#SummerTravel: The 10 Best Places in Europe to Visit Now, via Lonely Planet
Greece, which includes Oia in Santorini, seen here, won Best in Europe's top spot.. (Photo: Artle Photography/Moment/Getty Images)
Greece took the top prize alongside such under-the-radar spots as Plzen, Ljubljana, and Stavanger in Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe top 10 rankings, announced today.
“We’re drilling down a little deeper and coming up with specific choices, particularly for the American market, that people might like to experiment with beyond the usual highlights of a European trip,” Noirin Hegarty, Lonely Planet’s Managing Destination Editor, told Yahoo Travel.
The ranking criteria include accommodations, cuisine, culture, historical experiences, sports, and activities. What really comes into play, though, says Hegarty, is “That je ne sais quoi element or experience that lifts it above the rest and makes it special.”
Landing in first place is Greece, ranked high for its affordability, lack of crowds, and safety. “There may have been fears about traveling there in the past because of protests, but now is absolutely the right time to visit,” Hegarty said. She exhorts Crete as a great destination: “Here, you get a bit of everything – beaches, hiking, old harbor towns, archaeology, cuisine, wine – with prices for hotels and restaurants 23% cheaper than equivalent ones found in the U.S.”
Here’s the remaining top 10, with travel ideas for each:
Ljubljana castle. (Photo: E. Kase/ www.slovenia.info)
2. Ljubljana, Slovenia: “It’s difficult to pronounce, but well worth getting the tongue around,” Hegarty said. She likens the area’s landscape Switzerland’s, but with a stay costing half the price. Ljubljana gets high marks as a walking city with great nightlife, cafés and bars. This year there’s a plethora of quirky Roman-themed events joining the mix, to mark the 2,000th anniversary of the Roman colony, Emona.
Corfe Castle in Southwest England. (Photo: VisitEngland/Weymouth and Portland Borough Council/Cycle West - Tim Pestridge)