Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, November 2019
Normandy’s little lanes, cute stone houses, and lush greenery are irresistible. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

Picture this: Half-timbered towns with tall cathedral spires, thatched-roof cottages dotted among green rolling hills, fat happy cows, and drifts of gnarled apple trees. This is the beguiling Normandy coast of France.

Strategically positioned across from England, Normandy is the closest coastline to Paris. That prime location may attract urban beachgoers, but it also explains why this welcoming corner of France has seen more than its share of war.

In the ninth...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, October 2019
A cruise ship offers memorably fantastic views of the classic whitewashed villages of Santorini. Photo by Cameron Hewitt

I've spent the last several decades exploring Europe from every conceivable angle. And this includes checking out Europe the way millions of people do -- from a cruise ship.

I'm not out to promote or put down cruising. For some people it's a great choice, and for others it's not. On the plus side, cruising can be economical, with transportation, a room, and meals all included in one price. It can be ideal for those who want their vacation logistics...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, October 2019
The island of Grinda holds nostalgia for many Stockholmers, who fondly recall when this was a summer camp island. And it retains that vibe today. Photo by Rick Steves

Stockholm is a highlight of any Scandinavian vacation, but don't discount the variety of fine day trips at the city's doorstep. Within an hour or so of the Swedish capital, you can bask in the opulence of a royal palace, swing through the home and garden of Sweden's greatest sculptor, see ancient rune stones in the country's oldest town, hang with students in a stately university city or island-hop through Stockholm's archipelago.

West of...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, October 2019
To reserve a tee time at the scenic Old Course of the St. Andrews Links, you’ll need to book a year ahead — and pay a pretty penny. Photo by Cameron Hewitt

Tiny St. Andrews has a huge reputation, known around the world as the birthplace and royal seat of golf. The chance to play on the world's oldest course -- or at least take in the iconic view of its 18th hole -- keeps the town perennially popular among golfing pilgrims. But any visitor to Scotland should consider at least a short stop in this scenic, intriguingly historic university town.

Located about a one-and-a-half-hour drive north of Edinburgh, and dramatically...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, October 2019
At the Reichstag in Berlin, visitors are treated to endless vistas as they spiral up the 80-foot-high glass dome. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

From church domes to bell towers, fanciful rooftops to sky-piercing monuments, Europe is full of climbable structures. While most lead to impressive views, the best also offer insights into the historical, artistic, and religious thinking of their times.

In Milan, a highlight is strolling the rooftop of the Duomo -- the city's cathedral and the third-largest church in Europe. After taking the stairs or elevator to the top, visitors can climb up and down the...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, October 2019 -- Page 43
Travelers can hop on and off Germany’s sleek InterCity Express trains easily with either a Eurail Global Pass or a German Rail Pass. Photo by Rick Steves

Once an economical and easy way to allow travel around Europe, railpasses over the years had become more of a headache-inducing puzzle. But in 2019, Europe’s railpasses underwent some sweeping changes that have made them an affordable option again and much less confusing to shop for, making me nostalgic for their glory days.

As of this year, “Select Passes” — where you could mix and match countries as you liked to suit your itinerary — are gone. Now, for...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, September 2019
A walk along Dublin’s O’Connell Street median is filled with history, though the 400-foot spike in the center — called The Spire — is a memorial to nothing. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

A walk through the heart of north Dublin recalls Ireland's long fight for independence, and makes a fine introduction to the historical lay of the land.

Start at the O'Connell Bridge, which spans the River Liffey. The river has long divided the wealthy south side of town from the working-class north side. From the bridge, you can see modern Dublin evolving: A forest of cranes marks building sites all over town.

Leading from the bridge...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, September 2019
According to tradition, the colors of these Maltese fishing boats represent a fisherman’s home village. Photo by Gretchen Strauch

Sailing into the stony harbor of the island of Malta, surrounded by ramparts and turrets, you realize that this strategic and much fought-over rock midway between Sicily and Africa has had a long and difficult history. But its parade of foreign rulers (Phoenician, Roman, Greek, Arab, Norman, Sicilian and British -- to name a few) make it a fascinating place to explore today.

The imposing capital city of Valletta is a monument to this hard-fought past...

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