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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Cinque Terre, Italy( John Reid Oyler )
Stumbling upon things is the best way to explore Cinque Terre (pronounced CHEEN-kway TEHR-reh), the "five lands" perched upon a stretch of lush, terraced hills on Italy's western coastline halfway between Genoa and Pisa. It is a place of unrivaled beauty, a national park, a United Nations World Heritage Site.
On the southbound train that brought me from Genoa for a four-day visit in April, the shimmering Ligurian Sea was on the right while the five towns the "lands" of Cinque Terre appeared one after another on the left as pastel jumbles amid rolling slopes of green: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore, each punctuated by the railroad tunnels in between.
-- Kevin Pang
Read more: Top 5 of Italy? Cinque Terre, say locals