Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, April 2020
Prague’s Strahov Monastery library was a center of Baroque learning.

For me, libraries are the great equalizer. Whether you're rich or poor, powerful or not, when you walk into a library you realize how small you are compared to the wealth of human activity contained on those shelves. The grand libraries of Europe offer travelers the chance to connect with books and documents that changed the course of history -- and to bask in impressive, ornate interiors that reflect the tremendous importance of books in earlier centuries.

One of the...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, April 2020
Borough Market, one of London’s numerous food halls and markets, can be a thrifty dining spot.

London is one of Europe's most expensive cities. But with fine public transit, many free museums, affordable plays, and fun food markets and pubs, the city becomes more affordable. Here are some of my tips for savings.

TAKE THE TUBE: London's black cabs are iconic, but for the cost of one ride, you can buy an Oyster card transit pass, covering a week's worth of rides on buses and the London Underground (aka the Tube).

BUDGET SLEEPS: London is one of the few places I...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, April 2020 -- Page 45
If booking same-day tickets to Dublin’s Book of Kells, you’ll find few crowds at the side-entrance ticket kiosks. Photo by Rick Steves

Ireland is more than an “Emerald Isle.” It’s an isle filled with cultural and historic wonders and, lately, lots of tourists too. At many of its top sights, reservations are now either required or highly recommended.

In Dublin, it’s more important than ever to buy advance tickets for the most popular sights. These include Kilmainham Gaol, a museum housed in a former prison for political prisoners (visits are by guided tour only), and the Guinness Storehouse,...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, March 2020
One of Lucca’s surviving towers is the Torre Guinigi, with 227 steps leading up to a small garden of fragrant trees.

On a sunny summer evening in Lucca, Italy, I was inspired by the simple joy of watching an old man bicycling with his granddaughter atop the wide, fortified wall that once protected this proud city from its enemies -- and now seems to corral its Old World charm. Then, on rented bikes, a group of chatty tourists frolicked by. Their enthusiasm was contagious. Squinting at the energy in their smiles, surrounded by dazzling sunshine, it struck me that the sun in Italy seems to...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, March 2020
A clear view of the spectacular Matterhorn isn’t guaranteed, especially if your Zermatt visit is a quick one.

On my two previous trips to Switzerland's tiny-but-touristy Zermatt, I failed to catch a glimpse of the glorious Matterhorn mountain that draws so many to the burg at its base for a peek at the peak.

My third try was the charm, and now I have a confession: I'm in love with the Matterhorn. Now I get why this mountain town of 5,800 people is so popular.

There's just something about the Matterhorn, the most recognizable mountain on the planet. Just seeing the...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, March 2020
Built in the 12th century, the St. Benezet Bridge lasted until 1668 when a devastating flood took out most of the half-mile-long span. Tourists can pay to walk out on the bridge for a sweeping view of Avignon.

Clinging to a bend in the Rhone River in the south of France, Avignon looks and feels like it stepped out of a medieval fairy tale. While it's largely famous for its 14th-century heyday as a papal capital and its even older 12th-century bridge, Avignon has plenty to offer beyond history. Today this walled Provençal town is a youthful place full of atmospheric cafes, fun shops, and numerous hide-and-seek squares ideal for postcard-writing and people-watching.

An easy...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, March 2020
It’s easy to find Wi-Fi at cafés, transit hubs, tourist offices, and public squares throughout Europe.

When I took my first solo trip to Europe in 1973, I must have kept my parents on the edge of their seats.

The day after my high school graduation, I headed to the airport, accompanied only by a good friend, a rucksack, and a youthful sense of adventure. Throughout the months-long trip, the only way of communicating with my folks back home was through postcards, since paying for international calls was beyond my Europe-Through-the-Gutter budget. Still, I managed to send a...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, March 2020 -- Page 47
Canterbury Cathedral, a masterpiece of English Gothic architecture, will soon have a new welcome center. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

Britain, while engulfed in Brexit politics, is constantly investing in first-class projects to share its heritage, and, in so many ways, Britain’s heritage is linked to our heritage.

While many travelers are understandably curious about how Brexit is affecting tourists, from my experience it isn’t. The only impact I’ve found is that the tourism industry seems to respect visitors more than ever. (And, for those who like to talk politics, the topic is a fascinating...

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