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

All Alone…Enjoying the Grandeur of the Alps

These days in Europe — even at 10,000 feet above sea level — you’ll find tourist crowds. But a traveler can almost always find a way to be alone with the wonder of the moment…as illustrated in this clip, atop the Schilthorn in the Swiss Alps. Join me for a magic bit of peace and quiet on the scalp of my favorite Alp. 

Climate Change in the Alps: Snowmaking Machines

As a traveler, I see signs of climate change everywhere. Europe is grappling with unpredictable weather in lots of different ways — and in the Alps, that means artificial snow.

It’s summer here now, and this area is filled with hikers. But in the winter, this is ski country — and the local economy depends on ski tourism. All across the Alps, ski slopes are being plumbed for artificial snow. Take a look with me now at some of the reservoirs that supply water to this mountain’s snowmaking machines.

A round-trip flight to Europe emits roughly as much climate-changing carbon, per passenger, as six months of driving. I own a tour company, and we profit by taking about 30,000 people to Europe each year. Standard accounting practices allow our company to ignore the environmental cost of being in this business — but we believe it’s more honest and ethical to pay our share of that cost. So, at the expense of our profit, we’ve made a yearly commitment to invest $1 million in a portfolio of nonprofits that are making a big difference

Don’t Overlook the Italian Alps

Hello from the Alps of northeastern Italy! I’m here in the Dolomites with my friend Stefan, just grabbing a sunny day and making the most of it. The wonders of nature are so accessible here — wjust rode the Seceda lift up, and here we are.  

I’m here to film three new episodes of Rick Steves’ Europe about the Alps — Italian, Austrian, Swiss, and French. Stay tuned for more.  

Stefan runs the Hotel Cavallino d‘Oro in Castelrotto (a.k.a. Kastelruth), where I like to stay when in this region. 

Gemütlichkeit: A Cozy Moment Under the Chestnut Tree

Join me now for a magic moment in the little town of Hall, Austria — just enjoying good friends, some spaetzle and dumplings, and the mellow tempo of life. The locals here have a name for this cozy feeling: Gemütlichkeit. And right now, under this chestnut tree with old friends…it’s Gemütlichkeit. 

I’ve traveled to the Alps with my crew to film three new episodes of Rick Steves’ Europeand we’re off to a great start. We’ve traveled together for decades, and I’ve never seen my cameraman Karel dance — but just look at him now. This is joyful travel. 

Oh, Baby — I’m High in the Alps!

Join me at Walderalm, a cluster of traditional family farms where 70 cows share their meadow with the clouds. We drove up to Hinterhornalm — a couple of miles above Innsbruck’s tourist crowds — and from there, it’s just a short walk to this little piece of alpine wonder.

I’m here with my TV crew, kicking off a three-episode shoot through the Austrian, Italian, Swiss, and French Alps — and this is an example of the peaceful and pristine side of the Alps that we’ll be featuring. I’d love to pack you along with me for our whole alpine adventure, so be sure to stay tuned, and invite your traveling friends along, too.