Rick Steves' Best of Europe
- Purchase the 2013 edition of Rick Steves' Best of Europe guidebook.
Updates to the 2013 edition
Vienna, Salzburg, Hallstatt
See the updates to our Vienna, Salzburg & Tirol guidebook.
See the updates to our Amsterdam, Bruges & Brussels guidebook.
See the updates to our Prague & the Czech Republic guidebook.
The tourist information office at Gare de Lyon has closed.
At Notre-Dame, there are now free English tours on Sunday at 14:30. Admission to the treasury is now €4, and its new hours are Mon–Fri 9:30–17:40, Sat–Sun 9:30–18:10. The tower climb at Notre-Dame now costs €8.50 and in June closes daily at 18:30 — there are no longer later hours on weekends.
The Army Museum is no longer open half an hour later on Sundays, but the late-night Tuesday hours for April–Sept are still in effect through 2012. Current hours: Museum — daily April–Sept 10:00–18:00, Tue until 21:00, Oct–March 10:00–17:00, closed first Mon of month year-round; Napoleon's tomb — daily April–June and Sept 10:00–18:00, may be open Tue until 21:00; July–Aug 10:00–19:00, Tue until 21:00; Oct–March 10:00–17:00, closed first Mon of month Sept–May.
The Montmartre Museum is no longer closed on Mondays; it's now open daily 10:00–18:00.
At Versailles, a shuttle bus run by the local transit company now goes from the Versailles Château Rive Gauche train station to the Trianon Palaces and the Domaine de Marie-Antoinette. The shuttle does not stop at the main entrance to the Château, but it's ideal for anyone going to the Trianon/Domaine first, or ready to return by train to Paris right from the Trianon/Domaine.
The Hôtel Castex has a new website: www.castexhotel.com.
The Hôtel des Deux-Iles has a new website: www.hoteldesdeuxiles.com.
For Internet access in the Luxembourg area, try Cyber Cube at 5 Rue Mignon (Mon–Sat 10:00–10:00, closed Sun); Le Milk has closed.
Hôtel la Perle now charges extra for breakfast.
The correct address for Hôtel Relais Médicis is 5 Place de l'Odéon.
For late-breaking Paris news, see the updates to our Paris guidebook.
Provence and Nice
The correct email address for guide Daniela Wedel is simply email@example.com.
For late-breaking Provence/Nice news, see the updates to our Provence & the French Riviera guidebook.
See the updates to our Germany guidebook.
The stairs to the top of the Rödertor — the 13th-century wall tower nearest the train station — have been closed for safety.
The Nightwatchman's Store is now called The Kleiderey, and has become a clothing store; you can still find the Night Watchman there on occasion (his wife owns it).
For late-breaking Rothenburg news, see the updates to our Germany guidebook.
See the updates to our Germany guidebook.
Local guide Nick Jackson has new contact information: mobile 0171-537-8768, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the winter (Nov–March), BEX Sightseeing Berlin (formerly Severin & Kühn) runs their city bus tours only Wed–Sat at 10:00.
The EurAide train-information office, located in Berlin's main station (Hauptbahnhof), is now open most of the year, closing just in January and February. New hours: May–July Mon–Fri 10:00–20:00, Sat 10:00–16:00, closed Sun; Aug Mon–Fri 11:00–20:00, Sat 10:00–16:00, closed Sun; Sept Mon–Fri 11:00–20:00, closed Sat–Sun; Oct and March Mon–Fri 11:00–19:00, closed Sat–Sun; Nov Mon–Fri 11:00–18:30, closed Sat–Sun; Dec and April Mon–Fri 11:00–20:00, closed Sat–Sun except first two weeks in Dec Sat 10:00–16:00.
Renovation of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (Gedächtniskirche) is now scheduled to finish in fall of 2013.
If you show up at the Reichstag without a reservation, you can now try your luck at the visitors center center (on the Tiergarten side of Scheidemannstrasse, across from Platz der Republik), where, if slots are available, they can fit you in no less than two hours and no more than two days out (whole party must be present, ID required).
The beloved Operncafé, in the Opernpalais near Bebelplatz, has closed.
Some of the Museum Island museums have somewhat shorter hours: the Pergamon is now open Thursdays only until 21:00, and the Altes Museum is open Thursday only until 20:00 (but the Bode and Old National Gallery still stay open until 22:00 on Thursdays). The Altes and Bode Museum now close on Mondays (but the Pergamon and Neusus Museums are still open daily).
Berlin Story now closes earlier than printed: 19:00 Mon–Sat, 18:00 Sun.
The Schinkel Klause Biergarten near Unter den Linden has closed indefinitely.
For late-breaking Berlin news, see the updates to our Germany guidebook.
