I didn't know what to expect, but ef tours prepared me well! We were lead every step of the trip by our tour director, who was amazing! It was a bit of a culture shock, but she always explained why locals did things the way they did. And all my questions had answers. Through out the trip, I always felt safe. You can rest easy knowing you or a family member is in good hands. Traveling with ef tours made it easy to see and experience everything. Theres no planning or worrying, your only job is to just have fun! For the price, its extremely cheap. The hotels and transportation were all nice, some better than others. But you can't put a price of a good time and an experience of a lifetime! I highly recommend ef tours for anyone who really wants to be submerged in culture and ready for an adventure! I would love to go again!
/ Student traveler Clermont, Fl / Posted on June 29, 2014
The tour of Italy, France and Spain was amazing. Our Tour guide was excellent and we had a great time. In Italy we ran into a live street band that played wonderful Italian music. The scenery was breathtaking and learning the language was really fun. In France we loved going to Monaco to see the changing of the guard at the royal palace and then we dined while overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.In Spain, my favorite part of the whole trip, we went to Sagrada Familia - a really cool church as well as a number of other cool places. It was great seeing places that before I'd only seen on TV or read about.
RoamingNomad / Adult traveler Denton, Texas / Posted on June 28, 2014
Sun, Fun, and Food
Awesome experience and the students were fun to travel with. I am ready to go again!
AuntHolly / Adult traveler Grandview, WA / Posted on January 11, 2018
We had a great tour guide and a lot of time to explore and walk around.
/ Student traveler Albert Lea, MN / Posted on December 22, 2017
Great trip but......
The trip was an awesome experience but the tour is very fast paced . Being 61 and healthy , I found it difficult in the heat to keep up at times. If adults pay an extra fee there should be some contingency plan to accommodate such things as they arrive. Im planning on attending the Galapagos trip in 2018 but will be better prepared for heat and the fast pace. Hopefully EF will keep us in mind when including us in their tours.
GrandmaH / Adult traveler Hunter NY / Posted on July 12, 2017
Poorly planned tour guide left me feeling unsafe multiple times . The first hotel refused to put on the air conditioning leaving us to vent out our rooms by keeping all windows and even the door open for a chance at a breeze. This lead to multiple mosquito bites because of lack of screens. The jet lag was the only reason I slept on the plywood mattress drenched in sweat. Luckily the shower provided little to no hot water , so it was one way to cool off I suppose. They had ok breakfasts , however dinner was pasta and meat substance that was not appealing. On Day two we noticed the tablecloths were never changed .. I hope they changed them when we left . Refilling the giant water bottles with tap water was also a bit off or the way they were saving more money on our visit. At cinq Terre we rushed to make trains and get adults and children all in for the 45 to 1.5 hours at 4 different towns. I would have preferred two or three stops or the option. Instead I have bruises on my arms from being slammed into a door by other passengers who also in their defense were afraid to lose their tour groups . The views were magnificent , food was average the cobblestone pathways were similar to Venice without water.
Next hotel had air conditioning.. Praise the Lord .. this place had a very satisfying breakfast but bad coffee . The dinners were ok.. the St. Paul Devance was amazing and I wish we had gotten 8 hours there . Tour guide lovely and very knowledgeable and interactive . However we were unable to go into another museum in the next park as promised Due to her lack of planning correctly and calling the right musuem. Instead we reviewed the Roman ruins in the same park. Cobbelstone streets in Nice and the gem of stores was truly a treasure.
Monaco was so clean and bright and waiting to be explored , but 2 hours was not enough time . The tour guide really had no input on things that were amazing here to do except they have the changing of the guard. The aquarium however was magnificent. The idea that we instead went to a perfume factory and then chocolate factory for the afternoon was very unappealing to me but it also rounded out what France was famous for and gave the children something to buy for family at home.
On our long drive to Barcelona we all had to pay an extra 10 per person to our bus driver/tour guide to stop for lunch next to a Roman collesuem in Nimes France (smaller then the one in Rome, but very well preserved ). When we paid a toll to get off the toll booth collector was arguing with the driver and tour guide . I am not sure what was said , most shops were closed but we had a very nice walk and lunch staring at the ruins. The upside was some of the gardens and waterways. I didn't see any other bus groups which also added to my excitement. Great side trip to break up the long travel day.
