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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I’m wrapping up the My Way Alpine Europe tour I’ve been leading. This tour includes ample free time to hike your heart out. And my favorite hike above Chamonix is from La Flégère to Planpraz — a hike known as the Grand Balcon Sud (Grand South Balcony). Being a lightweight when it comes to hiking, I prefer a trail where I can ride a lift to one end, enjoy high-mountain thrills all along, and then ride the lift down from the other end. This three-hour walk gained just a few hundred feet in altitude, and the entire time I was well above 6,000 feet. What’s your favorite alpine hike, and why?


This is Day 65 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I research my guidebooks and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Vienna, the Alps, the Low Countries, England, and beyond. Find more right here on my travel blog.

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The My Way Alpine Europe tour I’m leading includes plenty of free time to ride high-mountain lifts — as you’ll see in this two-part, Alp-happy video. With the help of a three-mile-long cable, we glide slowly, dangling silently over the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice) from France’s Aiguille du Midi (high above Chamonix) to Helbronner Point, the border of Italy, on Europe’s highest lift. Then we celebrate the view from Helbronner Point…looking down on the Alps of Italy, Switzerland, and France.


This is Day 64 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I research my guidebooks and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Vienna, the Alps, the Low Countries, England, and beyond. Find more right here on my travel blog.

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The My Way Alpine Europe tour I’m leading continues to brave new heights. Here in France, the Aiguille du Midi caps a rock needle high above the alpine resort of Chamonix and just across from Mont Blanc. At 12,602 feet above sea level, the air is thin, people are giddy, and even though the sun’s out, it’s still bitter cold in July. This video clip takes you there. (And tomorrow’s clip takes us over the mountain by gondola into Italy.)


This is Day 63 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I research my guidebooks and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Vienna, the Alps, the Low Countries, England, and beyond. Find more right here on my travel blog.

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From time to time, we share a random video to fuel your travel dreams. In this clip from my TV episode about Copenhagen, I visit Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, one of Scandinavia’s top art galleries. Join me as I explore the museum’s Wintergarden, ancient collection, and 19th and 20th century French and Danish art.

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On the My Way Alpine Europe Tour I’m currently leading, my assistant, Trish Feaster, is sharing a few of her guiding tricks — like her (now famous among our guides) “Tour Member DJ Party Party.” During a particularly flat stretch of autobahn, volunteers from the group share their smartphones with their favorite tunes. Here, Dave — who’s the dad in a three-generation family of eight on our tour — plays the family favorite from Aladdin. (Daughter Anna clearly loves this tune.) Notice how comfy our tour buses are — 26 people sharing 54 seats; a high, smooth ride; a wonderful driver (Hilde); and great sound.

Trish also filmed and edited these clips. She’s blogging about our tour at her website, The Travelphile.


This is Day 62 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Vienna, the Alps, the Low Countries, England, and beyond. Find more right here on my travel blog.

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The sun is setting on the foothills of the Alps. Overseeing vast meadows with tiny lanes and lazy cows is the fairy-tale castle of “Mad” King Ludwig of Bavaria (Neuschwanstein). Having borrowed a bike from my hotel, I just soaked my imagination in that Romantic king’s fantasy-come-true…and then soaked my body in a classic German spa (the Königliche Kristall-Therme) that enjoys a poolside view as grand as Ludwig’s — or even better, considering it includes his inspiring castle. Biking through the fields, relaxed as Gumby and reviewing the memories of the day, I savor that moment when the setting sun warms up all the colors and the newly cut hay fills the air with a sweet and fertile humidity. Coasting home into my village, it occurs to me that the Alps — which arc from Vienna to Marseilles — are a symphony of experiences that can endlessly delight lovers of culture, history, and nature. They certainly have for me.


This is Day 61 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Vienna, the Alps, the Low Countries, England, and beyond. Find more right here on my travel blog.

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The My Way Alpine Europe Tour I’m leading is well underway, as we hopscotch across borders through the Alps. After a memory-packed day traveling from the Dolomites to Bavaria, we popped back into Austria for an early-evening hike to a ruined castle (Ehrenberg, above Reutte) and a wobbly ramble over a very long and very high suspension bridge. My friend Armin dreamed up, spearheaded, and now manages this exciting new activity that’s bringing lots of visitors to his little town. We’re 400 feet above our teeny tour bus, at the point where three valleys converge — a strategic location since this was the Roman Via Claudia. The joy on our group’s faces shows the fun in mixing exhilarating experiences with historical sights.

(My tour assistant, Trish Feaster, also blogged about our adventure in Reutte at her website, The Travelphile.)


This is Day 60 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Vienna, the Alps, the Low Countries, England, and beyond. Find more right here on my travel blog.

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From time to time, we share a random travel video here on my blog. In this clip from my TV episode about Israel, I pay my respects at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center. The solemn and impressive memorial is dedicated to chronicling, remembering, and learning from the slaughter of 6 million Jews by Nazi Germany.

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We’re high in the Italian Alps, in Castlerotto — a town I love because it’s right in the midst of mountain splendor, yet doesn’t have that empty ski-resort-in-the-summer feeling. Our hotel — the Cavallino d’Oro — is a great example of the Italian/German mix characteristic of this region (the Dolomites, in the far north of Italy). Our group is just finishing up breakfast before loading up the bus. And just outside the door of our hotel is the cobbled town square. For our tours, we favor hotels where the charm of Europe is literally at your doorstep. On our My Way Alpine Europe Tour (which I’m leading now), we spend a dozen nights in unforgettable mountain towns in the Alps of Austria, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and France.


This is Day 59 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Vienna, the Alps, the Low Countries, England, and beyond. Find more right here on my travel blog.

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A good tour leader — especially on a Rick Steves tour — creates a learning atmosphere on the bus, laces together a good balance of sights and experiences, and makes sure there’s lots of fun along the way. In this montage of clips, I get a chance to talk about how the European Union funds ethnic regions (in this case, Ehrenberg Castle in Tirol, which spans Austria and Italy); we visit one of my favorite open-air folk museums (Ballenberg in Switzerland); we poke into an old farmhouse to ring some cowbells; and we rip down the mountain on a summer luge ride. All 26 of us enjoyed two trips each on the longest and most exciting luge course in Tirol (Biberwier, on the road between Innsbruck and Reutte).

(My tour assistant, Trish Feaster, produced this clip. She’s blogging about our tour at her website, The Travelphile.)


This is Day 58 of my 100 Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences and lessons learned in Vienna, the Alps, the Low Countries, England, and beyond. Find more right here on my travel blog.

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