Rick Steves' Europe / Travel & Leisure

Scotland's independent streak

My fondest memories of travels in Scotland are in the pubs with folk bands stomping the paint off the floor as locals came together with the same twinkles in their eyes.

Cycling through Stockholm

Stockholm is one of Europe's most beautiful cities. And it's a city in love with parks, cafes, fine urban vistas, and biking. Well, OK. But I found it's beautiful at 4 p.m., too.

Swiss bliss: Hiking the Swiss Alps

This year, a highlight of my European summer was the day I spent hiking in the Berner Oberland region of the Swiss Alps. Fortunately, you don't have to be a mountain climber to see the Alps up close.

Communicating in Italy

I am terrible at foreign languages. Because they're so outgoing and their language is fun, Italians are a pleasure to interact with. I find Italian beautiful and almost melodic.