Finally, A Must-Visit List That Doesn’t Suck

by gigigriffis

Have I mentioned that I hate must-visit lists?

You know the ones. They suck you in with a title you can’t resist: The top 10 destinations for 2014! The top 12 European must-visits for summer! 7 up-and-coming destinations for savvy travelers!

And then you click on them and instead of a list of hidden-away villages with fresh-made pasta or pretty cities you’ve never heard of, you get a list of…stuff you already know. The top 10 places to visit? Australia! England! Thailand! Top 10 hidden gems of Paris? The Eiffel Tower!

(Seriously? Be ashamed of yourselves, magazines.)

Not only are they the obvious choices, but they’re massive places with lots of distinct sub-regions and sub-cultures. And what I really want to know is which towns you recommend and why, which countryside views, which tiny hamlets, university towns, or hiking trails.

This is why I hate those lists. Passionately. (So passionately that I might someday stop clicking on the titles hoping that just maybe this one will be different.)

This is also why I made a little something for you—the list I have wished for all these years.

It’s called 10 Amazing European Towns (You’ve Probably Never Heard Of).

And it’s a collection of smallish cities, tiny towns, places that have some tourism, but don’t get nearly as much press as their larger neighbors.

Plus, in addition to the name of the town and a little description, I’ll give you a few quick tips on what each place is suited for (a day trip? A week-long getaway? A creative retreat?) and what foods and drinks you should try while you’re there.

Want to nab your copy of the lovely little PDF?

Just sign up for one of my mailing lists below and you’ll find the PDF linked in your confirmation email.

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Or sign up here if you want to get occasional emails about book launches and giveaways, but would rather not have blog posts in your email.

(If you are already on one of these lists, you will be getting an email shortly with your free copy of 10 Amazing European Towns (You’ve Probably Never Heard Of).)

Or, if you don’t love being on email lists and prefer to follow my work on Facebook, RSS, etc. (I get that because RSS is my drug of choice, too), just shoot me an email. I’ll send you a copy, no strings attached.

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Heiko April 5, 2014 - 3:03 am

Nice list. Would you like mine for future reference?
1. Ghent would be on my list too, or Antwerp
2. Sasbachwalden, Germany, a lovely flower and wine village on the edge of the Black Forest with views across to the French Vosge Mountains and the best Black Forest Gateau on the planet
3. Schiedam, Netherlands: wander around the old harbour area with lots of old ships, the tallest windmills in the world and the home of Dutch gin (Jenever) with a museum dedicated to it and a artisan chocolate factory.
4. Kautokeino, Norway: 500km north of the Arctic Circle, every Easter the Same hold a spectacular spring festival with colourful traditional costumes and reindeer sleigh races on the frozen over lake.
5. Vezzano Ligure, Italy: in spitting distance of the Cinque Terre, a small hilltop town that has everything Siena has except the tourists. The view is probably the best in all of Italy, where you see the entire Tuscan coast as far as Elba 100 Miles away, as well as Corsica and the Gulf of La Spezia. In September they celebrate the Grape Festival (Sagra dell’Uva), where all the villagers compete in dressing up competitions and prizes are given to the best decorated houses.
6. Portaferry / Strangford, Northern Ireland: On either side of the ‘Narrows’ the entrance to Strangford Lough, a marine nature reserve just south of Belfast. Great for hiking, cycling, kayaking, bird watching and Portaferry is also the home of the Aquarium of Northern Ireland featuring many local species of marine life and a colony of rescued seals.
7. Belogradchik, Bulgaria: Hidden away in the northwest of the country, it boasts 15 km of the most spectacular red rock formation. In the town itself there is an ancient fortress built into the rocks which has been used by successive cultures for over 2000 years and is a UN World Heritage Site. Hardly any tourists ever get here and it’s laughably cheap. Entrance to the fortress is 1 Euro and you can have a sumptous meal in the town for under 5!
8. Matera, Basilicata, Italy: It’s starting to attract tourists, as the old part of town is entirely carved out of rock, including the church. People effectively lived in caves, until they were forcibly removed in the 1950,s due to bad santary conditions. Nowadays the whole town is being done up and people have moved in again. The food here is hearty and spicy.

Well we leave it at 8 for the moment

gigigriffis April 5, 2014 - 4:52 am

Ooh, thanks.


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