Rick Steves Wants to Honor the People Who Made Him What He Is

In a year of reconnection travel, the loveable travel icon is all about returning the affection. Ask him about his Uncle Thor in Norway.

Restaurateur Laurent Martin, chef Pascal Guillaumin, Steve Smith, and Rick Steves in Paris, 2022.

Restaurateur Laurent Martin, chef Pascal Guillaumin, Steve Smith, and Rick Steves in Paris, 2022.

Courtsey of Rick Steves’ Europe

Revenge travel is out (in fact, it never really felt “in” to us). Instead, this year we’re all about reconnection travel, which is proving to be the top reason for travel postpandemic. After a tough few years, people are going out into the world again with real excitement—and purpose. So we interviewed 11 globe-trotting celebrities to find out what “reconnection” means to them, whether that’s hitting the road solo, feasting through Italy, gallivanting with old friends, paying tribute to loved ones who’ve passed, or making an all-important visit to mom.

Below, guidebook maven and TV show host Rick Steves shares his thoughts on family, old friends, and favorite places.

What place is calling you back?

Enjoying life with abandon comes easy in the south of Spain—and I can’t wait to get back there this spring. I’m dreaming of my favorite viewpoint in Granada: the hill-topping San Nicolás terrace in the Albayzín, where street music plays all day long. You can pop a few euros into the musicians’ hat, sit down with a nice picnic, and enjoy an open-air concert as good as any you might pay for. And the view can’t be beat . . . especially at sunset when the stones of the Alhambra are glowing red and there’s romance all around.

What place feels like home, even if it’s not where you’re from?

Rick Steves and his Norwegian relatives, 1973.

Rick Steves and his Norwegian relatives, 1973.

Courtesy of Rick Steves’ Europe

Back in my student days, when I was slumming around Europe on a couple of bucks a day, my Norwegian relatives were an oasis of warmth, love, and lots of food. My “Europe Through the Gutter” days are long gone, but I still love dropping by. My Uncle Thor welcomed me into his home in the little town of Sandefjord for more than 40 years—and I’ll be heading there again this summer. If you have relatives anywhere in Europe, by all means, look them up. Making distant relatives in Europe a little less distant is a bright spot in any trip.

Are you planning trips to reconnect? If so, how?

My friend Steve Smith and I have coauthored France guidebooks for over 30 years. He spends most of his time in France, and I have a tradition of joining him every spring to work on one region together. Steve is the reason why, year after year, Rick Steves Paris is the bestselling guidebook to Paris in the U.S. And he’s also just a lot of fun. We typically line up three hours of restaurant visits for each evening that we’ll be together—and this year, I’m looking forward to enjoying salade niçoise at a mom-and-pop restaurant in Nice that I’ve been visiting for decades.

Rick Steves, travel expert, author, TV host, and guide

Read more from our Reconnection Travel series.

Kaitlin Menza is a Taipei-based writer who covers lifestyle, politics, pop culture, and social issues. You can find her work at kaitlinmenza.com.
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