Rick Steves, Special to Postmedia Network

Rick Steves. (Handout)

Rick Steves writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio. E-mail him at rick@ricksteves.com and follow his blog on Facebook.


Colourful buildings line the canals of the small island of Burano in Venice’s lagoon. RICK STEVES PHOTO

Italy: Venice only the beginning

I love Venice, but when the crowds become unbearable, I make it a point to get out of the centre and discover what the surrounding area has to offer.

Holland’s whirring windmills harness wind energy to pump excess water into canals. CAMERON HEWITT PHOTO

Appreciating Dutch cliches

When you consider Dutch culture, you can’t help but think about dikes, windmills, wooden shoes — and tulips.

Fervent fans at European soccer matches often spend the whole game chanting slogans and waving flags. (photo: Rick Steves)

When in Europe, succumb to football fever

I'd always wanted to go to a soccer ("football" to Europeans) game in Europe, and a few years ago I finally did it…courtesy of a local hotelier I knew in Rome.

The Tuscan countryside beckons travellers looking for a change of pace. (CAMERON HEWITT PHOTO)

Rick Steves: Escape to the Italian countryside

To connect with the rural charm that defines Tuscany, consider exploring by car and staying not in towns but in farmhouses. Savvy travellers can slow down and get a taste of Italian rural life in the traditional-yet-cozy lodgings of a countryside B&B or an agriturismo -- a working farm that takes in guests.

Lake Lucerne’s tour boats let visitors take in the dramatic Alpine scenery that surrounds the charming Swiss city. RICK STEVES PHOTO

Lucerne a Swiss mix of urban delights

Pretty, pristine and lakeside, with a striking mountain panorama as a backdrop, Lucerne has long been Switzerland's tourism capital.