Finally the much anticipated .. Barcelona ! Wow was I very disappointed with this . The tour guide had not scheduled enough time for bus driver to drop us into town. So we got to take the subway and we didn't eat till 930pm. Seems ok except we missed the light show the only day we could see it. Walked the promenade with the group and was offered drugs while walking next to my child. Tried not to stare at the hookers when we passed them. I don't recommend Barcelona for children after dark for safety reasons. We had drunks chase us around and ask us for money and comment on our bottems. Tour guide mistakenly messed up the subway schedule so we missed a train since they were closed. After a long day of travel we got to walk 45 minutes to our hotel in a warehouse district with men in the doorways. He never looked back and left part of the group 2 blocks behind. So now it's 1am walking streets we have no idea where we are and he has to be told to stop so some could catch up. Transit strike was next day so we opted to use cabs to keep safer instead of the overcrowded we were told to expect and the in hopes that they will still be running. The marketplace was vibrant with colors and the small streets and squares a joy to explore. The architecture gave me much to ponder over as an artist. Mont Serrat was a journey that was both spiritual architectural and shear beauty in the mountains. The Gaudi Park was inspirational but rushed thru because 30 minutes is all allowed per bus group. The church I really had hoped to see was a walk by tour .. not great , in fact toilets were offered to us at very high prices gift shop across the street and people spent more time in there then looking at the church. Sighs live and learn. Sigranda Familia will need to be revisited again on another trip or never at all.
Most days were poor planning, poor food except for average breakfasts (witnessed a lot of people having to buy food after dinner because the food was so bad.- I actually witnessed kids buying fruits and vegetables just to get something healthy in them . Way to go kids !!) Chinese food In France too.
Not gonna be able to recommend this to anyone or EF Tours as safety was in jeopardy in multiple instances . I travel often and this is not my first time to Europe or big cities. Thank goodness for the amazing people I traveled with, without them I would have gone home day one!!!
Saltybrine / Adult traveler NY / Posted on July 08, 2017
Great Locations with Deficient Planning
The overall experience was fair to good. The locations were beautiful.
The food was mediocre at best with an extremely heavy emphasis on carbohydrates,and no description of what we were being served at most meals. We were served a tuna and potato salad in a tuna can, and potato tapas on bread with hot potatos on the side. The buffet meal at Fresco Co. was a refreshing change with the ability to have vegetables and salad. Students and adults often bought a dinner after "eating" at the EF Tours sanctioned locations.
Our tour escort was sporadically unorganized which proved to be a major issue. We were late to several planned events, so they were missed (ex. lighted fountains in Barcelona). The escort gave poor and unspecific directions which may have been due to his poor command on the English language. He would often walk us theough busy areas, but never looked back to see if he had the whole group, which often was spread out up to 3 blocks, as we relied on each other to see where he was going, as we did not specifically know our destination.
At one point, we were stranded in the Barcelona subways at midnight, 3 to 4 miles from our hotel because he though trains ran later that day. We needed to walk back to the hotel, partially through a warehouse district, as he referred to his gps to get us there. The group got spread out over 3 blocks, and a few students were getting concerned. He only stopped and waited when people yelled to him from 3 to 4 blocks away. Needless to say, when he used the subway from this day forward, my family opted to use a cab.
The side excursions and guides were fantastic, professional, and knowledgeable. Both St. Paul de Vence outside of Nice, and Monserrat outside of Barcelona are not to be missed. I wish we had more time at each location.
The visit to Cinque Terre was nice, but our escort decided to fit in 4 villages instead of the scheduled 3, so we only had about one hour at each location, and we were rushed back onto the trains to get to the next village.
Overall, the locations were beautiful, the side excursions made the tour, but the lack of daily specifics, poor planning and decision making by our escort, and poor procedures by our escort to keep 54 people together and feeling comfortable and confident in his abilities to keep us safe and together were a serious issue.
Lodging got better as the tour progressed. In Milan, the hotel had no air conditioning and the beds were like sleeping on plywood. The breakfasts were very good at all locations on this tour.
The flights to and from Europe were convenient and comfortable, but it would have been nice to have our geoup and my family seated together on the plane.
While there were positives on this tour, I would strongly hesitate to use EF Tours again based on this experience for what we monetarily paid.
Dopey / Adult traveler Tannersville, NY / Posted on July 08, 2017
I have helped my colleagues organize and fund raise for EFT trips in the past. This year I paid for my son to go and I went along for free as a teacher chaperone. I was excited to see the actual product I had been promoting.
Unfortunately I was extremely disappointed in the trip itself.
The offered excursions were boring, and our students did not sign up for them. I felt they were excursions which were better suited for adults. The scheduled events were also boring. I thought the 3 1/2 hours bus tours would at least be an open air bus. Kids getting fresh air, open air bus, great picture opportunities. Instead it was 31/2 hours in an enclosed bus (we had already spent 8 hours the previous days traveling from city to city), with an adult who just talked at us. Most people slept or read a book, and we had to tip for it.
Our group was offered a free Flamenco dance excursion. No one had signed up for this. I had seen Flamenco dancing in Mexico and was talking this up to the kids. What we actually got was a little stage in a back room of a restaurant with a family run operation. The stage was small enough that no two dancers could fit on it at the same time. A poor representation of a beautiful dance and country's heritage.
