Rick Steves’ Europe: Season 8

Every two years Rick Steves produces a new series of travel shows exploring his favorite European destinations. Season 8 includes 12 new, vivid episodes covering Turkey, France, Israel, Palestine, Italy, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Germany in delicious, wide-screen, hi-def. Released fall 2014.

Season 8 Episodes

Episode 801: Western Turkey

Episode 802: Central Turkey

Episode 803: France's Loire: Château Country

Episode 804: Paris Side-Trips

Episode 805: The Best of Israel

Episode 806: Palestine

Episode 807: Italy’s Riviera: Cinque Terre

Episode 808: Italy's Verona, Padova (Padua), and Ravenna

Episode 809: Amsterdam

Episode 810: The Netherlands: Beyond Amsterdam

Episode 811: Prague

Episode 812: Berlin

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Season Descriptions

Episode Descriptions:

The Holy Land: Israelis and Palestinians Today (60-minutes) Special #103

In this hour-long special, Rick Steves weaves together both the Israeli and the Palestinian narratives to better understand a place that is, for a third of humanity, literally holy land. The crossroads for three great religions, the Holy Land has been coveted and fought over for centuries. Dining with both Jews and Muslims, we realize the menu is essentially the same, whether in Hebrew or Arabic. While visiting the big sights, we delve deeper to better understand and empathize with both peoples. In Israel, we go from the venerable ramparts of Jerusalem to the vibrant modern skyline of Tel Aviv. In Palestine, by harvesting olives near Hebron, visiting a home  in Bethlehem, and popping into a university in Ramallah, we get to know a land few tourists visit. And all along the way, we learn about security walls, disputed settlements, and the persistent challenges facing the region as Israelis and Palestinians learn to live together.

Western Turkey (30-minutes) #801

From the port of Kusadasi, we wander the streets of ancient Ephesus, soak in a natural spa at Pamukkale, learn why the dervishes whirl at Konya, munch lunch in a Turkish pizzeria, and cruise the Mediterranean on a traditional Turkish gulet from Antalya. Turkey is a mighty nation whose ancient heritage, Muslim faith, and western ways are coming together...and we'll see how.

Central Turkey (30-minutes) #802

We marvel at the fascinating landscape of Cappadocia from high above in a balloon...and from deep below, prowling an underground city where Christians once hid out. We'll join a circumcision party, explore troglodyte ghost towns, shop for sheep at the market, and chat with an imam. Then we enjoy the modern capital, Ankara, and pay our respects to the father of modern Turkey, Atatürk.

France's Loire: Château Country (30-minutes) #803

Along the Loire River Valley, the beautiful French countryside is studded with evocative châteaux. Home-basing in Amboise, we visit four unique castles: elegant Chenonceau, massive Chambord, stately Cheverny, and fragrant Villandry. Along the way, we tour Leonardo's home, feed hunting dogs, enjoy the local cuisine, and savor a princely garden.

Paris Side-Trips (30-minutes) #804

Side-tripping from Paris into the Ile-de-France, we indulge in the world of royal and aristocratic extravagance in the pre-Revolutionary playground of France's elite. We explore Versailles, Europe's palace of palaces; exquisite Vaux le Vicomte; and extravagant Fontainebleau, home to centuries of French rulers. We'll also marvel at the glass and statuary of Chartres cathedral and dine like kings.

The Best of Israel (30-minutes) #805

We start in Jerusalem, alive with religious tradition and passion — Christian, Muslim, and Jewish. We then visit cosmopolitan Tel Aviv, with its in-love-with-life beaches; ponder the sad fortress of Masada; and join pilgrims at biblical sights around the Sea of Galilee. We'll also pay our respects at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, drop into an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, and savor the local cuisine.

Palestine (30-minutes) #806

Palestine is the Muslim and Arab half of the Holy Land. After visiting Jerusalem, we harvest olives near Ramallah, follow pilgrims to the place of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, approach Abraham's tomb — as both Jews and Muslims do — in Hebron, drop in on friends for dinner, and bob in the Dead Sea. We'll also learn about walls, Israeli settlements, and the challenges facing this region.

Italy's Riviera: Cinque Terre (30-minutes) #807

Exploring Italy's most remote and romantic stretch of Riviera, we visit five tiny port towns: dramatic Vernazza, surrounded by vineyards; reclusive Corniglia, high on its bluff; pastel Manarola; hardscrabble Riomaggiore; and the pint-sized resort of Monterosso. Fishing for anchovies, sipping wine out of rustic barrels, and savoring twinkling Mediterranean vistas, we enjoy the ultimate Riviera adventure.

Italy's Verona, Padova (Padua), and Ravenna (30-minutes) #808

In the shadow of Venice, we visit three great cities. Padova is famed for its venerable university, precious Giotto frescoes, and pilgrim-packed Basilica. Verona is a hit with aficionados of Roman ruins and Romeo and Juliet fans. And Ravenna, with its shimmering mosaics, was once the western bastion of the Byzantine Empire. We enliven each stop with a tasty dose of Italian dolce vita.

Amsterdam (30-minutes) #809

Europe's best-preserved 17th-century city, Amsterdam is quaint and jarring, traditional and modern. Filled with history and happy-go-lucky, it's a delight to explore. Uniquely entertaining Amsterdam shows us Rembrandts and Van Goghs, more bikes than cars, flirting prostitutes, and pot-filled coffeeshops — all under tall, skinny facades leaning out below quaint church towers.

The Netherlands beyond Amsterdam (30-minutes) #810

By train, bike, and boat, we visit the top Dutch sights outside of Amsterdam: from Haarlem to Rotterdam, and from Delft to the Zuiderzee. Along the way, we enjoy charming towns with fragrant cheese markets, soggy polderland, mighty dikes, and windmills both new and old. Rolling through the Netherlands and connecting with its people, you can't help but think, "Everything's so... Dutch!"

Prague (30-minutes) #811

The capital of the Czech Republic, Prague is the best-preserved Baroque city in Central Europe. We experience its massive castle, beloved statue-lined bridge, evocative Jewish Quarter, and thrilling 20th-century history while enjoying its infectious love of music and perhaps the best beer in Europe. With a beautifully preserved Old Town, Prague deserves its nickname: the Golden City of a Hundred Spires.

Berlin (30-minutes) #812

A tumultuous 20th century left Berlin filled with powerful sights — from evocative memorials, to surviving bits of its communist and fascist days, to its glass-domed Reichstag. We enjoy its now-trendy east side, its people-friendly riverfront, and its vibrant social scene. Reunited Berlin — perhaps the fastest changing and most happening city in Europe — is entertaining more visitors than ever.

Promotional Media

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Early morning balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey. Download image.

Berlin Cathedral, Germany. Download image.   

Moonrise over Manarola in the Cinque Terre, Italy. Download image.

Mosaics in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, Italy. Download image.

The Prague Castle Orchestra, Czech Republic. Download image.

Rick takes a break from filming in central Turkey. Download image.

Rick high above Vernazza in the Cinque Terre, Italy. Download image.

Cameraman Karel Bauer, producer Simon Griffith, and Rick at the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy. Download image.

Co-author Steve Smith and Rick relax at the Château de Cheverny, France. Download image.

Rick at Vaux-le-Vicomte, France. Download image.