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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?