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.


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.

Hydraulic work around Mont St-Michel is complete, making it an island at high tide once again. (photo: Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli)

What's new in France for 2016

France has brought us so much culture and art and, at the same time, championed the modern concept of a vacation.

The Musee Picasso in Paris is the best place to go for a complete overview of the master’s work. RICK STEVES PHOTO

A Picasso pilgrimage in Europe

Pablo Picasso was the most famous and -- OK, I'll say it -- greatest artist of the 20th century.

In Montepulciano, huge casks hold raw wine for at least a year so that the wine can pick up the personality of the wood as it ages. (photo: Rick Steves)

Tuscany's heavenly wines

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, "Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy." There is no better place in the world to confirm what Franklin said than in Tuscany.