England's Bath & York
Medieval York and Georgian Bath - easy side-trips from London - pack an exciting pair of sightseeing punches. Rick explores Roman hot springs, cruises quiet canals, marvels at England's finest Gothic church and gets a surprising dose of Viking history as he enjoys England's easy urban delights.
North Wales: Feisty and Poetic
From towering Mount Snowdon, to evocative medieval castles, to sweeping Victorian promenades, North Wales is a poem written in landscape. We'll climb a mountain aboard a steam train, learn some Welsh, follow a miner deep into a slate mine, herd sheep with a very clever dog, and work in a pop pilgrimage to the Beatles' Liverpool.
Edinburgh is the historical and cultural heart of Scotland. We'll explore the castle, peek at the new parliament, dabble in the local literature, sip a little Scotch, get wrapped up in a kilt, and then stow away on Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia.
Naples and Pompeii
Naples is Italy in the extreme. We'll prowl backstreet fish markets, dodge fast-moving Vespas, and dine on pizza where it was invented. We'll climb to the top of nearby Mount Vesuvius, then wander through the amazing ruins of Pompeii, the Roman town it destroyed.
Italy's Amalfi Coast
Just south of Naples we'll experience the breath-taking Amalfi Coastline, the trendy resort of Positano, the limoncello charms of Sorrento, the ancient Greek temples at Paestum, and the iridescent Blue Grotto hidden beneath the enchanting isle of Capri.
Milan and Lake Como
No trip to Italy is complete without Milan and Lake Como. In Milan we'll take a peek at Italy's highest fashion, fanciest delis, grandest cemetery and greatest opera house...not to mention Leonardo's Last Supper. Then we'll cruise along Lake Como, settling down in the lakeside village of Varenna...classic honeymoon country, where Italy meets the Alps.
Tuscany's Dolce Vita
The small towns and rural charms of Tuscany give us a healthy dose of the "sweet life" as we hunt for truffles in an oak forest, nibble through an artichoke festival, share a farmhouse feast, and ride a classic convertible through the cypress groves of Mona Lisa's back yard.
Italy's Great Hill Towns
Connoisseurs of Italy find that its quintessential charms survive in its classic hill towns. From San Gimignano's medieval towers, to Cortona's charming lanes, to Orvieto's papal intrigue, to Civita di Bagnoregio's cliff-hanging vistas...all sit on lofty stone perches that now seem to protect them only from the modern world.
In Europe's classiest capital we'll tiptoe through the palace of Maria Theresa and be dazzled by the Hapsburg crown jewels. Then we'll picnic on the Danube, nibble strudel in an old world cafe, blush at slinky Art Nouveau, and waltz to the three-four beat of Johann Strauss.
Salzburg and Surroundings
The birthplace of Mozart - and everyone's Sound of Music fantasies - Salzburg is a Baroque jewel of a town. It's also the springboard for lots of alpine fun-from thrilling summer bobsledding, to idyllic boat rides in the Salzkammergut lake district, to exploring the delightful romantic town of Hallstatt.
Rick Steves' Europe: The Making Of
After 16 years and more than 100 travel shows, Rick and his crew take you behind the scenes to show you just how they produce this series. Joining the crew as they scamper through Milan and around Lake Como, you'll follow the creative process as the challenges and surprises that come with travel are shaped into a finished show.
Burgundy: Profound France
Burgundy is a calm and cultivated corner of France, where nature is as sophisticated as the people. Traditions are strong here. We'll slow down to enjoy the region's edible, drinkable, scenic, and floatable delights. We'll travel on a canal barge, visit a medieval hospice and a modern monastery, build a barrel, appreciate fine Burgundy wine, slurp escargot, and eat very, very well. If you're looking for the quintessential French culture, you'll find it in Burgundy.
The Dordogne River Valley with its dramatic castles, pre-historic cave paintings, and prized cuisine is an unforgettable blend of man-made and natural beauty. We'll take an idyllic canoe ride, visit a goose farm, then savor the foie gras. We'll also wander through a lamp-lit castle, enjoy a country market, and visit the Sistine Chapel of the prehistoric world. Then we head south to Albi, home of Toulouse Lautrec, and the imposing fortress city of Carcassonne.
