Do it yourself or Tour Operator? The story of a tour in Alba

The story of an Alba Tour: I wanted to write this article because it happens, less and less frequently to be honest, that someone wonders what the organization of a tour is for. And especially in the case of short tours, it is believed that DIY is basically the best solution.

Two cases in the past few days that I want to tell you about: Maria and Giovanna (fictitious names). Two couples. Maria wrote a couple of months ago and told me that she was passing through Milan for a long weekend (arriving on Friday afternoon and leaving on Monday morning) and that she would like to have a taste of the Langhe. She was worried that the days would be too few and that, with the slow philosophy, it would be difficult to organize such a weekend. She did so through a request for a personalized tour.

In the same days, Giovanna, a family friend of my grandparents, wrote saying more or less the same thing. But emphasizing that she was going to make her own way to Alba and that she would just appreciate a little tour with someone from the family. So much for understanding the Langhe (!)

I’ve arranged the following weekend for Mary:


  • Driver at the airport waiting for Mary
  • Arrived in Alba in a nice b&b. Central, so you have Alba within walking distance. Structure selected and controlled SlowDays
  • Dinner booked in a restaurant with typical Piedmontese cuisine



  • (after breakfast) The guide will take you for a walk in the Barbaresco and Roero areas.
  • Lunch with tasting in the Roero area
  • In the cellar to discover the bubbles of the upper Langa
  • Free dinner (we can book or you can let your instinct guide you!)


  • A driver from Alba to the airport


What happened to Joan in the meantime?

Arrived in Milan at 4.30 pm. She had booked a hotel near Malpensa because it was not easy to reach the last train to Alba in time.

Saturday morning, after breakfast, she returned from the hotel to the airport to take the train that would take her to Milano Centrale. Then from Milano Centrale to Turin and then to Alba. She arrived at 4.53 p.m.

Canceled the two tastings she had booked and already paid for on Saturday.

Dinner in a trattoria in Alba

When she arrived in Alba she understood that it is not so easy to get around by public transport and so she had to choose between a taxi or asking one of our family members to accompany her to the two cellars she had booked.

She chose the second option because the first one was not easy to organize on the spot.

Dinner in a trattoria in Alba

On Monday morning, she departed on the 7 a.m. train to Malpensa by 1 p.m., the time of her return flight.

That’s not a criticism of doing it yourself at all…

It often happens that my holidays are like this. Three or four days, in a city, wandering around, aimlessly, discovering what the next road has in store for me.

But if I want to know something, to understand a city or an area, I choose to let myself be guided. And I always choose local guides.

In Joan’s case, the problem was to underestimate the transport time. To think that to go from Alba to Barolo there was comfortable transport. That the cellars could be reached without major problems…

The cost? Maybe Joan didn’t make a big deal out of it. Between taxi, night by the airport, tasting booked, paid, and canceled. And lost time between trains, stations, and wrong connections.

And so I’m going to make people read this article who ask me if a short tour is justified to organize it through a specialist in the area!

Meanwhile, if you want to get an idea of what you could do in our area, take a look at these tours!


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