Rick Steves

The Heart of England

The heartland of England has sights that put the "Great" in Britain - its venerable universities, its royal heritage, and reminders of its industrial might. At Oxford and Cambridge, see where kings and prime ministers studied. At Blenheim Palace - Winston Churchill's birthplace - Rick connects with English aristocracy. At Ironbridge Gorge, he fires up memories of the Industrial Revolution. And all along the way, Rick drives on the left and polishes his pub etiquette.

Airdates

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Lisbon and the Algarve

Experiencing the best of Portugal, we start in Lisbon, a ramshackle mix of glorious old and fun-loving new. Salty sailors' quarters and wistful Fado singers mix with ornate architecture to recall the glory days when Vasco da Gama and Magellan made Portugal a world power. Then we head for the south coast of your travel dreams-the Algarve. We explore the Land's End of Europe-windy and historic Cape Sagres before savoring pristine beaches and arm-wrestling octopi in the sleepy fishing village of Salema.




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Egypt's Nile, Alexandria, and Luxor

Exploring the Nile Valley from north to south, we see the highlights of Egypt. In the fabled city of Alexandria, we venture through a market wonderland, smoke a shisha, and stroll a Mediterranean promenade. In Luxor, we explore the pharaohs' tombs and temples before sailing on a timeless felucca. Then we kick back on a riverboat cruise, enjoying iconic views of palm trees, minarets, and rustic villages. Our finale: Ramesses II's magnificent temple at Abu Simbel.

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Sevilla

Sevilla is the flamboyant city of Carmen and Don Juan. It's where bullfighting is still politically correct and where little girls dream of growing up to become flamenco dancers. Sevilla has soul-and we feel it in its lacy Moorish palace, massive cathedral, lavish royal tombs, labyrinthine Jewish quarter, and its people-filled streets. After munching tasty tapas, we head south for Andalusia's ultimate whitewashed hilltown, Arcos de la Frontera.



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Germany's Hamburg and the Luther Trail

Hamburg, Germany's mighty port city has risen from the ashes of World War II with a gleaming new skyline and a brisk creative energy. From there, Rick visits the great historic sights of Martin Luther and the Reformation (Erfurt, Wittenberg, and Wartburg Castle) before finishing in the capital of Franconia: wine-loving Wurzburg.

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England's Bath & York

Medieval York and Georgian Bath - easy side-trips from London - pack an exciting pair of sightseeing punches. Rick explores Roman hot springs, cruises quiet canals, marvels at England's finest Gothic church and gets a surprising dose of Viking history as he enjoys England's easy urban delights.

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Germany's Dresden and Leipzig

Saxony, part of the former East Germany, remains a secret to most travelers. Rick visits the two great cities of the region: the capital city of Dresden, with the opulent palaces and art treasures of the Wettin dynasty, and Leipzig, with its Bach heritage, a massive monument to the day Europe beat Napoleon, and museums remembering its communist heritage.

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North Wales: Feisty and Poetic

From towering Mount Snowdon, to evocative medieval castles, to sweeping Victorian promenades, North Wales is a poem written in landscape. We'll climb a mountain aboard a steam train, learn some Welsh, follow a miner deep into a slate mine, herd sheep with a very clever dog, and work in a pop pilgrimage to the Beatles' Liverpool.



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Germany's Frankfurt and Nurnberg

Skyscraper-studded Frankfurt - with so much commerce it's nicknamed "Bankfurt" - has a delightful-to-explore old center. Rick also visits Nurnberg, a capital for both the First Reich (the Holy Roman Empire) and the Third. From its towering castle and playful fountains to its Nazi Documentation Center and maze of underground bomb shelters, Nurnberg is a fascinating study in contrasts.

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Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the historical and cultural heart of Scotland. We'll explore the castle, peek at the new parliament, dabble in the local literature, sip a little Scotch, get wrapped up in a kilt, and then stow away on Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia.

