Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, January 2019
Blogging, trip planning, and sending updates back home are great ways to combat loneliness while dining solo.

I've been inspired over the years by female colleagues and friends who happily and safely travel solo overseas. There are challenges, but also many rewards awaiting women who venture out on their own.

Whether it's due to concerns about loneliness or safety, many women put off their travel dreams because they don't want to do it by themselves. But traveling with the wrong person can make you feel lonelier than traveling alone. When you're solo, you're more...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, January 2019
Portree, the largest town on the Isle of Skye, is nestled deep in its protective harbor, where colorful homes look out over bobbing boats and the surrounding peninsulas.

Scotland's islands may be distant fringes, but those who venture to them are richly rewarded with dramatic landscapes, a rich heritage, and a warm welcome. Among Scotland's countless islands, the favorite among travelers is the scenic Isle of Skye, with its narrow, twisty roads winding around the island in the shadows of craggy, bald mountains, and a coastline ruffled with peninsulas and sea lochs.

Just off the northwest coast, Skye is the country's...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, January 2019
A footpath is all that connects Italy’s Civita di Bagnoregio to the “mainland.”

In my early days as a guidebook writer, Europe's undiscovered nooks and undeveloped crannies held the most appeal for me -- and they still do. But with ever more sophisticated travelers armed with enough time and money to see the Europe of their dreams, places I "discovered" a few decades ago are now suffering from Back Door congestion.

Given that, I've come to treasure even more those destinations that still have the feeling of a world...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, January 2019 -- Page 49
Porto Venere is the perfect jumping-off point for scenic boat rides along the Italian Riviera. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

When it comes to basking in the beauty of Italy's Riviera, the Cinque Terre is tops for me. But there's much more to this region on the Mediterranean coast than those famous five villages.

A handful of charming towns lie within an hour of the Cinque Terre, with posh ports set against rugged mountain backdrops that have drawn poets, authors and romantics over the years, from Lord Byron to Elizabeth Taylor.

To the north of the Cinque Terre is a trio of beach towns...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, December 2018
To imagine you’re one of Bath’s upper crust, cruise along the Circus, stately buildings that evoke the wealth and gentility of the town’s glory days. <i>CREDIT: Cameron Hewitt, Rick Steves’ Europe.</i>

England's best city within easy striking distance of London is Bath -- just a 90-minute train ride from the city center. Bath is popular and expensive, but it's a joy to visit. And rather than deal with London's intensity right off the bat, I like to take the train from the airport to London's Paddington Station and then hop on a connection to this more relaxed and elegant example of urban England.

Bath was a joy even in ancient Roman times, when patricians...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, December 2018
In France, galettes are an important part of the Epiphany celebration.

As it is in so many places, Christmas in France is all about family, friends and food. While it's generally a low-key affair marked by gatherings of relatives and treats for children, it also has the culinary high point of the year: Le Reveillon de Noel (Christmas Eve dinner).

The season officially starts on December 6 with a visit from St. Nicholas -- who arrives with a donkey carrying treat-filled baskets, a tradition still re-enacted in some villages. Over the centuries, the...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, December 2018
Palermo entertains travelers with striking architecture, vivid street life, a cosmopolitan vibe and a fun-loving energy.

One thing I enjoy about my work is getting my outdated impressions back up to date. Europe is always changing -- and recently I discovered that Sicily's capital of Palermo has become a whole new city since my last visit. It's cleaner, safer and more efficient than it was in years past. But it still retains its colorful edge -- and that's why I love it.

Over the last decade, Palermo has revitalized itself with new museums, gentrified neighborhoods,...

CONTINUE READING »
Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, December 2018
Guided food tours provide thoughtful explanations of the authentic foods we travel so far to taste.

When I arrive in a new city, I book a private guide straightaway -- someone who can bring the architecture, history and culture to life. Lately, in the spirit of experiential sightseeing, I've been taking specialized tours that highlight unique, local experiences or historical themes. Particularly in big cities, I've found all kinds of focused tours, from guided night walks to musical pub crawls.

One of the most popular sightseeing trends is food tours, which reward travelers...

CONTINUE READING »