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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At the western tip of Sicily, Erice’s church is stony on the outside, lacy on the inside. While the Romantic, uber-Gothic interior only dates from the late 1800s, the church itself is clearly much older. Exploring the church, I find a plaque listing the handful of times in the last 500 years when impending disasters merited taking the town’s top relic down from the altar and parading it through town to gain God’s favor and be spared the ravages of drought, pestilence, and war.

This is Day 9 of my A Hundred Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Sicily, Naples and the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Portugal, Paris, Ireland, the heart of England, Scotland, Germany’s Black Forest, Alsace, the great cities of Switzerland, and more. I never know exactly what’s next…but it’s always fascinating and inspiring. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





An exciting dimension of our Best of Sicily in 11 Days Tour is a daily banquet of delicious, fresh, and seasonal local cuisine. Here’s an example of the meals our guide, Alfio, is dishing up almost daily — as introduced by our host and chef, Maria Grammatico. Maria is a legendary cook in Erice (on the far-western tip of Sicily), and she was delighted to introduce us to her favorite dishes. The African influence (couscous in Italy?) is a reminder that we’re just 100 miles from Tunisia — home of the once-upon-a-time rulers of this region, the Carthaginians. The few seconds at the end of this clip, when our entire group digs in, really captures the experience.

This is Day 8 of my A Hundred Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Sicily, Naples and the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Portugal, Paris, Ireland, the heart of England, Scotland, Germany’s Black Forest, Alsace, the great cities of Switzerland, and more. I never know exactly what’s next…but it’s always fascinating and inspiring. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





Cameron Hewitt's notebooks

Photo: Cameron Hewitt

I am so thankful to have talented people to collaborate with. My lead co-author and Content Manager, Cameron Hewitt, has dedicated lots of energy to spearheading the production of a guidebook to a city we are both really passionate about: Berlin. Cameron sets a high bar when it comes to quality. He’s amazingly prolific. And he’s just written a fascinating blog entry telling what goes into a new Rick Steves guidebook. Reading it, I’m reminded what a talented team of guides, writers, and editors we’ve assembled — both in our Seattle headquarters and in Europe. I’m also reminded that we couldn’t lavish all this talent on these guidebooks without the support of you, our loyal traveling public. Thanks for buying our guidebooks, enjoying our work, and making it all possible. And enjoy Cameron’s behind-the-scenes peek at creating a new guidebook.





I’m three days into the Rick Steves’ Europe Best of Sicily in 11 Days Tour, and each day has been filled with learning. I love being steep on the travelers’ learning curve. And for me, Sicily is a land of eurekas. Our tour just enjoyed our guide’s explanation of a majestic Greek-style temple. Here’s a quick summary of what I learned.

This is Day 5 of my A Hundred Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences all across Europe. I never know exactly what’s next…but it’s always fascinating and inspiring. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





The best travelers are the ones who connect with the people and their culture wherever they travel. And that’s what the Rick Steves series of phrase books is all about. I think I’m the only person who’s designed a series of phrase books even though I speak only English. But I believe that’s one reason why they are the bestselling phrase books in the USA: For decades, I’ve struggled with the language barrier, and I’ve gradually learned exactly which words and phrases are most helpful in the real world. The Rick Steves phrase books — Italian, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese — are designed with the traveler in mind.

This is Day 6 of my A Hundred Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences all across Europe. I never know exactly what’s next…but it’s always fascinating and inspiring. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





Since ancient Roman times, the piazza has been integral to the fabric of Italian life. Here, in the land of a thousand bell towers, it seems every person is in love with the sound of their own town’s church bells…and feels at home with their neighbors on the piazza. The tour guide for my Best of Sicily in 11 Days Tour, Alfio di Mauro, explains why.

This is Day 5 of my A Hundred Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences all across Europe. I never know exactly what’s next…but it’s always fascinating and inspiring. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





Here’s a travel tip: Revisit Europe’s great markets after dark. I love the markets of Palermo, where merchants sing their sales pitches and the octopus are squirting-fresh. But at night, it’s an entirely different scene. Join Alfio di Mauro and me on a walk through the Vucciria Market after hours — a kaleidoscope of edgy graffiti, kids with big eyes and gelato, cheap plastic chairs, soccer on the big screen, and people embracing life with Sicilian gusto.

This is Day 4 of my A Hundred Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences all across Europe. I never know exactly what’s next…but it’s always fascinating and inspiring. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





Something I love about my work is getting my outdated impressions up-to-date. Europe is always changing — and even on the very first night of our Best of Sicily in 11 Days Tour, it’s clear that Palermo is a whole new city since my last visit.

Today’s Palermo has demolished my old, fearful, lingering Mafia images. The city is still colorful…yet it feels safe, youthful, trendy. A theme in my travels all across Europe is traffic-free and people-friendly — and Palermo is a great example. In this video, I’m with my guide, Alfio di Mauro, enjoying Palermo’s venerable Four Corners (Quattro Canti).

This is Day 3 of my A Hundred Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Sicily, Naples and the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Portugal, Paris, Ireland, the heart of England, Scotland, Germany’s Black Forest, Alsace, the great cities of Switzerland, and more. I never know exactly what’s next…but it’s always fascinating and inspiring. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





Palermo, Sicily’s capital city, can seem a bit ramshackle. But behind its gritty walls hide exquisite noble mansions reminding visitors of the rich heritage of this island. I’ve just landed this afternoon and joined the Rick Steves’ Europe Best of Sicily in 11 Days Tour. It’s our first evening, and we’re already digging deep into this culture.

Our guide, Alfio di Mauro, has brought our group into the home of the gracious Contessa (countess) and Conte (count) Federico. After a tour of their mansion, the Contessa’s friends came over and are putting their little ballroom (where Richard Wagner played for an earlier generation of Federicos) to action with some music. Later, after some of the family’s fine wine, Signore Federico will show off his 1935 Fiat racecar. (After he flipped it in a Sicilian road race, the Contessa said, “no more racing.”) Most of our group is just off the plane and pretty jet-laggy. But with the experiences Alfio is dishing out…we’re wide awake.

This is Day 2 of my A Hundred Days in Europe series. As I lead tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Sicily, Naples and the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Portugal, Paris, Ireland, the heart of England, Scotland, Germany’s Black Forest, Alsace, the great cities of Switzerland, and more. I never know exactly what’s next…but it’s always fascinating and inspiring. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.





I just flew to Europe — as I have every year at this time since the 1980s — to kick off another spring of exploring, researching, learning, tasting, and sipping. I’m starting in Sicily, and I’d love to introduce you to some of my new Sicilian buddies.

Rick Steves with Sicilian locals

Starting today, I’ll be posting daily for the next hundred days or so, reporting on my experiences and lessons learned. (Knowing how super-serendipitous Palermo is, I’m sure tomorrow’s post will be a fun one!) On this trip, I’ll be reporting from Sicily, Naples and the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Portugal, Paris, Ireland, the heart of England, Scotland, Germany’s Black Forest, Alsace, the great cities of Switzerland, and more —  spending about a third of that time researching my guidebooks, a third tagging along with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours (in Sicily and Ireland), and a third with my crew making new TV shows.

So, I hope you’ll enjoy stowing away with me — for a hundred posts in a hundred days — here on my blog and via Facebook. And please let your travel companions know, too. 2017 promises to be a great year of travel, and I’d love to have you all come along.

Happy travels!