The Britain and London Visitors Centre near Piccadilly Circus has closed. The City of London Information Centre, just south of St. Paul's Cathedral, is now the best tourist information service in town (Mon–Sat 9:30–17:30, Sun 10:00–16:00, St. Paul's Churchyard, Tube: St. Paul's). For phone inquiries, contact the more commercial Visit London Tourist Information Centre (tel. 0870-156-6366).
Kensington Palace now hosts a worthwhile series of exhibits on its most notable past residents: William and Mary, the Hanovers (the "Georges"), and Queen Victoria (born and raised in this palace). Its spaces are immaculately restored and creatively presented, with engaging, user-friendly exhibits designed to appeal to adults and kids alike — making this a particularly entertaining royal sight (£14.50 — which includes 10 percent optional donation, save £1 by booking online, daily 10:00–18:00, until 17:00 Nov–Feb, last entry one hour before closing, a 10-minute hike through Kensington Gardens from either Queensway or High Street Kensington Tube station, tel. 0870-751-5170 or 0844-482-7777).
At King's Cross Station, Platform 9 3/4 has apparated back inside the station; the sign and disappearing luggage trolley is now in the station's western departures concourse, between tracks 8 and 9.
The newly opened Making of Harry Potter Warner Bros. studio tour lets Potterphiles young and old see the actual sets and props used in the films, video interviews with the actors and filmmakers, and exhibits about how the films' special effects were created. Visitors must book a time slot in advance — and while it's still new, it's smart to do so as far ahead as possible. Since it's located in Leavesden, a 20-minute train ride from London, and takes at least three hours to experience, a visit here will eat up the better part of a day (£28, kids ages 5 to 15-£21, family ticket for 2 adults and 2 kids-£83, £5 extra for audio/videoguide, tours depart daily 10:00–18:00, café, still photography allowed, tel. 08450-840-900).
Cherry Court Hotel has new rates: Sb-£55, Db-£65, Tb-£105, Qb-£120, Quint/b-£130.
Vandon House Hotel, near Buckingham Palace, has closed down.
Tickets for Gatwick Express trains are no longer available on board; tickets must be bought at the ticket gates, or in advance, online.
For late-breaking London news, see the updates to our London guidebook.
The correct phone number for the Apple Tree Guest House is 01225/337-642.
Three Abbey Green Guesthouse has new rates: Db-£90–140, four-poster Db-£140–180, family rooms-£140–220, self-catering Qb apartment-£170–250. A minimum three-night stay is required for Bank Holiday weekends.
For late-breaking Bath news, see the updates to our England guidebook.
Two tourist-information offices have closed: on in Trastevere (on Piazza Sonnino) and the other near the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore (on Via dell'Olmata).
Public-transit tickets have become more expensive. New prices:
Single: €1.50 (now valid for 100 minutes, not 75)
One-day pass: €6 (good until midnight)
Three-day pass: €16.50
One-week pass: €24
One-month pass: €35 (valid for a calendar month)
On the upside, Rome now has a central phone number for public transportation information: 06-57003.
The BIRG ticket that covers travel between Civitavecchia and Rome (as well as transit in Rome) is now €12.
For taxis licensed in Rome, the taxi fare between Fiumicino Airport and the center of Rome is now €48. Taxis licensed in Fiumicino are now also limited to €48. Be aware that taxis licensed by other parts of the metropolitan region can change up to €70 for the same trip. The taxi fare between the port of Civitavecchia and the center of Rome is now €120.
The Roma Pass is now €30, and is valid for three days, covering public transportation, and either free or discounted entry to Roman sights.
At St. Peter's Basilica, climbing the stairs all the way up to the dome now costs €6 (it's still €7 to ride an elevator part of the way). The dome is now open to climbers daily April–Sept 8:00–18:00, Oct–March 8:00–17:00. The crypt is now open daily 9:00–16:00.
Same-day, skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican Museum can often be purchased at the tourist information office in St. Peter's Square (to the left, as you face the basilica). You pay the same price (€15 ticket plus €4 reservation fee) that you would online.
Hotel Selene Romano longer offers a 10 percent discount with cash, and its telephone number is now 06-474-4781.
Hotel Alimandi Tunisi no longer offers an airport shuttle but can arrange airport transfers on request.
Albergo Santa Chiara now has air-con and Wi-Fi.
The correct street address for Arco del Lauro B&B is Via dell'Arco de' Tolomei 29.
Hotel San Francesco now has an elevator.
Reception at the Beehive is now open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Dorm-room bunks now cost at least €30. Several new rooms with air-conditioning have opened in another part of the building (Db-€100 with ensuite bathroom, Db-€90 with private bath in the hall, Sb-€60 with private bath in the hall). Classic double rooms with shared bath remain €80.
