Hiking in Torridon, Scotland (Saskia Heijltjes)

Top 10 places to visit in Europe

17th September 2011

Continuing his series on his favourite places around the world, Wanderlust blogger Alastair Humphreys reveals his favourite places around Europe

Alastair Humphreys

Despite complaints from my Asia list about selecting Istanbul, Georgia and Beirut I’ve decided not to add them to my Europe list...! So, what have I missed out this time? I apologise in advance for not including anything Scandinavian: I haven’t been there yet.

1. Slovenia

A quiet, civilised, beautiful gem. Ljubljana is a lovely city to start your visit out into the forests and mountains. Make sure you see the startling blue Soča river.

2. Fontainebleau forest, France

I enjoyed this forest because of its proximity to Paris. I wish we had still had forests like this in Britain. Visit in autumn for wonderful crisp colours.

3. Torridon, Scotland

I really shouldn’t put Torridon on here as I don’t want anyone to go there! The winding single-track road that leads down to the sea-loch ringed by some of the oldest mountains on Earth is one of my favourite drives. Climb a hill that has been there for half a billion years and suddenly your daily woes don’t seem quite so serious!

4. Kotor, Montenegro

I’m also going to squeeze in an honourable mention for Sarajevo in Bosnia here which I loved as well!

Kotor is squashed in by the gulf of Kotor, medieval city walls and towering limestone cliffs. There's great coffee too!

5. Dolomites, northern Italy

Some of the summertime panoramas here – green meadows, quaint farms, massive rock faces soaring up behind them – are so absurdly picturesque that they almost look like a make-believe world. Take a bike to earn the views.

6. Iceland

I’m not being any more specific than that. It’s such a varied country, jammed with so many fascinating landscapes, that I don’t want to pick one spot. Everyone is polite, fluent in English and charming. And it’s not really much more expensive than the UK these days. Go explore!

7. Andalucia, Spain

Sleepy whitewashed villages perched on hilltops, cities like Granada, Cordoba and Ronda, olive groves and orange orchards and winding roads, straight from TV car adverts. And I haven’t even mentioned the food yet. All this blissfully hidden just a few miles from the awfulness of the Costa del Yuk!

8. Mallorca, Spain

I was impressed with the network of hiking trails criss-crossing the rocky, wooded hills of Mallorca. You’re never far from the sea for a refreshing dip either. I imagine that I would enjoy Corsica for similar reasons, though I haven’t been there yet.

9. Transylvania, Romania

Europe, yet a million miles and hundreds of years from most of modern Europe. Discover a slower pace of life. A farming life that still includes horses and carts and old ladies in head shawls selling their vegetables at the village market.

10. The Danube gorge, Germany

I wanted to include somewhere from Germany because nobody ever seems to think of exploring Germany yet it’s a really beautiful and interesting country. The Danube is one of Europe’s greatest rivers. Explore it on a boat trip or follow the really civilised cycle path along its banks down into Austria.

Do you agree with Alastair's top ten? Or is there somewhere you think he's missed? Let us know what you think below.

More like this

Check out Alastair's other top 10 global round-ups:

Top 10 places to visit in Asia | Inspire me... More

Top 10 places to visit in Latin America | Inspire me... More

Top 10 places to visit in Africa | Inspire me... More

The 10 best places I have never been to... | Inspire me... More

Alastair Humphreys regularly blogs for Wanderlust, check out more articles here

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  • Montenegro

    Montenegro travel information, including maps of Montenegro, food, drink and where to stay in Montenegro plus the best time to travel in Montenegro

  • Romania

    Romania and Transylvania travel guide, including map of Romania, top Romania travel experiences, tips for travel in Romania, including wildlife watching

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