Rick Steves' Travel Blog

I'm sharing my travel experiences, candid opinions and what's on my mind. If you think it's inappropriate for a travel writer to stir up discussion on his blog with political observations and insights gained from traveling abroad, you may not want to read any further. — Rick

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TripIt, a popular app designed to help you organize your travels, just did a quality job of producing a series of four-minute interviews with me about my travel philosophy. These “fireside chats” were shot in my living room. I thought you might enjoy the conversation. Here’s one about connecting with locals on your trip.


TripIt, a popular app designed to help you organize your travels, just did a quality job of producing a series of four-minute interviews with me about my travel philosophy. These “fireside chats” were shot in my living room. I thought you might enjoy the conversation. Here’s one about how people can overcome their fear of travel.


From time to time we share a random video clip to fuel your travel dreams. Join us today in Burgos, which is positioned along Spain’s Camino de Santiago. An awe-inspiring Gothic cathedral dominates the city.

(Watch my complete episode about Northern Spain and the Camino de Santiago online for free.)


Last week in Atlanta I joined a couple hundred public television programmers and producers at the “American Public Television Fall Marketplace” convention. It’s a spirited gathering where programmers from each city spend days in a screening room. They’re reviewing all the great new programming they can choose from to make a TV schedule that fits their particular community. I was there to showcase our new European Easter show (a one-hour special coming your way this spring), our upcoming Luther and the Reformation special (destined to dazzle in 2017), and our new Season 9 (a dozen or so new shows to debut next fall). This fun-loving musical group entertained during one break–giving us a sneak, toe-tapping peek at a Celtic spin on Manheim Steamroller that promises to freshen up our Christmas music scene this holiday season. (You might get a little dizzy watching this.) I hope, this Thanksgiving season, that any of you who enjoy public television programming can put that on your list of things to be thankful for.


Thank you for all of your responses to my post about terrorism and travel. I appreciated them all, but this one was extra special:

“Hello there Rick Steves!

My name is Amber, my family and I are currently vacationing in Paris for a week with your Paris 2015 guidebook. We’ve seen all of the museums, monuments, and art we’ve wanted to see. We LOVE doing your ‘walks’ from your app! Paris is such a beautiful and historical city! We’ve loved every minute of it. I’m sure you get tons of these messages, but I wanted to thank you. Thank you not only for your awesome books but for the Facebook post on terrorists and traveling you posted a week ago.

We were scheduled to leave for Paris the Wednesday after the horrible tragedy that took place, and we suddenly found ourselves wondering if we should still go. Is it safe? What might happen to us? My heart was broken for the people of Paris, but we’re traveling with our two teenage daughters. Safety suddenly became a big concern and we had the hardest time making a decision.

Your post really touched me and helped me put things in perspective. My husband and I both agreed we would not let ourselves be ‘terrorized’ and we would go and have the amazing Europe trip we planned. And boy am I so glad we made that choice!

Sunset in Paris

The city is like none other. And the French people have been so kind to us. Yesterday we toured the Eiffel Tower and watched the sun set from the top with both our girls. It was a moment we will never forget. It was so beautiful, I shed a few tears. I’m so glad we made the choice to come, and to be able to have these wonderful experiences together as a family.

As we made our way back to our flat, we boarded the metro, and started discussing dinner ideas. A nice French businessman was sitting next to my 12 year old and must have over heard her talking. He asked her, ‘Do you speak English?’ She said yes. He said, ‘Are you American? Did you come here from America?’ And she said yes again. Then he put his newspaper down and said to all of us, ‘Thank you for coming to visit Paris. Despite what happened. We are a strong city. I hope you have a wonderful stay.’

I was so moved! This city has witnessed such horrible evil, not too long ago. And they have not let it stop them from living their lives. I see it every day in the cafés, couples and families sitting together conversing, laughing, and most importantly… Living. It warms my heart. We will definitely always keep traveling.

Au revior!

The Revis Family”


Dear traveling friends,

When we travel with open eyes, an open heart…and with our window open, it’s impossible to ignore the grubby fingers of the half of humanity trying to live on $2 a day in our face. This photo is a powerful image I had as a student traveler. And it remains part of my global perspective, for which I’m thankful.

Rick Steves and children

On this Thanksgiving, so many of us have so much to be thankful for. Considering the desperation and feelings of hopelessness destabilizing parts of our world, I’m grateful that Bread for the World is working in our halls of government. They advocate for those in great need and, in doing so, fight hunger.

I’m also thankful that, in the last few days, over a thousand of you responded to my “matching challenge” to empower Bread for the World’s work with a $100 donation.

To be exact, as of today, 1,009 of you clicked yes, raising more than $120,000. With my match, together we’ve raised nearly $250,000. Every penny of this will be put to work by Bread for the World for this timely and powerful mission.

But we’re not finished yet!

This total is about what we raised last Thanksgiving. This year — with troubling news of refugees and terrorism so prevalent — I’ve raised the bar and upped my challenge match to $250,000.

Supporting the work of Bread for the World is one of the most effective ways we can help stabilize our world. If you’re one of the many who have responded so generously, thank you. Consider sharing this challenge with your friends so we can further leverage our concern.

Donations are still rolling in. And there’s still plenty of time to join the challenge and give this season of thankfulness and joy more meaning.

Thanks. And Happy Thanksgiving!


Here’s a fun clip from back when the Gilmore Girls were dreaming of a down and dirty European experience (to the shock of Lorelai’s snobby parents, Richard and Emily). And they had the good sense to be using the flagship of all our guidebooks, Europe Through the Back Door. Emily, the grandmother, reads a particularly timely quote about the value of being on the road. Exploring Europe “with all your possessions strapped to you back” remains one of the great coming of age experiences that young people of every generation (rich or otherwise) can enjoy.


From time to time we share a random video clip to fuel your travel dreams. Join us today for a little early-Christian history as we head outside Rome for a look at the catacombs via the Appian Way, ancient Rome’s gateway to the East.

(Watch my complete episode about classical Rome online for free.)


To add meaning to the holiday season, every Christmas I help raise funds for Bread for the World, which gives hungry people a voice in our halls of government.

Here’s my challenge to you this year: Help Bread with your gift of $100 or more and I’ll match your donations to a total of up to $250,000. I’ll also send you a gift of thanks – you can choose my European Christmas Gift Set or my Complete Collection 2000-2016 DVD Box Set. I’ll happily pay for the cost of these gifts and postage so that Bread can use 100% of your donation for their work.

Go to ricksteves.com/bread to get on board — and please share this challenge with your loved ones. Imagine, as an extended family of caring (and traveling) people, together we could empower Bread for the World’s work with $500,000.

Thanks and Merry Christmas!


Sign On

I believe the true character of a people is easier to see in times of stress and challenge. Today half our country is saying “bomb the xxx out of them” and “shut the door on refugees” and the other half is struggling with “what’s the smart, compassionate and decent thing to do?” Many governors are showing their true character (or the character of the people who elect them) by saying they’ll accept no refugees. And some are saying if they pass the stringent security checks given them by our national government, refugees of the Syrian Civil War are welcome in their state. Of course, state governors have no legal say in whether or not people who are in the USA legally can enter their state, but it’s the posturing that counts.

I am proud that the character of my state, Washington, is reflected by our governor, Jay Inslee. Showing integrity, compassion, and leadership, Jay has announced that if the U.S. State Department lets them in, Syrian refugees are welcome in our beautiful state. To hear Jay’s reasoning, listen to this interview. Jay is inspiring good people across our nation with his stance. And, if you’re inspired to support Jay, please add your name here.