Here's a list of topics that our speakers routinely cover. If you have
another suggestion, we'll be happy to discuss your idea.
European Travel Skills
For 30 years, Rick Steves and his staff have been taking careful notes so you can learn from their mistakes rather than your own. We'll teach you the secrets of safe, smart, inexpensive travel — low on stress and high on fun. You'll learn how to plan an efficient itinerary, pack light, and find Europe's off-beat nooks and intimate crannies. You'll maximize adventure and minimize crowds, eat and sleep comfortably on less than $100 per day, choose great budget hotels, and navigate Europe's excellent rail system with ease. Forget about expensive vacations in big American-style hotels. We'll teach you how to experience the real Europe...through the back door!
European Travel Skills Q & A
Planning a trip to Europe? Ask questions like you would during a private travel consultation, but for free. An expert will be on hand to help you better understand currency, packing, transportation, itinerary planning and more.
Packing Light & Right
You'll learn now or you'll learn later: The first step to a great trip is packing light — don't weigh yourself down! You can travel for months with one carry-on size bag and still have everything you need for a great trip. We'll distribute packing lists, show off the latest in lightweight luggage, and demonstrate a professionally packed bag.
No matter the destination, solo travel can be the most rewarding adventure of your life. Learn insider tips from a seasoned pro. You'll discover: how to save money in today's travel environment; helpful safety tips; how to overcome language barriers; how to have a journey alone without being lonely, and much more.
European Rail Skills
Can't make heads or tails of railpass options and train schedules? Our experts from America's busiest rail department will teach all you need to know about European trains. We'll help you figure out which railpass is best for you, and cover sleeping on night trains, reading timetables, reserving seats, paying for supplements, and more.
Hosteling — Not Just for Youth Anymore
Hostels are a great alternative for travelers on a budget, in large groups, families, and those traveling solo. In this class you will learn where to locate hostels and what they offer as well as some tips to help make your hostel stay safe, relaxed, and enjoyable.
Incorporating Exercise Into Your Travels
Join one of our experts for a discussion filled with tips on maintaining an exercise routine while you travel. Learn what to pack, when and where to run, how to rent bikes and much more.
Travel as a Volunteer
Joyce Major, author of "Smiling at the World," shares her experience with her "voluntourism" travels. There are many volunteer opportunities like helping at the Cat Sanctuary in Italy, helping with archeology in France, teaching English in Spain, working with conservation and wildlife in England and more. Get closer to the local community by working side by side with them in their pursuits. Perhaps you can share your expertise on something that may add to their culture as well.
Traveling with Kids
Join one of our experts for a lively discussion full of tips for enjoying a trip with your whole family. Learn what will make the adventure cool for your teenager as well as your young ones and still have time for a night out with just the grown-ups.
Traveling Healthy in Europe
Join Ava Waits, The Global Nutrition Concierge™, to ensure that you travel healthy on your next trip to Europe. In this class, you'll learn how to strengthen your immune system before embarking on a trip, and how to keep your digestion happy as you travel. Ava will teach you how to maintain particular diets abroad, which is especially helpful if you are gluten-free, or are eating to support a health concern. You will also be pointed toward extra resources so you'll know what to do if you ever need to see a doctor or pharmacist on your trip.
Mediterranean Cruise Ports
This port-by-port rundown of the top Mediterranean cruise destinations (including Barcelona, the French Riviera, Florence, Rome, Venice, Dubrovnik, Athens, the Greek Isles, and Istanbul) includes tips on how to get from the port into town quickly and affordably, and strategies for making the most of your limited time on land.
European Cruising 101
Designed for first-time cruisers (and "extra credit" for cruise veterans), this introductory class covers a wide range of tips. We'll discuss the pros and cons of cruising, the factors to weigh when choosing and booking a cruise, how to approach all the optional add-ons as an informed consumer, and practical travel skills for enjoying your time both on the ship and in port.
Northern European Cruise Ports
If you'll be taking a Northern European cruise, this class offers tips for how to get into town quickly and affordably at each port, and how to spend your time once there. We'll cover Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Warnemünde (Berlin), Oslo, Bergen, the Norwegian fjords, and more.
Mediterranean Cruises 101
Based on Rick's new guidebook about cruising, this class teaches how to take a Mediterranean cruise "through the Back Door." We'll do a port-by-port rundown of the top Mediterranean cruise destinations (including Barcelona, the French Riviera, Florence, Rome, Venice, Dubrovnik, Athens, the Greek Isles, and Istanbul), with tips on how to get into town and make the most of your limited time. The rest of the class is an introduction to cruising for first-timers, including factors to consider when choosing and booking a cruise, and practical travel skills for enjoying your time on the ship and in port.
