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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Vals Valley, Switzerland( Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times )
Rain pelted the windshield as I drove up the Vals Valley. Waterfalls coursed over cliff faces, and the tops of the Alps were lost in fog.
Not the kind of weather that walkers who come to Vals in the summer long for. But the rain suited me. I was headed for a spa about 120 miles southeast of Zurich, where I planned to spend the next 24 hours.
I admit it: I like fancy spas and will go out of my way for a Brittany seaweed wrap or a four-handed ayurvedic massage.
But I didn't come to Vals for that -- at least, not strictly so. I came to see the stunning, contemporary bathhouse designed by Peter Zumthor.
-- Susan Spano
Read more: At the Vals spa in Switzerland, a duet of water and stone
Pictured: The village of Vals.