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Bulgaria

Bulgaria, so mysterious to most Americans, has a vivid identity as a crossroads of the Balkans. Rick traces the country's complex history, from ancient Thracian tombs to medieval Orthodox Christian monasteries to Soviet monuments. And he enjoys an intimate taste of contemporary culture: the yellow brick road of Sofia; the gregarious craftspeople of the medieval capital, Veliko Tarnovo; and the thriving pedestrian zones of cosmopolitan Plovdiv.

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Naples and Pompeii

Naples is Italy in the extreme. We'll prowl backstreet fish markets, dodge fast-moving Vespas, and dine on pizza where it was invented. We'll climb to the top of nearby Mount Vesuvius, then wander through the amazing ruins of Pompeii, the Roman town it destroyed.



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Italy's Amalfi Coast

Just south of Naples we'll experience the breath-taking Amalfi Coastline, the trendy resort of Positano, the limoncello charms of Sorrento, the ancient Greek temples at Paestum, and the iridescent Blue Grotto hidden beneath the enchanting isle of Capri.



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Ethiopia: A Development Story

Venturing beyond Europe, and with local experts as his guides, Rick uses Ethiopia as a classroom for understanding global hunger and extreme poverty - and how to beat it. Together, we witness the importance of water, education, empowering women, and nutrition during a child's first thousand days. And we see firsthand the impact of globalization and climate change. Our souvenir: A vivid appreciation of how ending hunger is possible - and how smart and modern development aid is the key.

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Milan and Lake Como

No trip to Italy is complete without Milan and Lake Como. In Milan we'll take a peek at Italy's highest fashion, fanciest delis, grandest cemetery and greatest opera house...not to mention Leonardo's Last Supper. Then we'll cruise along Lake Como, settling down in the lakeside village of Varenna...classic honeymoon country, where Italy meets the Alps.



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Romania

Rick and his team tour Romania's vibrant capital, Bucharest, with its "Little Paris of the East" architecture and lingering reminders of a brutal communist dictator. Then they head into Transylvania, where they visit fortified churches, cobbled merchant towns like Sighisoara, and castles made famous by an imported German king and the real-life Dracula. Finally, they explore Maramures, where everyday life still feels like an open-air folk museum.

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Tuscany's Dolce Vita

The small towns and rural charms of Tuscany give us a healthy dose of the "sweet life" as we hunt for truffles in an oak forest, nibble through an artichoke festival, share a farmhouse feast, and ride a classic convertible through the cypress groves of Mona Lisa's back yard.

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Assisi and Italian Country Charm

In the Italian countryside, Rick connects with rustic, traditional culture: enjoying an agriturismo (farmhouse inn), seeing how prosciutto and pecorino cheese are made, and hiking down into deep and ancient wine cellars. He ends in Assisi - the hometown of St. Francis - which retains its spiritual aura to this day. Like pilgrims, he explores its stony center before trekking to its awe-inspiring basilica, built on the tomb of the beloved saint.

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Italy's Great Hill Towns

Connoisseurs of Italy find that its quintessential charms survive in its classic hill towns. From San Gimignano's medieval towers, to Cortona's charming lanes, to Orvieto's papal intrigue, to Civita di Bagnoregio's cliff-hanging vistas...all sit on lofty stone perches that now seem to protect them only from the modern world.

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Siena and Tuscany's Wine Country

Siena, once a proud and independent city-state, retains its confidence and unique traditions. Rick enjoys a front-row seat at its wild horse race - the venerable Palio - and marvel at cultural treasures from the days when Siena rivaled Florence for leadership of Tuscany. Then he heads into wine country for a little dolce vita under the Tuscan sun.

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Vienna

In Europe's classiest capital we'll tiptoe through the palace of Maria Theresa and be dazzled by the Hapsburg crown jewels. Then we'll picnic on the Danube, nibble strudel in an old world cafe, blush at slinky Art Nouveau, and waltz to the three-four beat of Johann Strauss.