European Sleeps: Beyond Hotels and B&Bs
Whether you are a student traveler, a large family, or hoping to stay in the countryside for a week, there are great alternative options for where you sleep. Hostels, rentals, home exchanges, or couch surfing can save travelers lodging fees. This class will provide tips and information so you can decide if one of these options is right for your trip.
Traveling with a Tablet or Smartphone
Wondering where to start with your new iPad or smartphone? This discussion will cover step-by-step tutorials for basic functions like turning off data or using the device in WiFi mode. You will also learn how to better communicate with loved ones and navigate using maps and ebooks. Finally, maximize your tablet or phone's potential with useful travel apps. Limited to Apple and Android users, please.
European Festivals, Events and Sports
Have you ever wondered how to celebrate citrus fruit with the French, run from rampaging bulls with the Spaniards, or join in a boisterous song with Germans at a beer festival? A European sporting event can make you feel connected to a culture while you learn a new game. Their passionate fans may impress you and even have you cheering along with them. Europe is exploding with such celebrations and events that will enrich your travel plans. This class will help you find useful ways to learn about festivals, events and sports before and during your trip.
Beginning Czech for Travelers
Impress the Czechs...by speaking their language! Here's your chance to know the many meanings for "Prosim." Learn how to ask how to get around, understand a menu, and how to make small talk. We'll practice basic pronunciation and a few key phrases — and toss in a few cultural tips — all to make your travels smoother and more fun.
Beginning French for Travelers
Learn how to make friends with the French during this lesson in language and communication. During this class we will explore the different ways that the French communicate with each other and with tourists. We will learn basic pronunciation skills and key phrases that will help you to make friends with the locals and successfully negotiate your way though France.
Beginning German for Travelers
Surprise the Germans...by speaking their language! Here's your chance to know your Wein from your Wien, and to proudly say "Neuschwanstein" like a local. We'll practice basic pronunciation and a few key phrases — and toss in a few cultural tips — all to make your Teutonic travels smoother and more fun.
Beginning Italian for Travelers
Knowing just a few Italian words can really warm up your welcome in Italy. We'll explore the different ways the locals communicate with each other and with tourists. We'll also practice some basic pronunciation and key phrases that will bring smiles and help you have a smoother Italian trip.
Beginning Spanish for Travelers
You don't need to be a fluent Spanish-speaker to communicate with the locals when you travel in Spain, but learning basic pronunciation and a few key phrases will help your trip go smoother. We'll give you tips on how to make friends, order tapas, get to the train station, and more.
Beginning Swedish for Travelers
Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish are so similar that if you speak one of them, you can quickly learn to understand the other two, but don't tell that to the Swedes. This quick linguistics lesson will help you make closer contact with this proud Scandinavian culture and gain you the respect for not assuming that all of Scandinavia speaks English so well why bother.
Beginning Turkish for Travelers
Although this language traces its roots as far back as 3500BC, it was not until 1932 that Attatürk, the father of modern Turkey established "Turkish as it is spoken today." Have fun learning the "do's and don'ts" as well as the adoption of French and Italian within. Native speaker Sureyya Gokeri will help you master the basics and might even share a few of her culinary tips if you ask.
Europe 101 — Art and History for Travelers
After years of travel in Europe, we've distilled what you need to know in order
to fully appreciate the sights and culture. And just as important, we
know what you don't need to know, so you won't walk away from the class
feeling like you just ate an encyclopedia. You'll get a crash course in
understanding Medieval feudalism, Renaissance art, Gothic architecture,
ancient Greek life, and plenty more. Learn how and why things were done — from
castle construction to elegant court life to the rise of Venice to the
fall of Rembrandt. It's a class for smart people who fell asleep in their
European art and history courses before they knew they were going to Europe.
Italy's Art Treasures
Italy — more than any other European country — is packed with cultural sights: Michelangelo's David, Botticelli's Venus, the Sistine Chapel, and Venice's glorious St. Mark's Square. Even travelers with no interest in art and history will encounter masterpieces like these at every turn. Make the most of your trip by getting acquainted with Italy's cultural legacy. This class offers an overview of just the best-known treasures, the ones most first-time travelers will want to see, with the background to bring the art alive.
