Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Top 10 European Destinations

Europe is filled with amazing cities. There are varying opinions on the top 10 European destinations, but most include the big cities of London, Paris, Amsterdam and Barcelona. All of these cities are beautiful and have great things to offer travelers; however there are several cities that I love.

One of the attractions to the normal 'big cities' is that you can easily spend a week in the location because there is sooo much to do. However, in my opinion, it's much harder in the 'big cities' to find that (what we Americans call the) European feeling, that coziness, that deep connection to history. It's there, just a little harder to find.

Here is my top 10:

  1. Munich, Germany - (Post 2) Have a beer in one of the many beer gardens, stroll through the marienplatz and escape the touristy stuff by heading to English Garden and lake (Englischer Garten).
  2. Cinque Terre, Italy - Hike the miles and miles of trails, many of which you will have all to yourself! Pick one city as home base and explore the others by train, trails or the ferry. Manarola is my favorite! You will not find a McDonalds anywhere in CT, which is wonderful!

  3. Madrid, Spain - Enjoy some vino at Plaza Mayor, visit Palacio Real, enjoy the museums on the Prado, then escape the touristy stuff by walking through Retiro Park and the botanical garden.

  4. Florence, Italy - Where to start? The pedestrian central city lends itself to that deep connection with history. Stroll from il Duomo down the cobblestone pedestrian street to Piazza Signoria, stop in Uffizi, then over the Ponte Vecchio. Spend an afternoon walking through Palazzo Pitti, the Medici residence and the beautiful gardens.

  5. Paris, France - Cliche? Perhaps. After having your fill of tourists at the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Pompidou Center, take a bike ride through the Latin Quarter or stroll through Luxembourg Gardens. Find a quiet bench in the Tuileries.

  6. London, England and surrounding area - You could easily spend a week in London. You could spend several weeks in London and still not visit all the usual tourist sites. After spending a day or two in the city, head out to the surrounding area...Oxford, Bath, Salisbury, the Cotswolds.

  7. Lucerne, Switzerland - A respite from the hustle and bustle of Zurich, which is about 1 hour away. Walk along the river, cross the famous wooden bridge, shop, take a lake cruise, take the cogwheel train to Mt. Pilatus, zip past the swiss cows (complete with bells) on a summer tobogan, shop, chug along in the tourist train, oh, and did I!

  8. Strasbourg, France - two words...Petite France.

  9. Berlin, Germany - After taking in the usual tourist sites and museums, walk from the Brandenburg Gate and through the Tiergarten. Do as the locals do, bring a frisbee, a picnic lunch and enjoy nature. Spend some time at Schloss Charlottenburg. Simply spectacular!

  10. Budapest, Hungary - Have a beer at one of the many sidewalk cafes along the Danube. On the Pest side, make your way to Heroes Plaza and the surrounding park. On the Buda side, stroll through Castle Hill and the Royal Palace. Enjoy the views of Pest from Fisherman's Bastion, which are amazing at night.

There are oodles and oodles of wonderful cities in Europe. So, limiting my top 10 list to just 10 wasn't an easy task. My honorable mentions would be...Rome and Tuscany, Italy.

1 comment:

  1. I'm spying on your Switzerland travels. We are thinking of making a trip this summer. I will interrogate you, but first I'll do my homework. :)

    I see Lucerne made the top ten list. :) ...but what about little villages? I liked your Interlaken pictures better, more "sound of music like". :)

    Recommend any small places before I play "einney-meeney-minney-mo" and pick some. :) Guess I should stop in the big places too though. I'm just tired of city stuff. Hamburg is UGG now. :)