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

  • We are monitoring this blog carefully for inappropriate posts. Before you post, read our Community Guidelines.

While Naples is gritty, Sorrento is elegant. It’s a vivid contrast. People complain about the high cost of real estate here in Sorrento — but you can understand why. The police shut down this main drag each evening, and everyone is out savoring the magic hour…as I’m doing with my local guide, Giovanna.

This is Day 25 of my “100 Days in Europe” series. As I travel with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Italy, Portugal, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





I love simply being out and about on Spaccanapoli (literally “split Naples”), to marvel at the ancient Greek street plan — specifically, the straight street that splits the old town — and all the life that for 25 centuries has populated it.

_

This is Day 24 of my “100 Days in Europe” series. As I travel with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Italy, Portugal, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





Naples is an urban jungle, and you experience that best in the Sanitá neighborhood. A walk like this, with joy filling the streets, is why I go to Naples. Notice, as I approach, the lady on the balcony dropping a plastic basket to tip the roving band. The “bella chaos” of Naples awaits those who get out and explore. Don’t be too hung up on the broken stucco, the graffiti, and the rough edges…it’s the patina of a vibrant urban life.

This is Day 23 of my “100 Days in Europe” series. As I travel with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Italy, Portugal, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





My guide Andrea (from Mondo Guide) spent an entire day showing me the wonders of the Phlegraean Fields: the Solfatara Volcano, a huge Roman amphitheater, and the massive Roman cistern at Pozzuoli (nicknamed the Admirable Pool). Wandering through this engineering marvel (built to be sure the Roman navy had water) at the end of a 57-mile long aqueduct was indimenticabile…unforgettable.

 

_

This is Day 22 of my “100 Days in Europe” series. As I travel with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Italy, Portugal, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





My guide Andrea (from Mondo Guide) spent an entire day showing me the wonders of the Phlegraean Fields, northwest of Naples. A highlight was fanning the smoldering Solfatara Volcano.  

This is Day 21 of my “100 Days in Europe” series. As I travel with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Italy, Portugal, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





I spend a lot of time with guides, and when someone is born to be a guide, it’s clear: They just can’t stop teaching and marveling at what’s all around. Jump in the taxi with me and Vincenzo (from Mondo Guide) for the tour-guiding finale of our day. I spent an entire day with Vincenzo, and it was non-stop, just like you see here: exhausting, funny, fascinating, and energizing all at the same time. Imagine getting excited about an Aragonese king from 1400, and talking about his relatives like they’re yours. Incredibile.

This is Day 20 of my “100 Days in Europe” series. As I travel with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Italy, Portugal, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





A sea urchin can be sexy. With it, you put the sea in your mouth. I’m in Naples, updating my guidebook, and my friend Vincenzo is helping me check restaurants. We capped our evening at his favorite, L’Altro Coco Loco. While a little too pretentious for my guidebook, L’Altro Coco Loco offered a delightful look at Naples’ beautiful people and great food. Stay tuned for the end of the video, when Vincenzo tries to dispel some preconceptions jittery Americans have about his hometown.

Vincenzo runs Mondo Tours. They work with me to provide shared minibus tours, making the region much less expensive for thousands of travelers each year with my Rick Steves Italy guidebook.    

_

This is Day 19 of my “100 Days in Europe” series. As I travel with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Italy, Portugal, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





My Best of Sicily tour is over, and I’ve said Ciao to tour guide Alfio and my fellow tour members. I’m now in Naples for a stint of guidebook research. This city is better than ever — vibrant and photogenic and filled with surprises — and feels much safer than in previous years.

family on motorcycle

Three generations on one bike for a trip to the market…why not?

young girls in Naples

Be warned: In the back lanes of Napoli, you’ll meet packs of tough little girls…trying out all sorts of gestures.

stack of death notices

Walking the streets of Naples, you feel the community. And that includes the traditional death notices. When someone dies, the entire neighborhood is invited to the funeral. I found the way these death notices were stacked up pretty thought-provoking (as is so much of travel in south Italy).

notebook and guidebook

There are many dimensions to my work, and I enjoy most of them. One of my favorite things is simply being on the streets alone (or with a local guide), revisiting the great cities of Europe, making sure the information in my Rick Steves guidebooks is up-to-date, and collecting new experiences and impressions in my notebook. I have a very strict discipline with these notes: Each evening, I decipher my handwriting and type the day’s thoughts into my laptop before hitting the sack.  

 

_

This is Day 18 of my “100 Days in Europe” series. As I travel with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Italy, Portugal, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





The sun is setting on our Best of Sicily tour. It’s been an amazing ride, filled with a fun-loving gang of travelers, a knowledgeable guide, and unforgettable moments.

Sunset in Trapani

A trip through Sicily is filled not with tourists, but with unforgettable moments…like this sunset over Trapani.

Rick Steves with Sicily tour group

Gathering a fun-loving group together at a 2,500-year-old temple always makes me feel young. One thing I love about taking our tours (other than the great price I get) is the wonderful people who join us.

Alfio di Mauro talking on bus

On Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, the guides (like Alfio Di Mauro) are teachers first. And bus rides are a wonderful classroom — filled with learning.

iPhone airdrop

Every year, fun new tech tricks add to our happy travels. On this tour, we established what I’m sure will become a tour bus tradition: “The iPhone AirDrop Party!” Any tour member with an iPhone can flip on their Bluetooth and share photos with the rest of the gang. This was a huge hit (at least, for those with iPhones).

Forks in cup

Why would I sign up for one of my own tours? It’s fun. It’s efficient. I learn a lot. I better understand and appreciate the great work my staff does. I do a little coaching to be sure the experience we offer our travelers fits my touring style. And I can do a little quality control — putting forks out like this…bad hygiene.  

Tour plan

On Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, your guide always puts out tomorrow’s plan so you know what’s in store.

_

This is Day 17 of my “100 Days in Europe” series. As I travel with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Italy, Portugal, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





It’s the last day of our Best of Sicily tour. We just said goodbye to our bus in Catania, and, as our tour group walks a couple blocks with our bags to the hotel, I ask each tour member to share their favorite food memory. One thing is certain about Sicily: The food is a highlight.

This is Day 16 of my “100 Days in Europe” series. As I travel with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Italy, Portugal, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.