On a two-week, "greatest hits" route that takes you from Paris to Rome — via Burgundy, the Swiss Alps, Munich, Venice, and the Cinque Terre — Rick Steves' money-saving My Way tour gives you the freedom to decide your own daily sightseeing priorities and pace. We cut the stress by providing comfortable rooms in centrally-located hotels, private bus transportation from city to city, and a Euro-savvy trip escort to help advise you along the way. Join us for My Way: Europe in 14 Days!
You'll get all this!
- This is an "un-guided" tour — giving you the freedom (and responsibility) to manage your daily sightseeing schedule and meals
- A small, friendly group of 24-28 people will share our big, comfy bus during the trip, but not do organized sightseeing together
- A Rick Steves escort will manage the group's transportation and hotel arrangements, and provide advice for sightseeing, meals, etc.
- All group transportation from Paris to Rome
- 13 nights accommodations (all stops but one are for two nights) in memorable, centrally-located hotels
- All breakfasts are included
- All tips for escort and driver
- Free Audio Europe™ app for Apple and Android (or get free podcast/mp3 files) featuring Rick's audio walking tours of sights, museums and neighborhoods in Paris, Venice and Rome. Also includes Rick's radio interviews with experts on destinations covered in this itinerary
- More free stuff including Rick Steves' Best of Europe guidebook; Snapshot: Munich guidebook; Europe Through the Back Door travel skills handbook (one per household); French-Italian-German phrase book; My Way: Europe Sightseeing Supplement; map; moneybelt; and earplugs
- 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 2013
- 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
- Costs not covered: As this is not a guided tour, you will be responsible for the cost of all your lunches, dinners, drinks, admissions, sightseeing, and non-group transportation. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above
(r) = reserve a time before you leave the USA
* = included in Rick's audio walking tours
See a slideshow version of this itinerary
Day 1: Welcome to Europe
Welcome to Paris, one of the world's most thrilling cities! Today is a great day to start tackling some of Paris' amazing museums: the Louvre*, the Cluny, the Rodin, the Orsay* and the Pompidou (plan accordingly; many museums are closed one day a week). We'll rendezvous at our hotel at 5 p.m. to meet your escort and have a group get-together. Your escort will give an overview of the days ahead, answer your questions, and offer a quick orientation to our neighborhood and Paris' easy-to-use public transportation. Then you're free for dinner on your own. This evening you could stroll around the brilliantly-lit Eiffel Tower(r) and enjoy a twilight ride to the top. Or, enjoy the view from below, aboard one of Paris' numerous floodlit Seine river cruises. Sleep in Paris (2 nights).
Day 2: All Day in Paris
Today Paris is all yours. With your Best of Europe guidebook and Rick Steves' audio tours in hand, you might begin your day where Paris did — on the Ile de la Cité* — visiting Notre-Dame Cathedral* and exquisite Sainte-Chapelle*. Or explore the sprawling grounds of the ultimate royal palace at Versailles* — every King's dream. This evening, head up to Montmartre to savor the bohemian flair of Amelie's "village Paris" and take in the breathtaking vistas from the Basilica of Sacré Coeur. Or go to the Arc du Triomphe and stroll down the grandest boulevard in the world — the Champs-Elysées. As with every day of this trip: it's your choice! No bus today.
Day 3: Burgundy's Wine Capital
This morning we'll pack up, bid adieu to Paris, and hop aboard our comfortable bus (your escort will always post departure times well in advance). Then we'll roll into the French countryside, passing pastures and vineyards en route to the "profoundly French" town of Beaune in the heart of Burgundy's wine country. After checking-in to our hotel early this afternoon, you'll have time to stroll around the town's center, rent a bike for a ride along the Côte d'Or vineyards, enjoy a wine tasting, and savor the rich regional specialties over dinner. Boeuf bourgignon et escargots, anyone? Sleep in Beaune (1 night). Bus: 4 hrs.
Day 4: Scenic Drive to the Swiss Alps
We'll leave the rolling hills of beautiful Burgundy this morning, and climb high into the heart of the Swiss Alps. By suppertime we'll be in the Berner Oberland's magnificent Lauterbrunnen Valley, flanked by towering, waterfall-laced cliffs and crowned by a trio of Switzerland's most formidable peaks: the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. After settling into our creaky old chalet, you'll find hearty dinner options and spectacular views just a short hike away. Sleep in the Lauterbrunnen Valley (2 nights). Bus: 5 hrs.
