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What's new in France and the Low Countries for 2017

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

One of Europe's best organized regions for sightseeing, France and the Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands) are better than ever with new people-friendly zones, improved sights and comforting security.

France is a country full of beloved sights. While recent terrorist events may have scared away some travelers, I return every year for a ...Read more

What's new in Italy for 2017

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

Italy -- with more culture, crowds and chaos per square kilometer than anywhere else in Europe -- is most enjoyable when you're up-to-date on its sightseeing and infrastructure news.

As in other European cities, Florence is beefing up security these days. Visiting some major museums -- such as the Accademia (with Michelangelo's "David"), Uffizi...Read more

What's new in Spain and Portugal for 2017

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

Both Spain and Portugal have interesting stories to tell and interesting cultures to share. Here's some travel news for those visiting in 2017.

Neglected corners of Spain's cities are being made more inviting for visitors. Sevilla's Triana neighborhood, long considered the "wrong side of the river," is becoming the most colorful and authentic ...Read more

Beyond Havana: Cuba's Trinidad and Vinales

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

When visiting Cuba, it seems every tourist does the same three things: tour the capital city of Havana, visit the charming colonial town of Trinidad, and commune with nature in the beautiful valley of Vinales. Trinidad and Vinales are each about a three-hour drive from Havana -- one to the east and the other one west.

While Cuba has decent ...Read more

New Year's Eve in Havana

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

I welcomed the year 2016 in Cuba, where my family and I and spent New Year's Eve prowling the streets of Havana. Fun and festivity were in the air. In one wild night, I made a new friend and was invited to a party I'll never forget.

Anticipating a Cuban New Year's bash, tourists usually gather in Havana's old town....Read more

Stunning Mont St-Michel inspires

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

For more than a thousand years, the distant silhouette of Mont-St-Michel has sent pilgrims' spirits soaring. Today, it does the same for tourists. This island abbey in the Normandy region of France, one of the top pilgrimage sites of Christendom through the ages, floats like a mirage on the horizon.

For centuries, devout Christians endeavored ...Read more

Christmas in Austria

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

The festive swirl of heartwarming sights, sounds and smells of Christmas abound in Austria -- the land where the season's most-loved carol, "Silent Night," was first performed more than 200 years ago.

Austria is known for its slow-paced, stop-and-smell-the-strudel attitude. For Christmas, Austrians start early, go slow and touch all the holiday...Read more

Tower power in Tuscany

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

San Gimignano is the epitome of a Tuscan hill town. About 25 miles from Florence and Siena, it's the region's glamour girl -- visually striking and perfectly preserved -- getting all the fawning attention from passing tour buses. But despite its tourist-trap feel, it's still worth slotting into ...Read more

The back streets of Bohemian Montmartre

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

Montmartre, the hilltop neighborhood hovering on the northern fringes of your Paris city map, is in many ways the perfect French cliche: red-and-white checkered tablecloths, artist's easels filling petite squares, and bohemian cabarets offering up high-kicking cancans. The literal high point is the bone-white Sacre-Coeur Basilica, from where the...Read more

Wales: Packed with castles and charm

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

Humble, charming little Wales is a land of lusty men's choirs, salty harbors, slate-roofed villages, stunning mountains, and stout castles.

In fact, Wales is slathered with castles. During the late 13th and early 14th centuries, English King Edward I started building these awe-inspiring fortresses -- arguably the most breathtaking you'll find ...Read more

Going solo? How to have fun in Europe

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

I've talked to too many people who put off their travel dreams just because they haven't found a travel partner: The prospect of going alone sounds either too daunting or just not all that fun. But traveling on your own can be rewarding, vivid and exhilarating -- a gift from you to you. Prepared with a positive attitude and solid information, ...Read more

Stories behind great European Art

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

The "Mona Lisa," the Colosseum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Michelangelo's "David" ... Europe's cultural treasures are world-class, including some of the most beautiful and enduring objects humans have created.

But let's face it. Too many museums can ruin a perfectly good vacation. For some, Notre-Dame's vast interior can be a yawning bore, and the ...Read more

Warm memories when you chill in Europe

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

Every summer, Europe greets a stampede of sightseers. Instead of jumping into the peak-season pig pile, consider planning a trip for the off-season -- generally November through March. Here are some things to know when planning a winter trip.

IT'S CHEAPER: Off-season airfares are often hundreds of dollars cheaper. With fewer crowds in Europe, ...Read more

A walk through Ghent

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

Once one of Belgium's medieval powerhouses, Ghent -- about 30 minutes away from Brussels and Bruges -- oozes with cobbles and charm. But it's also a living place -- home to one of Belgium's biggest universities. While there's a certain amount of urban grittiness, the heart of Ghent still looks much like it did circa 1500, when this was one of ...Read more

Best sunsets on the road

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

Sunsets decorate my travel memories. They can be a vivid, romantic capper for a beautiful day on the road. I've seen a lot of sunsets in my travels, and these spots are some of my most memorable.

AERO ISLAND, DENMARK. Four hours from Copenhagen, time-passed Aero Island is the perfect place to wind down. At a lazy day's end, stroll out to ...Read more

Escape the Venice crowds with these day trips

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

I love Venice, but when the crowds become unbearable, I make it a point to get out of the center and discover what the surrounding area has to offer.

One easy escape is to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello, which hide out in Venice's lagoon. Water taxis and ferry boats zip from central Venice to the islands, so you can easily see all ...Read more

Europe's great walled towns

Travel / Rick Steves' Europe /

As a kid, my treehouse was my castle: no parents reining me in, a ladder that pulled up, and nails sticking down through the ceiling -- just long enough to keep out bullies taller than me. With my sliding tongue-in-groove panels, I could see who was coming. My refuge was the envy of other little kings.

The treehouse is long gone, but I can ...Read more

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