Barcelona and Catalunya
The creative spirit of Spain's Catalunya the land of Picasso, Gaudi and Salvador Dali is on a roll. We'll get caught up in the festivity of Barcelona, enjoying the vibrant street scenes, tasty tapas and pedestrian-friendly Gothic Quarter. Then we'll take a scenic side trip to mountaintop Montserrat, and finish with an artist's pilgrimage along the Costa Brava to Salvador Dali country seaside Cadaques to visit his home and nearby Figures to experience his playfully surreal mausoleum/museum.
Little Europe: San Marino, Monaco, Vatican City, Liechtenstein, and Andorra
Don't blink as we blitz through Europe's tiniest countries: Vatican City, the world's smallest country, comes with the planet's biggest church. The fairytale princedom of Monaco lures visitors with its fancy casino and glamorous views. Italy's last independent hill town, San Marino still looks formidable, as does the castle-guarded principality of Liechtenstein. And tiny Andorra entertains shoppers and hikers alike, surrounded by the rugged beauty of the Pyrenees.
Great Swiss Cities: Luzern, Bern, Zurich and Lausanne
In this episode we'll focus on an often overlooked side of Switzerland its urban charms. We'll get some exercise, from ringing a very big bell to floating down an urban river. We'll also enjoy a variety of eye-opening art, from Chagall and Klee to inmates of an asylum. Then we'll ponder a few Swiss innovations, from their open-minded drug policies to their hush-hush underground arsenals. And it'll all before a backdrop of Switzerland's stunning natural beauty.
Vienna and the Danube
For centuries, Vienna was the crown jewel of the rich and powerful Habsburg Empire. A century after that empire's fall, the Viennese appreciates their imperial legacy as a cultural wellspring and an excuse to live in style. We'll take in the city's wealth of elegant gardens, great art and fine music. Then we'll explore the city's surroundings, with a trip along the romantic Danube River and a hike up to the breathtakingly Baroque Melk Abbey.
The Czech Republic Off The Beaten Path
Few travelers venture beyond Prague to experience the Czech Republic's many cultural riches and offbeat delights. We'll get you started with a whirlwind of Art Nouveau, local pub music, stinky cheese-tasting, river-rafting, and peat-bathing in places like Olomouc, Moravsky Krumlov, Telc, Trebon and Konopiste. We'll also tour a remarkable memorial to the holocaust in Terezen, and the charming castle town of Cesky Krumlov.
Athens and Side Trips
The thriving capital of Greece sprawls out from the foot of its magnificent Acropolis. We'll tour the must-sees of ancient Athens, including the Parthenon, Agora, and amazing National Archaeological Museum. We'll take the fast-paced pulse of the modern city, but waste no time getting to my favorite side trip destinations: the ruins of the mystical oracle at Delphi, and a fast boat to the romantic, traffic-free Isle of Hydra.
Island getaways are fun, but the real heart of Greece is found in the Peloponnese Peninsula. After enjoying the charming old port town of Nafplio, we'll time-trip through the ruins of Olympia, take center stage at the remarkably preserved theater at Epidauros, and explore the ancient capital of Mycenae. Then we'll wander off the beaten path along the rustic, rough-and-tumble Mani Peninsula, relax in the idyllic beach town of Kardymli and marvel at Greece's Rock of Gibraltar: the fortress town of Monemvasia.
Denmark's capital is the most fun-loving in Scandinavia. As we get to know Copenhagen, we'll discover reminders of its Viking history and symbols of its proudly independent ways today. We'll stroll through Europe's first great pedestrian zone, ogle crown jewels in the palace and take a bike ride through a famous hippie squatter community, finishing at Copenhagen's full-time carnival, Tivoli Gardens.
Denmark: Beyond Copenhagen
Using Copenhagen as a spring board, we'll visit the very best of Denmark. Aarhus welcomes us with its ruddy affluence, charming open air museum and eerily well-preserved ancient bog man. Roskilde impresses visitors with its royal burial church and the best Viking ship museum anywhere. And the delightfully quaint Isle of Aero beckons a bike ride among thatched cottages, "snooping mirrors", and cobbled alleyways that reminds us of the world of Hans Christian Andersen.
Where Europe comes face to face with Asia, we'll explore the fascinating, multilayered city of Istanbul. We'll lose our way in the Grand Bazaar and feast like kings with locals at a fisherman's wharf. We'll follow the fall of the Byzantium and the rise of Islam at the city's ancient wall, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. To escape the city bustle, we'll board a boat on the churning Bosphorus, make friends over backgammon, and try a traditional bath.