Someplace enchanting...any ideas?

Old Apr 2nd, 2000, 10:31 AM
Sue Chanko
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Someplace enchanting...any ideas?

We are looking for a 1 week stay in Europe. We want to be coastal and in a relatively small town. We want to eat slow meals and absorb a sense of the region while enjoying beautiful scenery. We are looking for beauty and history- someplace enchanting. We are celebrating a 10th anniversary. Any suggestions?
Old Apr 2nd, 2000, 11:03 AM
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it's not extremely small, and it can be quite crowded in season, but I would say Venice Venice Venice;
or a Greek island;
or Portofino in Italy (have not been there yet, but have read descriptions of enchantment)
Old Apr 2nd, 2000, 11:18 AM
wes fowler
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Consider Bruges, Belgium. With a perfectly preserved medieval center of town, numerous superb restaurants, charming family owned canal side hotels, the works of Memling, Van Eyck and Michelangelo to see, Bruges, less than a dozen miles from the beaches of the north sea at Ostend and Knokke-Heist might be your ideal place.
Old Apr 2nd, 2000, 12:24 PM
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Old Apr 2nd, 2000, 12:50 PM
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I'm going to take liberties with your "coastal" and "small town" stipulations and recommend Montreux, Switzerland. It's coastal inasmuch as it's on a lake and it's small inasmuch as its population is around 23,000. But it sure offers beautiful scenery and slow gastronomy. There are nearby vineyards in Chexbres, St Saphorin, Rivaz, and Vevey where you can spend a day walking, sampling wines, and finding a quaint auberge with a terrace overlooking the lake. There is history in Gruyeres, a VERY touristy but worthwhile medieval village that also offers a great berries in crème-double. There's also history in nearby Nyon with a medieval castle and a Roman museum. Then, of course, there's the medieval Chateau Chillon right on the lake on the promenade towards Villeneuve. In Cully, there's a restaurant/inn called Au Major Davel that's also worth looking at, and in St. Saphorin there's a Relais/Chateau property called Auberge du Raisin. I also found a small inn in Clarens, neighboring Montreux, called Ermitage, with a well-known restaurant. You can find out more information about the area, hotels, and events at or If you're free in late August/early Sep, check out the classical music festival there. Write me if you want more info.
Old Apr 2nd, 2000, 02:31 PM
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Well, it isn't coastal, but we just spent a week in Budapest, and I would highly recommend it. It is reasonably priced, for the nices hotels, and the food is just terrific. Hungary just celebrated its 1000th Birthday, and believe me, it is full of history. Two days we even took the train out to small towns. No complaints at all, just don't fly on Delta's codeshare, Malev Airlines, .....but that is another story.
Old Apr 2nd, 2000, 03:02 PM
Ben Haines
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Dear Ms Chnko,

If lakes are allowed, then I'd say Keszthely on Lake Balaton in Hungary. Part of the charm is prices a third of those in western Europe.

Then if only real sea will do I think both La Rochelle in France and Dubrovnik in Croatia are charming.

For an idea of each place you can go into, then enter, for example, "Kesthely travel". La Rochelle is 3 hours by train from Paris M0ontparnasse station. From Vienna West station Keszthey is 6 1/2 hours with a change in Budapest. Dubrovnik is an hour from Zagreb by air, or a night away from Bari in Italy by boat.

Venice, Montreaux, and Budapest are charming, but not small.

Please write if I can help further.

Ben Haines, London

Old Apr 2nd, 2000, 04:04 PM
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Amalfi, the most historically interetsing hotel on the coast, plus beach, fab restaurants, convent hotels, hiking in the hills, close to all of the Amalfi coast, including Ravello and Positano.
Old Apr 2nd, 2000, 04:28 PM
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Viana Do Castelo in Portugal. Everything you ask for and a lot more. It is a small, medieval town by the ocean. Amazing character and history, spectacular food, supeb wines (Porto is about 45 mintes south), very inexpensive. You could arrive in Lisbon and drive up. Beautiful beach of Efife (or Afife) nearby was spectacular.

