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Rick Steves Tours: Festival of Europe

We're throwing a virtual European travel festival — join us January 9–30!

Imagine: For 22 nights in a row we'll take a virtual trip across Europe. It's free and it's fun — a celebration of Europe designed to help turn your 2023 travel dreams into smooth and affordable reality, whether on a Rick Steves bus tour or on your own. Each evening will get you up to date on a different country as Rick and his favorite European guides take you on an information-packed, one-hour tour. From Ireland to Greece, from Portugal to Poland, we'll visit Europe's sightseeing highlights and sample the delights of its unique cultures. While it's a festival for all as we celebrate our love of European travel, each evening's show also includes details about our various bus-tour itineraries, where we expect to take 30,000 travelers on their choice of 40 itineraries in 2023. Plus, we'll be giving away a free Rick Steves tour each week!

These events are free and will be presented over Zoom. You do not need a Zoom account to participate but you must register for each event separately, using the links below.

Watch previous recordings of Festival of Europe events.

Event Schedule

Monday, January 9: Grand Opening of Rick Steves Tours' Festival of Europe

Rick Steves kicks off a 22-night travel-ganza with a cancan of European delights. We'll begin with a montage of greatest magic moments, hear what Rick considers Europe's top 10 experiences, and enjoy a mobile feast featuring Europe's most addictive taste treats — captured in delicious video. Join us for the fun and get a preview of what's in store for the next three weeks.


Tuesday, January 10: Italy's Top Cities: Venice, Florence, and Rome

Rick is joined by tour guide Anna Piperato for a virtual visit to the three great cities of Italy: Venice with its canals and gondolas; Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance; and Rome with its ancient wonders and dazzling Vatican; plus fun-to-explore neighborhoods and hands-on food experiences. We'll learn why this Italian trio makes for the most popular itinerary among our tours.


Wednesday, January 11: England

Guest host and tour guide Lisa Friend is joined by London-based guide Jeanie Carmichael for a virtual visit to England. We'll travel from royal London to Georgian Bath, King Arthur's Glastonbury, flower-bedecked Cotswold villages, the poetic Lake District in the north and the cozy villages of Cornwall in the south, plus castle-studded northern Wales. And we'll go over which of our tour itineraries weave together which of these wonderful destinations.


Thursday, January 12: Spain

Madrid-based guide Federico García Barroso joins Rick for a virtual tour of Spain — with rich helpings of art, from Catalunya's Gaudí and Toledo's El Greco to the masterpieces of Madrid's Prado Museum. Then we'll head south to Granada, Sevilla, and some dreamy, whitewashed hill towns for fine wine, jamón, and olive oil. We'll compare Rick Steves tours of Spain to help you find the right fit.


Friday, January 13: Scandinavia

Rick is joined by Oslo-based tour guide Pål Bjarne Johansen for a virtual trip to Scandinavia — Europe's most prosperous, pristine, and progressive corner. We'll sample Stockholm's royal grandeur, Copenhagen's fun-loving pedestrian center, Denmark's Ærø — a small island with ship-in-a-bottle charm, Oslo's proud maritime museums, the ruddy-cheeked harbor town of Bergen, Norway's astoundingly beautiful fjord country, and other highlights of our Best of Scandinavia tour.


Saturday, January 14: Switzerland

Join Rick and tour guide Robyn Stencil on a virtual tour of Switzerland's best spots, from lakeside towns to flowerbox-perfect villages to walking trails surrounded by cut-glass peaks. Marvel at the alpine wonders of the Berner Oberland and the hillsides above Zermatt, lick gelato in Italian-speaking Lugano, wander the charming streets of Lausanne, get to know the Swiss capital of Bern, and learn about other highlights of our Best of Switzerland tour.


Sunday, January 15: Italy's Countryside: Tuscany, Umbria, the Cinque Terre, the Dolomites, and More

Orvieto-based tour guide David Tordi joins Rick on a virtual journey into the Italian countryside — charming small towns amid big scenery that ranges from snowy Alps to rolling hills to sunny beaches. David and Rick discuss the many joys of Tuscany and Umbria: sipping wine in the Chianti hills, strolling through Siena and Assisi, and marveling at the traffic-free riviera villages of the Cinque Terre — all of which are woven into at least one of our various tour itineraries.


Monday, January 16: An Irreverent History of Rick Steves' Europe Tours

Join Rick for a nostalgic trip back to the "Europe Through the Gutter" roots of Rick Steves' Europe. Boarding the virtual bus with Rick, we'll follow the bumpy road from a minibus of intrepid backpackers to today's program, which now boasts 150 guides, 40 itineraries, and nearly 30,000 fellow travelers each year. After a Q&A session we'll finish with a drawing to win a free Rick Steves tour!


Tuesday, January 17: Portugal

Rick is joined by tour guide Cristina Duarte to celebrate the bustling cities, small towns, food, wine, and music of tradition-rich Portugal. From exciting Lisbon, we'll venture into the Portuguese countryside to visit sun-baked Évora and nearby cork groves of Alentejo, adorable Óbidos, beachy Nazaré, the university town of Coimbra, gritty-hip Porto, the port-wine vineyards and dramatic scenery of the Douro Valley, plus olive farms — all highlights of our Best of Portugal tour.


Wednesday, January 18: Scotland

Guest host Cameron Hewitt joins Scottish guide Colin Mairs on a virtual journey through Scotland — exploring mossy mountains, windswept isles, mysterious lochs, and heathered glens, as well as Scotland's two big cities: royal Edinburgh and underrated Glasgow. Along the way we'll sample a wee dram at a whisky distillery, then describe the two Rick Steves tour itineraries, which let you choose just the right amount of Scotland.