European Architecture for Travelers
From the Colosseum to the Eiffel Tower to the Guggenheim Bilbao, every building tells a story. Veteran Rick Steves tour guide Dave Hoerlein will help you learn how to recognize various architectural styles as well as understand and appreciate Europe's treasure trove of great buildings and monuments.
Stories in Stone: The Trouble with Michelangelo's Marble
Augustus Caesar was famous for saying of Rome "I found a city of brick and left it a city of marble." His boast referred to two stones: Carrara marble, later used so beautifully by Michelangelo, and travertine, the holey stone that allowed the Romans to erect the Colosseum. No stones in the building trade have as long or as interesting history as these two. Used not only in Italy for more than 2,000 years, they also lend dignity to buildings around the world.
David B. Williams, author of Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology, will highlight the stories of Carrara marble and Italian travertine, as he addresses Italy's beautiful building stones. He will discuss how Michelangelo was almost crushed to death twice in his pursuit of the marble, how travertine from the Colosseum was recycled in the Middle Ages, how a modern geologist studying travertine made a discovery that had implications for life on Mars, and why these two rocks have such enduring stories. His talk will give you new ways to see architecture and history.
Europe's Musical History Tour
Come along as we travel on a musical history through Europe, learning about great composers such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and more, and how their music was a reflection of their times and yet still an inspiration today. We'll see how music ties in with the art, architecture, and culture of each era, and learn how incorporating music and music related sights in our travels can enrich our experience.
Digital Photography for Travelers
Learn to make the most of your digital camera, whether compact or DSLR, so you can capture your travel memories with great photographs. In this class you will enjoy a presentation of fantastic photographs, detailed photo illustrations, and technical demos.
For all levels of photography. This insightful talk takes a unique look at the way a photographer sees the world. Using illustrations, diagrams and some the worst photos you've ever seen, (along with some other pretty good ones) John humorously shows why we don't always get in photographs, what we saw with our own eyes.
In this talk John Greengo will discuss and show that: You can't photograph all that you see, as well as the flip side of the equation which is: You can photograph more than you can see. Cameras and lenses work very differently than our eyes, the more you understand about these differences the better you will be at photographing the world.
Seven Steps to Great Photos
This is a visual and non-technical class which explains the simple steps of creating great photos. Yes, shutter speeds and apertures can be important, but this class focuses on all those other elements that are part of the creative photographic process. Filled will lots of photographic examples this class is perfect for beginners with point and shoots, or advanced shooters looking to refine their craft.
Capturing Europe with Watercolors
Spend an evening with tour guide and architect Sarah Murdoch learning
how to "sketch" with watercolor using a simple, travel-friendly system.
Using just 8 colors and a simple brush, you can capture memories of your
vacation on the go. We will discuss basic watercolor technique, choosing
a subject and enhancing your journal with watercolor. No prior painting
experience necessary, come for fun and be prepared to make some art.
Please bring a medium sized round watercolor brush (available at art
stores), a couple of #2 pencils, and a small metal box with a lid (AKA
an Altoids box!).
You'll almost be able to smell the linguini and taste the vino rosso as we explore enchanting Italy. The north is home to cosmopolitan Milan, time-tripping Venice, serene lakes, and the Alpine Dolomites. In central Italy we'll visit the Renaissance capital of Florence and the quaint hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria. On the Italian Riviera, the Cinque Terre's rocky coastlines and tiny villages are the epitome of picturesque. We'll wrap things up with the eternal city, amazing Rome.
Italy is just as exciting out in the countryside. Join us as we drink in a rich blend of wine-cellared villages, countryside vistas, artisan visits, and button-popping home-cooked meals. Visit places most people only dream about: Juliet's Verona, Byzantine Ravenna, St Francis' Assisi, Tuscany and Umbria, and the storybook islands of Lake Maggiore.
Southern Italy & Sicily
Experience "la dolce vita" as we journey through a region rich with culture and contrasts: the vibrant chaos of Naples, cliff-hugging Amalfi coast villages, the cave-dwelling city of Matera — and the island of Sicily, where past Greek, African and Norman cultures colorfully fuse together like the volcanic glass of Mount Etna.
Join us as we peel away the layers of 3,000 years of Roman history through the sights of this great city, from the Colosseum, Forum and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel to the bubbling Bernini fountains, coffee shops and fashion boutiques of modern Rome.
Two thousand years ago the well-organized Roman empire covered much of modern-day Europe. While a traveler to Rome sees impressive sights like the Pantheon, Colosseum and Forum, many are surprised to discover that well-preserved Roman ruins are found far from the banks of the Tiber — throughout Italy, France, Spain and even as far north as Hadrian's Wall in England. We'll look at the top Roman sights both in the Eternal City itself and in its far-flung empire.
