Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, August 2010 -- Page 59

Many travelers tramp through Europe like they’re visiting the cultural zoo. “Ooh, that guy in lederhosen yodeled! Excuse me, could you do that again so I can take a picture?”

When I’m in Europe, I become the best German or Spaniard or Italian I can be. I consume wine in France, beer in Germany and small breakfasts in Italy. While I never drink tea at home, after a long day of sightseeing in England “a spot of tea” really does feel right. So on your...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, June 2010 -- Page 57
Smart travelers now can book online to visit the Vatican Museum. Photo: Dominic Bonuccelli

One reason why Italy is so much fun is that it just keeps changing. Here are a few new developments that will be handy for you to know if you’ll be visiting the land of “la dolce vita.”

• Rome may be the “Eternal City,” but that doesn’t mean it has stopped evolving. The Vatican Museum, starring the Sistine Chapel, now has an online reservation system that’s a godsend; visit http://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va.

If you’re...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, April 2010 -- Page 63
Look for local crafts like intricate Belgian lace when shopping for souvenirs in Europe. Photo: Steves

Shopping in Europe can be fun, but not if you let it overwhelm your trip. I like to shop smart, spending my time — and money — efficiently. Based on three decades of travel, here are my top tips for shopping in Europe.

Shop in countries where your dollar goes further. Shop in Turkey, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Eastern Europe, where the dollar is relatively strong. For the price of a doily in Britain, you can get a lace tablecloth in Spain.

Shop at flea...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, March 2010 -- Page 68

While most first-time visitors to Europe choo-choose to travel by train, consider the convenience of driving. Behind the wheel you’re totally free, going where you want, when you want.

Driving in the British Isles is wonderful — once you remember to stay on the left and after you’ve mastered the roundabouts. But be warned: every year I get some e-mails from travelers advising me that, for them, trying to drive in Great Britain and Ireland was a nerve-wracking and...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, January 2010 -- Page 68

Eating and drinking in Europe is sightseeing for your taste buds. Every country has local specialties that are good, memorable or both. Here are many of the fun experiences that stick in my mind after 30 years of travel. Seek out any of these on your next trip.

• In the Netherlands, try a rijsttafel (rice table), the ultimate Indonesian meal, with as many as 36 delightfully exotic courses, all eaten with rice. One meal is plenty for two, so order carefully.

An even more...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, December 2009 -- Page 65

Wearing a green T-shirt under a blue work shirt, I was about to depart for Europe. At my farewell breakfast — one last eggs-any-style — my stylish, college-aged daughter said to me, “You look like a scrub. Okay if you’re painting a house.”

Whether I’m a scrub or not, my bag is light. As compartmentalized as a TV dinner, it includes a folding board with four shirts and an extra pair of pants; bags for small garments, such as underwear and five pairs...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, November 2009 -- Page 63
Don't confuse the 2 euro coin (left, value $3) with the old 500-lira coin (right, value $0).

• Gelato in hand, you’re strolling down a street in Italy when suddenly an attractive woman starts arguing with a street vendor. A crowd gathers as he accuses her of shoplifting. To prove her innocence, she starts to strip. Once she’s down to her underwear, the vendor apologizes, the woman leaves and the onlookers disappear… and so have their wallets, thanks to a team of pickpockets working the show.

This is just one of the new, inventive ways that European...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, October 2009 -- Page 67
The best way to nickel-and-dime banks and credit card companies is to pay for as much as possible in cash.

On my last trip to Europe, I didn’t take my usual $200 cash reserve. With just a few bucks in my wallet, I landed in Madrid, relying entirely on two ATM cards and no cash safety net. It turned out okay.

At the airport, I withdrew some euros from an ATM and tucked the bills into my money belt. After decades of traveling to Europe, I have found that the cheapest, safest way to go is to pay with cash for most items and withdraw money as I zip from one place to the next. The reason...

CONTINUE READING »