Sleek lifts transport locals and visitors alike. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli.

Suddenly, a bright modern cable car swooshes by with 30 tourists gawking out the windows. I’m watching the Schilthornbahn mountain lift from the terrace of a hotel in the tiny traffic-free hamlet of Gimmelwald, high in the Swiss Alps just south of Interlaken.

My friend Walter, who runs the hotel, joins me with a drink and tells me a local tale illustrating how the Schilthornbahn is good for more than tourism. In Gimmelwald, the modern world began in 1965 with the arrival of the...

Succumb to nature in England’s Lake District. Photo by Rick Steves.

In England’s Lake District, nature rules and humanity keeps a wide-eyed but low profile. At just about 30 miles long and 30 miles wide, the region is a lush, green playground for hikers and poets alike. William Wordsworth’s poems still shiver in its trees and ripple on its ponds. There’s a walking-stick charm about the way nature and culture mix here. Walking along a windblown ridge or climbing over a rock fence to look into the eyes of a ragamuffin sheep, even tenderfeet...

Prosciutto, produced on a small family farm. Photo by Addie Mannan Photography.

I checked into the farmhouse inn on the Gori family estate. This is Tuscany in the rough: a working farm, not a resort — no TV, no swimming pool, lots of real culture. My host, Signora Gori, is both old-money elegant and farmhouse tough. After I settle in, she takes me on a welcome stroll.

Our first stop is a sty dominated by a giant pig. “We call him Pastanetto — the little pastry,” Signora Gori says. As the pigs stir up the hay dust, sunbeams shine through,...

Visiting the island church by boat. Photo by Rick Steves.

Leaving Mostar, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I drive south to yet another nation that emerged newly independent from the ashes of Yugoslavia: Montenegro. During my travels through this region, my punch-drunk passport has been stamped, stamped, and stamped again. While the unification of Europe has made most border crossings feel archaic, here the breakup of Yugoslavia has kept them in vogue. Every time the country splintered, another border was drawn. The poorer the country, it seems, the more...

The Dominican Republic’s Spanish-colonial city of Santo Domingo is a cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 554th issue of your monthly worldwide travel magazine, about which Jennifer Gifford of Redlands, California, wrote (upon extending her subscription another year), “Keep up the excellent job. I’m a big fan of ITN and a longtime and loyal subscriber. God Bless You!”

ITN has been printing travelers’ trip reports and musings since 1976 and continues to work to keep readers informed about destinations outside of the US.

Mashed plantains.

In October 2021 I booked a trip to Belize. Why Belize, you may ask? An internet search showed that Belize was proactive in protecting people from COVID. Not only did visitors have to show a COVID-free test on arrival, they had to stay in COVID-compliant hotels. Face masks, social distancing and curfews were mandatory.

From the list of approved hotels (, I chose The Placencia (Mile 13 Placencia Rd., Placencia, Belize; 877/417-9179,,...

Sample an assortment of Venetian munchies at a cicchetti bar. Photo by Rick Steves

While locals celebrate their cuisine in every country, Italy is perhaps the most exuberant about their food culture. Here’s an example of how going for a simple walk with a friend from Venice can become a lesson in expert eating.

At sunset I meet my Venetian hotelier friend, Piero, and we head for his friend’s restaurant. “Such a long line just to enter St. Mark’s Basilica today,” I tell him. “Even the back...

In the Netherlands, windmills helped reclaim land from the sea. Photo by Cameron Hewitt.

Today my longtime Dutch friends Hans and Marjet are driving me through polder country. In these vast fields reclaimed from the sea, cows graze, narrow canals function as fences, and only church spires and windmills interrupt the horizon.

Hans is behind the wheel. He injects personality-plus into all he does, whether running a B&B or guiding Americans around Holland. Bouncy Marjet has a head of wispy strawberry-blonde hair, red tennis shoes, and a talent for assembling a Salvation...