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Advise for Month Stay in Charming Village in Europe

Advise for Month Stay in Charming Village in Europe

Old Mar 30th, 2024, 07:37 AM
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Advise for Month Stay in Charming Village in Europe

Dear community,



I was wondering if you might have some suggestions for me.

I am planning on a trip for my 60th birthday to travel solo to a beautiful, quiet, friendly village in Europe to stay for a month this September and possibly early October. Most important is that the feeling of the village is lovely, with welcoming people, slow and unhurried, off the beaten path, by the water with a historic, charming, old world village town and historic feeling accommodations such as cottages or a quaint apartment. Something with a Mediterranean feel seems right but I am open to other ideas. I have been looking at Sardinia, Sicily, Italy, Spain, Peloponnese region in Greece, Croatia, Portugal etc. (not interested in France right now) but am feeling a bit confused about where to focus in.



Most important:

Charming and welcoming feeling of the village, smaller (approx. 10,000 – 7,000 people or less but am open). We traveled to the Cotswolds some years ago and I adored the pre-industrial revolution feel and rolling hills of the villages but it seems like it would be too chilly in September and not by the water)

By the ocean or sea

Charming accommodations

Not touristy but enough pulse of life to enjoy for a month-some good cafes, restaurants, places to walk and hike in nature, a few other things to do

Great, fresh food

A weekly outdoor market

Can walk to the water from my rental

Hopefully can get there without a car and don’t need a car to get around (I can rent a car but thought I would first try to find a place that I might not need a car and could take trains, buses etc. to arrive there and to nearby walks or towns if I wanted to.)



Bonus wishes but not essential:

View of the water from my rental

Appropriate for a single, woman traveler (I have not traveled solo since college but feel able to find my way traveling)

Affordable/Able to find Moderately Priced choices for accommodations

Fairly easy to navigate for daily life with English and limited local language



Thank you for your suggestions and support

Please let me know if you have any questions that would help focus your responses.
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 12:14 PM
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Welcome to the Fodors forums. We moved your thread to the Europe Forum and added the country tags.
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 01:53 PM
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Tourism in San Vicente de la Barquera. What to see. Tourist information | spain.info
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 02:37 PM
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Happy 60th birthday!!! What a wonderful way to treat yourself!
I don't have enough expertise to help you, but I am so grateful you started this thread, I will be following and taking notes.
Enjoy!
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 03:04 PM
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On the hunt for a small place for a week before I visited Rome, I rented a little house dug into the hillside online in Capena. No water views but a very pretty small town with a bus that connects to the train into Rome, everything you need to stay alive - small grocery store, a friendly coffee bar where I was recognized the 2nd morning I came in. pretty sure no tourists there the entire week except me & nothing in particular to do but walk around & go to dinner at the home of my new local friend. Perfect unless you need entertaining. There are, no doubt, thousands like it. That's the only time I've done such a thing knowing nothing at all about it beforehand except the house I'd stay in. It was an absolute success & I wish you the best of luck on your quest.

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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 03:52 PM
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I'm interested to see what suggestions you get. Your ideas are appealing to me too. These two places may not exactly fit your criteria but they are by the ocean and we loved our stay - Rovinj, Croatia and Lipari, island off Sicily.
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 04:22 PM
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I am a solo traveler (45f, also a Sept baby) and I tend to travel 3-4 weeks at a time. I personally prefer to keep moving. I find with solo travel, I can get bored because of not having as much social interaction does impact how long I stay in places. You may feel differently.

Will you hire a car for this month?

Some things to keep in mind are locations that might start to "close down" the closer or further you get into your time. Do you want places that you can also travel to in the area in case of those situations? Day trips or maybe a change in location half way through?

Maybe Southern Italy would work for you? You could potentially stay somewhat near the southern coast which has tons of options for day trips and maybe hiking. I am not sure what Bari environs are like (going there in October myself), and I know Bari would not be a village. But there are several areas in the region that might fit what you're looking for. Hopefully folks can advise on a location that stays busy enough but not overrun into October. Take a look at Lecce (not right on the water) and its environs or perhaps Monopoli. Lots of day trip options from these places.

Istria, Croatia is an option. I know KayF mentioned Rovinj. While I agree, the first portion of your trip it might be very busy. I have been there twice: 2015 in mid September and 2022, around the same time but a bit earlier. It was way different in 2022 vs. 2015. In 2015, it was nice and quiet but things were starting to close up. In 2022, I could not get out of there fast enough it was so overrun with tourists. Completely different experience so hopefully it would be different for you. It does get a lot of "day trip" traffic, especially from places like Pula (day trip option, but is not a village).

There are lots of options in the Istrian peninsula. For instance, Piran, Slovenia or nearby. You may still run into some things shutting down, but it may have enough options for you in the shoulder season. On the same trip in 2022 I stayed in Piran for 3 nights. It is very charming and there are many things to do both in Croatia (very near) and throughout Slovenia if you need to get out. The town itself, bored me to tears after 1 day but as I was also solo, however, I had just come from a week in Venice, so perhaps I got used to the hustle!

