7 European Destinations I Can’t Wait to Visit

Sep 19, 2018    /    stories & photos

Photo credit.

I’ve been daydreaming again. About the places I want to see, the mountains I want to hike, the waterfalls I want to meander past. About home bases and vacations. About my favorite continent: Europe.

You see, for most of this year, our plans have been dictated by practical concerns. Networking opportunities. Business growth. A (failed) attempt at getting ourselves to like big cities.

And sometime this summer, I had a mini meltdown.

I can’t do big cities anymore. I mean, maybe sometimes. But not all the time. Not as a base. Not as a priority.

I need my mountain towns and tiny coastal refuges. I need places that feel expansive, not hemmed in. I need, in other words, to get back to the things I already knew I loved and that I somehow lost sight of.

Which is why I’ve been daydreaming about the places I want to go.

Here are some that are high up on my list.

1. Hallstatt, Austria

Halstatt, Austria
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Browse through photos and in about five seconds you’ll know why I’m drawn to Hallstatt, a tiny lakeside town in the Austrian Alps. I’ve heard it’s mobbed in summer these days, so I’d like to earmark it for the fall. Because Alpine hikes while the leaves change? Those are always a hell, yes for me.

2. Piran, Slovenia

Piran Slovenia
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Slovenia is one of my favorite places. Every time I visit, I like it even more. There are a lot of towns on my Slovenia to-visit list, but Piran seems particularly interesting, jutting off the tiny bit of coastline that the country claims.

3. Plitvice, Croatia

Plitvice
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You guys, I have been trying to get here for years. Every time I’m in Croatia, it just ends up being too far out of the way. But at some point, I’m going to make it to this waterfall-laden park with its wooden walkways. Maybe even this year.

4. Korcula, Croatia

Korcula
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Speaking of Croatia, I’d love to see more of the islands. Particularly the very pretty Korcula, with its dense forests and Dubrovnik-esque architecture.

5. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

Cortina d'Ampezzo
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Another place I haven’t seen enough of is northern Italy. This particular town is a ski resort in the Dolomites and it’s an outdoor lover’s dream, as far as I can tell. Hiking. Cycling. Water sports. This is the kind of place I want to spend my warm-weather months. Not to mention that the town itself looks adorable.

6. Lavertezzo, Switzerland

Lavertezzo
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If you know me, you know the tinier the town, the more intrigued I am, which is why 1200-inhabitant Lavertezzo sounds like a big win. I first found the area during a photo search of the Italian part of Switzerland I was immediately enamored with the green-blue waters, the gorgeous rocks, and the charming bridges of Valle Verzasca.

7. Vezelay, France

Vezelay
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I fell in love with Vezelay while doing interviews for my France guide. The history, the buildings, the surroundings…it all sounded amazing to me. I thought about making a detour up to the abbey during my cycle trip across France a few years ago, but ultimately the timeline wasn’t right. It’s been high up on my radar ever since, though.


Now, to you: what places are calling to you these days? Where’s next on your bucket list?

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5 Comments
  • Lynne Nieman
    September 20, 2018

    Like you I love those small towns and villages. And having been to the Dolomites a couple of times there are even more towns I’d add to your list. But your list, yup, I’d go to all those places! So with small towns, do you struggle with only using public transportation? I think about basing myself in places like this, but find it hard to imagine that you could do so without a car for at least part of the time.

    • gigigriffis
      September 20, 2018

      I’ve literally never had to rent a car in Europe even though I spend the majority of my time in small places. I do think there are parts of Eastern Europe that might be tricky without one, but in western Europe I’ve found it really easy to get around by train, bus, bicycle, and occasionally taxi/uber. Sometimes it takes longer, but I’m happy to make that trade-off.

      • Lynne Nieman
        September 22, 2018

        Good to know, Gigi. I tend to rent cars as I like to road trip a bit around Europe (I love driving in Ireland) and I like to get to out of the way places. But as I start moving toward a more location independent life, I know it won’t be practical so I’ll want to have some time without a car. I’m just so damn American when it comes to cars!

  • Megan
    September 27, 2018

    I too much prefer the smaller cities and towns when I travel. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot to see and do in big cities, but every time I visit one, the traffic, crowds, and noise leave me wondering why I left home. But in the small towns I can usually find peace and tranquility.

    if i could visit any of these it would be Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. The outdoor activities alone would be enough to make me happy!
    Megan recently posted…The Top 10 Water Sports You Should TryMy Profile

    • gigigriffis
      September 27, 2018

      Agreed! Anywhere with outdoor adventures is my jam.

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