Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, April 2019
In Vienna, the neighborhood coffeehouse down the street doubles as the locals’ “living room.”

Back in the summer of 1969, I took my first trip to Europe. My father, a piano importer, brought me to Vienna's Bosendorfer piano factory. Together, my dad and I watched the world's finest pianos being built by hand, in hundreds of meticulous steps.

Each hand-crafted piano had its own personality. And, as I played a selection of new pianos, my dad analyzed the personality of each and matched it to a client's taste back home. Witnessing and enjoying this...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, March 2019
Handmade lace in Belgium can be pricey, but it’s a characteristic, packable souvenir.

Shopping in Europe can be fun, but don't let it overwhelm your trip. I've seen half the members of a guided tour of the British Houses of Parliament skip out on the tour to survey an enticing array of plastic "bobby" hats, Big Ben briefs and Union Jack panties instead. Focus on local experiences, and don't let your trip become a glorified shopping spree.

-- As a fanatic about packing light, I used to wait until the end of my trip to...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, March 2019
Try some traditional cuisine in one of Lyon’s bouchons — simple, cozy bistros filled with character.

Straddling the mighty Rhone and Saone rivers between Burgundy and Provence, Lyon has been among France's leading cities since Roman times. With cobbled alleys, pastel Renaissance mansions, Paris-like shopping streets, evocative museums and renowned cuisine, it's relaxed, welcoming and surprisingly untouristy. Just two hours from Paris by train, Lyon makes an easy one- or two-night stopover.

Regarded by many as France's foodie...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, March 2019
The 16th-century marble fountain, on Evora’s main square, was once an important water source. Now it’s a popular hangout for young and old.

From Romans to Moors to Portuguese kings, the proud little town of Evora -- set amid the cork groves of Portugal's Alentejo region -- has a big history. Just 90 minutes east of Lisbon, Evora has impressive sights -- Roman ruins, a 12th-century cathedral, and a macabre chapel of bones -- coupled with a laid-back local scene and a hearty cuisine that makes me think of Tuscany.

From the second century B.C. to the fourth century A.D., Evora was a Roman town important for its...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, March 2019
Raphael’s School of Athens celebrates mankind’s intellectual achievements and connection to the great minds of classical Greece.

Among the many things I love about Italy is how the Renaissance can be spliced into your travels. Imagine: In Florence you can sleep in a converted 16th-century monastery that's just a block from Michelangelo's David, around the corner from Brunelleschi's famous cathedral dome, and down the street from the tombs of the great Medici art patrons -- and that's just for starters.

Before the Renaissance, Europeans spent about 1,000 years in a cultural slumber....

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, March 2019 -- Page 49
Carrying yourself with confidence is one of the keys to a successful solo travel experience. Photos by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

I've been inspired over the years by female colleagues and friends who happily and safely travel solo overseas. There are challenges but also many rewards awaiting women who venture out on their own.

Whether it's due to concerns about loneliness or safety, many women put off their travel dreams because they don't want to do it by themselves. But traveling with the wrong person can make you feel lonelier than traveling alone. When you're solo, you're more...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, February 2019
After several years of being covered in scaffolding, the Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau has returned to its romantic glory.

France has a rich history, an impressive infrastructure and a tourism industry trying valiantly to cope with its big crowds. Travelers who plan ahead enjoy big rewards.

Paris' most famous landmark, the Eiffel Tower, has a new look. A glass wall now rings its base for security reasons, with one access point at each side, meaning you can no longer wander freely under the tower. Visitors should allow an extra 30 minutes to go through screening. Also, summit...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, February 2019
Lisbon’s trolleys can get unbearably crowded, so have a plan if you want to ride one. CREDIT: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli, Rick Steves’ Europe.

Like many travelers, last spring I visited Barcelona dreaming of seeing Antoni Gaudi's breathtaking Sagrada Familia church. When I got there, the ticket office was closed, with a posted sign: "No more tickets today. Buy your ticket for another day online." Thankfully, I knew to book tickets in advance.

Along with Sagrada Familia, Spain's other sights to book ahead include the Picasso Museum, La Pedrera, Casa Batllo and ...

CONTINUE READING »