Thursday, January 19: The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland

Guest host Cameron Hewitt and Prague-based guide Katka Svobodová team up for a virtual visit to three great countries of central Europe and their top cities: the Czech Republic, with perfectly preserved Prague; Hungary, with cosmopolitan Budapest; and Poland's lovable Kraków, historic port city of Gdańsk, and thriving capital of Warsaw. We'll compare the various Rick Steves tours that tie together the highlights of these three underrated countries.


Friday, January 20: Croatia and Slovenia

Slovenian tour guide Tina Hiti joins guest host Cameron Hewitt for a virtual journey to the sunny shores of the eastern Adriatic, weaving together Slovenia's charming Ljubljana, fairy-tale Lake Bled, and the rugged Julian Alps; Croatia's seaside Rovinj, waterfall-laced Plitvice Lakes, historic Split, the Dalmatian isle of Korčula, and picture-perfect Dubrovnik; and an enlightening visit to Mostar, just over the border in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We'll see how all of this comes together on our Best of the Adriatic tour.


Saturday, January 21: Sicily

Sicilian tour guide Tommaso Pantè joins Rick for a virtual tour of his fascinating island — famous for its distinctive culture, cuisine, and history. From the cities of Palermo and Catania to ancient Greek ruins at Agrigento to the posh resort of Taormina in the shadow of steaming Mount Etna, we'll discover why Sicily is one of our most exotic, tastiest — and most popular — tours.


Sunday, January 22: Turkey

Tour guides Lale Surmen Aran and Yaren Türkoğlu join Rick to let us in on the joys of Turkey, from Istanbul with its Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar to Cappadocia's "fairy-chimney" landscape, and from ancient Greek sites like Ephesus and Aphrodisias to the azure Mediterranean. You'll meet everyday Turkish people as well as artisans and imams, and hear how our tours make it easy to appreciate this often-overlooked destination.


Monday, January 23: Ethical Travel in a Warming World

Travel is more than just a party. Join Rick and Craig Davidson, Rick Steves' Europe Chief Operating Officer, to learn about the issues facing the ethical traveler today: How short-term rentals can threaten a community, the value of "dual-narrative travel" that acknowledges that every wall has two sides, the benefit of learning about your home by leaving it, the difference between voyeurism and reality travel, and — most importantly — how to travel ethically in light of climate change. Rick and Craig will answer questions before selecting the winner of a free Rick Steves tour!


Tuesday, January 24: France

Guest host Steve Smith joins French tour guide Virginie Moré for a virtual visit to France. We'll start in Paris with the Louvre and Orsay museums and the extravagant Palace of Versailles, then head to the châteaux of the Loire, traditional markets of the Dordogne, beaches of the Riviera, and half-timbered villages of Alsace — and that's just the beginning! We'll compare our various French tour itineraries to help you find the perfect fit.


Wednesday, January 25: Ireland

Irish tour guide Stephen McPhilemy joins Rick to celebrate Ireland's must-see historical sites, charming towns, music-filled pubs, and seaside getaways. On this virtual tour, we'll visit Kinsale, the Dingle Peninsula, lively Galway, the compelling city of Belfast, and, of course, entertaining Dublin. We'll help you decide between our shorter and longer Ireland itineraries for exploring the Emerald Isle, whose people are sure to steal your heart.


Thursday, January 26: Germany and Austria

Rick is joined by Berlin-based guide Holger Zimmer for a virtual visit to Germany and Austria. We'll travel to Germany's Munich, Berlin, and Hamburg, then on to Bavaria's rocky peaks, fairy-tale Neuschwanstein Castle, and the medieval town of Rothenburg. In Austria, we'll tour the grand capital of Vienna and Mozart-crazy Salzburg, along with charming alpine villages and riverside Danube towns. And, we'll compare the Rick Steves tours that crisscross the region.


Friday, January 27: The Netherlands and Belgium

Rick and tour guide Nico Favoreel take you on a virtual visit to the Low Countries. From Amsterdam — with its dreamy canals, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh — we'll head into the oh-so-Dutch countryside for tulips, canals, and mighty dikes. In Belgium, medieval Ghent and Bruges come with canals, cobbles, waffles, and chocolates. Our Rick Steves tour goes beyond the pretty facades to better understand this fascinating region.


Saturday, January 28: Greece

Greek tour guide Apostolos Douras joins Rick to celebrate Greece. From Athens with its majestic Acropolis, our virtual tour takes you to the ancient sites of Delphi, Olympia, Epidavros, and Mycenae, splashing in the turquoise Aegean, sampling family-crafted olives and wines, and learning to play backgammon at a whitewashed taverna. Our Greece tour offers an enticing mix of ancient history, contemporary culture, and relaxing vacation.


Sunday, January 29: The Joy of Italy — Rick's Favorite Things About Italy

On this special show, tour guide David Tordi joins Rick from Orvieto to share some vino rosso and celebrate the delights of Italy. Why is Italy Rick's favorite country? Why are Rick Steves Italy tours and guidebooks our bestsellers? How do you sort through and best appreciate the cultural wonders and challenges of Italy? Join us and you'll find out!


Monday, January 30: Festival of Europe Grand Finale

Join Rick for an hour of European travel fun and inspiration featuring our favorite guides: Pål's gourmet cooking in Norway, Colin's dad jokes from Scotland, Francesca in the Roman Forum, and Alfio discussing murder over a plate of spaghetti. We'll also learn about Italian hand gestures and how to build a Gothic cathedral out of tourists, hear a piano concert from Rick in his slippers, and more. After one last Q&A session we'll finish with a drawing to win a free Rick Steves tour.