I’ve been traveling to Europe for 16 years and every trip deepens my love for this beautiful continent. There’s so much to explore there, I don’t think I could ever get bored even if I were doomed to visit only cities and towns I’ve visited already. These are five of the places to visit in Europe that have so enchanted me that I am always up for a trip back to see them again.
Near Villach, Austria there’s a beautiful sunflower festival every summer. I went once years ago when I was staying with a host family who lived on the mountain above Villach. It’s a wonderful place to be in Europe during the summer. I loved hiking and swimming, eating homemade Carinthian noodles, touring castles, and playing Ligretto. But most of all, I loved listening to music and running in the sunflowers that one night at the festival.
The Aran Islands, Ireland
I’ve already spent more time on Inishmor than most travelers. It’s typically a day trip destination from Galway. But Kevin and I spent four nights there on our honeymoon and it wasn’t enough for us. It’s quiet and beautiful. Cow pastures lined with rock walls criss-cross the island like a quilt. The local pubs serve plates of local fish and bowls of seafood chowder. Locals sing out traditional songs at random during dinner.
My first dream of traveling to Europe was of Venice during the acqua alta – the high water. I saw a television show on PBS with my Dad when I was about 4. The host splashed through the flooded streets and no one seemed bothered by the floods even when the water rushed into the shops. It was normal and everyone wore galoshes. Since then I’ve wanted nothing more than to splash in the streets and eat salami on a rainy day in Venice.
I’ve been in the summer, when Venice is hot and crowded and smelly, and still have not written it off as a terrible place to go. I think if you just go to St. Mark’s Square on a day trip in August you are going to hate Venice. But if you stick around and get off the main island, there is much to fall in love with. I saw that just on a little walk I took late in the evening on my first trip. In the quiet with the night breeze coming across the bay, I got a taste of my dream. I still long for the rest. My best bet to get it is to spend a week in Venice in November. I plan for it to be a solo trip.
Two trips to Paris aren’t enough. I’ve seen all the major sights I’ve dreamed of seeing except for the Musee d’Orsay. But I haven’t spent enough time wandering the neighborhoods. I haven’t been shopping in the markets. I haven’t searched for my favorite patisserie. I haven’t had enough cheese crepes or tasted enough red wine.
I want to go back to Paris to do little more than walk, eat, read, write, and take photographs.
Tapas, red wine with lemon soda, churros dunked in chocolate, glasses of coffee, journaling in the sun… The simple things in Sevilla are the most beautiful. It’s a relaxing city to spend time in. I’d go back to stay in the same Airbnb that I stayed in on my first trip. I’d eat churros at the same stand by the river. I’d go on endless DIY tapas tours to find my favorites in town.
It’s most beautiful in the spring when the jacaranda trees are blooming with purple flowers.
What are your favorite places in Europe? Where do you wish to visit again and again?