Day 5: Spectacular Hikes in the Alps
You'll wake up in one of the most beautiful spots on Earth...and the day is all yours. Take off on a mountain excursion that combines the local cog railway, a gondola lift up to Männlichen, and a spectacular Alpine walk above the tree line, surrounded by a panorama of cut-glass peaks. You could also explore what's above the opposite side of the valley, ride a gondola lift to the top of the 10,000-foot Schilthorn, loiter in the thin air, and then hike down. Closer to the valley floor, you can witness the roaring, thundering, crashing, splashing display of nature's awesome power in Trümmelbach — a series of subterranean waterfalls that plunge hundreds of feet into darkness behind the valley's cliffs. No bus today.
Day 6: On to Bavaria
Today's drive is a good time to catch up on your journal, listen to music, curl up with a good book, or just sit back and enjoy views of pristine mountains and sparkling lakes as we make our way into the heart of Bavaria. Our destination is the people-friendly city of Munich, where we'll sleep (2 nights). Bus: 7 hrs.
Day 7: Marvelous Munich
Germany's most livable city, Munich is pleasantly explored by foot, bike, or public transit. Today you can take in the opulent Residenz palace, the dazzling Deutsches Museum, the sprawling English Garden, or take a short bus or subway ride to Dachau Concentration Camp or the state-of-the-art BMW Museum. This evening, feel free to join the party at the Hofbräuhaus beerhall, where you can hoist a liter-size mug of beer, and a pretzel as big as your head. No bus today.
Day 8: Over the Alps to Venice
We'll take off early this morning for a scenic, all-day drive to Venice. At the edge of Venice we'll board a vaporetto boat for an "am-I-really-here?" Grand Canal ride* to our hotel in the historic heart of this seductive city, arriving late this afternoon. Tonight you can enjoy dinner at an out-of-the way trattoria and soak in the outdoor nightlife of St. Mark's Square*. If the moon is out, it will hit your eye like a big pizza pie. Sleep in Venice (2 nights). Boat: ½ hr. Bus: 8 hrs.
Day 9: Seductive Venice
The entire day and evening are yours to experience (with the help of Rick's audio tours) the Byzantine majesty of St. Mark's Basilica*, the formidable Doge's Palace*, the masterpiece-packed Frari Church*, and more. Along the way, take time to simply get lost (remember, it's an island) exploring the alleys, cruising the canals, and "crawling" the pubs of this amazing city. No bus today (too much water).
Day 10: Cinque Terre
Today we say "Ciao Venezia" as we hop back aboard our bus and make a beeline for the relaxing beaches and villages of the Cinque Terre. To get there, we'll traverse Italy's agricultural breadbasket and the forested spine of the Apennines, finally winding our way down to the seaside village of Levanto, where we'll board a train for the 10-minute ride to Monterosso. We'll arrive late this afternoon, with plenty of time to enjoy Monterosso's pleasant eateries and ambiance. Sleep in Monterosso (2 nights). Train: ¼ hr. Boat: ½ hr. Bus: 6 hrs.
Day 11: Riviera Livin'
Wake up and smell the espresso. Enjoy a day of fresh air and sweeping Mediterranean views as you hike, train or boat between the trail-linked, hill-hugging villages of the Cinque Terre. Or pick just one and settle-in for the day, exploring the stairways and alleyways, sunning yourself on the rocks, or sipping cappuccino and catching up on your journal at an outdoor café. Feeling lazy? Grab your favorite novel, head down to Monterosso's sandy beach where you can rent a beach chair and umbrella (insert nap here). For dinner tonight, enjoy what's local and fresh: the seafood and pasta with pesto. No bus today.
Day 12: Historic and Nighttime Rome
This morning we'll get an early start as we make our way from the Cinque Terre to Rome. Arriving at our Rome hotel late this afternoon, you'll have the cooler part of the day to eat at the outdoor café of your dreams, then celebrate la dolce vita Roman-style, with an after-dinner stroll through the floodlit heart of the city, lacing together the lively Campo de' Fiori, classy Piazza Navona, and splashy Trevi Fountain. Don't forget to taste some refreshing gelato along the way. Sleep in Rome (2 nights). Train: ¼ hr. Bus: 7 hrs.
Day 13: A Day of Roman Roamin'
Rome is the grand finale of our trip, packed with historical riches, cultural delights and an infinite supply of wows. Today, aided by Rick's audio tours, you could follow the footsteps of emperors through the Roman Forum*, Colosseum* and Pantheon*. If the Renaissance is more your speed, the immense St. Peter's Basilica* (home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà) and the sprawling Vatican Museum*(r) (home to his mind-boggling Sistine Chapel) are a Metro or bus ride away. It's your final night in Rome, so get out and make it special. Salute! No bus today.
Day 14: Tour Over After Breakfast
It's a breeze to reach Rome's airports by taxi or train. Your escort will help you with any post-tour planning, leaving you well prepared for the road ahead. Grazie e ciao!
Itinerary specifics subject to change.
