Tour Gems that Sparkle
|Warning: this urge may suddenly strike on a Heart of Portugal tour.|
Touring beyond the blockbusters brings big rewards
Rick Steves' Tour News often features our biggest-selling destinations. This month we've decided to spotlight "hidden gems" that may have just a few departures each year — but get many of the biggest tour member raves.
If you're itching to experience something a bit different this year, look no further!
- Istanbul in 7 Days Tour Slideshow: Our most exotic week-long city getaway, day by day.
- Heart of Portugal Tour Slideshow: Time-travel to a Europe where traditions stay strong.
- Best of Scandinavia Tour Slideshow: Nordic thrills for one and all, you betcha.
. . . and check out these tour gems as well!
Straddling the modern-day borders of Spain and France is one of Europe's most ancient, independent-thinking regions: the Basque Country.
In this eight-day getaway you'll get to know a corner of Europe that's long been ignored by history books, guidebooks — and governments — yet has much to offer travelers. From idyllic harbors to craggy peaks, from ancient footpaths to ultra-modern museums, and from near-tribal allegiances to EU-driven prosperity, the Basque Country will have you saying, "I never knew that!" more often than any other tour.
Starting in Bayonne, France (a snap to reach from Paris by air or TGV), you'll learn of the early days of whaling that delivered new dangers and wealth to this neglected region on the Bay of Biscay. Then we'll cross the Pyrenees and settle into the Spanish side of Basque Country, where you'll be treated to the region's gourmet cooking, carefully-crafted wines, and warm hospitality.
From salty fishing villages to faithfully-trod pilgrimage paths to Frank Gehry's dazzling Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain you'll be happily immersed in the rich cuisine, culture, art, history — and a peek at the future — of Europe's surprising Basque Country. More...
Save $200 on the July 14 and August 25 departures!
The greatest cities of the Low Countries — Amsterdam, Brussels and Bruges — are a delight to experience. From the rattle of bikes on cobbles and the fragrance of flower-carpeted squares, to that first sip of a hand-crafted beer at a sunny sidewalk café — this tour immerses you into an enchanting, slow-down-and-smell-the-tulips world.
Beginning in Brussels, you'll enjoy 11 days of this happy lifestyle. Our walking tours will create a vivid tapestry of Golden Age history and contemporary European lifestyles, and get you rubbing elbows with people whose attitudes are at the cutting edge of a peacefully-uniting Europe.
Oh, and the sights you'll see: medieval Ghent, beautiful Bruges, a traditional Belgian brewery, a high-tech 21st-century sea barrier, the quaintness of Delft, the colorful whirlwind of a flower auction, and a hands-on open-air museum. Then, of course, there's Amsterdam with the inspirational Anne Frank House, the masterpieces of Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh — all against a backdrop of tree-lined canals, flower-boxed windows, and a lilting soundtrack of carillon bells.
It sounds like a dream, but you'll discover...it all rings true. More...
Turkey offers travelers the best of all worlds: awe-inspiring ancient history, fairytale scenery, plentiful sunshine, and some of the most welcoming people you'll ever hope to meet.
Our Rick Steves Turkish guides have a gift for making their country's rich culture and heritage come to life in personal ways, opening doors for you that independent travelers will never know existed.
You'll walk in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, discuss religion with a Muslim scholar in a mosque, savor the best of Turkish cuisine, hike through a timeless Cappadocian canyon, and sip tea with a local family.
In Istanbul, you'll be engulfed in the spiritual hubbub of towering mosques, be captivated by the steamy intrigue of the sultan's palace and harem, and shop till you drop in the exotic Grand Bazaar — a commotion of leather, jewelry, and aromatic Oriental spices.
Finally, this trip offers a clear-headed look at an Islamic nation successfully becoming a modern democracy, with a commitment to the separation of mosque and state.
If you're looking for new kinds of travel delights — and a broader perspective — you've found it all in the Best of Turkey. More...
We've combined Spain's top cities to create a sparkling, full-bodied eight-day adventure.
Barcelona bustles with a colorful street life and nighttime scene that make it Europe's most festive city. For three days you'll be immersed in the pride and energy of today's Catalunya — rambling on the Ramblas, marveling at Gaudí's architecture, getting personal with Picasso, and digging into the region's freshest seafood.
Then, for the classy "part two" of our adventure, we'll whisk you aboard one of Europe's premier high-speed trains to the very heart of Spain: Madrid. Here you'll explore the "royal" side of the country, from Madrid's majestic monuments and boulevards to its sumptuous Royal Palace and masterpiece-packed Prado Museum — and a day in Spain's medieval capital, frozen-in-time Toledo.
In each city you'll enjoy a rich mix of guided neighborhood and museum walks and well-oriented free time, giving you plenty of opportunities to make your own special discoveries. Our goal is simple: to have you return home with more magic memories than you ever thought possible in an eight-day getaway. More...