Top Places (at the moment)- Europe

Europe Travel Blog

 › entry 21 of 27 › view all entries
Vienna

I am a Europhile. I love travelling to Europe. There is such a lust for life and appreciation of the everyday there that we Americans just don't have here. I've been to a mix of touristy places (Venice) and off the radar (Devinska Nova Ves, Slovakia). I plan on many more Eurotreks, but so far these are my favorite places.

1)  Vienna, Austria- I must have been a Habsburg in a past-life since I am so enthralled with this city. I love the attention to detail and paradoxically, the relaxed attitude. I love the beautiful architecture, the GREAT coffee. I love the old-world elegance that still permeates the city. Yet this city is not a museum, it is a vibrant and modern city in a classic setting.

2)  Lake Bled, Slovenia- This is the prettiest place I have ever been to.

Lake Bled
Maybe not as otherworldy as Iceland, or as majestic as Yellowstone, but for sheer asthetic beauty, Lake Bled wins. It looks like a movie set for a fairy tale. Glowing emerald green lake, surrounded by the Alps, with an island in the middle with a 10th century church, and a romantic castle on a cliff overlooking the lake. I still can't believe that place is real.

3)  Dalmatian Coast, Croatia- Paradise. The dramatic sight of mountains entering the aqua Adriatic is majestic. Vis is close to heaven. The people are friendly and the food is fresh. Dubrovnik and Trogir are jewels of cities with their historic areas exquisitely preserved despite the wars. Split is a fascinating jumble of antiquity, medieval, and modern. Although undeniably slavic, there is an Italian-influenced appreciation for the good life.

Vis, Croatia
 

4)  Venice, Italy-  I know I know, how can I choose such a touristy, obvious, stereotypical place like Venice? Well because there is a reason for all of the tourists and photos. Venice is magical. The fairy-tale city rising out of the water is spellbinding. The obvious sights like the Piazzo San Marco and the Rialto Bridge are great, but too crowded. The real magic of Venice lies in its back alleys and small canals, where the crowds rapidly disappear and the food gets better. There is an eerieness to this Venice, the unmistakable sense of its past glory faced with the present charming decrepitness. As a bonus you get the different vibes of the other islands in the lagoon and you have a serene world here.

5)  San Sebastian, Spain-  What a lovely city! Maybe this city makes the list because I got a taste of actual life here, while staying with my cousin and her family for a week, and what a lovely life it was! This is a modern, yet traditional family-centered city, whose setting is better than a movie set.

Venice
The crescent shaped beach with two hills on either side and an island in the middle, turquoise water (when it's sunny), coupled with the Beaux-Arts architecture and you have a physically gorgeous little city. The Basques take great pride in their food and drink and celebrate it with much zest. This all equals up to a great time!

6) Iceland- It's amazing that a not too long flight away is like another planet. No you don't need a spaceship, just a medium-haul plane. Volcanic activity shapes this island not only physically, but also its soul. Hot pots and thermal lagoons are as much a part of the landscape as they are the social fabric of Iceland. Amazing waterfalls, landscapes that should be seen from a lunar module, geysers, etc. I loved this place and its amazingly fresh and tasty food.

San Sebastian

7) Southern Portugal- Lisbon is a quick flight from New York, but feels farther away. This is a beautiful, Mediterranean-like city that is just now coming into it's own. Absolutely lovely setting, quite cheap, marble tiled sidewalks, and exudes old world charm. But it also has a laid back modern vibrancy all its own. The Algarve has stunning land/seascapes, reminiscent of the Caribbean, except without the humidity and bugs.

8) Luxembourg- This tiny little Grand Duchy in the heart of Europe sure packs a lot into a little package. It's pretty much a "Best of the European Heartland": Great French style food, Castles galore, wonderful white wines, History everywhere you look, battlefields, efficient trains, ugly EU buildings, and a language that only the locals understand.

Iceland
And you can see it all without traveling for hours a day.

9) Ireland- This is the friendliest country I've ever been to. I think I bought my first drink and the rest of the week, when an American accent came out of my mouth, I had a bunch of new friends buy me more. The landscapes have a lovely mystical quality to them, but it was the authentic local music that spoke to my soul.

10) Barcelona-  The first European city I ever visited. Since I was an inexperienced traveler I was never really sure if I fell in love with Barcelona or just with traveling. After revisiting the city 17 years later I can say both. It is such a lovely ordered city with whimsical flair. A truly wonderful cosmopolitan Mediterranean city with great food, sites, and a world class transit system.

Lisbon
It is near beaches to soak up the neverending sunshine. It is also only a 3 hour bus ride to the charming tiny nation of Andorra with its lovely mountains. I was very happy here and now I realize it was part of the reason I developed a passion for travel.

HONORABLE MENTION:  Western Norway, Scotland; Flanders, Belgium; Bavaria, Germany; Copenhagen; Strasbourg, France; Siena, Italy.

 

spocklogic says:
Agree with you on Venice - touristy yes, but getting lost inside away from the tourist crowds is where the real pleasure of experiencing the city lies.
Posted on: Jun 17, 2017
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Vienna
Vienna
Lake Bled
Lake Bled
Vis, Croatia
Vis, Croatia
Venice
Venice
San Sebastian
San Sebastian
Iceland
Iceland
Lisbon
Lisbon
Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Newgrange, Ireland
Newgrange, Ireland
Barcelona
Barcelona