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West England

The quintessence of charming England is the "West Country": quaint Cotswold villages with their fine churches, manor homes, and gastropubs; Wells, England's smallest cathedral town; and the New Age capital of Glastonbury, with its legends of the Holy Grail and King Arthur. He finishes by pondering the dramatic prehistoric stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury.

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Salzburg and Surroundings

The birthplace of Mozart - and everyone's Sound of Music fantasies -Salzburg is a Baroque jewel of a town. It's also the springboard for lots of alpine fun-from thrilling summer bobsledding, to idyllic boat rides in the Salzkammergut lake district, to exploring the delightful romantic town of Hallstatt.



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Rick Steves' Europe: The Making Of

After 16 years and more than 100 travel shows, Rick and his crew take you behind the scenes to show you just how they produce this series. Joining the crew as they scamper through Milan and around Lake Como, you'll follow the creative process as the challenges and surprises that come with travel are shaped into a finished show.

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Why We Travel

In times of crisis and challenge, we ask ourselves: What is the true value of travel? Is it just hedonism...or something more powerful? After a lifetime of exploring Europe - and inspiring Americans to see Europe as the springboard for world exploration - Rick Steves shares his reasons why. This special episode is a sonnet to travel - an introspective love story, set in Europe, that vividly celebrates the rewards of exploring our world and the joy that awaits those who travel. 

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Burgundy: Profound France

Burgundy is a calm and cultivated corner of France, where nature is as sophisticated as the people. Traditions are strong here. We'll slow down to enjoy the region's edible, drinkable, scenic, and floatable delights. We'll travel on a canal barge, visit a medieval hospice and a modern monastery, build a barrel, appreciate fine Burgundy wine, slurp escargot, and eat very, very well. If you're looking for the quintessential French culture, you'll find it in Burgundy.



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Southeast England

Arcing along the southeast coast of England, Rick travels from Canterbury (with its famous cathedral) to Dover (stoutly fortified from Roman times to the Battle of Britain). Then he hikes the trails that top the towering chalk cliffs of the South Downs, wander into the beachy resort of Brighton (England's Coney Island), and push on to Portsmouth, whose naval heritage has left it with the best collection of historic sailing ships anywhere.

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France's Dordogne

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England's Cornwall

The far southwest of England is a world unto itself, with a persistent Cornish culture. He explores a world of flowers springing from towering hedges, a tin-mining heritage going back to biblical times, salty pirates' towns and fishing villages, and the Land's End of England. Then, side-tripping deep into the vast and mysterious Dartmoor National Park, he hikes to forgotten stone circles and chase wild ponies.

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Barcelona and Catalunya

The creative spirit of Spain's Catalunya the land of Picasso, Gaudi and Salvador Dali is on a roll. We'll get caught up in the festivity of Barcelona, enjoying the vibrant street scenes, tasty tapas and pedestrian-friendly Gothic Quarter. Then we'll take a scenic side trip to mountaintop Montserrat, and finish with an artist's pilgrimage along the Costa Brava to Salvador Dali country seaside Cadaques to visit his home and nearby Figures to experience his playfully surreal mausoleum/museum.



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The Heart of England

The heartland of England has sights that put the "Great" in Britain - its venerable universities, its royal heritage, and reminders of its industrial might. At Oxford and Cambridge, see where kings and prime ministers studied. At Blenheim Palace - Winston Churchill's birthplace - Rick connects with English aristocracy. At Ironbridge Gorge, he fires up memories of the Industrial Revolution. And all along the way, Rick drives on the left and polishes his pub etiquette.

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Little Europe: San Marino, Monaco, Vatican City, Liechtenstein, and Andorra

Don't blink as we blitz through Europe's tiniest countries: Vatican City, the world's smallest country, comes with the planet's biggest church. The fairytale princedom of Monaco lures visitors with its fancy casino and glamorous views. Italy's last independent hill town, San Marino still looks formidable, as does the castle-guarded principality of Liechtenstein. And tiny Andorra entertains shoppers and hikers alike, surrounded by the rugged beauty of the Pyrenees.



