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Old 03-04-2007, 09:26 PM   #1
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Default What are your favorite towns?

Sure, London, Paris, and Rome are great cities but what are the off-the-beaten-path towns that more tpunkers should visit?

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Old 03-05-2007, 04:52 AM   #2
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That's a great question!! I havent been to yet, but on my next trip I'm hitting Verona, in the north of Italy. I've also heard Assisi is absolutely gorgeous.

In the Czech Republic I hear Czesky Krumlov is breath taking.

And a friend of mine went to Füsen in Germany and absolutely loved it.
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Old 03-05-2007, 08:22 AM   #3
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Ya Cesky is a cool town, the locals are preaty cool themselfs.

The only other (slightly) off the beaten track town I went to was Villa Real de Santo Antonio and Ayamonte on the Spainish/Portugesse border. Nice towns, Villa is a tourist spot for locals so not really geared towards English speakers and Ayamonte was a very nice town with allot of English speakers. I didn't really get to enjoy the towns that much I was in a bit of a panic, it was my first proper day of backpacking and I ended up completely stranded in Villa with no idea how to get out.
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe7f View Post
Sure, London, Paris, and Rome are great cities but what are the off-the-beaten-path towns that more tpunkers should visit?

--Joey

Stop "shoulding" on me.

Cheers Joey.

Between Reggio Emilia and Modena is the town Correggio, Italy where the painter Correggio lived his life. His church and his house are still there. There's an HI hostel in an old medieval prison. Downstairs in the hostel is a wine bar called "The Cell". Near the hostel are good pizzeria's. I found this place in an HI hostel guide for Italy which lists them all and describes the hostels and towns.
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:54 AM   #5
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Fussen is definitely cool.

Some of these have gotten more popular (as evidenced by the posts on the forum)

Brugge (the Venice of Belgium and a total surprise for me)
Ghent (cool down town)
Oostende (beach community).

In Spain:
Toledo (known by tourists but not on a typical tour of Europe)
Salamanca (college town with the best plaza in Europe)
Avila (<-really surprised me...loved it!)

In Ireland:

Galway (wish I spent more time here)
Westport (not much to see here but a cool stopping point on the way to or from Northern Ireland)
Killary Fjord (Leeane area, secluded and peaceful)

In Germany:

Rothenberg odT (falls into the Toledo category)
Aying (a tiny village outside Munich which is home to one of the greatest breweries in the world)

My favorite photos I took on my trip were from the above towns

--Joey
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Old 03-05-2007, 10:56 AM   #6
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^^^Most cities you've mentioned aren't really off the beaten path, in my sense. They aren't capitals or metropols, but still on the usual tourist path. Even towns like Rothenburg ob der Tauber is filled with tourists during the high season. I spent two weeks there in January, and despite the cold, buses of tourists came in and out every day. It gave the place a not so genuine feel. I can't imagine how bad it is in July ! But it's a very pretty town !

But it must be difficult to find real off the beaten path towns in Western Europe.

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My favorite photos I took on my trip were from the above towns
Will you share them with us ?
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Old 03-05-2007, 05:36 PM   #7
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There are touristy cities for North Americans and for Europeans. Brugge, famous in Europe, is almost unknown in North America. Just to give you an idea, my father traveled all over Europe in 1974. Is very interested in travel, and had never heard of it before I got there.

The reason for this thread is I am assuming in a month or two we are going to get wave after wave of backpackers hitting Western Europe that will want something other than London, Dublin, Rome, Paris, Munich, Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna etc.

--Joey
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Old 03-05-2007, 08:10 PM   #8
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Evora, Portugal. Not exactly off the beaten track, but no hordes of tourists. Only backpackers and the students that live there. It's a sick town.
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Old 03-05-2007, 08:22 PM   #9
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From what I have seen, that meets the criteria better than most of mine. Good deal! When I go to Portugal, Evora will definitely be on my list! Looks like there is only a Guesthouse (during the summer) no hostels... where did you stay?

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Old 03-06-2007, 09:23 AM   #10
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Bologna is a nice Italian city that has a great old city center. While it is certainly a bit of tourist destination, it does not seem overrun as much. As an added bonus you can visit the Ducati factory and motorcycle museum.

Nurnburg, Germany is also worth a visit I think. It's certainly not unknown, but with all of the other more popular German cities, I think it gets overlooked. Nice little castle in town and the main cathedral still has the patched bullet holes from WWII. They had a great photo exhibit in the church of all places that had lots of historic photos from WWII. Pics of a Hitler motorcade proceeding up the main street of the city.....gives you chills to see the pics and then walk that same street.

I also went to Hamburg last year and couldn't beleive how nice it is. It is quite modern and new with lots of great water views from around the city. I always pictured it as an industrial town without much going for it. I was there in the winter and got to see all of the Christmas markets. It must be gorgeous in the summer time with all of the outdoor cafes.

So, all of the above are fairly well known cities, but not generally at the top of people's must see lists.

