Best Of Europe: Beautiful Europe

Best of Europe Beautiful Europe. Rudy Maxa, the award-winning public television host has for years shared his authoritative "tips, trips & secret places." Rudy is the travel expert millions trust to make their trips memorable. From magnificent cities and must-see landmarks to off the beaten path surprises that only Rudy knows. 13+ hours run time

Disc 1: Treasures Outside London

Dublin and Beyond - Discover history around every corner of Dublin; find inspiration in the hillsides of Glendalough; visit Malahide Castle and the Hill of Tara, home of the ancient Irish kings; and take a side trip to Northern Ireland's Folk Park.

Ireland's West Coast - Shop for Irish crystal in Galway; explore a Stone Age fort on the Aran Islands; attend a medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle; visit a Muckross country manor, and tour the stunning Dingle Peninsula.

Bath and Wales - Experience Georgian loveliness in Bath; hear legends of Camelot in Glastonbury; and visit castles, country fairs and more in Wales and the Wye River Valley.

Edinburgh and Scotland - Climb the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle; tee up at the world's most famous golf course--St. Andrews; tour Dewar's whiskey distillery; stroll Stirling's historic battlefields of Braveheart fame; and sail the bonny banks of legendary Loch Lomond.

Extra Features:

  • Rudy's Travel Tips - International driver's license; Rental car collision insurance; European driving etiquette.
  • Fascinating Side Trips - Bunratty Castle entertainers; Irish Brush Dance at Claymore Castle; Kingstroop Royal Horse Artillery; The Edinburgh Ghost and Witchery Tour.

Disc 2: Splendors of France

France's Champagne Region - Begin this intoxicating tour in Reims, home of the historic cathedral where French kings were crowned. Visit champagne producers both large and small in wine country, and shop for the fine chocolate in the medieval town of Troyes. Discover Charleville's tradition of puppetry, and marvel at the fortress of Sedan, the largest castle in Europe.

Normandy - Witness the birth of Impressionism in Giverny and in the museums in Rouen and Honfleur. The Norman Conquest unfolds in the Bayeux tapestry, and we remember World War II's D-Day landing. After sampling cider and cheese in the farmland just inland from Honfleur, your journey ends at the awe-inspiring Abbey of Mont-St-Michel.

Carcassonne and the Pyrenees - From a fairy tale fortress to the gentle Pyrenees, Rudy takes in the castles and peaks of this magical region. Your itinerary includes an unforgettable stop at Carcassonne, the largest fortress in Europe; romantic castle ruins; and in the high country, one of the world's natural wonders--a mountain amphitheater with cascading waterfalls.

France's Bordeaux and Dordogne - Sample the best Bordeaux, and then cruise the lovely Dordogne and Lot Rivers, with stops at chateaux, ancient watermills, and perched villages. Attend cooking classes and embark on an underground adventure to see pre-historic cave paintings.

Europe Just For Fun - Looking for absolute R&R, a total escape, or just a change of pace? Rudy shares his "personal picks" for a variety of European adventures that are especially entertaining, exhilarating or challenging, including hot-air-ballooning, mountain luge rides, golf, puppetry, amusement parks, country mazes, hiking, or just lazing on a sunny beach.

Extra Features:

  • Rudy's Travel Tips - Ten biggest traveler mistakes; Strategies for beating the crowds; Choosing a hotel, and more.
  • Fascinating Side Trips - Champagne from the air; Monet's garden at Giverny; Medieval jousting at Carcassonne, and more.

Disc 3: Mysteries of Greece and Rome

Athens and Delphi - Following a tour of Athens' historic sites, take a pilgrimage to the famed Oracle of Delphi and visit a beautiful medieval monastery. On the Peloponnesian Peninsula, scope out Nafplion's charming port, and visit the epic ruins of King Agamemnon in the ancient capital of Mycenae.

Greek Islands - Go island hopping on the Aegean! On the sun-drenched island of Santorini, discover a city frozen in time by a volcano's eruption 3,600 years ago. Catch some R&R on trendy Mykonos, and then head to sacred Delos, an uninhabited island covered with ancient ruins.

Out of Rome - Explore the environs of Rome by way of the Appian Way. First, experience the majesty of Emperor Hadrian's villa and lakes of the Alban Hills. Next, head south to the ancient seaport of Ostia. Along the way, sample olive oil, stop at a medieval hilltop town and enjoy a retreat fit for an emperor at a five-star villa.

Classical Europe - Ancient Greek and Roman remnants are more than cold stone. They hold centuries of stories. Revisit favorite classical sites around the Mediterranean, including Athens, Delphi, Delos, Paestum, Syracuse, Pompeii, Rome, and Provence.

Extra Features:

  • Rudy's Travel Tips - E-tickets, in-flight email, looking for festivals.
  • Fascinating Side Trips - Music videos: Athens and Delphi, Greek Islands' traditional Italian street music, and more.