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Lisbon

Lisbon, built with the riches of Portugal's New World discoveries, has a rustic charm. Great navigators are remembered. Rick eats lots of cod, enjoys pastries hot out of the oven, strolls the city's back lanes and its reinvigorated waterfront, marvels at an exquisite church built with spice taxes, and listens to some soulful fado music. Then he takes a side-trip to Sintra to explore the fanciful castles of Portuguese royalty and climbs hilltop ramparts with grand views.

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Great Swiss Cities: Luzern, Bern, Zurich and Lausanne

In this episode we'll focus on an often overlooked side of Switzerland its urban charms. We'll get some exercise, from ringing a very big bell to floating down an urban river. We'll also enjoy a variety of eye-opening art, from Chagall and Klee to inmates of an asylum. Then we'll ponder a few Swiss innovations, from their open-minded drug policies to their hush-hush underground arsenals. And it'll all before a backdrop of Switzerland's stunning natural beauty.




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Vienna and the Danube

For centuries, Vienna was the crown jewel of the rich and powerful Habsburg Empire. A century after that empire's fall, the Viennese appreciates their imperial legacy as a cultural wellspring and an excuse to live in style. We'll take in the city's wealth of elegant gardens, great art and fine music. Then we'll explore the city's surroundings, with a trip along the romantic Danube River and a hike up to the breathtakingly Baroque Melk Abbey.

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Portugal's Heartland

Portugal has an oversized history, fascinating culture, and boatloads of sardines. Saving the capital city of Lisbon for another episode, Rick dances on the beach at Nazare, marvels at a medieval abbey in Batalha, visits a royal library and revels with university students in Coimbra, savors port wine with the people who made it along the Douro River, and gets to know Portugal's gritty and fascinating second city, Porto.

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The Czech Republic Off The Beaten Path

Few travelers venture beyond Prague to experience the Czech Republic's many cultural riches and offbeat delights. We'll get you started with a whirlwind of Art Nouveau, local pub music, stinky cheese-tasting, river-rafting, and peat-bathing in places like Olomouc, Moravsky Krumlov, Telc, Trebon and Konopiste. We'll also tour a remarkable memorial to the holocaust in Terezen, and the charming castle town of Cesky Krumlov.



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Travel Skills: Cruising

Setting sail on the Mediterranean, Rick explores the ins and outs and pros and cons of cruising. He learns how to get the most out of a cruise, and exercises his independence to make smart use of limited time on shore by planning well, avoiding lines, and eating quick-but-local meals on the go. Along with the joys and efficiencies of cruising, Rick considers the downsides, including the inevitable congestion and commercialism that comes with mass tourism.

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Athens and Side Trips

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Greek Islands: Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes

Rick island-hops through the Aegean, sampling three classic Greek getaways - Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes - and basking in their dramatic beauty. He tours ancient ruins, traces the vestiges of the Crusaders, samples rustic cuisine, savors classic Greek-island views, and compares beaches - from the ultimate party beach to idyllic quiet hideaways. And he shows how a cruise ship can be an efficient way to link up great island stopovers.

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Greece's Peloponnese

Island getaways are fun, but the real heart of Greece is found in the Peloponnese Peninsula. After enjoying the charming old port town of Nafplio, we'll time-trip through the ruins of Olympia, take center stage at the remarkably preserved theater at Epidauros, and explore the ancient capital of Mycenae. Then we'll wander off the beaten path along the rustic, rough-and-tumble Mani Peninsula, relax in the idyllic beach town of Kardymli and marvel at Greece's Rock of Gibraltar: the fortress town of Monemvasia.



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European Festivals I

In this first of two episodes on Europe's greatest festivals, Rick cheers with the masses at Siena's crazy Palio horse race, tosses a caber at a Scottish Highland Games, dons a mask for Carnevale in Venice, and celebrates Easter in Greece. Dropping in on some of the Continent's top parties, he discovers that each one is a celebration of traditional culture, and all of them are full of opportunities to sing and dance, feast on traditional food, and party with locals.

