About Rick Steves

Rick Steves, America's most respected authority on European travel, empowers Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening. In 1976, he started his business, Rick Steves' Europe, headquartered in Edmonds, Washington, near Seattle. There he produces a best-selling guidebook series, a popular public television show, a weekly public radio show, a syndicated travel column, and free travel information available through his travel center and ricksteves.com. Rick Steves' Europe also runs a successful small-group tour program taking 30,000 travelers to Europe annually.

Email Rick at rick@ricksteves.com, or write to him c/o 130 4th Ave N, Edmonds, WA 98020.

Rick's Biography

Short Version (226 words)

Guidebook author and travel TV host Rick Steves is America's most respected authority on European travel. Rick took his first trip to Europe in 1969, visiting piano factories with his father, a piano importer. As an 18-year-old, Rick began traveling on his own, funding his trips by teaching piano lessons. In 1976, he started his business, Rick Steves' Europe, which has grown from a one-man operation to a company with a staff of 100 full-time, well-travelled employees at its headquarters in Edmonds, Washington, near Seattle. There he produces a best-selling guidebook series on European travel, America's most popular travel series on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, a weekly syndicated column, and free travel information available through his travel center and ricksteves.com. Rick Steves' Europe also runs a successful European tour program organizing small-group tours that take more than 30,000 travelers to Europe annually. His mission: to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening.  When not on the road, Rick is active in his church and with advocacy groups focused on economic and social justice, drug policy reform, and ending hunger. Rick Steves lives and works in his hometown of Edmonds, Washington. His office window overlooks his old junior high school.

Email Rick at rick@ricksteves.com, or write to him c/o 130 4th Ave N, Edmonds, WA 98020.

Long version (642 words)

Rick Steves advocates smart, affordable, perspective-broadening travel. As host and writer of the popular public television series Rick Steves' Europe, and author of a best-selling guidebook series on European travel, he encourages Americans to travel as "temporary locals." His mission: to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening.  

Over the past 20 years, Rick has hosted more than 100 travel shows for public television, and numerous pledge specials (raising millions of dollars for local stations). His Rick Steves' Europe TV series is carried by over 300 stations, reaching 95 percent of US markets. Rick has also created three award-winning specials for public television: European Christmas, the ground-breaking Iran: Yesterday and Today, and most recently European Festivals. Rick writes and co-produces his television programs through his media company.

Rick Steves also hosts a weekly public radio program, Travel with Rick Steves. With a broader approach to travel everywhere, in each hour-long program Rick interviews guest travel experts, followed by listener call-ins. Travel with Rick Steves airs across the country on more than 400 radio stations and as a popular podcast. Rick has also created a mobile app, Rick Steves Audio Europe, which organizes his vast library of self-guided audio walking tours and radio interviews into geographic playlists covering Europe's top sights, travel tips, and cultural insights.

Rick self-published the first edition of his travel skills book, Europe Through the Back Door (now updated annually), in 1980. He has also written more than 80 European travel guidebooks and phrase books. For several years, Rick Steves Italy has been the bestselling international guidebook sold in the US. In 2009, Rick tackled a new genre of travel writing with Travel as a Political Act, reflecting on how a life of travel has broadened his own perspectives, and how travel can be a significant force for peace and understanding in the world. Rick's books are published by Avalon Travel, a member of the Hachette Book Group.

In addition to his guidebooks, TV, and radio work, Rick is a syndicated newspaper columnist with the Tribune Media Services. He appears frequently on television, radio, and online as the leading authority on European travel. He is also an active blogger and on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Rick took his first trip to Europe in 1969, visiting piano factories with his father, a piano importer. By the time he reached 18, Rick jokes, "I realized I didn't need my parents to travel!" He began traveling on his own, funding his trips by teaching piano lessons. In 1976, he started Rick Steves' Europe (RSE), a business that has grown from a one-man operation to a company with a well-traveled staff of over 100 full-time employees. RSE offers free travel information through its Travel Center, website (www.ricksteves.com), and travel newsletters. RSE also runs a successful European tour program organizing small-group tours that take more than 30,000 travelers to Europe annually. 