Florence invented the art of civilized living back when the rest of Europe was mired in medievalism. We'll trace the birth and flowering of the artistic Renaissance at the Uffizi Gallery and Michelangelo's David, as well as other examples of good living — then and now — in this remarkable city.
Cruise the canals of this maritime city that was once the richest in the Western World. From Titian and Tintoretto masterpieces to sun-dappled palaces and exotic churches, to tiny cichetti bars and evening gondola rides, learn why this romantic city is famous for more than its glass blowing tradition.
Venice, Florence & Rome
Visit the must-see sights of Italy's most famous cities and learn about their roles in shaping the Western World. Along the way we'll wander through 3,000 years of great art and history, from Ancient Rome to the Renaissance in Florence and the Golden Age of Venice.
Naples & the Amalfi Coast
The Greeks named it Neopolis. It was once also the richest part of Italy as the Kingdom of Naples. We'll take a look at the lively, untamed energy of today's Napoli where Italy's opera tradition first thrived yet poverty still abounds. Pizza is king and life is lived out on the street. Along the nearby Amalfi coast, Sorrento provides the best home base for trips to Pompeii, Capri, and the best cliff hanging drive south that still gives thrills and chills.
Italy Q & A
Planning a trip to Italy? Ask questions just like you would during a private Travel Consult but it is all free. A panel of tour guides from our Italy tour program will be on hand to help you plan your journey of a life time. Learn about when and where to go and how long to stay, money-saving tips, transportation options and more.
Rome Q & A
Planning a trip to Rome? Ask questions like you would during a private travel consultation, but for free. An expert will be on hand to help you plan the journey of a life time. Find out when to go and how long to stay while also getting transportation tips, sightseeing advice and more.
Michelangelo Buonarroti — sculptor, painter, architect and poet — was both prolific and well-traveled. In this hour-long slide show, we'll trace the life, work and travels of "Earth's Greatest Artist," visiting
the Italian cities where he created his masterpieces. You may be surprised to find that the Italy of today is just as culturally rich as it was in the days of Michelangelo.
Coastal Italy and Hill Towns
Enjoy a trip from the lush coasts of Italy into the heart of its medieval hill-top towns. We'll visit the coastal villages of the Cinque Terre, Amalfi and Sicily. Then head inland to hike into the charming hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria, visiting well known places as well as a few hidden delights.
Venice and the Veneto
We'll wander the romantic streets and hidden alley ways of Venice, taking a trip on a gondola and investigating Venice in its expansive Lagoon. Then we'll explore the Veneto, one of the greatest wine-producing regions in Italy, dotted with famous historical towns such as Verona and Vicenza, as well as unknown gems.
Photographing Your Italy Trip
Planning a trip to Italy? Get ideas on how to take great photos of some of the best sights in Venice, Florence, Rome, and the Cinque Terra. You'll see many photographic examples and hear tips on how you can capture your travel memories in great photographs.
From Big Ben to bagpipes, Great Britain features some of Europe's best scenery, top museums, quaintest villages, and friendliest locals — all without a language barrier. We'll visit Bath, Cotswold villages, Wales, the Lakes District, Edinburgh, Hadrian's Wall, and York. In London we'll visit some of the world's best museums, theaters and pubs.
Follow England's coastal communities from windswept and desolate Dartmoor to Portsmouth and Brighton. Turn northeast to Canterbury and its famous tales, then over to Dover's castle and channel crossing that takes you beyond the pond.
In this class we'll explore one of Europe's most interesting and enjoyable cities from A to Z, including transportation tips; sightseeing suggestions; nightlife and theater pointers; dining options beyond bangers and mash; and how to find a comfortable budget hotel. We'll also whisk you into the English countryside for a look at London's best daytrips.
Join us for a slideshow romp through the unique Irish landscape! We'll get a glimpse of Ireland's fascinating history and meet the friendly people of this charming country. Our travels will take us through both the Republic and Northern Ireland, including Dublin, Waterford, the Aran Islands, Dingle Peninsula, Belfast, Derry, and the Giant's Causeway.
Explore the diversity of Europe's Nordic countries — from agricultural Denmark, to industrial Sweden, to fjord-splintered Norway — as we meander through the Land of the Midnight Sun. We'll visit a salty fishing island, frolic in fjord country, and compare capitals in Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki.
