When you work for a top-notch travel Web site like TripAtlas, the World’s Largest Online Travel Resource, love for travel is an unwritten bullet in the job description.
We even have our right-wing and left-wing travel philosophers. Some who are sworn backpackers and Lonely Planet Guidebook followers, others who are happily content with being able to boast how many Michelin-rated restaurant stars they have acquired, and a few of us happily trotting on somewhere in the middle.
As summer approaches, I decided to take a survey and look at the staff of TripAtlas’s Favorite Places in Europe: from sights to stories, memories from our grad trips and dream trips to journeyed once enough vacation days have been accumulated. Here we go!
Michelle’s cranberry vodka adventure in Assisi
When I was in Assisi, one of the girls in my tour group was determined to find a bar. We spent over thirty minutes wandering Assisi trying hard to find a bar that was open. We finally found the only open bar and she grabbed a beer while I decided to ask for a cranberry vodka—except that nobody in the bar knew what a cranberry was. How do you describe a cranberry to someone who has never seen one?
A native Italian who lived in New York tried to help in my endeavor for hard cranberry juice. In the end, we were unsuccessful at describing a cranberry but successful in finding a new friend. The three of us chatted until the bar closed and we sat out on patio chairs until we could see the sun rising. We said good bye and wandered back to our hotel, finding ourselves locked out. I banged on the door until the receptionist, a elderly man, opened the door cursing at us in Italian while standing there in his pajamas.
Discover more of Italy in Irresistible Rome: Five Classic Highlights of the Eternal City.
Maureen’s picks for neatest place, biggest party and most beautiful architecture
- Neatest place: Hallstatt, Austria
- Biggest party: Ios, Greece
- Architecturally beautiful: Prague, Czech Republic
- Looking forward to: Portugal in July
Explore other beautiful picturesque towns like Hallstatt in our Top Ten Portside Cities of Eastern Mediterranean.
Gizelle’s favorite place to dream the day away
One of my favorite places in the world is Paris—no matter how cliched or how touristy of a place it is.
It’s the patisseries, boulangeries, Fouquet’s, Sadaharu Aoki, cafes, espressos, beautiful French wines, luscious dark chocolates, music, rich and fatty foods, foie gras, Joel Robuchon, Pierre Gagnaire, philosophy, freedom/equality/brotherhood, passion for passion, and love for love—that gives Paris a special place in my heart.
I’m rarely more content than when I’m in the streets of Paris drinking a coffee and thinking the day away with Sartre, Descartes, Voltaire, Hugo—dreaming about a revolution, changing the world or exploring my next dining establishment.
Jeremy’s picks in England, Provence, and the Amalfi Coast
- Hiking in England’s Lake District: Challenge yourself with a vigorous Sunday afternoon ramble through the ruggedly beautiful fells of the English Lake District. After conquering the 2,635 ft high summit of the Old Man of Coniston, reward those aching joints with a cool pint of award-winning Blue Bird Bitter and fresh, locally-sourced pub fare by the roaring fire at the Black Bull Inn.
- Christmas in Aix-en-Provence: This beautiful town of fountains and 17th Century Patrician mansions is draped in a soft illuminating glow during the day and the twinkle of thousands of white lights suspended above the Cours Mirabeau by night. The ubiquitous Christmas tree lots and chaotic malls of North America are contrasted by small flower markets and unhurried streets in the South of France.
- Camping in a Lemon Orchard on Italy’s Amalfi Coast: The rocky peaks and valleys of Campania’s Amalfi Coast are very popular with the rich and famous, but budget travelers need not be discouraged. Willy’s Hostel, outside the town of Amalfi, provides travelers with the chance to camp out under the stars in a family-run lemon orchard that offers unbeatable views over the Bay of Naples below.
Find out more about the Amalfi Coast in Top Ten Portside Cities in the Western Mediterranean.
Chris, our local Frenchman’s favorite spot in Europe
One of my favorite places in Europe is Landes, a region in southwestern France, just 150km south of Bordeaux. What I like about this region, also known as the Cote d’Argent, is that it is on the Atlantic Ocean, has some of Europe’s longest beaches and amazing pine forests. I used to spend my summer holidays there when I was younger.
Steven, the travel expert’s top picks for Europe
Hands down, my favorite European destination is Amsterdam. It’s a wonderful, liberal, open-minded, and laid back city that is refreshing to visit, though I’m not sure I would live there. The people are “non-warrior” types and I haven’t been able to find anything like Amsterdam’s “French fries and mayonnaise” anywhere else in the world.
Another place I would add to my list is Paris, France. It is just a simply beautiful destination with its architecture and buildings. I love that the people in Paris really take pride in their city.
Travis’ top Europe picks will take you back in history
I would love to visit Russia and Moscow to really experience the history there. Actually, anywhere in the former Soviet Union, like Prague, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland or Romania.
Another dream European destination would be a trip in and around the United Kingdom: England, Scotland, and Ireland. I’d love to see a lot of the historical sites, castles, battle sites, and stuff like that. I’ll be going to visit these spots when I become a professional golfer and go on tour with Tiger.
Find out more about Russia in To Russia with Love or check out Golf Holidays in Europe: Top 5 Courses and Destinations.
Laura’s Love for all Things History and Food
- Greece: I would love to be able to go here because it looks so beautiful and I love Greek food. Amazing history, Athens, Acropolis, and the other sites are a must—plus the amazing islands and beautiful beaches!
- France: The Eiffel tower is something that everyone needs to see at some point. Plus French wine and food are obvious. I would love to check out the Louvre and visit the vineyards in Bordeaux.
- Italy: More history and food. I’d like to explore Venice and go on a gondola ride. A friend of mine stayed at a villa in Tuscany and the pictures were amazing. I would love to do that as well.
Discover more of Greece: Acquaint Yourself with the Aegean Islands of Greece or read about the Ten Most Romantic Things To Do in Venice, Italy.
Happy European travels!
Photo courtesy of TripAtlas