Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, May 2015 -- Page 0

Intriguing Dresden, Germany, winds up on far fewer American itineraries than it deserves to. Don't make that mistake. Since its horrific firebombing in World War II, the city has transitioned to a thriving cultural center that's well worth a visit. Even with only a day to spare, Dresden is a doable side trip from bigger attractions like Berlin or Prague.

The burg surprises visitors with fanciful Baroque architecture in a delightful-to-stroll cityscape, a...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, May 2015 -- Page 0

St. Petersburg continually amazes me. Once a swamp, then an imperial capital, and now a showpiece of long-ago aristocratic opulence, St. Petersburg isRussia's most accessible and tourist-worthy city.

During the Soviet era, the city was drab and called Leningrad. Its striking beauty today is all the more remarkable given that this place was devastated by a 900-day Nazi siege during World War II.

As if turning the clock back to its glory days, the...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, April 2015 -- Page 0

Uppsala, Sweden's fourth-largest city, is the best side-trip from Stockholm -- just under an hour away by train. This happy town is Sweden's answer to Oxford, offering stately university facilities and museums, the home and garden of botanist Carl Linnaeus, as well as a grand cathedral and the enigmatic burial mounds of Gamla Uppsala on the town's outskirts.

Almost all the sights are in the compact city center, dominated by one of Scandinavia...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, April 2015 -- Page 0

European train travel is easier and better than ever, thanks to faster trains, new routes, and additional amenities to keep you comfortable and entertained on the journey. For me, there's nothing better than stretching out in a quiet car, blitzing through the European countryside, with hours of uninterrupted time to think and write.

Recently I spent seven hours on one of Europe's luxurious bullet trains. At 12:14 p.m., I settled into my seat, and at 12:16 p.m...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, April 2015 -- Page 0

Whether you're a serious athlete or a weekend warrior, those who like to keep their heart pumping while sightseeing have plenty of great options in Europe. From scenic jogs through Stockholm to paddling a boat in Hyde Park to biking through bustling Amsterdam, active travel can be better travel.

Biking not only provides a workout; it's an efficient way to get around. On a well-fitted rental bike, I feel local, efficient, and even smug --...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, April 2015 -- Page 0

A couple of hours north of Lisbon, Coimbra is the Oxford or Cambridge of Portugal -- the home of its most venerable university. It's also the country's easiest-to-enjoy city -- a mini-Lisbon, with everything good about urban Portugal without the intensity of a big metropolis. I couldn't design a more delightful city for a visit.

One of the best activities in Coimbra is wandering the inviting, Arab-flavored old town -- a maze of narrow streets,...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, April 2015 -- Page 0

If you want to eat like a local -- enjoying tasty local specialties economically -- picnic. While I'm the first to admit that restaurant meals are an important aspect of any culture, in Europe I picnic almost daily. This is not solely for budgetary reasons. It's fun to dive into a marketplace and deal with locals in the corner grocery or market. And Europeans are great picnickers. Many picnics become potlucks, resulting in new friends, as well as full stomachs.

To busy...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, April 2015 -- Page 0

April marks the 10th anniversary of the death of John Paul II, one of the most beloved popes of recent times. During his papacy, from 1978 to 2005, he was the highly visible face of the Catholic Churchas it labored to stay relevant in an increasingly secular world. Today, he is commemorated in statues and paintings throughout the great churches of Europe, from the Cathedral of Sevilla to the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua. When I'm visiting Europe, I...

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