Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, March 2018 -- Page 54
Oslo’s redeveloped waterfront includes a 5-mile-long promenade and stunning architecture. Photo by Cameron Hewitt

Anyone traveling in Scandinavia this year will find a region that’s investing productively in itself. Numerous urban, cultural and transit projects are underway, continuing the Scandinavian devotion to quality of life for residents and visitors alike. Here are some newsworthy notes to keep in mind as you travel in the region in 2018.

• In DENMARK’s capital city, a massive subway project is creating havoc aboveground, but when completed in 2019, a new circular...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, January 2018
Hiking is a relaxing way to experience the Cinque Terre.

Italy bubbles with emotion, corruption, traffic jams, strikes, religious holidays and crowds. Irate ranters shake their fists at each other one minute and walk arm-in-arm the next. It's bella chaos, and if you're up-to-date on your sightseeing and transit info, you'll love it. Here's the latest, gleaned from research done for the 2018 edition of my Italy guidebook, to help you enjoy Europe's richest, craziest culture.

Rome has been improving its tourist infrastructure and...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, January 2018 -- Page 53
A money belt tucked underneath your clothes keeps your essentials on you as securely as your underwear. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

I don’t give much thought to petty crime when I travel abroad. I’m well aware that it happens; I’ve been preaching about the importance of wearing a money belt for decades. And for decades — probably about a total of 4,000 days of travel — I’ve never been hit by a thief. Well, my happy streak finally ended. I was pickpocketed in Paris last summer.

It was my own fault. I wasn’t wearing my money belt — a small pouch worn at the...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, December 2017
Dublin musicians perform during a musical pub crawl — a fun primer to traditional Irish music.

As the capital of the country that gets my vote for the friendliest in the European Union, Dublin is a sightseer's delight: It's safe, thriving and extremely accessible. Dubliners are energetic and helpful, and visitors enjoy a big-town cultural scene wrapped up in a small-town smile.

Part of the reason Ireland is one of my favorite destinations is that when visiting the Emerald Isle, I enjoy the sensation that I'm understanding a foreign language. This is the land of great...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, December 2017
The sun sets over Hamburg’s huge port, one of Europe’s busiest, which accommodates about 9,000 vessels a year.

Germany's second-largest city, Hamburg, is awash with history -- from emigration to World War II to the Beatles. It's also a thriving 21st-century metropolis with an inviting harbor boardwalk, avant-garde architecture and Las Vegas-style nightlife. Every visit here makes me wonder why so many Americans skip it. I love this city.

Even though it's about 60 miles from the North Sea, Hamburg's seaport on the Elbe River was the world's third largest a century ago. But World War II...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, December 2017
In the tangle of downtown Rome, convents can provide a restful oasis for weary travelers.

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, but it...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, December 2017
Traditional “rabelo” boats, which were once used to deliver port wine from the Douro Valley, line Porto’s harbor at sunset.

I'm really into "second cities" these days. For generations, Industrial Age powerhouses in Europe turned into what we would call "the rust belt," while their elegant "first city" counterparts enjoyed the luster of the Information Age. But over the last decade or so, the rust has become a trendy accessory and industrial ruins have turned bohemian chic.

A prime example is Porto -- the hub of Portugal's north and the country's second city. Just three hours from Lisbon by train,...

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Rick Steves' Europe Supplemental
This article appears in our Online Edition, November 2017
Some of the most well-preserved Greek temples in the world, such as Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples, are in Sicily.

It may lack the Botticellis, Guccis, and touristic icons of Venice, Florence or Rome, but Sicily still packs a punch. This island -- a little smaller than Massachusetts -- is home to some of Europe's most important ancient Greek sites, the most active volcano in Europe, and some of Italy's most intriguing architecture and tastiest food.

While part of Italy, Sicily really is a world apart. Midway between Africa and Europe in the middle of the Mediterranean, over the last 2,500...

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