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Any recommendations on escorted tour travel in Germany?

Saint Louis...
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4 332 posts
105 reviews
116 helpful votes
Any recommendations on escorted tour travel in Germany?
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Do you have any recommendations regarding escorted tours of Germany? I did searches on the forum and see that typically there are no responses at all for escorted tour questions and get that. Trip Advisor is really a site for people doing independent travel. And that's what we've always done in the past. But thought I'd give it a shot, as Trip Advisor forums have been so terrific for me for independent travel planning in the past and people here know so much. DH 62, however, would like to travel to Germany and do a tour (not really do any planning - just pick a trip).

There are no sites or areas in particular that he would like to see (He's totally open). I'm 56, have never had any desire to travel to Germany, but think it would be a perfectly interesting place to go (happy to go along for the ride), and I do have four sets of great grandparents who came to the United States from Germany, back in the late 1800s so that makes me a little curious. We'll also invite and pay for DS 21 to go and he said he's be game (I've never seen him pass up travel chances and he's lots of fun to travel with). DS likes traveling, is a photographer, and gets along well with people of all ages. We would all be fine staying in the same room too if that is an option, and maybe I should look for a tour that allows that, as that would lower costs v. doing a single supplement? That's not the biggest factor.

DH's main interest in Germany is German food. I asked for some suggestions about that for independent travel and got some great responses, but DH has now decided that he wants to go the escorted tour route (free time with a general escorted tour FYI is great). He's really usually likes it best to get insight from locals (touch base with family, friends, acquaintances, etc. for more insight/local flavor) but on both side of the family we aren't in contact with anyone who lives in Germany. DH studied German in HS and College, but although he is quite good at languages is pretty rusty. I don't speak any German and DS doesn't speak any German. // We like cities as well as mountains. Lots of DH's favorite vacations (This trip is really for him) involve being in the mountains. We do a lot of travel to the Western US, though, and get our mountain fill, so that is not necessarily a requirement for this trip. I'm just mentioning this as something he likes. DH could care less about seeing cathedrals and castles, but is fine to have some of that in a tour. He realizes stuff like that is going to be included and DS and I I'm sure would enjoy that.

We're pretty flexible on budget, usually stay at nice, but not fancy places -- think Hilton Garden Inn, Embassy Suites, Holiday Inns, rental condos but not four or five star hotels with amenities and services (We don't like to pay for overpriced wifi, food). A private bathroom for the three of us is a must for DH. DS and I are cool with more basic places (hostels, bunking up, etc.), but that's not a good option for DH. Time wise, one or two weeks would be fine. We aren't though talking about something more than two weeks. The really high end tours and pricey private tours would be more than what we would be willing to spend. We are wanting to go in mild weather so are thinking late spring, summer, or early fall and know that may mean higher airfares too.

I did some internet searching and found the following -- any thoughts on any of these or any of your own recommendations as to what might be a nice tour for DH in particular? I've printed out all of these for DH to review. Any thoughts on companies (good reputation a plus), and / or specific tours -- personal experience, hearsay, reading of other people's reviews, sites where I would find reviews?

Globus has three tours of Germany:

German Vista -- 8 day tour from Berlin to Munich

Bavarian Highlights -- 9 day tour from Munich to Munich

German Highlights -- 11 day tour from Frankfurt to Frankfurt

Road Scholar had German Icons: Berlin, Dresden, and Munich -- 11 days

Rick Steve's Europe had a Best of Germany in 13 days -- We would need to pack lighter than we normally do on trips for this, but I think we could handle that. DS as a photographer usually as a tripod, camera, and at least one other lens. He usually travels with a MacBook pro too for downloading and using photoshop on photos. I really couldn't see him not wanting to take this stuff on his one and perhaps only trip to Germany and that could be a little bit of a challenge for him on this one for what I've seen described. He has skipped the tripod before so could skip that too. He's small, but works out (is in great physical shape) and could probably manage all that plus clothes. Or we could pack some clothes for him and all just go with minimal stuff we wear over and over.

Cosmos had a 12 day Frankfurt to Frankfurt -- I saw one review of that on the internet with someone who was super disappointed at food and accommodations outside of the city centers different than what was listed, so I think I'll eliminate this one. This is the only tour that I saw any specific reviews of and only one, which definitely is not exactly a good statistical sampling.

Trafalgar has a 13 day Best of Germany

Collette has a 12 day Romantic Road and Fairy Tale Road tour

Goahead Tours had an Octoberfest Grand Tour of Germany -- DH eliminated that one and some other tours too from other places that focused just on Christmas markets. That's not his interest. He thinks a more general tour would be better.

Any thought on any of these? Any other tours to consider? I appreciate any and all thoughts and opinions.