The reality is that there are thousands of smaller towns and cities all over Europe and the world, really, that are probably worth visiting if you have the time. The problem is that all of the must-sees also take a lot of time and so who wants to give up seeing Munich for seeing a smaller, lesser known German or Italian city? It's a hard balance to strike between seeing all the major sites but also getting off the beaten path.
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Old 03-06-2007, 10:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe7f View Post
The reason for this thread is I am assuming in a month or two we are going to get wave after wave of backpackers hitting Western Europe that will want something other than London, Dublin, Rome, Paris, Munich, Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna etc.
I hear you !

My idea of getting off the beaten path is taking a ride through villages, and even better, if they are close by one another, walk them. Take the time to watch people live. Or even in major touristy cities one can do that, just pick a district off the center and walk. I discovered wonderful parts of Paris doing so.
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Old 03-14-2007, 03:11 PM   #12
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Koln (Cologne), Luxembourg City, Trier, Raalte (NL), most anywhere in Belgium, Vianden (Lux), Naples, anywhere in Normandy, and further east, Gdansk, Szczecin, Krakow and Vilnius.

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Old 03-14-2007, 09:23 PM   #13
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wieliczka, poland - if at the very least for the amazing salt mine (i'm a salt junkie). the miners seem to have gotten bored at some point and started carving these amazing sculptures (and an entire chapel, one of the largest underground chapels in the world). plus you can lick the walls. anywhere that you can lick the walls is alright in my book.

aran islands, west coast of ireland - we only got to the main island, inishmor, and we did see quite a few tourists, but then again, a lot of people we tell about our trip have no idea what the aran islands are. by far one of the most gorgeous places in the world. i want to go back and see the other two islands. the hostel we stayed in on the main island is definitely the best place to eat. the guy that owns the place cooks all the food himself. you don't need to spend a lot of time there because the islands are so small, but it's still shockingly beautiful and the two days we spent there were one of the highlights of our almost 3 month long trip.

Nurnberg, Germany - I agree with LiveFreeorDie. Amazing city. The city centre is so great. The architecture and the feel of the city. And when you get outside the main city centre the river widens and there are really nice parks along the riverbank that are really nice to take a stroll through. Plus, at one point I found a couple of permanent outdoor pingpong tables in one of the riverbank parks. The downside: you have to bring your own paddles and balls, and there are no referees. Play at your own risk, kids.
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Old 03-14-2007, 09:26 PM   #14
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I forgot another one.

Siena, Italy - I only spent a short amount of time there so I couldn't really get a feel for how much of a backpacker haven it is, but it should be. It's a gorgeous medieval town. The downside: no hostels that I could find within the city proper. Cheaper places to stay seem to be a little bit outside the main town.
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Old 03-15-2007, 03:51 AM   #15
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There's a town called Cong that's very nice near here. It's on the Galway Mayo border in between Lough Corrib and Lough Mask the two big lakes of the west. The town itself has a castle with huge gardens and pools. Your surounded by the Maumturk mountains so you get great views of the lakes from the town.
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Old 03-15-2007, 04:57 AM   #16
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My family is from Lucca - it's near Pisa/Florence. It's FANTASTIC. If you have 5 days in Italy and you've never been to Italy and you're family is not from Lucca, you have ZERO reason to go. But there was some mild "Style section" hype about it a few years ago. It's a teensy weensy town, and you can literally bike around the medieval walls that still surround it in under 2 hours at a VERY leisurely pace (including a cousin turfing out on the pavement...that probably took 20 minutes or so to take care of...). A lot of the restaurants have beaded curtains/sheets instead of doors, and you will hear LOTS of Italian. I was in Italy during the Jubilee Year (and totally skipped Rome, if you can believe that!) and Lucca was still peaceful, and dirt cheap and "authentic." (Opera buffs - Puccini was born there!!!)

PS I google-imaged it to see what you would come up with if you looked, and I promise, the pictures don't do it justice. The Guinigi tower is pretty fantastico, though.
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Old 03-15-2007, 07:34 PM   #17
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Lucca looks really great!

--Joey
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Old 03-15-2007, 07:56 PM   #18
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Oporto, Portugal was one of my favorite places..ya its a "city" but you dont really get the city vibe from it at all...amazing riverfront, wineries...i found myself lost, with hostel friends, in this maze of a neighborhood with steep stone stairs and it was during Sao Joao...such a great festival...the whole city has plastic hammers and beats each other on the head with them...one of my favorite memories!

Salamanca Spain was definitely a wonderful place..i just didnt meet anyone and was quite lonely, but I would for sure recommend it

Also, Coimbra, Portugal..its a town pretty much built around a University...thats why i went, i thought there would be a lot of young people...unfortunately i was there when school was out of session, but i reckon that during uni time, it would be absolutely wonderful...i did get to watch portugal play in the world cup at the student union there and that was awesome!
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Old 03-19-2007, 05:25 AM   #19
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Lucca looks really great!

--Joey
Grazie, Joey! :D
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