Rick Steves is used to spending at least 100 days a year in Europe.
He’s done it for decades.
Until the pandemic hit and stifled any kind of travel.
Steves decided to make the best of it.
“I need to be traveling and doing new content and research,” the travel host says. “We were coming off our best year ever in 2019. I had all 100 of our tour guides ready. We’ve been in hibernation mode, and I managed to keep our team together.”
Steves has worked with public television for decades with his travel shows.
On the coming “Rick Steves Europe Awaits,” Steves explores his favorite post-pandemic destinations.
From offbeat and romantic to picturesque and restorative, the locations offer inspiration to travel lovers who have spent the past year dreaming of their next vacation when the global pandemic ends.
“We’re hopeful that as long as the vaccinations continue to roll out, we will be in full force by 2022,” Steves says.
The special will air at 7 p.m. Monday, June 7, on New Mexico PBS Channel 5.1. It will rebroadcast at 10 p.m. Friday, June 11 and 5:30 p.m. June 12. The program will also air at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 8 on Channel 5.4/9.1. It is also available on the PBS Video app.
Steves recounts his recommended travel itineraries that will delight both European travel aficionados and novices alike. In the special, he revisits:
• The rich history and cuisine of Sicily.
• Mykonos, the romantic Greek island in the Aegean Sea.
• Rustic and historic Porto, in Portugal’s northern region.
• Majestic English country views in the Cotswolds.
• An authentic taste of la dolce vita in Tuscany.
• Romania, overflowing with vibrant traditional folk life.
“When the time is right, Americans will rekindle their travel dreams, and Europe will greet us with a warm and enthusiastic welcome,” Steves says. ” ‘Europe Awaits’ is my dream itinerary: places away from the hubbub, places made for embracing life, and places that are good for the soul. It’s good to dream, and once we emerge from this pandemic, it will be even better to travel.”
Steves says he wanted the special to be a little different from previous ones.
“I wanted to cobble together destinations that would be less crowded,” he says. “We go to Porto in Portugal, where there is almost no tourism. The Douro River is famous for the port wine. You are basically drinking the culture.”
Steves also picked a remote corner of Romania and asks, “When was the last time you visited Romania.”
“It’s an amazing country to visit,” he says. “It’s so traditional, where you drop in and it feels like you are time traveling.”
Steves says that over the years, travel has gotten easier.
But he wants to take travelers on a different route these days.
“I’m into second cities,” he says. “These are places where you can connect with rural lifestyles and rather than just crowd into Anne Frank’s house, we’re going to show you a different perspective.”
With the pandemic shutting down Steves’ main source of income, he’s itching to go back to Europe for more projects.
“I was not able to shoot new material for this special” because of the pandemic, he says. “I was able to use existing material. It’s a beautiful collection of travel experiences.”
Steves says people are hungry to start planning trips abroad.
“I know it’s going to spring right back,” he says of the travel economy. “My goal is to provide information on places that are accessible to all. The travel that I do is all inclusive and gives the viewer ideas for themselves.”
The special is co-produced and presented by American Public Television.
“We are proud to be Rick Steves’ public media partner for more than three decades, presenting his insightful and enriching programs as he explores our world,” says Cynthia Fenneman, President and CEO of APT. ” ‘Rick Steves Europe Awaits’ is a timely and relevant special that sparks our travel imagination from the safety and comfort of home.”