Southern, Louisiana
Level Contributor
281 posts
6 reviews
12 helpful votes
1. Re: Any recommendations on escorted tour travel in Germany?
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Most important aspect is "view" vs "visit." Visit usually means you stop and go inside; view means your bus may stop briefly or you are allowed to go outside and take a picture of the outside.

Generally avoid trips with long drives followed by 1 night stops. You will not have much time for actually seeing what you want to see not on the scheduled itinerary. Google the location of the tours hotels; it will become obvious if your hotel is by the airport and nowhere near the historic sights.

Subtract 2 days from the total trip : those are travel days and you aren't actually incountry seeing anything.

If your DH really wants an escorted tour, I'd throw Insight out there too.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg
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2. Re: Any recommendations on escorted tour travel in Germany?
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Besides bus tours, there are river tours. They can be on the Mosel, Rhine, Main, Danube and Neckar Rivers or a combination of them, and perhaps also the Elbe.

Frankfurt
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for Frankfurt
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6 719 posts
36 reviews
59 helpful votes
3. Re: Any recommendations on escorted tour travel in Germany?
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Why not try the Rick Steves, "My Way" tours. Sort of escorted, but you are on your own once you get to the cities, though the guide provides you with information about what to see and do. Your hotel and transport are all taken care of.

Saint Louis...
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4 332 posts
105 reviews
116 helpful votes
4. Re: Any recommendations on escorted tour travel in Germany?
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Thank you for the thoughts and suggestions in your posts. It's great to have so many choices. I also want to thank people who personally messaged me with thoughts and ideas too. Super helpful. We really had to look at lots of different possibilities to help us figure out what we really want to do / have this trip look like. I scoured the internet too and read lots of articles, reviews, opinions of different travel options.

In case you are interested I thought I'd post a follow-up. What we are heavily leaning toward now (PM suggestion) and will probably do is a private tour with Viatorius Tours of Germany. It's the closest thing we found to what DH is really looking for (a bit pricey, but looks like a great fit). It's a long ways off, but I'll do a post of our thoughts and experiences after we come back too just in case that is helpful to other travelers.

tennesee
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1 100 posts
286 reviews
150 helpful votes
5. Re: Any recommendations on escorted tour travel in Germany?
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Kathy, we used European Castle Tours based out of Fussen a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed them. The owner, Astrid, was very hands-on and ensured everything went smoothly. Smaller group size than the big box tours (in fact our 'group' started with 3, a few more added after the first two days) which made it more like a private tour). We did their Bavarian Castle tour even though we had been to most of the same places on our various independent trips. Picked them as for most of their tours they based in a central spot (for ours it was Hophen am See at the Landhaus Kossel) so no packing/unpacking each day. Check out their website or FB page.

Ennis, Texas
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6 posts
33 reviews
13 helpful votes
6. Re: Any recommendations on escorted tour travel in Germany?
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I highly recommend Viatorius Tours! I went 2 years ago as a College Graduation gift for my 22 year old son and it was fantastic. I wasn't going to do the "bus tour", I don't have the patience for it so we were just going to rent a car and "wing it" until someone told me about Markus at Viatorius, best decision ever! We toured Germany and Austria, stayed in great LOCAL hotels that were very nice (but not overpriced like the chains), ate wonderful food and interacted with locals which was a lot of fun. The biggest advantage of this over a big bus tour is the flexibility, we had not planned on visiting Dachau but as the trip progressed we decided we wanted to...so we did! Presto Chango! Feel free to message me if you need more info, it was our first Germany tour and we can't wait to go back.

Salt Lake City, UT
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4 reviews
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7. Re: Any recommendations on escorted tour travel in Germany?
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Absolutely! Viatorius Tours Germany!!!! www.privategermanytours.com Markus is the best! My daughter and I toured Germany for her 40th birthday present and our tour with Markus was amazing!!!! He customized our tour just for us, and it was easy to vary our day depending on the weather or our whims! I guarantee you will not be dissappointed. Please get his quote before you book anywhere else the hotels he picked were perfect for us, and his attention to detail is amazing.

Nettie Jenkins

8. Re: Any recommendations on escorted tour travel in Germany?

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Frankfurt
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for Frankfurt
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9. Re: Any recommendations on escorted tour travel in Germany?
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ibrig, you may not advertise on Trip Advisor. Your post has been reported and will be removed.

Canton, Michigan
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58 reviews
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10. Re: Any recommendations on escorted tour travel in Germany?
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We r doing Globus best of Germany n may 2018 however if I had to pick between Trafalgar and Globus I would choose Trafalgar for hotels. Globus tour directors r great. Only took Trafalgar for best of Italy and great hotels but tour director was mainly focused on cocktails n each region. Globus hotels put us away from things we couldn’t go off and wander around to see things ourselves. Hoping Globus hotels n Germany will be better. First night doesn’t Impressit is 40 min out of Frankfurt but there is a train to town which we will try. A lot of petty theft n Germany so we will keep things especially close on train

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