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Escape to Japan's Oki Islands

Japan seduces and dazzles travellers with its buzzed-up, sprawling, ultra-convenient big cities. But if you’re weary of crowds and vending-machine-packed streets, get yourself to Matsue in Western Honshū and hop a ferry to the slow life on the remote and fascinating Oki Islands.<p>Newly added to the …

Japan

The Best of Romantic Ireland

With castles and legends, Old World hospitality and indulgent experiences, epic scenery and fairy trees, Ireland is a world of romantic mystique.<p>Here are some of the key highlights from around the Emerald Isle:<p><b>> Ardmore and Environs</b> (County Waterford)<p>Quiet Ardmore offers jaw-dropping sea views, …

Paris Walking Routes That Show Visitors the Authentic City

It can be easy to miss the more authentic neighborhoods of Paris, given how many charming quartiers the city has. Here's some advice on how to find the neighborhoods the locals call home.<p>Question:<p>Hello Wendy,<p>We will be spending time in Paris this fall. When I travel I like to stroll through …

Oslo, Norway: Lively, Lovely City on the Fjord

Reader Q&A: Where to celebrate Christmas and New Year

BBC Travel reader Sarah Morrison wants to spend the winter holidays in Europe. In the lead up to the festive season, our Facebook fans share their destination ideas.<p>Last week, we asked our Facebook community to help BBC Travel reader Sarah Morrison in her search for the best “European destinations …

European Travel

Rick Steves' European Christmas: Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht in Austria

The festive swirl of heartwarming sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas abound in the land where the season's most-loved carol, "Silent Night," was first performed over 200 years ago.<p>When we were making our <i>Rick Steves' European Christmas</i> special, we knew that filming an intimate family Christmas …

European Travel

National Geographic Travel

Rick Steves' European Christmas: Buon Natale from Italy!

Next on our <i>Rick Steves' European Christmas</i> itinerary was Italy. One of my favorite guides in all of Europe is Roberto Bechi (who has taught and inspired our tour groups and guidebook readers visiting his Tuscan hometown of Siena for twenty years). Roberto worked his wonders -- as he always does …

Italy

Rick Steves' European Christmas: Samichlaus, Schmutzli and Fondue in Switzerland

High in Switzerland, the mighty Alps seem to shout the glory of God. Up here, where villages huddle under towering peaks, Christmas fills a wintry wonderland with good cheer. Traditions are strong and celebration comes with families, friends, and fun. It may be cold outside, but as the sun sets, …

European Travel

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

<b>Site</b>: Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor<p><b>Location</b>: China<p><b>Year Designated</b>: 1987<p><b>Category</b>: Cultural<p><b>Criteria</b>: (i)(iii)(iv)(vi)<p><b>Reason</b>: An army in clay, the famed terra-cotta warriors have stood at attention through the centuries while guarding the tomb of the emperor who united China.<p>* * *<p>The Mausoleum of …

Archaeology

Rick Steves' European Christmas: Norway

In writing the <i>Rick Steves' European Christmas</i> script, I had to choose which countries would "make the cut." I could fit only seven into the mix. Being Norwegian, I admit that I was biased...and Norway was destined to make the cut. But when we started filming, it looked like Norway would be a weak …

European Travel

Amalfi Coast

<b>Site</b>: Costiera Amalfitana (Amafi Coast)<p><b>Location</b>: Italy<p><b>Year Designated</b>: 1997<p><b>Category</b>: Cultural<p><b>Criteria</b>: (ii)(iv)(v)<p><b>Reason</b>: This quintessentially Mediterranean landscape blends centuries of artistic and architectural accomplishments with one of nature’s perfect panoramas.<p>* * *<p>Italy's Amalfi Coast …

Italy

Sicily at a Glance

In the middle of the Mediterranean, there is a lush utopia of chaos and charm that I like to call my secret escape. Realistically, it is too large to be a secret, and much too larger than life for you not to know about it with its active volcano, hard-earned reputation for independence and almost …

Italy

Top 10 Things to Do in Paris at Christmas

You probably won't be able to jet over to Paris for Christmas. But if you could, here are ten fun things to do (excerpted from the Rick Steves' European Christmas book). Read these and imagine a Joyeux Noël in the City of Light:<p><b>Manèges de Noël: Christmas Carousels</b><p>These seasonal merry-go-rounds pop …

France

Free Things to Do in Prague

Not long ago, Prague was hailed—in hushed tones—as one of the greatest European cities vacationers had yet to discover. Those days are gone, and the city is now well known as a major destination for art, history, and culture. Naturally, its prices have grown along with its reputation. With these …

European Travel

A perfect day in Trastevere, Rome's favourite neighbourhood

You’ve thrown coins into the Trevi Fountain and marvelled at the Colosseum – what next? Take a trip across the Tiber river to Trastevere, a charming medieval neighbourhood with a fiery temperament. A stroll around Trastevere, a formerly working-class district with a heady nightlife, will take you …

Italy

The world's best high teas

Sipping tea in rarefied surroundings is a simple treat that can turn a fun city break into something truly memorable. High (or afternoon) tea, involving delicate cakes, buttery scones and the occasional glass of bubbly, is an English tradition dating back to the 1840s. So it’s unsurprising that the …

Tea

24 hours in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a walking city – one that repays those who tramp its cobbles with stately Georgian grandeur. So with 24 hours up your sleeve, where would you go and what can you see?<p>Morning<p>Head over to Valvona & Crolla for breakfast. This Italian delicatessen is an Edinburgh institution. Counter staff …

Scotland

Wild at heart: best animal adventures

Set your pulse racing with the wildest animal adventures around the world. This article is adapted from Lonely Planet's <i>1000 Ultimate Adventures.</i><p>Get close to giant pandas near Xi'an, China<p>Pandas by Chi King. CC BY 2.0.<p>These black-and-white beauties are battling extinction but you can help them out – …

National Parks