In Europe, 76 destinations off the beaten path
Looking beyond Rome, Paris or London? Consider Europe's lesser-known destinations, such as Monschau, Germany, a town so quaint you can hardly believe it isn't a theme park or San Marino, one of Europe's oldest and smallest countries (drive through it slowly).
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Hay on Wye, Britain( Paul Thompson / Corbis )
In the early 1960s, while still a lad in his early 20s, Richard Booth, an eccentric anarchist and Oxford graduate with an abiding love for books, declared Hay a "book town" and opened a secondhand bookshop. Later, he bought 800-year-old Hay Castle and declared himself king of Hay. King Richard's vision was to create a "town of books" that would lure visitors to the banks of the River Wye and give his kingdom an economic foundation.
Booth transformed Hay Castle into a sprawling secondhand bookstore where "honesty" boxes are built into the nooks of the castle walls: 30 pence (60 cents) for paperbacks, 50 pence ($1) for hardbacks. The more valuable books are inside the castle and cost more, but most volumes can be had for $2 to $4.
-- Michael Shapiro
Read more: The used-book king of Hay on Wye
Pictured: Hay Castle.