01/13/2014 06:12 pm ET Updated Mar 15, 2014

Rick Steves' Guides: The Best in the Business

There was a time when I couldn't imagine anyone but me leading a Rick Steves tour. For 25 years, I personally led at least one departure of every itinerary. But for the last ten years, rather than lead them, I join them as a tour member. And each year, it's clear to me that my guides -- who are specialists in their country or region -- do a far better job leading our tours than I ever could.

In 2013, our more than 100 guides led over 600 groups around Europe with my complete confidence. I am adamant about hiring guides I personally know and trust, and who share my love for Europe and passion for teaching. As they begin to land today in Seattle for our 2014 Tour Guide Summit, this clip reminds me of how they shine.

All of us here at Rick Steves' Europe headquarters look forward to welcoming our guides starting tomorrow!

P.S. I don't want to keep the guides to myself. On Saturday, January 18, 9 am P.S.T. join me and my tour guides online for the live streaming of Test Drive a Tour Guide -- eight free one-hour slideshows on Europe's top tour destinations for 2014. Tune in and learn more!