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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Iceland's countryside( Arctic-Images / Corbis )
Myvatn, near the town of Akureyri (riddled with consonants, Icelandic words are not easy to tackle, but saying "mee-VAHT" and "ah-KOO-ray-ree" will get you by), is more or less on top of the ever-growing chasm between the North American and Eurasian plates. In the '70s and '80s, this region fielded nine eruptions from a nearby series of volcanic fissures. Locals had to put their tap water in the fridge to cool.
But on this winter's day, I'm left undisturbed to enjoy the low-lying fruits of plate tectonics: hiking on a black crust of a lava field, taking the womblike geothermal waters and breathing these hot, sloth-inducing vapors. Across the steam room, my friend flops onto her stomach in the mist, and I watch the drop of condensation slowly muster its strength. It falls.
-- Krista Mahr
Read more: Savor the sveit life in Iceland's countryside
Pictured: Lake Myvatn.