St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Helsinki
Discover a formerly forbidden corner of Europe, where a blend of eastern, western and royal tastes have created a region unlike any other. Estonia's Tallinn has shaken off its Soviet overcoat to reveal a charmingly Germanic, "romantic road" personality underneath. A ferry ride away, you'll see how elegant, fast-growing Helsinki has become one of Europe's most prosperous cities. Then visit St. Petersburg, where you'll marvel at the masterpiece-packed Hermitage and other Tsarist treasures.
In this presentation you'll be immersed in the rich culture and history of Scotland. We'll visit windswept St. Andrews; an island distillery; Inverness in the Highlands; Lochs Ness, Garry and Lomond; the Isle of Skye; dramatic Glencoe and Bannockburn; seaside Oban; spiritual Isle of Iona; and the craggy castles of Edinburgh, Cawdor, Urquhart, and Eilean Donan.
The lively capital of the Netherlands offers world-class art, colorful neighborhoods and gabled architecture along tree-lined canals. We'll explore Amsterdam by boat, bike and on foot, tracing the footsteps of Rembrandt, Anne Frank and others who have called Amsterdam home. For centuries, the city's live-and-let-live attitude has made it a magnet for the young at heart, helping to create Amsterdam's unique vibe. After we stroll down bustling pedestrian streets to the fragrant Flower Market, we'll head outside of town past dikes, tulip fields and windmills to sample a variety of easy side trips like Haarlem and Delft.
Amsterdam, Bruges & Brussels
Experience the three greatest cities of Europe's "Low Countries," so named because nearly half the land in Belgium and the Netherlands lies below sea level. In Amsterdam, we'll explore a lively city full of "more canals than Venice," cozy cafes, great art and stately history. With vivid, time-tunnel art, pointy, gilded architecture and Renoir canals, Bruges is a sightseeing treasure where you can savor heavenly chocolate and the world's best beer, and in bustling Brussels, the unofficial capital of Europe, you'll be pleasantly surprised by a rich, mix of food and culture.
Belgium & Holland
From Brussels to Bruges to Delft and Amsterdam, this talk treats you to today's Dutch and Belgian lifestyles. The "Low Countries" are Europe's oasis of innovation, tolerance and the savoring of life's quieter pleasures.
You'll also get an intimate look at the great art that's blossomed in this rich corner of the continent. And the
thought of Europe's best chocolate, cheese, bakeries, and beer will make your taste buds tingle.
It should be no surprise that France is the world's most-visited country. We'll lead you through the battlefields and rugged coastline of Normandy and Brittany, and the vineyards and chateaux of the Loire Valley and Burgundy. Then we head south to Provence and the glamorous Riviera before topping it all off in romantic, historic Paris.
Paris is synonymous with beauty, romance, great art museums, and fine cuisine. We'll explore the ins and outs of finding good, affordable hotels and restaurants, the best seasons for visiting, and how to organize your sightseeing. You'll also learn about the many day trips possible from Paris, including Versailles, Giverny and Chartres.
Paris Beyond the Basics: Museums & Architecture
Learn more about the art in several well-known and less frequented museums in the City of Lights. In addition, this class also discusses the important architectural styles that give Paris its unique and dazzling style.
Paris and the Heart of France
Experience the very best of Paris along with its most stunning surroundings: the Loire Valley's exquisite châteaux; Brittany's half-timbered villages; Normandy's magical Mont St. Michel and stirring D-Day beaches; Monet's dreamy gardens at Giverny; and a medieval castle being painstakingly built in Burgundy today - using lots of muscle and 13th-century technology.
France's Great Wine Regions
Learn about French village life where land, tradition, and a slower pace are venerated. After Paris, most travelers are drawn to the romantic hill towns and castles, meandering rivers and canals, and seas of vineyards that carpet the French countryside. In village France, everyone values the soil (le terroir) that brings the flavor to their foods and wines and nourishes a rural lifestyle. So while the country's brain resides in Paris, its soul lives in its villages — and that's where you'll feel the real pulse of France.
Provence & the French Riviera
Join us on a fabulous journey through Provence and the French Riviera. Using the Rick Steves guidebook to these exciting regions as an outline, you'll learn about Provence's remarkable array of Roman sites, its dynamic cities and its most romantic hill towns. You'll also discover the Riviera's most important sights, its best beaches and learn key lessons in crowd avoidance.
Join us on a fabulous journey through Provence. You'll learn about the Roman sites in Arles, Pont du Gard, Orange and Glanum as well as the market villages of St. Remy, Isle sur La Sorgue and Rousillon. Along the sea, we'll visit the town of Cassis and the marshes of the Camargue. You'll even learn where to find the lavender.