I was also embarrassed and upset that we put our students through a "tour of a perfume factory". This 15 minute tour ended with a high pressure sales pitch to buy the perfume, soap and creme. I understand no one forced the kids to buy, but teens are very impressionable. The tour was hosted by beautiful women wearing white lab coats. They looked and sounded very professional. They proceeded to tell the kids about the specialty bottles only used at this plant, no taxes, the "special sales of the day", and how they would accept Euros or American currency. How convenient. We literally had students standing in the parking lot before we boarded the bus saying they wish they had not bought what they did. An EFT organized lesson in buyers remorse. Plus it did not help that I felt we were rushed out of Monaco just to get to this tour.
The hotel in Canne (Kyriad) should never be used by EFT again. It was in the middle of nowhere. It had a pool which closed at 8:00pm. Our students returned hot and sweaty and were looking forward to having some fun swimming. NO. We even politely asked at the desk and they said no, it would be too loud for their other guests to rest. It was 8:00 at night, no one was sleeping. Plus our tour had at least 25 rooms. There did not appear to be any other guests. There was no common place for our students to gather/have fun. Some of us were sitting on the patio area, and then without warning at 9:00pm the lights turned off, leaving us in darkness. The students ended up leaving the hotel and walking the streets looking for something to eat/do. The local grocery store and gas station closed at 8:30 pm. The town was oddly dead. We took some of our kids to a bowling alley several blocks away. It might have been the most fun we had on the trip and it was not EFT organized. Besides the fact that the hotel was surrounded by a large fence, lights along the top, sliding gate, it felt very unsafe. Our kids left the hotel looking for something to eat and do. When we chaperones went looking for them, some locals pulled up their car and talked/hooted at us. Worried us what our first time travelers were encountering. The woman who worked the front desk the second night was also very rude.
The food was of a very poor quality and not enough of it. Breakfasts were good and the only place which offered fresh fruit. No vegetables were offered at any meal. The little meat was served cold, tons of bread but even though we were told that the Mediterranean was the land of "green gold" (olive oil) it was never put on our table. Our students could have spent 11 days in Europe and never tried olive oil. That seems like a huge slight. That and poor food seems like a tough thing to explain to paying parents. One dinner we enjoyed was at an all you could eat buffet. The salad bar was fresh, and the kids enjoyed choices. We would have gladly eaten there several more times.
Unfortunately, we also had a mishap where our 4 day bus driver was given our 11 day tour guides tip envelope with all the money it. This was a mistake on our part (although both white envelopes look exactly the same except for the name written in small text at the bottom). Myself and another chaperone had to pull $600. of our own money together on the last evening to cover the tour director's tip. The next day I mentioned this to our tour director, She contacted the bus driver (who had not contacted us in the previous 4 days). He said he did not receive extra money in his envelope. That was an expensive lie.
I truly wish I had more positive things to write in this review, but that was not my experience.
KC22 / Adult traveler Grand Rapids MI / Posted on July 05, 2017
My daughter loved her nine-day EF Tour of Italy, France, and Spain. She was able to get a glimpse of each stop for a couple days and experience a bit of life in each area. Her favorite parts were the beaches of Cinque Terre and Barcelona. The tour guide and bus driver were both very professional and fun. By day seven, she was quite exhausted, as the tour is fairly nonstop and she had to adjust to a six-hour time zone difference. Also, she enjoyed the food at local restaurants much better than some of the included hotel dinners. All in all, she was able to see the world in a broader scope, appreciating experiences and sights from other cultures and countries. In addition, she now has a better appreciation for some of the conveniences she enjoys at home that are not common in some countries abroad.
AAAMom / Student traveler Gainesville, VA / Posted on June 30, 2017
A bit too much and mismanaged by main office
3 countries in 8 days is a bit too much. Spent about 2 and a half days just traveling.
The tour director and other guides were excellent and I would highly recommend them to anyone. Our initial driver was excellent as well but subsequent drivers were extremely late multiple times and caused us to cut short parts of the tour. It was rather irritating that someone who had nothing to do with the tour had so much influence on what we could and would do that day.
The hotels were fine initially I guess, but the last one was horrible. Bad location and when you are told repeatedly not to leave valuables in your room, it says a lot. I would compare it to an hourly hotel you would find in the States. Other EF tour groups were also there however, so I think they use it often. Other than cost I am not sure why.
The food was disappointing. Cities that are known for their food were made to be pedestrian because of bad food location decisions. The best food I had was when we ate on our own. I will admit the food on the last day was very good but it seems rather transparent that the food on the last day would be the best. I would think that a company that lives off of travel would be able to find more suitable spots that are not too expensive.
The actual countries/cities were great but I would rather have gone to 2 countries and spent 4 days in each rather than 2 days each in 2 countries and 3 in the third. The travel just wasted so much time.
I have to say for this being my first EF tour I was expecting more. I heard so many great things about this company but the unprofessionalism of some of the drivers and the bad food selections left a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended).
FakeNickname / Adult traveler Raleigh, NC / Posted on June 29, 2017