Disc 4: Great Cities of Europe

Madrid - Grand plazas, sparkling fountains, and world-famous museums await you in Madrid. Tour El Palacio Real, the seat of the Spanish empire, and the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, a hoard of art treasures hidden away in the center of the city. Then, day-trip to the imperial city of Toledo with its twisting streets and narrow alleyways.

Barcelona and Costa Brava - From tapas bars to surrealist art to Modernist structures, we will feast on Barcelona's delights. Rambles along La Rambla, Gaudi's treasures, a neighborhood festival, designer shopping, and waterfront fun are some of the highlights. For the best beaches, we head north to the coves of the Costa Brava.

Four Great Cities of Europe - London calls for high tea at the Athenaeum and modern art at the Tate Modern. Paris treats us to impressive dining, the Musee d'Orsay, and the Centre Georges Pompidou. Amsterdam offers Rembrandt's The Night Watch and a traditional rijsttafel dinner. In Brussels, visit what some call the most beautiful town square in Europe.

Four Great Cities of Europe II - How can you be part of the international jet set and still get a taste of the authentic "old" Europe? Embark on a whirlwind tour of four European cities that represent a bit of the old and a bit of the new. Learn how to get the most out of one-day visits to Copenhagen, Berlin, Munich, and Rome.

Extra Features:

  • Rudy's Travel Tips - Health tips; Tips for women traveling alone, for seniors, or for travelers with disabilities.
  • Fascinating Side Trips - Flamenco performance; Riding a roller coaster in Tivoli Gardens, and more.

Disc 5: Romantic Germany and Beyond

Germany's Romantic Road - Follow the Romantic Road as it winds through some of Germany's most picturesque countryside. Visit Wurzburg, with the spectacular Baroque Bishop's Palace, and enjoy a front row seat for Dinkelsbuhl's annual observance of the day the children saved the town during the Thirty Years War. Conclude your trip to Rothenburg, the best-preserved medieval walled city in Germany.

Germany's Rhine and Mosel Rivers - Take a scenic cruise down Germany's Rhine and Mosel rivers to visit vineyards and ancient castles. In Koblenz, witness where Julius Caeser destroyed two Germanic tribes, and just downstream, where American troops first crossed the Rhine during World War II. Your trip concludes in Cologne, with its modern art museum.

Prague and Budapest - Marvel at Prague's beautiful Old Town and tour the labyrinthine castle that haunted writer Franz Kafka. Browse the shops in this former communist country, as we witness the scene of the "Velvet Revolution." Then it is off to Budapest, where we surrender ourselves to mineral spas, are serenaded by gypsy music, and sway to the rhythms of Hungarian dancers.

Croatia's Dalmatian Coast - Europe's best-kept secret, the Croatian coast of Dalmatia, dazzles with stunning white stone cities and azure waters. From Dubrovnik, island hop up the coast and revel in the scenery. A highlight of this excursion is a visit to Korcula, an idyllic island retreat that is the most romantic of all Croatian walled beauties.

Music Lover's Europe - Wherever you are headed in Europe, music rings out in concert halls, opera houses, local festivals, markets, and street corners. Rudy shares his favorite musical moments in destinations that are worth a special trip: from Italy and the French Pyrenees to Ireland's County Clare and Norway.

Extra Features:

  • Rudy's Travel Tips - Train travel; Phoning home affordably; Theme Trips, and more.
  • Fascinating Side Trips - The Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, a boat ride from Korcula, and more.

Disc 6: Alpine Secrets

Bologna and Emilio-Romagna - Sample the diverse and delicious flavors of this slice of Northern Italy and take in the glorious art and culture along the way: cheese and mosaics in Parma; balsamic vinegar and race cars in Modena; and ham, pasta, and university life in Bologna. The mountainous Apennines, Ravenna's sixth-century mosaics, and a Rimini beach resort complete your excursion.

Veneto and Dolomite - After a night at the opera in Verona's Roman arena, set out in search of Giotto's colorful frescoes in Padua and architect Palladio's villas in Vicenza and the surrounding countryside. Then head for the hills and the dramatic peaks and meadows of the Dolomite Mountains.

Switzerland and the Alps - From the year-round playground of Interlaken, sail across glacial Lake Brienz. Thrill to a heart-stopping gondola ride to alpine heights in the spectacular Lauterbrunnen Valley, and hike past flower-filled meadows and mountain chalets. Enjoy shopping, chocolate, and taste Swiss cuisine in vibrant Zurich.

Christmas in Switzerland - Celebrate the joys of a Switzerland Christmas, where Christmas markets and toasty ski lodges offer good cheer. From Zurich with its glittering trees and festive music, veer off the beaten path to the medieval towns of Bremgarten and Einsiedeln. Dog sledding on a glacier and a visit with Father Christmas raise holiday spirits.

Extra Features:

  • Rudy's Travel Tips - Converting kilometers to miles; Sampling wines in Europe, and more.
  • Fascinating Side Trips - Cable car to the Shilthorn; Geneva Escalade Festival; Splendors of the Dolomites, and more.

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