Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, December 2018
Guided food tours provide thoughtful explanations of the authentic foods we travel so far to taste.

When I arrive in a new city, I book a private guide straightaway -- someone who can bring the architecture, history and culture to life. Lately, in the spirit of experiential sightseeing, I've been taking specialized tours that highlight unique, local experiences or historical themes. Particularly in big cities, I've found all kinds of focused tours, from guided night walks to musical pub crawls.

One of the most popular sightseeing trends is food tours, which reward travelers...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, December 2018
Ronda is the birthplace of modern bullfighting and home to a venerable bullring that dates to 1785.

When my travel dreams drift off to Spain, they often include visions of Andalucía, the southern part of the country that feels so quintessentially Spanish. With a string of whitewashed hill towns, sunny skies, vibrant festivals and tempting tapas, Andalucía is the soul of Spain -- almost stereotypically so.

Most tourists hit Andalucía's three great cities -- Granada, Córdoba and Sevilla -- or the Costa del Sol. But for something more authentic, I like...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, December 2018
To imagine you’re one of Bath’s upper crust, cruise along the Circus, stately buildings that evoke the wealth and gentility of the town’s glory days. <i>CREDIT: Cameron Hewitt, Rick Steves’ Europe.</i>

England's best city within easy striking distance of London is Bath -- just a 90-minute train ride from the city center. Bath is popular and expensive, but it's a joy to visit. And rather than deal with London's intensity right off the bat, I like to take the train from the airport to London's Paddington Station and then hop on a connection to this more relaxed and elegant example of urban England.

Bath was a joy even in ancient Roman times, when patricians...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, December 2018 -- Page 53
Do your research on the big aggregator sites, but then book directly with a family-run hotel — like this one in Prague — for a glimpse into the local culture. Photos by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

I used to travel with absolutely no hotel reservations. Europe 30 years ago was relatively ramshackle, things were cheaper and, because fewer people could afford to travel for fun, there was much less competition for budget rooms. I could make decisions on the go, show up in a new town and improvise my accommodations.

But the tourism boom and rise of the Internet have changed everything. Today, booking hotels in advance is a critical part of trip planning… and a fun way...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, November 2018
Composer Edvard Grieg retreated daily to this picture-perfect studio on a Norwegian fjord.

As a traveler, I find myself visiting the homes of lots of dead people. Some are over the top (Louis XIV's Versailles near Paris); some are haunting (Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam); others inspire you to write a poem (William Wordsworth's Dove Cottage in England's Lake District).

Many of my favorites are the home studios of artists -- painters, sculptors, composers. There's something about these special places that conjures the strange magic of creative work....

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, November 2018
The Douaumont Ossuary holds the remains of more than 130,000 unknown French and German soldiers from the WWI battle in Verdun, France.

November 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I -- "the war to end all wars," which cost an estimated 40 million lives. While there are no more survivors to tell us their stories, WWI sights and memorials scattered across Europe do their best to keep the devastation from fading from memory.

Perhaps the most powerful WWI sightseeing experience is located about 140 miles east of Paris at the battlefields of Verdun. It was here in...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, November 2018
Sampling one of Germany’s hundreds of varieties of sausage from a street vendor is a classic German experience.

Eating in Germany is a big part of the fun of traveling there. Ingredients are wonderful (especially if you eat with the season), traditions are prized, "modern German cuisine" is giving old dishes tasty and entertaining new twists, and small, creative foodie places are thriving in every city. And here's even more good news: Eating well in Germany is an amazing value -- cheaper than in France, Britain, Italy or Scandinavia.

Get...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, November 2018
The town of Varenna on Lake Como is the perfect place to savor a lakeside meal or aperitivo.

Northern Italy's seductively beautiful lakes district -- in the shadow of the Alps -- seems heaven-sent for communing with nature. Though just an hour north of Milan, this area feels a world away from the business and bustle of Italy's second city.

In this romantic region, wistful 19th-century villas are overgrown with old vines that seem to ache with stories to tell. Stunted palm trees appear to be held against their will in this northern location. And...

CONTINUE READING »