Where should I travel to in Europe?
People ask me this a lot.
And it makes sense. I have, after all, been traveling in Europe for most of the last six years. I do spend a whole lot of time wandering cobbled alleyways and deciphering Italian menus. I do passionately love so many places on the continent.
But, here’s the thing: we don’t all love the same places.
Which means the only way my advice has real power to get to the heart of the places you want to travel to is for me to ask about you. What do you love? What do you hate? What do you find boring? When you travel, do you travel for food? For views? For ocean? For mountains? Do you love giant busy cities you can get lost in? Or quiet mountain towns where you can hear the birds?
There are no wrong answers. But there are most definitely preferences.
Which is why I thought I’d do a short series of posts focusing on specific things people love.
To start, I thought I’d share some places with exceptional ocean views.
This charming, tiny surf town on the southwestern coast of France is quiet and walkable and exceedingly pretty. A walking/bike path stretches up north along the coast (and I believe south as well, though I didn’t follow it that way). The cobblestone town center is adorable. And the place has a relaxed, quieter vibe. If I went back to the region, it’s probably where I’d base myself.
A short boat ride south of busy Dubrovnik, this cute, tiny little seaside village is home to a sweet seaside walking path and the best restaurant I ate at in all of Croatia. It’s tiny, so a day or overnight trip is probably enough time to see everything – or, if you want to see Dubrovnik but have a quieter place to retreat at the end of the day, it could make a good base.
The Cinque Terre has gotten so popular that the towns have started imposing visitor limits. But they are popular for good reason. The coastline here is some of my favorite I’ve seen anywhere in the world, with cliffs rising jagged from the sea, cactus spilling down the rocks, and brightly colored buildings stretching up the hills.
Just up the coast from quieter Saint-Jean-de-Luz, glitzy, shopping-rich, bigger, busier Biarritz offers rocky coastline dotted with castle-like mansions and cute lighthouses. The town itself is bustling and has some excellent restaurants, cute boutiques, and long stretches of sand for lounging.
Tucked away on Croatia’s less discovered northern coast, Rovinj is a charming warren of cobblestone alleys winding through ancient homes up to a large church overlooking it all. A sprawling park sits just south of the old town and offers gorgeous walking paths and ocean views.
Perched between the sea and an old ruined fortress on a mountaintop, Taormina is another charmer. Don’t miss the old amphitheater with its sweeping views of ocean, volcano, and shoreline, or the fortress on the hill (only about a 45-minute walk from the town). The town itself is a tiny gem of glamour and everyone is fabulously dressed, so bring your fashion A game.
Less crowded and more lived-in than its more popular southern neighbor (Dubrovnik), Split is a sprawling city (second largest in the country) full of ancient monuments, hilltop parks, enormous daily fresh markets, and $5 movie tickets. It’s high up on our list of places to return in the off-season, as warm temperatures often linger into the early winter.
Now, to you: favorite ocean-view spots in Europe?