Hi from Rick: When Travel is a Beach
|To appreciate beauty while wearing your flip-flops, it's hard to beat South Italy and Sicily. (Photo by tour member Randy Ratzlaff).|
My passion for travel has always been aroused by culture, history, food and people. Beaches have taken a back-seat. But I'll let you in on a little secret: two of our tours include just about the most fun you can have in Europe with your swimsuit on.
Hang on to your Speedo, because this month's Tour News focuses on South Italy and Sicily, where — at least on a Rick Steves tour — you can spend some serious time in flip-flops without trading away the "real" Europe.
Our Best of South Italy in 13 Days tour spends two nights in Vieste, on Italy's Adriatic coast. Not only is this a pleasant harbor town to stroll around, but when the weather is calm, we take a private boat cruise to see some amazing coastal caves nearby, with plenty of time for a relaxing dip in the sea. Later during the tour, we enjoy free days along the Amalfi Coast: first at Positano — famous for its steep, stair-step jumble of lanes and houses that seem to spill onto the sunny shore below — then again at Sorrento, where you can hire a boat to Capri's Blue Grotto or enjoy combing the beaches on the "Italy" side of the bay.
The Best of Sicily in 10 Days includes a couple of nights in one of my favorite seaside towns in Europe — the perfect combination of sand, sun and culture — Cefalú. You can explore the salty fisherman's village full of narrow alleys, then climb the hill above the town to find castle ruins and spectacular views. But on a sunny day, the highlight of Cefalú is a sandy beach that invites hours of la dolce far niente, with a beachfront promenade that delivers one of Italy's best after-dinner strolls.
For a preview of South Italy and Sicily's satisfying blend of local culture, historic surroundings, and relaxing beaches, watch our Video of the Month: a five-minute mini-tour of Sicily's Cefalú. In this month's Tour News you'll also learn about the "Spaghetti Western" childhood of Sicilian guide Alfio Di Mauro, the many things our tour members are raving about, and more.
This month we are also announcing the winners of our annual online Tour Scrapbook Contest. Have a look at the top entries, and see how their 2010 tours made Europe come to life for them.
And I hope you can join us for some sun, sea, and gelato-fueled dolce vita soon.
P.S. This is your last weekend to save 20% on carry-on luggage...and see how goofy I look in a basketball jersey (sale runs through Sunday, April 3rd).