What to expect from the Alps & Dolomites journey

To those who are leaving for August or later departures, I want to share with you that this is an amazing journey with majestic, spectacular and breathtaking sceneries that you will remember for a very long time. I just returned from the July 2nd trip, and the weather was a lot warmer than expected but by all means, we were lucked out by beautiful weather all the way. For those of you who will arrive in Munich early, there is a lot to see there so plan your visit strategically to focus on what's most important to you to see and do. Do have a beer or lunch at the fun Hofbrauhaus. The Residence next to the hotel is a wonderful museum that I highly recommend you to visit. If time permits, Schloss Nymphenburg is a wonderful palace to visit. In Salzburg, do take time to explore the Cathedral area after dinner - there is a water fountain that's a beautiful spot for a romantic picture with the Hohensalzburg fortress in the backdrop. Let me know if you have questions about this incredible journey. Happy travel.

Comments

  • Hello Jane, We are on the aug. 7th tour. How dressy were the welcome and farewell dinner? Tauck recommends a sport jacket, it would be nice if my husband did not need one. I have heard the weather is very warm, (90 degrees). is that correct? do europeans wear shorts if so? Did you visit the old botanical garden in Munich? I am an avid gardener, and wondered if this was something to see.
    thanks for posting, I appreciate it.
    Pam
  • We are from England and on the 3 September departure so really looking forward to that. The question of sports jackets keeps cropping up. This will be our seventh Tauck experience and, as ever, I shall take one - just because I like to.
    Richard
  • Jane wrote:
    To those who are leaving for August or later departures, I want to share with you that this is an amazing journey with majestic, spectacular and breathtaking sceneries that you will remember for a very long time. I just returned from the July 2nd trip, and the weather was a lot warmer than expected but by all means, we were lucked out by beautiful weather all the way. For those of you who will arrive in Munich early, there is a lot to see there so plan your visit strategically to focus on what's most important to you to see and do. Do have a beer or lunch at the fun Hofbrauhaus. The Residence next to the hotel is a wonderful museum that I highly recommend you to visit. If time permits, Schloss Nymphenburg is a wonderful palace to visit. In Salzburg, do take time to explore the Cathedral area after dinner - there is a water fountain that's a beautiful spot for a romantic picture with the Hohensalzburg fortress in the backdrop. Let me know if you have questions about this incredible journey. Happy travel.


    Jane,

    We are thinking of taking this trip next summer. Question: how long are the days on the bus?
  • edited August 2015
    It depends on the day. Every leg is broken up by restroom stops, meals, or sightseeing.

    Looking at our "Go sheet" from June 2014, I think the longest (overall miles and time on the bus) was from Salzburg, Austria to Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. A close second or possibly longer was the next leg from Cortina to Davos, Switzerland.

    We left Salzburg at 8:15 am, had a restroom break at about 10:30 before the bus climbed Grossglockner pass, had lunch and tour of the Kuenz Distillery in Dölsach just outside of Lienz, Austria. We arrived in Cortina in the late afternoon, about 5:00 pm.

    The bus left Cortina at 8:00 am the following morning, made a mid-morning restroom stop, then a mid-day stop in Balzano to see Ötzi the Iceman, walk through town and have lunch on our own before continuing through the Dolomites. You make a rest stop in the small town of Ortesei where you can either walk through town or take a gondola to a mountaintop restaurant chalet for refreshments and some truly fantastic views. You continue on to the Flulapass train which takes your bus (with you on it) through a mountain tunnel to Switzerland. We arrived in Davos, Switzerland at about 6:00 pm.

    These two legs through the Dolomites were along what Tauck calls the "Yellow Roads" of Europe. The pavement was good but the roads were narrow and there were many, many switch-backs at each mountain pass. You may be inclined to doze for a bit on one or both legs, but if you do you will miss some fantastic scenery, a few random castles, and incredible mountain vistas.

    Photo taken from mountaintop restaurant patio in Ortesei. Those are the Dolomites and not a painted backdrop!!!:

    IMG_0806rw.jpg

  • We are thinking about taking the Ultimate Alps and Dolomite trip next year with our 19-year-old. We have previously done four Tauck Bridges tours and loved the fast-paced nature of them. For those who have taken the Ultimate Alps trip, can you share your opinions? Thank you very much.
  • edited October 2015
    runnergirl wrote:
    We are thinking about taking the Ultimate Alps and Dolomite trip next year with our 19-year-old. We have previously done four Tauck Bridges tours and loved the fast-paced nature of them. For those who have taken the Ultimate Alps trip, can you share your opinions? Thank you very much.

