Rick Steves advocates smart independent travel. As host, writer and producer of the popular public television series Rick Steves' Europe, ...
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March 4, 2014
France's bustling, modern Reims greets travelers with cellar doors wide open. As the capital of the Champagne region, it features a lively center, a historic cathedral, and, of course, Champagne tasting. And thanks to France's slick, high-speed rail, it's just 45 minutes from Paris -- making it an easy day trip.
February 25, 2014
Rome is a showcase of Western civilization, layered with elements of the city's 2,000-year-old history. Among the traffic-choked 20th-century boulevards, you'll find marble ruins of ancient times, early Christian churches, grand Renaissance buildings and statues, and a wealth of Europe's most sumptuous, inspiring sights -- its Baroque treasures.
February 18, 2014
Lately, I've really been enjoying what I consider to be the "second cities" of Europe, such as Naples in Italy, Marseille in France and Hamburg in Germany. These places often have a rough, Industrial Age heritage and a rust-belt vibe that keeps them honest, unvarnished and nonconformist. Even though Glasgow is Scotland's largest and most populated city, I consider it to be that country's second city behind Edinburgh, which wins first place for its capital status and tourism appeal.
February 11, 2014
Sometimes I wonder why I lug my bag through airports, following my own recommendation to pack light enough to carry on and avoid checking any bags on international flights. It can be a drag, dragging your bag through airports. But when scrambling with last-minute changes in flight plans, those without checked bags are far more nimble. Over the years I've learned some tricks on dealing with European airports. Here are a few of them:
February 4, 2014
The last time I visited St. Petersburg, in the 1990s, the Russian city was gray and depressing. But during a recent visit, I found a town that sparkles.
January 28, 2014
While Germany sits in the driver's seat of Europe's economy, it doesn't take a cultural backseat either. Here are a few of the latest developments:
January 21, 2014
For travelers, Great Britain is a work in progress, richly rewarding those who visit with up-to-date information. Here are a few important changes to be aware of for 2014.
January 14, 2014
France is always working to show off its rich heritage in innovative ways. You'll see some impressive changes this year.
January 7, 2014
Even when it's hot, crowded, or on strike, Italy is lots of fun. More than any other Western European country, though, travelers to Italy need up-to-date information to travel smart, saving both time and money. Here are a few updates to help you make the most of Italy in 2014:
December 31, 2013
Walking through the Hebron market, I dodged the head of a camel dangling from a chain. I love traveling through the Palestinian Territories. It's filled with vivid memories and startling moments. I had no idea the people of Hebron had a taste for camel. But I was told that people here appreciate a nice fresh camel steak because of their Bedouin heritage. And the butcher shops seem to follow that Bedouin tradition: They butcher whatever they have to sell and it hangs on their front porch until it's all gone.
December 24, 2013
This is the third article in a four-part series on Rick's recent trip to the Holy Land.
December 17, 2013
For years, my travels have caused me to think about organized religion. (When I got my history degree in college, one of my favorite classes was "History of the Christian Church.") And for years, I've believed that those who enjoy getting close to God should pack their spirituality along with them in their travels.
December 10, 2013
Before Columbus, many maps of the world showed Jerusalem as the center of the world. Jerusalem -- holy, treasured, and long fought over by the three great monotheistic religions -- has been destroyed and rebuilt more than a dozen times. Its fabled old-town walls corral a tangle of colorful holy sites, and more than 30,000 residents -- most with a deep-seated reason to live so close to such hallowed ground.
December 3, 2013
When parents tell me they're going to Europe and ask me where to take their kids, I'm sometimes tempted to answer, "To Grandma and Grandpa's on your way to the airport."
November 26, 2013
With each trip I take, I make it a point to bring home cultural souvenirs -- gold nuggets of experiences I'll remember all my life. Whether it's sitting and talking with a Muslim at the Great Mosque of Granada in Spain, waving a flag at an Irish hurling match, or getting naked with Germans at a spa in Baden-Baden, it's experiences like these that give each trip that extra sparkle.
November 19, 2013
They say that for every church in Rome, there's a bank in Milan. The economic success of postwar Italy can be attributed, at least in part, to this city of bankers, publicists and pasta power-lunchers.
November 12, 2013
We have New York, but England has old York, one of the country's top tourist destinations outside of London. The town offers a captivating tour of historic sites mixed with an easygoing pedestrian ambience — all lassoed within its formidable medieval wall.
November 5, 2013
These days "budget European travel" includes point-to-point flights within Europe. When I started traveling, no one spending their own money bought one-way air tickets within Europe. It was prohibitively expensive. Nowadays, before buying any long-distance train or bus ticket, I look into flying, and routinely, it's cheaper to fly than to make the trip on the ground — especially when you consider all the advantages of flying.
October 29, 2013
Iceland is trendy these days. Its powerful loneliness and mighty features can be ideal for exotic film locations — so parts of "Game of Thrones," "Batman Begins," "Prometheus," and the upcoming "Noah" were filmed here. Some of my readers have been nagging me to add it to our guidebooks and tours. But until this summer, I'd never visited.
October 22, 2013
Seville, the capital of Spain's southern Andalucia region, is as soulful a place as I've ever been. It's a wonderful-to-be-alive kind of town, buzzing with festivals, heat, color, guitars and castanets.
October 8, 2013
Orvieto is one of the most striking, memorable and enjoyable hill towns in central Italy. Less than 90 minutes from Rome, Orvieto sits majestically high above the valley floor atop a big chunk of "tufo" volcanic stone, overlooking cypress-dotted Umbrian plains. A visit here will reward you with a delightful, perfectly preserved and virtually traffic-free world highlighted by a colorful-inside-and-out cathedral and some of Italy's best wine.