Rick Steves Is Making One Major Change to His European Guidebooks This Year — for an Important Reason

The newest edition of Rick Steves Eastern Europe is getting a new name.

The guidebook formerly known as “Rick Steves Eastern Europe” will have a new title when the next edition is published later this year.

Rick Steves’ Europe is changing “Eastern Europe” across the brand to “Central Europe,” to better reflect a more geographically accurate name for the region.

Rick Steves in Warsaw Lazienki Park

Courtesy of Rick Steves' Europe 

When the 11th edition is published, the guidebook will switch over to “Central Europe” as the identifier for the area that includes countries like the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia. The change was announced in February and will roll out across the company’s guidebooks, website, and tour itineraries. 

In a recent interview with Travel + Leisure, founder Rick Steves explained why he thought the switch was long overdue.

Rick Steves Eastern Europe 10th edition

Courtesy of Rick Steves' Europe 

“From a marketing, publishing, and tourism point of view, we call Central Europe ‘Eastern Europe’ and that’s a hangover from the Cold War,” he said. “That was a 50-year anomaly. Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic got filed away in our minds as Eastern Europe, but that’s really Central Europe.”

In a post announcing the change, guidebook co-author Cameron Hewitt wrote that “Eastern” Europe should really be considered countries like Georgia, Ukraine, and Russia. Prague, often the showcase city of “Eastern” European tours, is actually located to the west of cities like Vienna, Stockholm, and even parts of Italy. 

“The political divide of Europe has changed, of course, and it’s high time guidebooks and tour itineraries do, too,” Hewitt wrote.

The zone is also down in tourism this year, Steves said, because people are worried about the ongoing war in Ukraine. Rick Steves’ Europe is continuing to operate tours in the region as long as it remains safe to do so, and Steves said he plans to film with his TV crew in Poland later this year. 

Rick Steves Poland Wawel Hill Krakow

Courtesy of Rick Steves' Europe 

“It’s unfortunate that people are penalizing the countries that are farther east,” Steves said. “Their economy is hurting because people are staying away.”

While the change might result in some confusion for travelers looking to visit Poland but still searching for “Eastern” Europe trips and tips, Hewitt and those at Rick Steves’ Europe believe the change is worth the risk that come with rebranding. 

Hewitt wrote: “We’ve learned that Rick Steves travelers are savvy, open-minded, and curious enough about our world to hop on board when we lead them toward new places and new ideas.”

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