Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Best of Europe in 21 Days Tour tour

Best of Europe in 21 Days Tour

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Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
5.0 . Excellent
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
21 days
From: $ 4,995 $ 238 / day
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  • Visit Germany's greatest Rococo-style church, the Wieskirche
  • Visit the Doge's Palace or the Titian- and Tintoretto-packed Accademia art gallery
  • Visit the famous Hôtel Dieu medieval hospital
  • Enjoy driving into French Burgundy for a look at small-town France.

Short Description

Our classic, three-week Best of Europe tour packs more travel thrills into a single vacation than you can imagine. Starting in the Netherlands with your Rick Steves guide, you'll experience the best of Amsterdam, Germany's Rhine Valley and Romantic Road, castles and forests of Austria's Tirol, canals of Venice, Renaissance Florence, the art and history of Rome, seaside villages of the Cinque Terre, the majestic Swiss Alps, country charms of France's Burgundy region, and the City of Light — Paris. Join us for the Best of Europe in 21 Days!

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Haarlem
End City Versailles

Trip Includes

  • A small, friendly group of 24–28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of Europe come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 34 group sightseeing events, Haarlem walking tour, Amsterdam walking tour,  Rijksmuseum tour, Amsterdam canal cruise,  Dutch open-air museum, Rhine cruise, Rheinfels Castle tour, Bacharach walking tour, Rothenburg Night Watchman tour, Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial tour, Wieskirche, Neuschwanstein Castle tour, Mountain luge ride (weather permitting), Venice walking tour, St. Mark's Square and Basilica, Florence Renaissance walking tour, Florence's Accademia Gallery including Michelangelo's David, Uffizi Gallery tour,  Vatican Museums,  Sistine Chapel, Evening walk through Rome including Trevi Fountain, Colosseum tour, Forum tour, Pantheon,  Italian hill town visit, Orientation for "vacation" day in Cinque Terre, Hiking orientation in the Swiss Alps, Hôtel Dieu in Beaune, Wine tasting in Burgundy, 2-Day Paris Museum Pass,  Paris panoramic bus tour,  Louvre Museum,  Paris walking tour , Notre-Dame Cathedral,  Sainte-Chapelle…and more
  • All group transportation from Haarlem to Paris
  • 20 nights' accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Rick Steves Travel Store credit to use toward guidebooks for your trip
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2017
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing

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Day 1: Welcome to the Netherlands

We'll start in quintessentially Dutch Haarlem, a quick 30 minutes by train, bus, or taxi from the Amsterdam airport. We'll meet at our hotel at 3 p.m. for an orientation and chance to get acquainted, followed by a walking tour of this charming town and a traditional rijsttafel dinner together. Sleep in Haarlem (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: Progressive, Artistic Amsterdam

We'll hop aboard the train into Amsterdam this morning, and get an introduction to this progressive, artistic city on an informative walking tour of Amsterdam's historic streets, lined with teetering, gable-topped houses overlooking centuries-old canals. We'll continue our tour, cruising the canals on a relaxing canal boat before breaking for lunch on your own. This afternoon we'll tour the remarkable Rijksmuseum, featuring masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer. Afterward, you'll have free time to visit the nearby Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House, or whatever strikes your fancy. We'll regroup before returning to Haarlem for dinner on your own. Train: 1 hr. Boat: 1 hr. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Dutch Treats and Rhine Views

We'll travel to Arnhem's open-air museum this morning to see what life was like in this corner of Europe centuries ago. We'll wander among the quaint houses, village storefronts, and working windmills, followed by a traditional Dutch pancake lunch. Then we'll work our way down to Germany's castle-studded Rhineland, enjoying dinner together at our half-timbered hotel, nestled in the medieval village of Bacharach on the Rhine (2 nights). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 4: Rhine Castles and a River Cruise

This morning we'll take a walking tour of the village of Bacharach with an entertaining local guide. At nearby St. Goar we'll hike up the hill to tour the mighty medieval Rheinfels Castle, and enjoy its commanding view of the Rhine Valley. We'll then board a boat for a relaxing Rhine River cruise, passing picturesque villages and feudal castles, followed by free time for dinner on your own. Boat: 1 hr. Bus: ½ hr. Walking: strenuous.