France's Loire, Dordogne and Languedoc
We'll begin with a trip through the Loire Valley, studded with hundreds of castles and palaces. Farther south we'll explore the Dordogne River Valley, a region that includes rock-sculpted villages and a local cuisine to die for. And finally, we'll uncover less-touristed Languedoc, including the fortified town of Carcassonne.
For many Americans, Normandy evokes D-Day — the world's largest invasion that changed the course of history. But a tour of this coastal French province promises more than wartime bunkers and WWII memorials. You'll find enchanting fishing villages, Gothic architecture, half-timbered houses and contemporary bustle. At Normandy's western edge, the island abbey of Mont St-Michel rises serene and majestic, oblivious to the tides of tourists.
France Q & A
Planning a trip to France? Ask questions just like you would during a private Travel Consult but it is all free. A panel of tour guides from our France tour program will be on hand to help you plan your journey of a life time. Learn about when and where to go and how long to stay, money-saving tips, transportation options and more.
Austria & Switzerland
Tour the scenic heart of Europe, from the poetic Rhine to the Romantic Road and the fantasy castles and beers of Bavaria. We'll venture onward to the hills of Mozart's Salzburg, then along the Danube to Vienna. Finally, explore the Alpine wonderland of Heidi's Switzerland in Appenzell and the Berner Oberland.
Switzerland is one of Europe's richest, best organized, most diverse and expensive countries. Enjoy the breathtaking alpine scenery of Switzerland's Alps in summer and winter. Learn more about the French-speaking side of the country; cruising Lake Geneva, tasting cheese and chocolate, and experiencing the other Swiss lakes and villages. Alphorn masters and yodelers abound and will help you understand more about this very traditional land.
Meander through the mountains and meadows of Europe's majestic Alps that stretch from France to Slovenia. We'll explore Chamonix, Zermatt, the Bernese Oberland, Hallstatt, the Dolomites, Bled and more. We'll focus upon totally yodel-y outdoor pursuits and villages.
Berlin, Prague and Vienna
We'll explore the heart of historic Europe in three of Europe's greatest cities. Berlin has risen from its tumultuous past to become a gleaming, people-friendly city best known for several world-class museums, a lively nightlife and cafe scene, and many historically significant sites. The hugely popular city of Prague boasts the best beer and art noveau in Europe, a year-round music-festival atmosphere, and an abundance of beautifully preserved facades from every architectural era. Vienna, the Hapsburg Empire's grand capital for 600 years, remains the romantic home of Brahms, outrageously decadent desserts, and the world's classiest cafe culture.
Vienna, Salzburg and Austrian Highlights
Enjoy a virtual tour through Austria's top sights. We'll explore elegant Vienna — a hub for European culture and history — before stopping in the vineyard-lined Danube Valley. From there, it's on to the delightfully compact and musical Salzburg, the storybook lakeside village of Hallstatt and highlights from Tirol.
Best of Europe
The best that Europe has to offer. The must-sees — Amsterdam, Venice, Florence, Rome and Paris — and all of their artistic treasures. Plus Europe's quieter treasures, like Germany's castle-coated Rhine River Valley and medieval Rothenburg, the alpine countryside charms of Austria and Switzerland, Italy's sun-drenched Cinque Terre villages and beautiful French Burgundy.
Eastern Europe: Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary
Together we'll travel through a trio of Eastern Europe's most accessible and enjoyable countries: the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary. Along the way, we'll stop off in bohemian Prague, charming Krakow, gorgeous Gdansk, and bustling Budapest.
Best of the Adriatic
Join us for an Adriatic adventure that explores Europe's "new frontier". We'll meander from pristine hill towns to sun-soaked islands, lacing together the best destinations in this diverse corner of Europe.
The hugely popular bohemian Prague boasts the best beer and art noveau in Europe, a year-round music-festival atmosphere, and an abundance of beautifully preserved facades from every architectural era. This presentation will introduce you to some of this and other most engaging sightseeing found in the Bohemian capital city of the Czech Republic.
Croatia and Slovenia
The Adriatic is emerging as one of Europe's top destinations. We'll focus primarily on Croatia's Dalmatian Coast: the Roman villa-turned-bustling-city, Split; the "Pearl of the Adriatic," Dubrovnik; and some charming seafront villages. We'll also dip into neighboring Slovenia, combining breathtaking Alpine scenery with a breezy Adriatic café culture.