I wonder if some place like Crete may also be an option? The island is big enough that it might have enough on your list. I have not been there yet so I do defer to others who have been. Same with Sicily.
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 04:42 PM
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Consider Bologna. It does not meet all criteria. But you can be car-less and take short day trips by train to so many places, Ravenna and Florence are just two. Start with a free tour with Bologna Greeters. Request that before you go.
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Old Mar 31st, 2024, 12:41 AM
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Congratulations on your 60th, a fabulous way to celebrate the milestone and treat yourself!

We stayed four days at a small fisherman’s cottage in Kiveri in the Peloponnese, about 20kms from Nafplion. Kiveri is a small fishing village with few or no tourists early May 2022, the stone cottage set in a garden with citrus and pomegranate trees. Right by the Nafplion bay, there’s a small beach but of course the water was way too cold at that time of the year. Several good restaurants we walked to for dinner, we went back a second time to one of them and the owner greeted us like an old friend.

IMO you will definitely need a car here, don’t remember a bus service. The cottage might also be rather too big for you, with three bedrooms, but you should find similar places in the area, in Kiveri itself too. The Peloponnese has so much history and beauty to offer, you’d be spoiled for choice.

I would also second the suggestion to split your stay into two bases, perhaps one more rural than the other. Nafplion itself could be an option.



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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 10:19 AM
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Italy
1. In Puglia, Giovinazzo would fit your requirements, except for Friday and Saturday evenings maybe when people may arrive from Bari to eat out and have a drink. It's smaller than Trani and quieter but still on the main train line for day trips.
https://slowtravelitalyspain.blogspo...iovinazzo.html
2. Vieste in the Gargano area would also fit but difficult to get to without a car and equally difficult to day trip from there.
3. In Sicily, Trapani makes a good base for visiting the area: https://slowtravelitalyspain.blogspo...ip-report.html although cruise ships dock occasionally
4. Iseo, Lake Iseo in the north of Italy is a very quiet and welcoming place, beautiful nature, largest lake island in southern Europe
https://slowtravelitalyspain.blogspo...ting-lake.html
5. Gaeta or Sperlonga not far from Rome
6. Bolsena on Lake Bolsena good for visiting Umbria and Lazio but car needed.

Spain
Cambrils, not far from Tarragona
Conil de la Frontera or Tarifa, Costa de la Luz or Sanlucar de Barrameda - car better
Almunecar east of Malaga, no car required

If you consider one of these, post back because not all have a weekly market for example. Most are larger than you specify. Iseo is probably the best fit for the quiet 'feel' of the place, together with Giovinazzo.


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Old Apr 2nd, 2024, 07:29 AM
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TZ, Maybe check out the Greek isle Folegandros?
No weekly market mind you.
Patmos also comes to mind.
Maybe Tropea in Calabria?
Gallipoli and Monopoli in Puglia would also fit your descriptors.
Good luck.
I am done. the Euros
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Old Apr 3rd, 2024, 09:46 AM
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I've stayed out of this thread because of the month long requirement so I don't know if this will work for you or not but czesky krumlov or karlovy vary

both places seem to meet many of your requests but I just don't know about a month. They are also a little larger but you might find that you can stay a little out of the town itself for that smaller feel. The other big question about these towns is the food and so I'm not sure that the great food here will be what you're thinking

when it comes to the food requirement many will steer you to the typical and obvious places in italy.... but these places are much bigger than what you've described. there are a lot of small villages that are not very typical also in Italy and also including the small islands.

Small villages in Tuscany could work beautifully for you as could in the vicinity of (but not in) positano.
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As a wild card have a look at one of the towns on Lake bracciano not far from Rome. I loved loved loved the town of bracciano itself although you may prefer to stay at one of the other 2 towns and just visit bracciano on several day trips.
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Old Apr 10th, 2024, 10:01 PM
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I ponder this question daily! HA! Although we like long stays in towns with a larger population than 7-10,000. Here are some as food for thought:

Italy:
Ventimiglia
Camogli
Santa Margherita Ligure
Spello
Ortigia in Sicily


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Old Apr 10th, 2024, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by lrice
I ponder this question daily! HA! Although we like long stays in towns with a larger population than 7-10,000. Here are some as food for thought:

Italy:
Ventimiglia
Camogli
Santa Margherita Ligure
Spello
Ortigia in Sicily
I also often think about this, but my first choices would be in France, mostly Provence. But Ortigya would be perfect too, small and intimate, with access to good public transport. Have often pondered Tuscany, but it would be difficult without a car. Greece too, Naxos or Paros perhaps?
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Old Apr 12th, 2024, 05:28 AM
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The more I think about it, the more I realise that some of your criteria are somewhat incompatible with others.

I live in Italy, near the Adriatic Sea, so I started by thinking of small villages on the coast. Almost all of these rely on summer tourists. This would make it easier to find a month-long summer rental. In Italian towns with no tourist industry, it's not easy to find short-term rentals. Many of these towns end their tourist season some time in September, so it should be easy to find shops and restaurants open that month. The difficulty in such towns is that a friendly village community may not be easy to find. Many of the owners of these rental properties are often not residents of the town.

