My Top 5 Places in Europe

If you’ve read this blog for a while, it’s no secret I’m always looking for excuses to get back to Paris. Or Europe. Or anywhere, for that matter. I have a serious case of wanderlust.

Since this is the time of year for lists, I’m sharing my top five favorite places in Europe:

#5 – Montepulciano, Italy


When my oldest son was four months old, we spent several weeks in Italy visiting my family. Since we’d done Rome, Florence, Venice, and the Cinqueterra on previous trips, Bug and I were eager to explore the hilltop villages of Southern Tuscany. For this trip, we rented a farmhouse as our base and explored. This is where I first discover Brunello wine and cemented my love of reds. Definitely worth a trip if you’re a wine lover.

#4 – York, England


Maybe we’re weird, but for our honeymoon, Bug and I decided to tour England and Scotland. On our way up to Edinburgh, we stopped off in York. The ancient walls and beautiful church are must sees. We day tripped to the countryside for a picnic and the seaside for fresh fish and chips. The history of York is fascinating, and I loved all the viking lore. Oh, and they have jam rolly pollies. So flipping good.

#3 – Nice, France

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I can’t say enough about Nice. Sure, it’s a little touristy, but when I’m lounging on the beach with a bottle of Champagne, I don’t really care. The best part is that we tend to go in late July when a music festival is held in the public space below our hotel. Nothing beats enjoying good music from your balcony while a warm, Mediterranean breeze floats across your skin. And if you have time, Monaco is a short car ride away.

#2 – The Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

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Seriously, Croatia was the best vacation I’ve ever been on. The only thing that kept it from being number one is that we didn’t stay long enough. The wine, the people, the sparkling Adriatic sea – it all made for a memorable trip. From Zagreb to Split, we experienced city life and tasted wine under the Syrian Consulate, ate incredibly fresh seafood, saw the marvel that is Pliviche, and leisurely strolled through Diocletian’s Palace. The highlight, though, was yachting from island to island and seeing the lavender fields of Hvar, exploring the military bunkers of Vis, and finding a secluded bay to anchor in.

#1 – Paris – the Marais

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I’m 100% a city girl, and Paris, specifically the Marais, holds a special place in my heart. I got to know the ins-and-outs of the neighborhood, made friends, and ate my weight in macarons. Yes, it’s touristy during the summer, but where in Paris isn’t? The nightlife in the Marais is vibrant and restaurants plentiful. You can spend hours browsing antique shops and munching your way down the ancient, twisting streets. It’s situated on the Seine and in the Summer, sand covered “beaches” line the river complete with volleyball nets, lounge chairs, and kid games. There are numerous free concerts, and l’Hôtel de Ville always has something interesting going on. Plus, if you like seeing the sights, you can easily walk to the Louvre and Tuileries, or take the M1.

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wanderlust 

It’s a problem when your whole family has wanderlust. 

For the past few nights, Bug and I have discussed and researched our next vacation. We’ve tossed around Marrakech, Tangiers, Gibraltar, Southern Spain, Portugal, and our standard go-to’s. 

My oldest son wants to see as much of Europe as possible. His choice cities: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague, Venice, Florence, Rome, Nice, and  Barcelona. As you can see, he dreams big and has unlimited time and money 😂 I blame the board game Ten Days in Europe for his choices and belief he can actually visit 10 cities in 10 days without simply blowing through. 

Anyway, Bug and I are now playing with the idea of riding the rails around Europe. We’ve done it around France, and from Milan  to Paris, but this would be a massive undertaking. My concern is that I like to set-up shop in one city and really immerse myself, and I worry the three weeks of city hopping would be exhausting. 

The only city on my son’s list I haven’t visited is Berlin, but Northern Europe in June can be chilly, and I’m a total heat lover. So I thought London-Paris-Barcelona-Nice- Italy may be more my speed. 

But wherever we go, and IF we do go anywhere, I’m sure I’ll find a new story idea. I always do 😄

~dawn