Day 5: Medieval Rothenburg

We'll get an early start today, arriving in Rothenburg, Germany's best preserved medieval town, just before lunchtime. After a helpful orientation tour, the afternoon is yours to see the best woodcarving in Germany (Riemenschneider's altarpiece), walk the medieval wall, tour the Crime and Punishment Museum, or hunt down the best apple strudel in town. This evening we'll tag along on the legendary Night Watchman's tour. Sleep in Rothenburg (1 night). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 6: Dachau and Austria's Tirol

Today we'll make a 21st-century pilgrimage to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial near Munich, where we'll learn powerful lessons about the Holocaust and World War II. We'll then drive across the Bavarian countryside to visit Germany's greatest Rococo-style church, the Wieskirche. Winding our way toward Austria, we'll arrive at our rural Tirolean guest house in time for a traditional dinner. Sleep near Reutte (2 nights). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 7: Neuschwanstein and a Luge

It's a short drive and a half-hour hike to "Mad" King Ludwig's deservedly famous Neuschwanstein Castle. We'll tour the castle and have time for lunch. Afterward you'll barrel down the Tegelberg luge (weather permitting). This afternoon you'll be free to visit another nearby castle, take a stroll in the woods or just relax at our peaceful hotel before dinner together. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: strenuous.

Day 8: Italy's Incomparable Venice

We'll take a scenic, all-day drive to Venice today, stopping en route for lunch together in a characteristic Italian-Tirolean village. In Venice we'll park our bus and board a vaporetto boat for a Grand Canal ride to our hotel in the historic heart of this seductive city. Tonight we'll take an alleys-and-canals orientation stroll to our first Italian dinner together. Afterward your guide will organize an optional gondola ride for this unique Venetian experience. If the moon is out, it will hit your eye like a big pizza pie. Sleep in Venice (2 nights). Boat: ½ hr. Bus: 7 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 9: The Art of Wandering in Venice

This morning our local guide will take us on a winding walking tour through Venice, blending historic and modern-day stories of this one-of-a-kind treasure, and giving us a local's perspective on Venice's fascinating past…and its uncertain future. We'll finish our morning walk in St. Mark's Square, and the mosaic and marble-filled, St. Mark's Basilica. The rest of your day is free to visit the Doge's Palace or the Titian- and Tintoretto-packed Accademia art gallery. Better yet, get lost (remember, it's an island) exploring the alleys, cruising the canals, and "crawling" the pubs. No bus (too much water). Walking: moderate.

Day 10: Florence and Michelangelo's David

An early-morning vaporetto ride will reunite us with our bus and driver. We'll drive straight to Florence and hit the ground walking with a Renaissance tour of the city's historic center. We'll see and learn about Brunelleschi's magnificent cathedral dome, Ghiberti's Baptistery doors, and other creations that helped define this world-changing era. We'll end our walk at the Accademia Gallery to marvel at works of sculptural genius: Michelangelo's rough-hewn Prisoners and his greatest masterpiece, David. We'll have dinner together tonight, and sleep in Florence (2 nights). Boat: ½ hr. Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 11: Wonders of Renaissance Florence

This morning is on your own. You can sleep in — or get an early start and scramble to the top of Brunelleschi's dome, or browse through Florence's colorful food and craft markets. After lunch, we'll tour the wealth of Botticellis, Leonardos, and Raphaels in the greatest collection of Italian paintings anywhere — the Uffizi Gallery. This evening is free to make your own discoveries. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 12: The Vatican Museums

This morning we'll drive straight to the heart of Rome. After a quick lunch and transportation lesson, we'll focus on Renaissance (Catholic) Rome at the sprawling Vatican Museums. We'll visit what seems like a limitless collection of treasures as you make your way to one of the world's most famous works of art: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. Tonight we'll celebrate la dolce vita Roman-style, with an after-dinner stroll through the floodlit heart of the city, lacing together the lively campos, classy piazzas, and the splashy Trevi Fountain. Sleep in Rome (2 nights). Bus: 4 hrs. Walking: strenuous.

