra half day there.". - well situated and nice hotels It was amazingly organized (thanks Peter), the sights were well-balanced and breathtaking, I loved that our group was always prompt and on time, and most-of-all we all got along well together. "Lake Bled. Information, history and most of all patient support for the multitude of needs of us travelers (lost money and credentials, dietary needs, bankrupted airlines - all those problems that go beyond expectations. I love meeting and talking with the Hungarian school children in Eger, I enjoyed talking about the current political climate in Hungary with the local guide in Budapest, and finally, I loved how I looked forward to the developing friendships with other group members during all of the different activities that were scheduled every day. "I agreed to all the terms in your brochure but your company did not provided me with a clean hotel for all the nights. The noise level in that hotel is awful. Despite having read much about the war, myself, his was the best and most neutral explanation I have heard or read. Enjoyed the locations, hotels, tour guides, the total trip. In this guide, Rick covers the most effective of England, France, Germany, England, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, as well as Switzerland. He no longer has anyone at home to speak to so I admired him for remembering the language. You'll then have free time for lunch and the remainder of the day for more sightseeing on your own. It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. A lot of driving but we covered a lot of countries! Phenomenal tour with something for everyone. The major cities: Paris, London, Rome, Madrid, Copenhagen are all worth visiting. 425-608-4217, from $3,995 The group was diverse, but got along really well. Always provided great information and handy tips. Even in the individual time, the suggestions for things to due have been excellent. This was my 7th tour and it was in my top two. As we were leaving, the organist played one more song--Ave Maria. Our guide, Peter, was outstanding; and our fellow travelers were fun and friendly-just what we've come to expect from a Rick Steves tour. I loved the uniqueness of hotels we stayed in -- each hotel (and even room within) had personality and was situated in a convenient location for our planned tour events as well as free time. Seeing the houses that were bullet ridden and deserted from the war in the early 90's", Our tour was led by a very competent, personable and lovely guide (Jana). "A special side trip which was not on the original itinerary. Fun, unexpected, but a great and friendly idea to visit the school, converse with the kids (the 8th graders English was outstanding!) "Seeing Auschwitz and Birkenau were indelible moments, of course those are hard to put into adequate words. Many had been on multiple tours which speaks volumes. "Wow moment was the night cruise on the Danube and seeing the Parliment building lit up.... beautiful! We covered so many countries and learned so much history about the heart of Europe. Guess I should have done more research. Thank goodness we didn't. Plus, the time exploring Rovinj the next day was magical. "Seeing what life was like behind the former iron curtain.". Seeing a young Jewish woman guiding our tour of a synagogue and thinking how beautiful young women just like her were led away to Auschwitz ... absolutely beautiful to see the cathedral in the distance on the mainland and to see the sky turning golden at sunset.". "The national park in Croatia. What's the difference between this Best of France guidebook and Rick's complete France guidebook?. First of all, Jana , was the best guide ever. The visit to the winery was great what a fun time we had.". The lakes were amazing in color, and we were walking just above little waterfalls.". This was our first tour with a Rick Steves group. The "nature" parts of the tour (mainly in Croatia & Solvenia) were OK, but not as impactful as the cultural. As you sort through these "bests" and "worsts," go ahead and disagree. "Having churched out at the beginning of the tour, going on a half day hike through the Slovokia National Park with all the waterfalls was the high point.". Very enlightening! Another member and I commented on how stunning the parliament building is. She, along with excellent local guides, gave us an understanding of the area we couldn't have gotten elsewhere. The guide was exceptional. The tour is heavily filled with old architecture (churches, buildings, etc) as it should be. The hotels were all as advertised and some were above expectations. "Cathedral inside Salt Mine in Krakow, Poland. "The astronomical clock in Prague fascinated me.". Our classic, three-week Best of Europe tour packs more travel thrills into a single vacation than you can imagine. I highly recommend this Eastern Europe tour. "As far as visual "Wow": Plitvice National Park and the Adriatic coast. Guide Peter was the highlight! Ljubljana was charming and I think a night or two there would be great with a trip into the countryside. You also travel through the French countryside, the Swiss Alps, and the Tuscan region of Italy. The spectacular scenery of Rovinj and Lake Bled gave me the most "pinch me" moments. ", "How can you confine it to just one? I I am already planning our next one!". You have developed a program that attracts good travelers who then make good travel companions. Kudos to Peter!". My first Rick Steve's Tour and overall program was amazing! For food, goodness, that's another hard one...I guess I'll have to go with our first dinner in Rovinj, Croatia.". ( sorry about spelling).". A group of 27 led by Jana. In this tiny town of Osp Koniowka, Poland. The Best of E. Europe in 15 Days (5/17/19) was simply fantastic. on time), others (quiet in churches), other groups (kept our group from accidentally splitting another tour in half) and safe (got a participant ice on a boat in the middle of the Danube when she fell on the street on the way there). 10 minute ferry ride took us to Rovinj.". Usually there are a couple of cities that are kinda blah, but not on this trip. However, in the midst of such varied activities I believe the visit to Wawal Castle and cathedral would be that event. I feel I had to expend a lot of effort to be "part of the group." She was a wealth of knowledge, told personal stories, was so well educated in the countries we visited, spoke all the languages, and taught us so much. As was my previous R.S. She gathered the centuries of history in these countries into understandable stories. We had done the more famous/cosmopolitan tours and wanted to get close to the people â this tour was it! Sam the bus driver did a great job of navigating use through very narrow streets and border crossings. We appreciated all the helpful tips we received at booking and prior to the trip from the Rick Steves' staff and Peter himself. For my wife it was Rovinj.". "I had several: In Prague, the view across the Charles Bridge to the castle, etc. This tour covered a lot of territory geographically, and the days were often quite full. The tour performed at our highest expectations. It was a delight to be driven through rural Slovakia and taking in all its beauty. I was amazed by the progress these countries had achieved in the relatively short time since their freedom from Communism. With so little time, the pressure is on to make all the right choices when planning a trip. We were very disappointed in one aspect of the tour and consider it a major drawback. 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