Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, June 2018
The massive New Palace is the showpiece of the many palaces within Potsdam’s vast royal park.

Berliners joke that they don't need to travel anywhere because their city's always changing. While you could spend weeks in Berlin and not run out of things to do, even the natives like to get out of town once in a while. Recently I tried out three easy day trips from the German capital.

First I spent half a day at Frederick the Great's opulent palace playground at Potsdam. Next, for a small-town experience that packs a huge historical wallop, I headed...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, June 2018 -- Page 51
In the tangle of downtown Rome, convents can provide a restful oasis for weary travelers. Photos by Rick Steves

Once, while traveling in the ’70s, the youth hostel where I had planned to stay was full, and the staff directed me to a nearby convent instead. As I walked there, I wondered if I was signing myself up for draconian curfews, spartan accommodations and Mass at dawn.

Without funds for much else, I was resigned. But I shouldn’t have worried; it turned out to be a beautiful experience, warmly welcoming and deeply restful. Yes, it was austere compared to any local hotel...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, May 2018
The enormous Vasa, decorated with hundreds of wooden statues, was designed to show the power of Sweden’s king. The top-heavy ship sank on its maiden voyage.

Scandinavia's Viking days may be long gone, but its legacy of maritime exploration (and plunder) continues to capture our imagination. Tap into the region's seafaring heritage by visiting excellent museums in Stockholm, Oslo, and just outside Copenhagen.

Scandinavia's entrance into civilized Europe was swift and dramatic. On June 8, 793, a fleet of pirates came ashore on the northeast coast of England and sacked the Lindisfarne...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, May 2018
The interior of Strasbourg’s cathedral includes an elaborately carved stone pulpit from the 1400s (lower right) and an exquisite gold-leafed organ (upper right).

Nestled on the Rhine across the border from Germany, Strasbourg offers your best chance to experience the urban side of France's Alsace region. Each time I walk its people-friendly streets, I'm struck by how progressive and livable the city feels, with generous space devoted to pedestrians and bikes, sleek trams and meandering waterways. With delightful big-city energy and a name that means the "city of streets," Strasbourg is the ultimate crossroads.

While the city...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, May 2018
At the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, artifacts recall the games’ ancient Greek beginnings.

In the southwest corner of Switzerland, Lake Geneva separates France and Switzerland with a serene beauty. A collage of castles, museums, resort towns and vineyards, this region merits a few days of exploration, though you can get a swift overview of its highlights even in a day.

Last summer I took time to relax and enjoy the tranquil and elegant city of Lausanne (the area's best home base). With a characteristic old town, towering cathedral and delightful lakeside promenade, it...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, May 2018
European emigrants crowd a dock in Antwerp, Belgium, before boarding a Red Star Line ship for New York.

Every year millions of Americans visit Ellis Island, where their ancestors may have arrived from "the old country." But Europehas many excellent "Ellis Islands in reverse" -- museums at the places where millions said goodbye to the land of their birth.

Is there anything more poignant than a person willing to sacrifice everything in pursuit of a better life? That's the story of many hard-scrabble Europeans heading off to dreamed-of opportunities in far...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, April 2018
At Jugendherberge Stahleck, one of Europe’s most scenic hostels, travelers sleep in a medieval German castle and enjoy a royal view of the Rhine River.

Many travelers wonder: "Youth hosteling ... can we still do that?" You can: Many hostels are filled with travelers well past their 20s -- and age cutoffs are generally a thing of the past. Even the International Youth Hostel Federation has removed the word "youth" from its name and is now known as Hostelling International (HI). If you're alive, you're young enough to hostel.

Of course, hosteling originated as a way for young...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, April 2018
Iceland’s easy stopovers and dramatic scenery — like the geothermal field that’s home to Geysir on the Golden Circle — have quadrupled the number of tourists to the island since 2010.

With striking glaciers, craggy peaks and steamy geysers, Iceland appeals to the curious and the adventurous. In recent years, this remote and cold island-nation has vaulted from out-of-the-way backwater to can't-miss destination. Tourism is booming.

Part of the recent travel surge is convenience, of a sort. Nowadays, many Americans are dropping in to Iceland on their way to or from Europe. Both Icelandair and Wow Air typically allow a...

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