Collioure’s sand-and-pebble beach ends at the Notre-Dame des Anges church, a view that has inspired many modern artists.

Along the western Mediterranean coast, two easygoing -- and easy-to-enjoy -- beach towns stand like sister cities on each side of the border between France and Spain. Both Collioure, in France, and Cadaques, in Spain, are off the grid when it comes to glitzy resorts. And each has a delightful ambience, with welcoming beaches, quaint back streets, and scenery that inspired many notable 20th-century artists.

On the French side, Collioure is where I like to unwind and...

The Bavarian town of Fussen has a rich history and evocative corners beyond its cobbled core.

Like so many travelers, my images of Germany -- cute villages, dirndls and lederhosen, and fairy-tale castles -- are from Bavaria, in the foothills of the Alps. You could easily spend a week here, soaking up culture as you bike along fragrant fields and tour the sights.

My favorite home bases for exploring the Bavarian Alps are Fussen and Reutte (just over the border in Austria). They put you an easy drive from the region's most popular sights: the wood...

Belgians are happy to educate you on the numerous varieties of beer made in this small country.

Whenever I think of Belgium, I recall digging into a dish of mussels while seated on a sunny square in Brussels, in the shadow of a lacy medieval spire. My waiter bragged, "In Belgium, we eat as hearty as the Germans and as fine as the French."

Wedged between Germany, France and the Netherlands, Belgium often gets lost in the mix. But this overlooked country rewards with some of Europe's finest cuisine,...

Made of pink marble and decorated with Gothic spires, Milan’s cathedral is one of the largest in Europe.

While many tourists come to Italy only for the past, those who make time for Milan find that this powerful, no-nonsense city is a delightful mix of yesterday and today. Anchored by its historic cathedral, Milan is a modern, time-is-money metropolis of refined tastes. The window displays on its shopping streets are gorgeous, the well-dressed Milanesi are ultra-chic, and even the cheese comes gift-wrapped.

But beyond the bling, Milan has historic...

Completed in 1874, this neoGothic church was declared the Cathedral of Saint Florin in 1997 — Vaduz, Liechtenstein.

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 519th issue of your monthly foreign-travel magazine.

Last month, I described how, unlike members of the general public, ITN subscribers have special benefits on our website.

For one thing, if you’re a subscriber, you can have full and unlimited access to all posted articles, letters and news items from the magazine — great when planning a trip and looking for recommendations of...

Book reserved-time tickets online as far ahead as possible for Granada’s Alhambra to ensure that you’ll see its best part: the exquisite Palacios Nazaríes. Photo by Cameron Hewitt

Looking at 2019, here are selected news items and warnings from a few of Rick’s recent articles. — Editor

• Like many travelers, in spring of last year I visited Barcelona, SPAIN, dreaming of seeing Antoni Gaudí’s breathtaking Sagrada Família church. When I got there, the ticket office was closed, with a posted sign: “No more tickets today. Buy your ticket for another day online.” Thankfully, I had known to book tickets in advance.


The “Italianette-style” addition at the entrance to the garden. Photo courtesy of Tresco Abbey Garden

In the early-morning light of May 2018, Grand Circle Cruise Line’s M/V Corinthian dropped anchor off Tresco in the Isles of Scilly archipelago. (See my article “Maritime Jewels — Cruising the British Isles & Ireland” in the October 2018 issue.)

Once the landing platform was launched, the ship’s tender sped off toward Tresco on a mission to fetch Mike Nelhams, curator of the island’s near-subtropical Abbey Garden that we’d come to...

The meeting hall at Nuraghe Palmavera on the Italian island of Sardinia.

Three thousand years ago, stone towers — often surrounded by settlements enclosed within stone walls — peppered the Sardinian countryside. There were an estimated six to seven thousand of these towers constructed in the period roughly between 1600 and 550 BC, the Bronze and Iron ages in Sardinia. Perhaps many more still lie undiscovered beneath the ground or covered by earth mounds.

These stone towers are called nuraghi (singular, nuraghe), and they have become...