Where I stayed during my 2010 trip, in Grunau im Almtal

As the faithful readers of this blog know well, I have traveled within Western/Central Europe several times since 1999, and even went right after 9/11 – mainly because I could not afford to change my dates of travel! (And yes, I was a bit anxious about my trip but I managed to have a great time despite terrorist threats and Muslims in Europe challenging anyone with a North American accent.)

Cannes, France

I decided to dedicate today’s post to my absolute Top 10 destinations of all the places in Europe that I have yet visited, and I have been to dozens: London; Paris, Lyon, Dijon, Cannes, Nice, Avignon, Fontainebleau, Versailles, and some little bump in the road near Beaune; Barcelona; Monaco; Florence, Assisi, Rome, Venice; Vatican City; Innsbruck, Wattens, Salzburg, Vienna, Grunau im Almtal, Hopfgarten; Alpnachstad, Sisikon, Lucerne, Schaffhausen, Lake Constanz (the Swiss shore); Vaduz; Neuschwanstein, Lake Titisee, Munich, Heidelberg, Cologne, Berlin, Dresden, the Rhineland, Hamburg, and a little dot on the map I can’t recall the name of; Prague, Cesky Krumlov; Edam, Amsterdam, Monnickendam, Volendam, Zaanse Schans; Bruges, Brussels, and Flanders.

Some of the places I visited were little villages and a great many of them were extremely touristy. I was on package tours for some of these trips, and the tour guide’s main aim is to get as many of the tour members as possible to buy an ‘optional excursion’ so they could receive their ‘kickbacks’. One reason I decided to backpack it via Busabout was because of the emphasis on ‘excursions’ being an essential part of one’s successful European trip, a notion I wholly disagree with.

Lake Titisee, Black Forest, Germany

I have more of a country heart than a big city outlook, and in fact I don’t like cities much if at all. My hometown has a population of slightly less than 250,000, and to me that’s too many people. I would prefer to live in a place with less than 50,000 inhabitants, and no more than 5,000 would be ideal. So my favorite areas in Europe tend to be smaller cities rather than the capitals so well-known to most.

My Top 10 all-time favorites so far in no particular order:

  1. Salzburg
  2. Grunau im Almtal
  3. Hopfgarten
    Hopfgarten, Austria
  4. Heidelberg
  5. Area around Neuschwanstein
  6. Nice
  7. Volendam (though it’s very touristy)
  8. Bruges
  9. Cesky Krumlov
  10. Assisi
    Assisi, Italy
My next 10 favorite places in no special order are:
  1. Dijon
  2. Cannes
  3. Area around Lake Titisee
  4. Dresden

    Dresden, Germany
  5. Zaanse Schans
    Zaanse Schans, Netherlands
  6. Edam
  7. Schaffhausen
  8. Lucerne
  9. Sisikon
  10. Prague
Beautiful Cesky Krumlov
My least favorites? Usually because they were too big and noisy, also vastly overrated. And filthy!
  1. Rome
  2. Florence
  3. London
  4. Hamburg
  5. Monaco
  6. Lyon
  7. Paris
  8. Vaduz (mainly due to it’s being so pricey)
  9. Amsterdam
  10. Brussels

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