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Tuscany's heavenly wines

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, "Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy." There is no better place in the world to confirm what Ben said than in Tuscany.

This region in the heart of Italy is chock-full of great wineries, but I like to focus on two well-respected red wines, each centered on a specific town: ...Read more

Delving into Derry

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

No city in Ireland connects the kaleidoscope of historical dots more colorfully than Derry, which is in British-ruled Northern Ireland. Small and pretty, the city is a welcoming and manageable place for visitors -- and most of its sights can be covered easily on foot.

Now a worthy tourist destination with the best city walls in Ireland, during ...Read more

A feast of Greek pleasures

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

It's a joy to surrender to the Greek way of living. Greece's welcoming people, mouthwatering food and drink and joyful music and folk dances make it easy to immerse yourself into the easygoing lifestyle.

When I'm in Greece, I eat as the Greeks do. Around 9 p.m., I head to a taverna and order a medley of "mezedes" (appetizers) and...Read more

Taking a break in everyday Prague

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

In the heart of the Czech Republic, Prague is "the golden city of a hundred spires." This vibrant Baroque capital escaped the bombs of last century's wars, so it remains one of Europe's best-preserved cities. It's the ideal springboard for travelers new to Eastern Europe -- an accessible city with a story to tell and plenty to experience. When I...Read more

Getting great scares in Great Britain

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

As the days get shorter and Halloween approaches, I've started remembering some of the spookiest experiences I've had during my travels. One happened years ago when I was a tour guide, traveling around Great Britain with eight people on a minibus.

We checked into a guesthouse on a hill, in a windy nether land that happened to be ...Read more

Journeys to the ends of Europe

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

One of the most touristy places in all of Britain is at its far southwest tip, cleverly called Land's End. Every tour bus stops here so people can stand in a line and pay 10 British pounds to have their photo taken at the famous milepost. Tacky as this place is, there's something exciting about being at the "land's end" of ...Read more

Europe's Moveable Feasts

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

In my quest to experience Europe as the locals do -- intimately and on all fronts -- I make a point to eat well. My trip is always the better for it. (My challenge is broadening my perspective while leaving my waistline unchanged.)

These days, my job of eating well is getting easier all the time. Food tours and cooking classes have become a big...Read more

A turret-studded meander along the Rhine

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

Visiting the Rhine River Valley never gets old. It's storybook Germany, a fairy-tale world of legends, rugged cliffs, half-timbered towns and robber-baron castles. One of Europe's great thrills is zipping along the Rhine River on a fast train, or gliding slowly on a relaxing old steamer boat.

The Rhine flows north from Switzerland to Holland, ...Read more

Europe's Jewish quarters

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

I like to take in European history by strolling a neighborhood, as if beachcombing. Picking up shards of a place's distant past, it's possible to piece together unexpected stories. Europe's venerable Jewish quarters are ideal places for this.

European Jewish history is dominated by the Holocaust and the brutal persecution and murder of Jews by ...Read more

Everyday errands are windows into European culture

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

I often preach that travel is more rewarding when you get beyond the blockbuster sights and touristy cliches and get intimate with a culture and its people. One way to do that is to pass time like a local rather than like a tourist. From relaxing with Europeans in a park to munching on fresh seafood alongside workers at a market hall, taking ...Read more

Musical bridges to European culture

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

Music has always been an important part of my life. My dad was a musician who also sold and tuned pianos, and I spent my high school years as a piano teacher. I was known among parents in my community for taking boys with tear-stained cheeks to my piano bench, starting them out with boogies and pop songs, and eventually getting them turned on to...Read more

Wandering Dubrovnik's city walls

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

Croatia, with thousands of miles of coastline on the Adriatic Sea, is Eastern Europe's Riviera. Holiday-makers love its pebbly beaches, predictably balmy summer weather and dramatic mountains. Croatia's top tourist town, Dubrovnik, is deservedly known as the "Pearl of the Adriatic," jutting confidently into the sea on the southern tip.

While ...Read more

Strange food: Europe's offbeat delicacies

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

My palate has come a long way from my "Europe through the gutter" days, when my travel diet consisted of peanut butter and strawberry jam on cheap baguettes. Now one of my favorite parts of travel is sampling local specialties. From horse meat in France to pig's ears in Spain, I make it a point to try dishes that make a place unique -- no matter...Read more

Biking in Europe's boonies

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

Europe is a treasure chest of great cultural monuments. But it's also a continent filled with natural beauty -- often overlooked by tourists sprinting from sight to sight, or searching for the perfect souvenir. I've found that a day biking in the great outdoors can be just as culturally fulfilling as time spent in a great church or art gallery. ...Read more

Florence discoveries

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

Geographically small but culturally rich, Florence is home to some of the greatest art and architecture in the world. I've been there more times than I can count, and with each visit, I'm reminded that I've barely scratched the surface of all it has to offer.

In this city of noble and elegant facades, inspirational sights are everywhere you ...Read more

Edinburgh's Royal Mile

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

There's no better introduction to Edinburgh -- the historical, cultural and political capital of Scotland -- than a walk straight down the spine of the old town. Stretching from a hill-topping castle to a queen's palace, this ramble is appropriately called the Royal Mile. Despite being crammed with tourists, it's one of Europe's best sightseeing...Read more

Budapest: City of Paradox

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

Most Americans choose Prague as their first foray into Eastern Europe, but the true powerhouse of the region is Budapest, capital of Hungary. Budapest can be challenging and complicated -- but it's a cosmopolitan place of unexpected elegance, fascinating and rewarding.

Sprawling across the banks of the Danube River, the city is really two towns...Read more

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