Rick Steves tours are physically active!
This is an integral, essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On My Way: Europe in 14 Days — among other things — you'll need to happily...
- Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
- Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
- Be responsible for your own daily sightseeing, admissions, meals (except breakfasts) and non-group transportation.
- Be content with the possibility of sharing bathroom facilities at one hotel during this trip.
We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.
Sightseeing On Your Own
When you arrive in Paris, use your included Rick Steves' Best of Europe guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of French, and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.
Walking tours make a great introduction to any town. Use your Audio Europe™ app for Apple and Android (or get free podcast/mp3 files) which includes a wealth of Paris neighborhood walks and self-guided museum tours. Check your guidebook for museum hours (some are closed one day per week; some stay open late one day per week).
Remember, you will be in charge of your own sightseeing for ALL destinations on this trip. We strongly suggest you begin planning well before you fly to Europe!
Most tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.
There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. We recommend talking to your travel agent about "open jaw" airline tickets (flying into and out of different cities). It's easiest to fly into Paris and home from Rome. Paris and Rome are transportation hubs, making travel before or after your tour quite easy. Flying within Europe can be reasonable. Ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines. For links to helpful rail and air websites, go to www.ricksteves.com/plan/links and look under "Transportation."
Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.
If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email email@example.com. Thinking you could use some expert, in-depth help to plan your sightseeing days? Tour members enjoy a 50 percent discount on Rick's Trip Consulting services!
See a chart with monthly rain and temperature information for this tour.
While it is important to pack light, there are two items we'd like you to consider including when packing for this tour. There are great opportunities to hike in the Swiss Alps and between the Cinque Terre villages. While hiking boots are not necessary, we recommend you bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes with soles offering good traction. If you plan to swim in the Mediterranean, you may wish to pack a swimsuit and a lightweight microfiber towel.
For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.
We also recommend that you consider bringing a smart phone, tablet or other device to assist in planning your activities, and to access Rick's Audio Europe app and walking tours.
Favorite tour memories from recent alums
"The Europe: My Way Tour was the best of both worlds. We were allowed the independence to spend all day in the Louvre, if that's what we wanted, but we also had the security and instant friendship of group travel. It was the experience of a lifetime."
— Meghan in Tulsa, OK
"The itinerary and the fact it was an 'un'-guided tour made this the perfect tour for me. Also I had been on a regular guided Rick Steves tour before and felt I would again end up with 20 or so of the best travel buddies ever to share all of the experiences with. What I expected is what I got."
— Robert in Hiawatha, KS
To see more comments on Rick Steves' tours, read through our tour member reviews.
Videos & More
This region is rich in history, art and culture. To help you get the most from your trip, we've put together this collection of travel resources from Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, as well as recommended books, films and music.
Rick Steves' TV Clips & Shows
(For more Rick Steves' TV clips on this region, visit Rick on YouTube.)
- French: Charade (1963); Amélie (2001); La Vie en Rose (2007)
- Swiss: The Eiger Sanction (1974); On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969); North Face (2008)
- Teutonic: Heidi (1993); Wings of Desire (1987); Schindler's List (1995)
- Italian: Roman Holiday (1953); Cinema Paradiso (1990); Il Postino (1995); Life is Beautiful (1997)
Rick Steves' Radio Interviews
(For more radio interviews on this region, see Rick's Audio Europe™ files for iPod, PC & MP3.)
Rick Steves' Audio Tours
- Paris: The Louvre, The Orsay, Versailles Palace, Historic Paris Walk
- Venice: St. Mark's Square, St. Mark's Cathedral, Friari Church, Grand Canal Cruise
- Rome: Pantheon, St. Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Roman Forum
- Audio Europe app for iPhone and iPod Touch
Rick Steves Audio Europe™
- Classical: Wagner; Strauss; Bach; Beethoven; Brahms; Mozart
- Opera: Vivaldi's Four Seasons; Puccini's Tosca; Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci; Verdi's Rigoletto; Ezio Pinza
- Pop/rock: George Baker Selection; Golden Earring; Andrea Bocelli; Zucchero; Jovanotti; Eros Ramazotti; Edith Piaf; Charles Aznavour; Maurice Chevalier; Charles Trenet
Rick Steves' Articles
(For more articles on this region, see Rick's Best Destinations.)
- Rick Steves' Best of Europe
- Europe 101: History and art overview for the traveler — Rick Steves & Gene Openshaw
- Culture Shock! — Practical guides on European etiquette
- France: Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong — Nadeau and Barlow; French or Foe — Polly Platt
- Switzerland: La Place de la Concorde Suisse — John McPhee
- Germany: A New History — Hagen Schulze
- Italy: Italian Neighbors; Italian Education — Tim Parks