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Copenhagen

Denmark's capital is the most fun-loving in Scandinavia. As we get to know Copenhagen, we'll discover reminders of its Viking history and symbols of its proudly independent ways today. We'll stroll through Europe's first great pedestrian zone, ogle crown jewels in the palace and take a bike ride through a famous hippie squatter community, finishing at Copenhagen's full-time carnival, Tivoli Gardens.




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European Festivals II

In this second of two episodes on Europe's greatest festivals, Rick dances with Spaniards at Sevilla's April Fair, celebrates Bastille Day in Paris, runs with the bulls at Pamplona, and hoists a frothy stein at Munich's Oktoberfest. And he celebrates a traditional family Christmas, browsing the holiday market in Nurnberg and sledding down alpine slopes by torchlight in Switzerland. With the entire Continent as his playground, fun is his mission.

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Denmark: Beyond Copenhagen

Using Copenhagen as a spring board, we'll visit the very best of Denmark. Aarhus welcomes us with its ruddy affluence, charming open air museum and eerily well-preserved ancient bog man. Roskilde impresses visitors with its royal burial church and the best Viking ship museum anywhere. And the delightfully quaint Isle of Aero beckons a bike ride among thatched cottages, "snooping mirrors", and cobbled alleyways that reminds us of the world of Hans Christian Andersen.



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Istanbul

Where Europe comes face to face with Asia, we'll explore the fascinating, multilayered city of Istanbul. We'll lose our way in the Grand Bazaar and feast like kings with locals at a fisherman's wharf. We'll follow the fall of the Byzantium and the rise of Islam at the city's ancient wall, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. To escape the city bustle, we'll board a boat on the churning Bosphorus, make friends over backgammon, and try a traditional bath.

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The Best of Sicily

This tour of Sicilian highlights starts in Palermo, where Rick sings with the merchants in the markets, joins locals in their passeggiata, drops in on a contessa, and marvels at the Romanesque cathedral of Monreale. Then he sips wine on the slopes of Mount Etna, munches cannoli, ponders Greek temples at Agrigento, admires Roman mosaics at the Villa of Casale, and marvel at the view from the Greek theater in Taormina.

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Iran:Tehran and Side Trips

As he's done with previous programs on Israel, Egypt, and Eastern Turkey, Rick takes us beyond Europe to a place that's rich with history...and mystery. In this first of two half-hour shows on Iran, Rick dodges traffic in Tehran, enjoys the tranquility of a nearby village, and encounters both anti-American propaganda and a warm welcome from everyday Iranians.



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Sicilian Delights

Sicily serves up a full-bodied and tasty travel experience. Rick dines on fresh seafood at the fisherman's harbor in Cefalù, ponders ancient Greek greatness in Siracusa, communes with monks - alive and departed - in a Capuchin crypt, sleeps in an olive orchard at an agriturismo, and eats his way through a classic Sicilian banquet with a famous chef.

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Iran's Historic Capitals

Iran's rich history goes back millennia, to the days when Persepolis was home to "the king of kings." In this episode, Rick Steves explores three historic capitals of Iran: Persepolis, with its splendid monuments; Shiraz, with the tombs of Iran's most beloved poets; and Esfahan, with its extraordinary mosques and endearing people.



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Scotland's Highlands

The Highlands stoke kilted dreams of Scotland...where legends of Bonnie Prince Charlie swirl around lonely castles. Rick visits the "Weeping Glen" of Glencoe, bustling Inverness, and the battlefield at Culloden. Then he makes a pilgrimage to the spiritual capital of a major clan, and goes prehistoric at Stone Age burial grounds and Iron Age island forts. Venturing along the Caledonian Canal and watching for Nessie at Loch Ness, Rick watches a sheepdog demonstration and enjoys traditional folk music.

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