Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, December 2019
The picture-perfect setting of the Cinque Terre villages (in this case, Riomaggiore) draws millions of tourists annually.

When I first came to the Cinque Terre, then an isolated stretch of the Italian Riviera south of Genoa, it was a classic "back door": a string of five pastel-hued hamlets, gently and steadily carving a good life out of difficult seaside terrain. It was authentic, romantic, and without a tourist in sight. Fast-forward several decades ... and the once-sleepy villages are now on Instagram bucket lists and mobbed in high season by organized tours and cruise-ship excursions.

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, December 2019 -- Page 47
Coimbra University’s King João's Library, in Portugal, has a spectacular ceiling and is one of Europe’s best surviving Baroque libraries. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

When touring any city, it’s fun to drop in on the local university. But in Europe, universities can be essential sightseeing, as some are home to great architectural, artistic and cultural treasures.

• One of Europe’s top university sights is the Book of Kells, tucked away in the library of the venerable Trinity College in DUBLIN. This famous illuminated manuscript is a 1,200-year-old version of the four Gospels, elaborately inked and meticulously illustrated by...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, November 2019
The church inside Tomar's Convento de Cristo, designed at the height of Portugal's sea power, is covered with elaborate motifs.

With a rich culture, friendly people, affordable prices, and a salty setting on the edge of Europe, Portugal understandably makes a rewarding destination for travelers. Bustling Lisbon and the sunny Algarve coast are well known to tourists (for good reason), but quieter places also offer tantalizing tastes of Portuguese flavor.

About 90 miles northeast of Lisbon, just east of the pilgrimage site of Fátima, is lushly green Tomar -- a quaint town of about...

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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.

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, November 2019
St. Michael's Gate in Bratislava's old town is the last surviving tower of the city wall.

Strung along the Danube River, three capital cities -- Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest -- make up a triangle of enjoyable urbanity at the heart of central Europe. Each of these capital cities shares a common Habsburg history, and thanks to their proximity -- only one or two hours apart by train -- combining all three into one trip is a breeze.

Vienna ranks at the top of my list of elegant European cities. Once the capital of the mighty Habsburg...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, November 2019
The Capuchin Crypt in Palermo, Sicily, displays mummified bodies - complete with clothing intended to remind the living that life is temporary.

With Halloween and All Souls' Day approaching, I'd like to spook you with some of my favorite European cemeteries and crypts. Over the years, I've popped into a lot of burial grounds -- some peaceful and scenic, some eerie and evocative -- with all revealing compelling stories of the past. Some high-profile places -- such as the catacombs in Rome or Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris -- get a lot of press, so I've listed some...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, November 2019
Florence offers plenty of engaging cooking classes. After cooking your meal, you'll get to feast on your fresh creations.

Sampling Italian cuisine is sightseeing for your palate. The tour plan: Start with fresh ingredients and talented cooks, mix in a city's personality, and add a happy dining crowd. Experiencing Italy's cafés, cuisine, and wines is a joy, and in the heart of Tuscany, Florence offers a particularly satisfying spread.

Tuscan cuisine is hearty and simple farmer's food: grilled meats, high-quality seasonal vegetables, fresh herbs, prized olive oil, and...

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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.

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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