Another obstacle is that very small towns, with a population under 10,000 are not likely to have a thriving weekly market nor good public transportation. The town I live in has about 5000 inhabitants. Its weekly market is struggling to survive. More and more people now shop at supermarkets. There remains one fruit and vegetable vendor, one fish vendor, one cheese and salami vendor, and a few vendors of cheap clothing and housewares.

Public transportation is also problematic in very small towns. Our town has no high school, and there are a few buses daily that mostly transport students to high schools in other towns. That means a few morning runs leaving town and a few afternoon runs returning.

One town near the Adriatic that might suit you is Camerano, which has about 7000 inhabitants , and which is situated in the Park of the Conero (a mountain on the coast.) It's about six miles from the coast, and on a hill, so I'm sure you can see the sea from many spots in town. There is a bus that connects Camerano to several seaside towns on the Adriatic riviera, such as Numana, and to the provincial capital of Ancona. The railway station in Ancona would give you access to many towns and cities on the coast, and to the rail line to Rome.

Another town that comes to mind is Cervia, near Ravenna. The town has almost 30,000 inhabitants, but it comprises several smaller villages. Cervia has substantial summer tourism, which would make it easier to find a monthly rental. There is a large natural park in Cervia. Its salt flats were once a major industry, and there is now a thermal spa there based on the reputed healing properties of its salts. There is a bus line in Cervia that connects several of the villages, and a train station on the Adriatic line. There is also a weekly market in Cervia.

I can't vouch for the friendlies of these towns, because I've never lived in them. I know that my own town is very friendly, but it doesn't meet many of your criteria.

Many Italian towns have a widespread area, so if you were to rent in a far-flung location, you might find you would need a car for access to the weekly market or the bus stop.
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Last edited by bvlenci; Apr 12th, 2024 at 06:06 AM.
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Old Apr 12th, 2024, 06:36 AM
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Zahara de los Atunes-Spain. However vehicle needed. Ericeira, Portugal. No vehicle needed.
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Old Apr 13th, 2024, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by bvlenci
The more I think about it, the more I realise that some of your criteria are somewhat incompatible with others.

I live in Italy, near the Adriatic Sea, so I started by thinking of small villages on the coast. Almost all of these rely on summer tourists. This would make it easier to find a month-long summer rental. In Italian towns with no tourist industry, it's not easy to find short-term rentals. Many of these towns end their tourist season some time in September, so it should be easy to find shops and restaurants open that month. The difficulty in such towns is that a friendly village community may not be easy to find. Many of the owners of these rental properties are often not residents of the town.

Another obstacle is that very small towns, with a population under 10,000 are not likely to have a thriving weekly market nor good public transportation. The town I live in has about 5000 inhabitants. Its weekly market is struggling to survive. More and more people now shop at supermarkets. There remains one fruit and vegetable vendor, one fish vendor, one cheese and salami vendor, and a few vendors of cheap clothing and housewares.

Public transportation is also problematic in very small towns. Our town has no high school, and there are a few buses daily that mostly transport students to high schools in other towns. That means a few morning runs leaving town and a few afternoon runs returning.

One town near the Adriatic that might suit you is Camerano, which has about 7000 inhabitants , and which is situated in the Park of the Conero (a mountain on the coast.) It's about six miles from the coast, and on a hill, so I'm sure you can see the sea from many spots in town. There is a bus that connects Camerano to several seaside towns on the Adriatic riviera, such as Numana, and to the provincial capital of Ancona. The railway station in Ancona would give you access to many towns and cities on the coast, and to the rail line to Rome.

Another town that comes to mind is Cervia, near Ravenna. The town has almost 30,000 inhabitants, but it comprises several smaller villages. Cervia has substantial summer tourism, which would make it easier to find a monthly rental. There is a large natural park in Cervia. Its salt flats were once a major industry, and there is now a thermal spa there based on the reputed healing properties of its salts. There is a bus line in Cervia that connects several of the villages, and a train station on the Adriatic line. There is also a weekly market in Cervia.

I can't vouch for the friendlies of these towns, because I've never lived in them. I know that my own town is very friendly, but it doesn't meet many of your criteria.

Many Italian towns have a widespread area, so if you were to rent in a far-flung location, you might find you would need a car for access to the weekly market or the bus stop.
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what a great contribution.
when you mentioned Ravenna it made me wonder if there are any towns within striking distance of Modena that you think might fit the bill????
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Old Apr 13th, 2024, 09:14 AM
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During my visit to Italy I started an interest in small villages that are in decline due to people moving to the cities. There are whole abandoned villages and villages or towns with many abandoned houses and shops. The situation for some towns is pretty bad. I found a lot of these are south of Rome and more particularly around Sicily but there are also examples in other countries particularly former farming villages.

My point being, looking at towns experiencing population decline might reveal somewhere of interest to you that tourists might not ordinarily think about even if it's not perfectly matching your criteria.... you never know, you might find somewhere more perfect in unexpected ways
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Old Apr 14th, 2024, 12:51 AM
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We also plan to visit small towns for relaxation - it would be very interesting to hear about your impressions
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Old Apr 14th, 2024, 01:52 AM
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What about Noto or Scicli in Sicily? They might fit the bill!
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