To explore both the country and the barn, think of the cheese course as a tour of France. Photo by Rick Steves

Because I come from a backpacker travel heritage, where a good picnic is the answer to a prayer, it’s taken me decades to recognize the value of a fine meal. Now I can enthusiastically embrace a long, drawn-out dinner splurge as a wonderful investment of both time and money. Nowhere is this truer than in France.

My friend and coauthor Steve Smith and I head to a fine restaurant in Amboise, in the midst of France’s château-rich Loire Valley. Some Americans are intimidated when they go to a fine French restaurant, but they needn...

The port of Corricella on the island of Procida, a 40-minute hydrofoil ride from Naples, Italy.

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 539th issue of your monthly worldwide travel magazine. Due to the shutdown of the travel industry because of the pandemic, last month’s issue had to be published online only, but, with a few more tour operators advertising this month — a hopeful sign — this issue is being printed and mailed as usual (and posted on our website,, of course).

To reiterate a couple of my announcements that some of you may have missed in the January issue, we are not running our annual “Where Were You Last Year?...

The Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur is found only in central-west Madagascar.

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 538th issue of your monthly worldwide travel magazine.

Normally, it is in our January issue that I ask ITN subscribers to each send us a list of the countries they visited in the previous year, but, for obvious reasons, I will not be asking “Where Were You in 2020?”

Since COVID-19 has squelched the travel plans of virtually everyone for the last nine months, there’s no point in trying to gather data about where travelers went or how often they traveled, particularly to compare results to the previous year’s....

Carvings on the Whare Runanga, a Maori meeting house built in 1940 at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in New Zealand. Photo: ©Rafael Ben-Ari/

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 527th issue of your monthly foreign-travel magazine. 

Your neighbors aren’t interested in the photos from your latest trip? Well, you’ll find an eager audience here, so send in a few (with captions). Or write up a couple highlights of your journey. ITN subscribers will appreciate it. These are your travel kin.

David E. Johnson, Jr., of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, wrote, “Thanks for the wonderful information you provide to help us travelers. It is a great service. I always know exactly what I will be reading the...

One of many red-rock formations found in the Tupiza canyon area of Bolivia.

Dear Globetrotter: 

Welcome to the 548th issue of your monthly worldwide travel magazine. You won’t find another publication like it!

The original travelers’ forum, ITN is largely reader-written, and subscribers are free to give their candid appraisals of tours, cruises, destinations, etc. With the exception of one page, introduced during the current pandemic-induced travel shutdown, ITN only covers destinations outside of the US.

While our subscribers keep each other informed about their latest finds, experiences and observations, not to mention...

A rustic sauna in a workaday Helsinki neighbor- hood. Photo by Rick Steves

As we’ve had to postpone our travels because of the pandemic, I believe an occasional dose of travel dreaming can be good medicine. Here’s one of my favorite European memories from Finland — a reminder of the fun that awaits us at the other end of this crisis.

I’m in Helsinki, surveying the city from its fanciest rooftop restaurant. The setting sun glints off the cruise ships in the harbor as fish merchants take down their stalls in the market. But a fleshier scene on the rooftop below me steals my attention.


Musician playing the saxophone near the port of Nassau, New Providence Island, The Bahamas, Caribbean.

Dear Globetrotter: 

Welcome to the 547th issue of your monthly worldwide travel magazine, which is largely reader-written.

If you were about to mail us a travel report or article, take note. We’ve moved! Not far. Just two doors away. The new address is 2122 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818.

When ITN started, all the way back in 1976, it was headquartered at 2120 28th Street. Decades later, ITN jumped next door to a 2-story structure at 2116, and our Subscription Department took over the 2120 building for a while until moving to nearby Carmichael last year. (...

In Dingle town, when the sun goes down, traditional music fills the pubs. Photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

I once met an elfish, black-clad old man in the little town of Ventry, on Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula. When I asked if he was born here, he paused, breathed deeply, and said, “No, ’twas about 5 miles down the road.”

I asked him if he had lived here all his life.

He answered, “Not yet.”

When I told him where I was from, a faraway smile filled his eyes as he looked out to sea and muttered, “Aye, the shores of Americay.”

The Dingle Peninsula gives the traveler Ireland in the extreme. It feels so traditionally Irish...