    There is a lot to see and do, and is active, but I doubt it is anywhere near as fast-paced as a Bridges Tour. Not all 19 year olds are the same, but depending on his demeanor, ability to converse with adults, interest in history, culture, and beautiful scenery, he should enjoy this trip. The young man (14+) on the right in my photo above traveled with his grandparents on our tour. He had been given his choice of places to go and chose this tour! He was a bit shy, but had a wonderful time.
  • Ultimate Alps and Dolomite trip for 2016 - looking at weather history and trying to determine if late May or June or early September for the best weather. On our one other trip through the Dolomite mountains in 2011, we had pouring rain and the way. Tough and long journey. Would surely like to see the mountains in beautiful blue skies. Any thoughts or suggestions? Have printed out many historical weather maps to try and make an educated decision, but some extra knowledge is always helpful and appreciated. Thanks, Chocobill
  • As with a trip anywhere, no weather can be guaranteed to be 'usual' 'average' or anything in between. You just have to go prepared for any eventuality and then make the best of what you get. Mountainous areas can be the least predictable of all!
  • edited October 2015
    Like British said the weather can be variable. We were on a 12 June 2014 departure and in general, with just a few minor exceptions, the weather was great. We only had about an hour of rain while inside touring the Passion Play theater in Oberamergau, Germany, a very light drizzle while visiting the brewery in the tiny alpine town of Monstein, Switzerland, and were "in the clouds" unable to see anything at the summit of the Zugspitze. But again, things change from year to year. The previous year, Europe was hit with a heat wave.

    Though it is no guarantee, you can check the weather history at weather.com or weatherunderground.com
  • We are Considering a Sept 29 2016 Trip, Any thoughts on the weather then? Also wondering if the small group setting is worth the extra $2000 per couple (24 guest vs 40) Any comments would be appreciated
  • edited November 2015
    pslawing wrote:
    We are Considering a Sept 29 2016 Trip, Any thoughts on the weather then? Also wondering if the small group setting is worth the extra $2000 per couple (24 guest vs 40) Any comments would be appreciated

    I can't help with the weather beyond what has already been said by me, British, and others and what can be found on the Tauck site, Fodors, weather dot com, etc.

    As far as small group vs standard, you will get as many opinions here as travelers. Only you know your finances and are able to say whether it is worth the additional cost. It is kinda like airline flights- Business Class vs Economy Comfort/Premier Economy vs Economy/Coach. It was worth it to us.

    Our first two times with Tauck were on small group tours, while our third tour was standard size. All I will say is that it takes less time wrangling 24 cats than it does 40+ cats. For people with less than perfect memory, learning 24 names was easier than 40+ :~ ) . It may have been because we had more elderly/less spry travelers on our standard (US) Hidden Gems of New England tour than on our other (European) small group tours, but it took us much longer to do almost every thing- hand out room keys, entrance tickets, eat as a group, restroom breaks, site visits, etc., etc. and especially getting on and off the bus. This last issue could also be partially blamed on the fact that most (all?) European buses have both front and side doors for people to use to enter and exit, while American buses only have one door in the front. Another comment on buses- both groups use the same full-size size bus. Seats are usually assigned by the TD on both types of tours (seats are rotated daily if not more often), however there are plenty of spare seats on a small group tour if you want a window seat, extra room, etc.

    For us, as long as we can afford it, we plan to take small group tours.
  • Thank you for your valuable insite!
  • We are so looking forward to this trip on 09/29/2016.
  • AlanS,

    Thank you for the insight on the small vs regular sized groups. So far we haven't done any of the small group tours with Tauck, and to date the larger groups haven't been a problem. It does take a bit longer getting on and off the buses, but I have to keep reminding myself that patience can be a virtue! Fortunately with Tauck our experience has been that it's rate to have habitually late people which helps move things along.

    One question I have on the different sized groups. With the larger groups we normally get split into two smaller ones for local tours, each with its own local guide. With the small groups, do they also split you up into two, or keep you as one group?

    Karin and I are also looking forward to the September 29th tour next week.
  • edited September 2016
    jeffr775 wrote:

    One question I have on the different sized groups. With the larger groups we normally get split into two smaller ones for local tours, each with its own local guide. With the small groups, do they also split you up into two, or keep you as one group?

    Karin and I are also looking forward to the September 29th tour next week.

    Depends on the tour and location- On our small group Alps tour we split only once (or twice?)- Munich-yes, Neuschwanstein- no, Linderhoff- no, Oberamergau- no, Tratsburg- no, Balzano- no, Switzerland- no, Lienz- no, Salburg- no, Salt mine- no, Vaduz- no, Innsbruck- no.
  • Thanks, really nice thread! Thanks!
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