Biking and wine tasting may not seem like natural partners when traveling through France. But if you like biking and wine, mixing the two can actually be a highlight of your next French journey. One of the best places to bike and imbibe is Burgundy, which is famous for its peaceful lanes lacing together cute towns and venerable vineyards.
Imagine being a teenager forced to spend your summer vacation with robo-tourist Rick Steves (a.k.a. "Dad"). My kids, Jackie and Andy, now in their 20s, did that a while ago. I had to think hard about what would make our trip to England educational and fun for travel partners who dubbed the Beatles tour in Liverpool the "most boring" one on our ...Read more
A few years ago in Greece, I noticed flags flying at half-staff, and wondered who had died. Then I remembered it was Good Friday -- marking the day of Jesus' crucifixion.
I was initially disoriented because I had actually celebrated Easter before arriving in Greece. The date for Easter depends in part on phases of the moon, but ...Read more
When I was 18, I took my first independent trip to Europe. During that trip, I toured "Mad" King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany -- a medieval castle dream. Then, just over the border in Austria, I found the Ehrenberg ruins -- a medieval castle reality. Decades later, I'm still enthralled by the striking contrast between these two ...Read more
Getting close to one of the big icons of Western civilization -- the Acropolis, the palace of Versailles, the Colosseum -- can be the spine-tingling high point of a European trip. But don't paper over Europe's "smaller" achievements. Many of Europe's lasting cultural contributions are captured on dusty sheets of vellum or parchment. Paging ...Read more
Still haunted by the legend of a vampire count and the legacy of a communist dictator, Romania is complex -- with an epic history, a multifaceted ethnic mix, and an unusually rich cultural heritage. It may not be the easiest place to travel, but for adventurous souls, it's exceptionally rewarding.
If you go, start in Romania's capital, ...Read more
The best travelers aren't those with the fattest wallets, but those who take planning seriously. Jack might jet off to Europe as a free spirit, with no real itinerary -- and return home full of complaints about how expensive and stressful it all was. Jill, who travels with good information and a detailed day-to-day plan, returns home with rich ...Read more
London, one of the world's busiest and biggest cities, bubbles with top-notch entertainment seven nights a week. It's also ever-changing and expensive, so it can be challenging to winnow down your options and stretch your dollars.
To get up to speed on goings-on, I like to pick up an entertainment guide such as "What's On" or "Time Out" at the ...Read more
Resisting Elegy: On Grief and RecoveryJoel Peckham
In this thoughtful collection of narratives, author Joel Peckham explores the transformative power of emotional and physical pain from the vantage point of a husband and parent who lost his wife and a child in an accident that left him in chronic distress. Along the way, he fills a need for a...
Krakow is easily Poland's most popular destination, located in the southern region of perhaps Europe's most underappreciated country. It's a charming, old-fashioned city buzzing with quirky history, unforgettable sights, and fun-loving college students. Even though the country's capital moved to Warsaw 400 years ago, Krakow remains Poland's ...Read more
With my intense travel schedule, I savor detours where I put away the schedule and notes and simply enjoy the moment. And for me, there's no better detour in Europe than visiting a public bath or spa for a relaxing, good soak.
Some Americans are prudish when it comes to enjoying public baths in Europe -- especially when the dress code is just a...Read more
When I travel, I make it a habit to collect only one thing: memories. The most treasured keepsake of any trip I take is the journal I bring home, filled with descriptions and observations of the people I've met, the places I've seen, and the experiences I've had.
Thinking back, it seems I've always had a desire to capture my discoveries and ...Read more
I'm going to be brutally frank: Many Americans' trips to Europe suffer because they're treated like "ugly tourists." But those who are treated like ugly tourists are treated that way because they are ugly tourists. They aren't bad people, just ethnocentric (and there are plenty of tourists from other countries who also qualify as "ugly").
Even ...Read more
There's plenty of news for 2017 in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, including a big 500th anniversary and impressive new infrastructure, making travel here both more interesting and more efficient.
The big news in Germany is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation began in 1517 when Martin Luther, a priest ...Read more
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
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
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
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