Bulgaria is a land of intriguing contrasts where east flirts with west. You'll marvel at Bulgaria's beautiful and diverse topography from rustic mountain villages to rugged farmland to sleek seaside resorts. Witness a custom blend of Ottoman, Orthodox and Soviet history. Along the way, you'll meet many locals eager to share their unique experiences and folk history.
We'll venture off the beaten path into one of Europe's least developed and least touristed countries. Aside from a brief stopover in the capital, Bucharest, we'll focus on two regions in Romania's heartland: Transylvania, the mountainous region at the core of the country, packed with Dracula-style castles, super-scenic drives, fortified Saxon churches, adorable villages (like Sighisoara), bustling cities (Sibiu), and handy home-base cities (Brasov); and Maramures, an impossibly remote northern fringe of the country where you'll discover a wildly colorful cemetery, stately wooden churches, and real-world peasants and farmers still living as they have for centuries.
Budapest & Hungary
We'll take a tour through the land of the Magyars, focusing on the dynamic capital city, Budapest — with its opulent late-19th-century architecture, fascinating museums, relaxing thermal baths, bohemian nightlife, and top-notch cafés and restaurants. In the countryside, we'll ogle Esztergom's gigantic basilica, taste wines and learn about Hungarian history in Eger, ogle colorful tile roofs and ponder Ottoman history in Pécs, and relax in sleepy Sopron.
Our journey begins in Barcelona, gawking at astounding architecture and rambling down the Ramblas. Then it's on to Madrid, where we'll fill up on tasty tapas, visit top museums and venture out to the smaller towns surrounding this metropolis. We'll finish up in the south with Granada, Sevilla and the whitewashed hill towns of Andalucia.
Spain and Portugal
Our journey begins in Barcelona, gawking at astounding architecture and rambling down the Ramblas. Then it's on to Madrid, where you can fill up on tasty tapas and visit top museums. Then we'll head south to Granada, the whitewashed hill towns around Sevilla, and Portugal's romantic Algarve Coast, before finishing our journey in bustling Lisbon.
We'll travel to lively Lisbon, then down south to the Algarve coast and Évora. Back up north the coastal town of Nazaré awaits along with Coimbra, the vineyards of the Douro Valley and finally proud Porto. Portugal combines history-rich Roman, Moorish and Baroque architecture with the small towns, seacoast, food, wine and music that make up its heart and soul.
The vibrant capital of the Catalunya region beckons with outstanding art, dreamy architecture and fabulous food. We'll explore Barcelona from tip to toe as we trace the footsteps of Gaudí, Picasso and others who have called the city home. From the parks and leafy boulevards of the Eixample district we'll stroll the lively Ramblas past the Gothic Quarter down to the revitalized port where sandy beaches are just steps away.
The Basque Region of Spain and France
In this class well explore a region known for its independent spirit, lush scenery, and amazing cuisine. From the laid back seaside town of San Sebastian to the modern architecture of urban Bilbao to the charm of French Bayonne, this class will introduce you to a corner of Europe that many Americans have yet to experience.
Walking Spain's Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago began as one of three major Christian Pilgrimage routes in the Middle Ages and today it is still walked by thousands of people from around the globe. In this fun, practical and informative class you'll learn about walking the trail, including understanding way markings, where to eat and stay, equipment and packing, and spiritual and mental aspects of the journey.
Our journey explores exotic Istanbul before crossing the Bosphorus into Asia. We'll show you Turkey's capital city of Ankara, the otherworldly rock formations of Cappadocia, seaside villages and towns including Bodrum, and the Apostle Paul's Ephesus. We'll also visit sights along Turkey's western coastline including Gallipoli and Troy and finish with an introduction to Turkey's greatest treasure...its people.
Turkey Q & A
Whether you are curious about traveling in Turkey or already planning a trip there, this is your chance to have your questions answered by our Turkey travel expert. Learn how to have a great trip, including when and where to go, how long to stay, transportation options and more as you plan your Turkey adventure.
Istanbul: Where East Meets West
Istanbul, a city with one part in Europe and the other in Asia, is Turkey's historic, cultural and religious center. In this class, we'll explore Istanbul's most famous sites including Hagia Sofia, where Christianity and Islam mix, and Chora Church with its fine Byzantine mosaics. We'll go shopping in the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market, see Ottoman elegance in Topkapi Palace, marvel at the magnificent Blue Mosque, and experience modern Istanbul as well.
