Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, May 2017 -- Page 53
A visitor admires Lorenzo Ghiberti’s “Gates of Paradise” in Florence’s newly refurbished Duomo Museum. Photo by Rick Steves

ITALY, with more culture, crowds and chaos per square kilometer than anywhere else in Europe, is most enjoyable when you're up to date on its sightseeing and infrastructure news.

• As in other European cities, Florence is beefing up security these days. Visiting some major museums — such as the Accademia (with Michelangelo’s “David”), Uffizi and Bargello — will require a little extra time and patience as metal detectors and x-ray machines for...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, April 2017 -- Page 56
With the burgeoning HafenCity district and its spectacular new Elbphilharmonie concert hall, Hamburg’s riverfront is being revitalized. Photo by Rick Steves

What’s new in Germany, Spain and Portugal

There’s plenty going on in GERMANY in 2017.

• The big news is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation began in 1517 when Martin Luther, a priest and professor of theology, wrote and published his 95 theses, questioning the corrupt ways of the Catholic Church. Throughout Germany, visitors will find events and exhibits honoring this anniversary, highlighted by three special exhibitions running...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, March 2017 -- Page 52
Michelangelo’s “David” stands with the newfound confidence of Renaissance man. Photo by Rick Steves

Stories behind great European art

The “Mona Lisa,” the Colosseum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Michelangelo’s “David” — Europe’s cultural treasures are world-class, including some of the most beautiful and enduring objects humans have created. But, let’s face it, too many museums can ruin a perfectly good vacation. For some, Notre-Dame’s vast interior can be a yawning bore, and the Vatican Museums on a busy day can make anyone a Roman...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, February 2017 -- Page 55
Locals are eager to share their culture with an approachable traveler, such as at this “meet-up” dinner in Nice, France. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

I’ve talked to too many people who put off their travel dreams just because they haven’t found a travel partner. The prospect of going alone sounds either too daunting or just not all that fun. 

But traveling on your own can be rewarding, vivid and exhilarating — a gift from you to you. Prepared with a positive attitude and solid information, you’ll thrive in Europe. And you’ll come home stronger and more confident than ever before.

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, January 2017 -- Page 53
It’s easier to get an outdoor table in Paris during the off-season. You can linger over a café au lait by a toasty outdoor heater and watch the world go by. Photo by Laura VanDeventer

Every summer, Europe greets a stampede of sightseers. Instead of jumping into the peak-season pig pile, consider planning a trip for the off-season, generally November through March. Here are some things to know when planning a winter trip.

IT’S CHEAPER — Off-season airfares are often hundreds of dollars cheaper. 

With fewer crowds in Europe, you may find you can sleep for less. Many fine hotels drop their prices, and budget hotels have plenty of vacancies....

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, December 2016 -- Page 55
Whether it’s getting from the train station to your hotel or finding a taxi stand outside a subway station, in Europe you’ll probably walk with your bag much more than you think you will. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

Top tips for traveling light

Sometimes I wonder why I lug my bag through airports, following my own recommendation to pack light enough to carry it on. It can be a drag, dragging your bag through airports.

But, once in a while, I’m reminded of the joy of having everything with you, like the time I avoided a long layover by hopping on an earlier flight from Copenhagen to Bergen. After getting to my hotel two hours before planned, I enjoyed a jumpstart on my Norway time...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, November 2016 -- Page 53
The best way to meet locals in Britain is to cozy up to them at the bar. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

Once, while riding the train into Dresden, Germany, I got off where most other passengers did, at Dresden Neustadt. After 20 minutes of walking in a confused fog, my denial that I had gotten off at the wrong station slowly faded. Embarrassed by my mistake, I hopped on the next train. Five minutes later, I got off at Dresden Mitte. As I stepped outside the station, it slowly sunk in: I had made the same mistake. Another train came. I got on and finally made it to Dresden Hauptbahnhof, a...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, October 2016 -- Page 53

In Britain, the kids are all right

Imagine being a kid forced to spend a big part of your summer vacation with robo-tourist Rick Steves (alias Dad). My kids, Jackie and Andy, did that a lot when they were young. I always considered it a great education for them, but they also had a lot of fun. 

One of their favorite destinations, Great Britain, enthralled them with colorful pageantry and evocative historical sights. Here’s what impressed them the most.

...

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