If not the Well-Trod Places in Europe, Then Where?

If the oh-so-familiar places in France, Greece, and Italy are not available, then where should you go? If you seek beautiful scenery, delectable food, flavorful wines, remarkable architecture, inspiring music, intriguing history, and stunning beaches these ‘what’s next’ locales should be part of your experience:

France – Instead of the Côte d’Azur Try the Côte Vermeille

On the Côte Vermeille, the less glitzy stretch of Mediterranean coastline compared to Côte d’Azur, lies the “City of Painters” – Collioure –  a small town of winding streets lined with art galleries, seafood restaurants, quirky boutiques, and a castle. Its magical light and stunning sunsets have inspired artists, poets, and writers for decades. The Bay of Paulilles is brimming with birds, biodiversity, and a secluded beach.

France – Instead of Saint-Tropez Try Cassis

Fifteen miles from Marseille is southern France’s best-kept secret. Cassis shares Saint-Tropez’s beauty and fishing heritage without the mega-yachts and jostling crowds. It is a laid-back town of colorful architecture, steep limestone cliffs, turquoise water, one of Frances’ oldest wine appellations, and exquisite local food. Cap Canaille, the highest sea cliff in France for spectacular Mediterranean views, is a short drive away.

Greece – Instead of Crete, Mykonos, or Santorini Try Alonissos, Ithaca, or Kefalonia

Alonissos’ first underwater museum, situated within one of Europe’s largest marine parks, is where diving enthusiasts explore a fifth century B.C.E. shipwreck and watch for Mediterranean monk seals, loggerhead turtles, and dolphins. Kefalonia attracts active adventurers interested in Jeep safaris, caves, sinkholes, cavernous chambers, and a herd of semi-wild horses. Ithaca has winding trails, stone-built villages, frescoed churches, ancient ruins, and pebbled beaches.

Greece – Instead of Paros Try Antiparos

Antiparos is a seven-minute ferry ride from Paros’ southwestern coast. It has incredible beaches, clear water, numerous sea caves, classic restaurants, low-key nightlife, and a 15th-century castle. The Antiparos Cave showcases an estimated 45-million-year-old stalactite and is the largest vertical cave in Europe. The seventh-century BC Mantra Sanctuary is located on Despotkio, one of the most beautiful uninhabited islands of the Aegean Sea.

Italy – Instead of Capri Try Ischia

In the Bay of Naples, the idyllic island of Ischia offers a dose of beauty, spirit, hospitality, and nostalgia. Ischia Porto is a bustling commercial hub. Ischia Ponte has an old-world vibe. Casamicciola Terme has the most thermal springs. Barano di Ischia has the island’s largest beach, Maronti Lacco. Ameno has a pretty marina. Forio has lively restaurants, bars, boutiques, wineries, and botanical gardens.

Italy – Instead of Tuscany Try Piedmont

The Piedmont region sits at the foot of the Alps bordering France and Switzerland. It is known for Barolo and Barbaresco wines, white truffles, and other epicurean delights. Cosmopolitan Turin features fine food, wide boulevards, grand piazzas, and long arcade walkways. Alba, one hour from Turin, is the capital of the wine industry and offers a taste of history and gourmet cuisine unique to the region.