Photo by: Robert Vincent

While European cities are often crowded and noisy, the continent has one of the most incredible countrysides anywhere on earth. Every European nation, except for maybe Vatican City, is within a short train ride of a mountain, stretch of coast, lake, or charming country town. Prices are lower than the city and the quality of the inns, B&B’s, and hostels are generally much higher.

  1. Tuscany, Italy Perhaps the ultimate city escape in all of Italy is Tuscany, the quaint hills and farming villages, home of Chianti wine, and agro-turismo.
  2. Provence, France The French countryside is where all of Paris goes to escape the crowds and thoughts of the city and allow their mind to rest and dream. Vineyards, hearty country meals, chateaus and inns.
  3. Lake District, Italy Lake Como, Lake Lugano, and Lake Maggiore have been retreats for all of Europe for centuries. Castle like resorts, tiny lakeside inns, inspiring views of mountains, opportunities to hike, fish, and sail. All make for cozy breaks from Europe’s bustling cities.
  4. Innsbruck, Austria Ski Trails, hiking trips, beer halls, mountain views, and country inns make the Tyrolian capital a great break from anywhere in Central Europe.
  5. Ring of Kerry, Ireland The jaw dropping cliff top views of the wild ocean, charming pubs and B&B’s, stone walls lining green hills, sheep pastures, and farms all make this country/seaside getaway one of the best escapes in Europe.
  6. Cascais, Portugal Almost a suburb of Lisbon, this charming resort area with beaches and casinos is where expats and Portuguese come to spend their summers and weekends.
  7. Ibiza, Spain If you want hard core drinking and dancing on the weekend get a group together and head to Ibiza. Sex, sun, and 24-hour partying.
  8. Cambridge, England Medieval architecture, museums, fine restaurants and a cozy university atmosphere make Cambridge a place for Londoners to get away.
  9. Isle of Capri, Italy To escape the chaos that is Napoli, there is no better way than a trip to the cliffs of Sorrento and across the sea to the star studded Isle of Capri.
  10. Highlands, Scotland While Glasgow and Edinburgh are in the extreme south of Scotland and hold nearly all the population, the Scottish Highlands are where the population and the poets go to get away and commune with nature.

Click here for our Top 10 Weekend / City Vacations in North America