Rick is outspoken on the need for Americans to fit better into our planet by broadening our perspectives through travel. He is also committed to his own neighborhood. He's an active member of the Lutheran church and with advocacy groups focused on economic and social justice, drug policy reform, and ending hunger. He's a board member of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). And Rick gave his local YWCA a 24-unit apartment building to provide transitional housing for homeless mothers and their children.

Rick Steves spends about a third of every year in Europe, researching guidebooks, filming TV shows, and making new discoveries for travelers. To recharge, Rick plays piano, relaxes at his family cabin in the Cascade mountains, and spends time with his son Andy and daughter Jackie. He lives and works in his hometown of Edmonds, Washington, where his office window overlooks his old junior high school.

In the News

Rick and His Business

The Washington Post

Europe's 'flight shame' movement doesn't stand a chance in the U.S.

The New York Times Magazine

Rick was profiled in an 8,000-word cover story by Sam Anderson

Time Magazine

Rick Steves: The Traveler's Aid

60 Minutes

CBS followed Rick while he researched his guidebook series in 2005

The New York Times Magazine

A profile of Rick conducting guidebook research in Europe

USA Today

Rick Steves has the inside track to Europe

Puget Sound Business Journal

Rick Steves' travel empire is moving as fast as a Europe-bound 747

Updating a Rick Steves Guidebook (4-minute video clip)

Rick gives us a peek at what it takes to update his guidebooks.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Outspoken Travel Guru Rooted in Edmonds


 

Travel as a Political Act

Wall Street Journal

Rick’s plan for a better world:  more travel

USA Today

Rick provides 10 great places to challenge American assumptions

NPR

Rick gets uncomfortable in “Travel As A Political Act”

Budget Travel

#BTReads: Rick Steves's 'Travel as a Political Act'

Writer's Digest

Write Like Rick Steves: Travel Writer Extraordinaire

USA Today

Rick writes an op-ed about how travel helps gain global perspective

The Seattle Times

Rick comments on recent elections in Iran

The Costco Connection

Travel guru Rick Steves says travel with an open mind and think globally

Book Slut

G is for Geopolitical: Rick Steves Revealed

WorldHum.com

Interview with Rick Steves: 'Travel as a Political Act'

Seattle Times

The World According to Rick Steves

Faithful Travel with Rick Steves (10-minute TV interview)

Learn why Rick is dedicated to thoughtful travel

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Rick talks about how Europe perceives the United States

The Seattle Times

Rick writes an op-ed about what he sees as the real threat to U.S. security

The Seattle Times

Rick writes an op-ed about global warming

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Outspoken Travel Guru Rooted in Edmonds

The Seattle Times

Rick writes an op-ed about what he sees as the real threat to U.S. security


 

Drug Policy Reform

Rolling Stone

Mr. Steves goes to Washington – to talk drug policy

The Marijuana Times

Rick briefs members of Congress on marijuana law reform

Houston Chronicle

Rick Steves offers a European take on America’s drug war

Seattle Hempfest

Rick sums up his drug policy views in this 8-min video

New York Times

Fresh ideas on a tired crusade

Los Angeles Times

Rick’s op-ed on “Europe: Curing, Not Punishing Addicts”

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Rick Steves’ writes on “We need to get smart about marijuana”

Huffington Post

Rick's LA Times op-ed listed as one of the "Top 10 Reasons for Optimism"

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Travel guru stands firm on war and weed


 

Rick's Products & Travel Advice

MSNBC

Rick's guidebooks endorsed

USA Today

Rick writes an op-ed about why a weaker dollar can actually give you a richer travel experience

Washington Post

Rick Steves, Through the Front Door