Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, October 2008 -- Page 80

The other night I found my way home, a little tipsy after an evening in the Belgian town of Bruges. I’d been at my favorite bar in town, the ’t Brugs Beertje, where not only did I get schooled in the many varieties of local beer, I learned a few things about modern-day Belgian life.

I was a bit down on Bruges after a long day of visiting every sight in town. It’s inundated with tourists, especially when a cruise ship is docked. It seems nothing there is “...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, September 2008 -- Page 70

With its membership in the European Union, many things are changing in Portugal.

Day after day, the roads there were messing up my itinerary. I’d arrive in town hours before I thought I would. I remember a time when there were absolutely no freeways in Portugal. Now the country has plenty. They build them so fast, even my Michelin map was missing new ones.

There were other signs that Portugal is well into its EU upgrade. In the past, open fish stalls lined the streets;...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, July 2008 -- Page 77

Each summer, Europe greets a stampede of sightseers and shoppers with eager cash registers. Before jumping into the peak-season pig pile, consider the advantages of an off-season trip.

Given the current weakness of our dollar overseas, the potential price savings of an off-season trip are enough to brighten a gray winter day. Airfares are often hundreds of dollars less. And with fewer crowds in Europe, you’ll sleep cheaper; many fine hotels drop their prices, and budget hotels...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, June 2008 -- Page 82
Pack light. Be happy. Photo: Steves

You’ll never meet a traveler who, after five trips, brags, “Every year I pack heavier.” The measure of a good traveler is how light he or she travels. You can’t travel heavy, happy and cheap. Pick two.

Too much luggage and camera gear marks you as a typical tourist. It throws up a wall between you and the grizzled Spanish fisherman mending his net. Serendipity suffers. Changing locations becomes a major operation. Con artists figure you’re helpless and...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, May 2008 -- Page 77

Jolly olde England and the Emerald Isle of Ireland continue to enchant and entice, even with the pound whomping the dollar nearly two to one. Here’s what to expect if you visit in 2008.

Great Britain

• The Heathrow Express train connecting LONDON’s Paddington Station with Heathrow Airport is now the most expensive rail journey per mile in Britain. Save money by riding the tube (London’s underground) or using the regular train.

• Those going...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, April 2008 -- Page 78

Travelers heading to these rewarding destinations will be greeted by a host of new museums, improved infrastructure and special events. Here’s what to expect if you visit.

Germany

• MUNICH celebrates its 850th anniversary this year with a series of cultural events (theater, cabaret, concerts, exhibitions, tours and so on), mostly on weekends in June and July.

Munich’s new Jewish Museum features a small but well-done exhibit on Jewish life, and its City...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, March 2008 -- Page 76

Bella Italia, my favorite country in Europe, is a wonderful work in progress. Here’s a look at what to expect in 2008.

TRAFFIC ZONES

• Italy is gung-ho for restricted traffic zones in its city centers. This is great for pedestrians but not for drivers, who are finding 100-dollar fines in their mail when they arrive home.

In Rome, Florence, Milan, Lucca, Siena, San Gimignano, Orvieto or Verona, if you drive in restricted areas marked by a Zona Traffico...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, February 2008 -- Page 78

No one planning a trip to Europe needs to be reminded to see Big Ben and the Leaning Tower. But it’s the unusual experiences that are often the most memorable part of a trip. Study up in advance and you can enjoy places and experiences like these.

EUROPE’S SKINNIEST PARK —Paris’ skinny, 2-mile-long Promenade Plantee park is a narrow garden walk on a viaduct no longer used for train tracks. The elevated park, which cuts through lots of modern condos, gives a...

CONTINUE READING »