Day 13: A Walk Through Caesar's Rome

Today we'll uncover Ancient Rome as a local guide takes us through the monumental Colosseum, history-drenched Roman Forum, and the awe-inspiring Pantheon. You'll have the rest of your day free and Rome beckons. Take a modern day pilgrimage at the greatest church in Christendom, the awe-inspiring St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà. Wander through this immense church, climb the dome if you're feeling energetic, and explore more of the Eternal City on your own (don't forget to taste some refreshing gelato along the way). No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 14: To Italy's Cinque Terre

We'll drive along Italy's western coast today, with a refreshing stop at one of Italy's enchanting hill towns. This afternoon's destination is Italy's dramatic Cinque Terre: five perfectly preserved fishing villages, laced together with hiking paths that meander between vineyards and the deep blue sea. As we approach the Cinque Terre, we'll park our bus and take a short train ride into seaside Monterosso al Mare, where we'll sleep (2 nights). Train: ¼ hr. Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 15: Free Day in the Cinque Terre

Ahh, it's time to take a "vacation from your vacation" today in our Mediterranean getaway. Pick a Cinque Terre village and spend your day exploring the stairways and alleyways, sunning yourself on the rocks, or sipping a cappuccino and catching up on your journal at an outdoor café. Or, if you're looking for lots of exercise, fresh air and panoramic views, start your day early and hike the cliff-side paths that connect the towns. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 16: To the Heart of the Swiss Alps

Today we'll catch an early train back to our bus and head over the hills, past the farms and along the pristine lakes of northern Italy, and into the Alpine wonderland of Switzerland. After a breathtaking drive into the very heart of the Swiss Alps, we'll arrive at our creaky chalet in the magnificent Lauterbrunnen Valley, where we'll have dinner and sleep (2 nights). Train: ¼ hr. Bus: 7 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 17: Free Day in the Alps

The day is all yours to enjoy some of Europe's most dramatic scenery. You may want to join your guide for an optional mountain excursion that combines the local narrow-gauge railway, a gondola lift, and a spectacular Alpine walk above the tree line, surrounded by a panorama of cut-glass peaks…or ride a gondola lift up to the Schilthorn at 10,000 feet, loiter in the thin air, and hike down…or wander through the valley and walk to the thundering Trümmelbach: a unique set of waterfalls encased behind the valley walls. We'll have dinner together tonight. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 18: A Hearty Taste of Burgundy

Today we'll say auf Wiedersehen to the Alps and bonjour to la belle France. We'll drive into profoundly French Burgundy for a look at small-town France. We'll have an orientation walk through the heart of Burgundy's inviting wine capital, Beaune, visit the famous Hôtel Dieu medieval hospital, then enjoy a wine tasting together. Sleep in Beaune (1 night). Bus: 5 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 19: Historic and Neighborhood Paris

This morning we'll drive straight to Paris, where you'll have an orientation of the neighborhood markets and cafés to find lunch on your own. After checking into our nearby hotel, we'll have a transportation lesson and Métro ride to the historic heart of Paris: the Ile de la Cité. Prepare to be awed by the brilliant stained glass windows of Sainte-Chapelle, and enlightened on a historic walk through the Latin Quarter, ending at the stunning Notre-Dame Cathedral. Your evening is free for dinner and more discoveries. Sleep in Paris (2 nights). Bus: 6 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 20: Parisian Cityscapes and Masterpieces

This day provides a busy, star-studded finale for our tour. We’ll start the day with a private panoramic bus tour through the city. After our rolling orientation to the City of Light, your guide will orient you and set you free to explore Europe's greatest museum — the Louvre — where you'll come face-to-face with timeless treasures that include Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, and hundreds more. You may wish to round out your Paris sightseeing with a visit to such legendary museums as the Orsay and Rodin, or perhaps a walk down the Champs-Elysées — armed with your included Paris Museum Pass, the choices are endless. This evening we'll have our final dinner together, sharing memories and toasting our newly made friends. Salut! No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 21: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. If you're staying on in Paris, today would be a great day to hop on the train and tackle the sprawling palace and grounds at Versailles. If you're headed home, it's a breeze to reach Paris' airports by taxi, shuttle or public transportation. Au revoir!


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Price From $ 4,995
Price Per Day: $ 238 per day
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  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 925

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Best of Europe in 21 Days Tour

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We went on the My Way Best of Euope 14 day tour last month. Excellent tour. So much to see!!! We loved it!! I would highly recommend it if you are an independent traveler who doesn't want any stress.

Highlights of the Lowlands

My first, and definitely not last, Rick Steves tour. Our guide was spectacular and the lodging nice at every location. I was blown away with how good the food was at every group meal.


Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 28

Cancellation Policy:

Your tour deposit is 100% refundable for 30 days from the date it is received, unless noted otherwise below. After 30 days your deposit becomes nonrefundable, and will be forfeited should you decide to cancel your reservation. Deposits made 60–90 days before a tour departs become nonrefundable on the final payment due date. If you book a tour less than 60 days before its departure date, the entire tour cost becomes non-refundable after 7 days

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