Punctuated with lots of travel tips, we'll visit many of the ancient sites of the Minoan, Mycenaean, and classical Greek civilizations. Our journey begins in the bustling capital city of Athens, and then we'll dip down to explore the Peloponnese. Our finale will take us island hopping among the Greek islands of Mykonos, Delos, Rhodes, Crete, and Santorini.
Spain & Portugal Q & A
Planning a trip to Spain or Portugal? Ask questions just like you would during a private travel consultation, but for free. An expert will be on hand to help you plan the journey of a lifetime. Learn about when and where to go and how long to stay, money-saving tips, transportation options and more.
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Iditarod 2012 — 56 feet, 1000 miles
Jan Steves presents a slideshow sharing with you her dream. Learn from her what it is like to be faced with temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees, ground blizzards, and overcoming the many obstacles on the trail including a growling moose plus the excitement of making it all the way to Nome.
Weekend Student Adventures with Andy Steves
Andy Steves will share all the latest on "flash-packing" through Europe — discount airlines, hostelworld.com, smart use of mobile technology, great urban experiences for students, and more — in a practical hour long lecture.
This is the talk Andy has given at university campuses across the USA and for foreign study programs throughout Europe as he equips and empowers American students to get the most out of their three-day weekends while on study abroad programs.
Andy's company, Weekend Student Adventures, organizes student tours and he has all the latest for anyone flash-packing through Europe on a student's budget.
Andy's father, a travel writer named Rick Steves, will introduce Andy with a few reminisces of his own student travels.
Reserve your free spot to join Andy and Rick for this one-time event.
Holiday Travel in the Alps
Fairy-tale villages snuggled under a blanket of snow, hot spiced wine, jagged peaks, gingerbread, winter sports and Christmas markets are all part of the appeal of holiday travel in the alpine regions of Europe. The nations that share the Alps (Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, France & Slovenia) beckon the traveler all year round. Winter travel offers special charms and considerations. Join us for a slideshow of colorful images and travel tips designed to help you plan your own alpine adventure.
Camino de Santiago — The Artist's Journey
In her new book, The Artist Journey: "The Perfumed Pilgrim Tackles the Camino de Santiago" in Spain, Marcia Shaver sets a pace along the 1,299,851 (500 mile) medieval pilgrimage route across Northern Spain to the Cathedral where St James is buried. Rediscover the depths of your soul with Marcia at a pace that allows time to draw in the revitalizing countryside of this meaningful journey.
My Way Tours Q & A
Travel on a Rick Steves My Way "un-guided" tour is for a more independent, low-stress traveler. Rick packages his My Way "un-guided" tours to include city-to-city transportation, central hotels — and free days to enjoy your own sightseeing pace and priorities. It's also a great fit for families with kids as young as 8. Learn more about the details and ask those questions to see if this is the right way to travel for you.
Reykjavik Highlights: 48 Hours In Iceland
Have you been looking at airfare from Seattle to Europe and finding Iceland Air to be one of the most inexpensive rates? Would that ticket include a long layover time in Reykjavik? Thinking about adding a night or two in Reykjavik? Many travelers are adding time in Iceland before or after their mainland European holiday. This class will focus on different sites in and around Reykjavik. We will provide helpful information so you can make the best of your long layover or even a couple nights in the world's most northern capital city.
Travel is Spiritual: Opening Up to What's Already There
Beyond the scheduled itinerary, there are opportunities to enjoy "mystical experiences" during your travels. This class may help you open yourself to these experiences through guided questions, reflective journaling, meditation, reading, community conversation, and photography. Through these practices travel will not only be memorable but also enriching.
Morgan McKenna is an internationally recognized speaker who has taught others how to pause and experience spiritual moments through travel. Morgan helps others to "see the extraordinary in the ordinary" whether in their own neighborhood or in Europe. You can visit her photo gallery and read her blog at mckennaimage.com.
The cameras within iPhones and iPads these days are miniature wonders, nearly always within our reach and capable of making magical photographs which can be enhanced and immediately shared through email, tweets and text messages, or posted to one's social networking pages. This wildly accessible new picture paradigm has created a renaissance in visual storytelling allowing each of us to capture and share our most magical moments. Having dipped our toes into these playful waters few of us would voluntarily go back to the world before smartphone cameras. Instead, we want to become more fluent with them, more capable of making them capture what we see in our mind's eye. Spend an introductory hour and a half with author/photographer, David E. Perry as he demonstrates the amazing potential these smart phone cameras offer and helps you master their wonders while sidestepping some of their inherent pitfalls.