For decades, television host and writer Rick Steves has shown viewers how to visit Europe. But the new edition of his book "Travel as a Political Act" has a loftier goal: changing the way they see the world. “If you travel thoughtfully, you find people who find different truths self-evident,” he says. “You have an opportunity to come home with the greatest souvenir, which is global perspective.” Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest city, straddles Europe and Asia, which makes it a fascinating place to visit, Steves says. “I consider Istanbul, along with Paris, London and Rome, one of the top four cities in Europe to see."
Visitors to Copenhagen learn that big government and high taxes might be an anathema in America, but not in Denmark. In return, citizens get a country with no hunger, nearly no homelessness, and universal education.
Belfast found peace after decades of civil war. It’s easy to learn the region’s history on popular “Troubles” tours that visit the neighborhoods where violence reigned.
Relations with Iran have been strained for decades, which is why Rick Steves says it’s important to visit.
Famous for its legal prostitution and marijuana “coffee shops,” Amsterdam is a place to see social experimentation in action.
Egypt’s capital city Cairo offers conflicting ideas and perspectives about the Middle East, which is what makes it an important place to visit.
Although you learn a lot about your home country by traveling abroad and seeing it from a distance, it doesn’t substitute for visiting Washington, D.C.
Cuba presents visitors with the challenges and promise of a socialist society.
Although just a few miles apart, Jerusalem and Bethlehem are separated by a wall and generations of conflict. Visitors can begin to understand the complicated issue that likely will be in the headlines for years to come.
St. Petersburg, the most tourist-friendly city in Russia, is not only polished up for visitors, but also offers a window to understanding support for its president, Vladimir Putin.