Sora Margherita is open in July, and closed in August.
Ristorante Pizzeria Sacro e Profano is now closed Sunday.
For late-breaking Rome news, see the updates to our Rome guidebook.
Admission to Scuola Grande di San Rocco is now €8.
The produce market is closed Sundays and the fish market is closed Sundays and Mondays.
Locanda Silva is now closed Dec–Jan. Discounts for Rick Steves readers are valid only when you pay cash.
Hotel S. Lucia is now closed Nov–Feb.
The Alilaguna express boat that conveniently connects Stazione Marittima (the cruise port) directly to St. Mark's Square is now called the blue line (Linea Blu), not #M. The blue line also continues to Marco Polo Airport, but the trip can take two hours.
For late-breaking Venice news, see the updates to our Venice guidebook.
Context Florence has new US telephone numbers: 215/240-4347, toll-free 800/691-6036. The Italian phone number remains unchanged: 069-762-5204.
Walks Inside Florence's three-hour introductory tour costs €50 (not €60) per person for groups of up to 6 people (no €180 cap), not including the €15/person Accademia admission.
The Firenze Card (€50/person), rolled out last year, has proven to be a worthwhile option for busy sightseers who plan to see the Uffizi, Accademia, Duomo dome climb, Campanile, Duomo Museum, and Baptistery, and several other covered sights (Pitti Palace, Brancacci Chapel, Medici Chapels, and many more).
Devoted David-ites seeking to score last-minute tickets to the Accademia can try dropping by the My Accademia Libreria reservation office, just across the street from the museum's exit, which sells same-day reservations (when available, of course; extra fee; they also sell reservations for other times). Upstairs at the Accademia, a new exhibit displays Florentine altarpieces from 1370–1430 — the last gasp of the Middle Ages, just before Renaissance fever hit in full force.
At the Uffizi Gallery, you can buy a Firenze Card — or see if there are any same-day reservations available (extra fee, but could save you time in the ticket line) — by entering at door #2 to the left of the ticket-buying line (marked Booking Service and Today). The gallery itself is still undergoing a massive, years-long renovation, with many of its pieces rearranged. (On the plus side, new exhibition space is opening up all the time.) A new "Foreign Painters" exhibit, featuring mostly Dutch/Flemish and a few Spanish and French artists, is just downstairs from the café.
Reservations are still technically required at the Brancacci Chapel, but you can almost always get one for an immediate visit just by showing up (though it can get crowded after 15:30). If you don't want to take a chance, call to reserve at least a day in advance (tel. 055-284-361).
To beat the lines at the Duomo-related sights (Florence's cathedral, Baptistery, and Campanile), you can buy a combo-ticket at the Duomo Museum (where there are generally no lines). The same ticket also gets you into the Duomo itself through its exit, avoiding the lines at the front door.
After recent preservation efforts, Lorenzo Ghiberti's bronze Renaissance-era Baptistery doors — featuring the original 10 panels from the "Gates of Paradise" (1425–1452) — are back on display at the Duomo Museum.
The Medici-Riccardi Palace now closes at 18:00 (Thu–Tue 9:00–18:00, closed Wed, last entry 30 minutes before closing).
The Museum of Santa Maria Novella has new hours: Fri–Mon 9:00–16:00, closed Tue–Thu (tel. 055-282-187).
Santa Maria de' Ricci Church no longer holds nightly concerts of organ and choral music.
Residenza Giotto B&B may be incorrectly placed on your Florence Hotels map; it's actually one block farther north, just barely off Piazza di San Giovanni.
Galileo Hotel may also be incorrectly placed on your Florence Hotels map; it is on Via Nazionale, just north of Via Guelfa.
Cantinetta dei Verrazzano, Florence's long-established bakery/café/wine bar, no longer offers Rick Steves readers a free cup of coffee with their meal.
For late-breaking Florence news, see the updates to our Florence & Tuscany guidebook.
The Cinque Terre
See the updates to our Italy guidebook.
Spainair has gone out of business.
The owners of Hostal Residencia Neutral are retiring and have closed the hotel.
For late-breaking Barcelona news, see the updates to our Barcelona guidebook.
Passengers arriving at Barajas Airport's Terminal 4 can now ride a cercanías (commuter) train to Atocha station (2/hour, 25 minutes) or Charmatin station (2/hour, 12 minutes).
The Prado Museum is open on Mondays, though it now has slightly shorter hours the rest of the week (Mon–Sat 10:00–20:00, Sun 10:00–19:00).
For late-breaking Madrid news, see the updates to our Spain guidebook.
Gimmelwald and the Berner Oberland
See the updates to our Switzerland guidebook.