Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, March 2020
One of Lucca’s surviving towers is the Torre Guinigi, with 227 steps leading up to a small garden of fragrant trees.

On a sunny summer evening in Lucca, Italy, I was inspired by the simple joy of watching an old man bicycling with his granddaughter atop the wide, fortified wall that once protected this proud city from its enemies -- and now seems to corral its Old World charm. Then, on rented bikes, a group of chatty tourists frolicked by. Their enthusiasm was contagious. Squinting at the energy in their smiles, surrounded by dazzling sunshine, it struck me that the sun in Italy seems to...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, March 2020
A clear view of the spectacular Matterhorn isn’t guaranteed, especially if your Zermatt visit is a quick one.

On my two previous trips to Switzerland's tiny-but-touristy Zermatt, I failed to catch a glimpse of the glorious Matterhorn mountain that draws so many to the burg at its base for a peek at the peak.

My third try was the charm, and now I have a confession: I'm in love with the Matterhorn. Now I get why this mountain town of 5,800 people is so popular.

There's just something about the Matterhorn, the most recognizable mountain on the planet. Just seeing the...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, March 2020 -- Page 47
Canterbury Cathedral, a masterpiece of English Gothic architecture, will soon have a new welcome center. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

Britain, while engulfed in Brexit politics, is constantly investing in first-class projects to share its heritage, and, in so many ways, Britain’s heritage is linked to our heritage.

While many travelers are understandably curious about how Brexit is affecting tourists, from my experience it isn’t. The only impact I’ve found is that the tourism industry seems to respect visitors more than ever. (And, for those who like to talk politics, the topic is a fascinating...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, February 2020
A jubilant pilgrim on Spain’s Camino de Santiago marks the end of her journey in front of the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

To travel as a pilgrim is to experience "travel with a purpose"--to go beyond tourism and connect more deeply with a place, a culture, or a faith. Travelers considering pilgrimages in Europe have the opportunity to follow centuries-old routes or trace new paths in a search for perspective on their own culture -- or the culture of others.

"The Camino de Santiago -- the "Way of St. James" -- is Europe's ultimate pilgrimage route. Since the Middle Ages,...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, February 2020
If booking same-day tickets to Dublin’s Book of Kells, you’ll find few crowds at the side-entrance ticket kiosks.

Ireland is more than an "Emerald Isle." It's an isle filled with cultural and historic wonders...and lately with lots of tourists, too. And at many of its top sights, reservations are now either required or highly recommended.

In Dublin, it's more important than ever to buy advance tickets for the most popular sights. These include Kilmainham Gaol, a museum housed in a former prison for political prisoners (visits are by guided tour only), and the Guinness...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, February 2020
Canterbury Cathedral, a masterpiece of English Gothic architecture, will soon have a new welcome center.

Britain, while engulfed in Brexit politics, is constantly investing in first-class projects to share its heritage -- and, in so many ways, Britain's heritage is linked to our heritage.

While many travelers are understandably curious about how Brexit is affecting tourists, from my experience it isn't. The only impact I've found is that the tourism industry seems to respect visitors more than ever. (And, for those who like to talk politics, the topic is a fascinating...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, February 2020
Consider skipping the Colosseum’s crowded interior and just enjoying it from the outside.

Rome is nicknamed "The Eternal City" and nowadays it could also be referring to the lines you'll wait in. The city (along with Naples) is better organized than ever for the huge crowds that descend on it each year -- but only for those who equip themselves with good information and use it. These tips may be wonky, but for smart travelers in 2020, they will translate into many precious hours saved -- and lots of sweat avoided.

Rome's big sights continue...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, January 2020
In London, the courtyard at Somerset House transforms into an ice-skating rink every year from mid-November to January.

For scenes straight out of a box of old-fashioned Christmas cards, head to England. Many classic Christmas trappings, from caroling to mince pie and wassail, have been part of English tradition for centuries.

Other holiday customs have their roots in the 19th century. Queen Victoria's German husband, Prince Albert, popularized the decorating of Christmas trees and the sending of Christmas cards. Around the same time, Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol --...

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