Suggested websites

Suggested lodging

Congratulations and have a blast planning this happy event!
Old Apr 2nd, 2000, 04:42 PM
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Its not coastal but Annecy or the villages around the lake have the alps as a backdrop.
Old Apr 2nd, 2000, 06:19 PM
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I was thinking the Annecy area also. There is an inn in Talloires called Auberge du Pere Bis which looks very charming(we stayed in Annecy and only visited Talloires). It is a member of the Relais and Chateaux group and you could get more info from their website.
Old Apr 3rd, 2000, 05:57 AM
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i would suggest greece. an island or along the will find beauty & SLOW meals.choose an island that you can take day trips to other islands. Paros is a hub for this & also a great island. go to greece and go you get 2 days in one in greece. morning to midafternoon for beach, shopping or sightseeing..back to hotel for a shower, nap & then out for the evening. the dinners are served quickly & then you are left alone to stay as long as you want. the tab is not given until you motion you are ready for it..of course more wine is always available when you are never rushed & strolling in the evening is a local thing. history abounds in greece.
Old Apr 3rd, 2000, 06:15 AM
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For one week I would fly into Paris, rent a car and head for the Normandy area. Honfleur is a lovely port town, Mont. St. Michele is absolutely enchanting - especially in the evening when the tourists are gone.
Old Apr 3rd, 2000, 09:16 AM
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Hi, Sue,
A couple of possibilities:
Plockton, Wester Ross, Scotland (near Kyle of Lochalsh). (Fine dining might be an issue, but the scenery and history, well...); or

Aigues Mortes, in the Camargue west of Marseille. Fascinating. Farther down the road, Perpignan, close to the Pyrenees; or

The Dordogne area - lots of villages with very nice romantic hotels, outathisworld food, cave paintings, chateaux.. (no beach, though); or

Menton on the Cote d'Azur - just right, IMO; or

The island of Fyn (Funen) in Denmark, west of Copenhagen. Thatch roofs, smorrebrod, bikes...knocks your blood pressure down 20 pts.
Congrats and happy planning!
Old Apr 3rd, 2000, 09:55 AM
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Gee, what a wonderfully creative and knowledgeable bunch you all are. I am impressed. Sue, I don't know if you have an answer among these replies, but these have sent me to the guidebooks. Keep it up, guys.
Old Apr 3rd, 2000, 10:28 AM
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Northern Mediterranean coast of Spain: Sitges, Figueres.
Further up into France: Argeles-sur-Mer; Collieres
Greek islands: Naxos; Paros or any of the smaller islands
The coast of Northern Ireland.
Old Apr 3rd, 2000, 10:48 AM
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Islay off the west coast of Scotland. It's an island so you have plenty of coast; lovely beaches; gorgeous wildlife, especially birds; Stay in the Port Charlotte Hotel for good food and ambience. Slightly flat island but just 20 minutes on the little ferry takes you to Jura with its famous mountains the Paps
Old Apr 3rd, 2000, 12:02 PM
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For me romantic and coastal spell Positano on the Amalfi Coast! Another Italian suggestion, but not in the heat of summer, would be Taormina, Sicily. Or, in Normandy, Honfleur, where the impressionists used to paint.
Old Apr 4th, 2000, 02:15 AM
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What time of the year will you be traveling? If you are traveling outside the summer tourist season, in the spring or fall, I would recommend County Donegal, in northwestern Ireland. Donegal Town is a charming place to stay, or Rathmullan, on Lough Swilly, which opens to the sea. The Inishowen Peninsula, Horn Head, Ardara (great place to get tweeds and Irish-knit sweaters), Glenveagh Castle, Glencolumcille, the Slieve League Mountains, Glengesh Pass . . . history, incredible natural beauty, the sea all around, and incredibly warm and friendly people. Just the Irish green of land is enchanting! (Keep in mind there's a reason for that green; in other words, be prepared for some "soft days" there, with mist and/or drizzle--the sun may very well peek out though, and give you a rainbow.)

The most direct drive from Shannon Airport to Donegal would take you through part of County Sligo. The area around Sligo Town is beautiful itself, especially in the direction Carrowmore (where you can see a few remains of what was once an enormous ancient "cemetary"--megaliths dating back to around 4000 BC or so) and Knocknarea (a surreal green hill capped with a huge cairn dating back to the 3rd century BC; in legend, this is the grave of Maeve, an ancient queen of Connaught). C. Sligo is also "Yeat's Country"; you can visit his grave at Drumcliff, which is on the way up the road from Sligo to Donegal. Just the view of Ben Bulben from Drumcliff is worth the stop. The beach at Rossnowlagh is great for a walk at sunset, with the mountains of Donegal not far to northwest, waiting for you.

Of course, Bruges sounds great too, and Viana do Castelo is on my list of places to see in the not too distant future. Plus, those Greek Islands . . . So many good ideas from people! Hope you have a great anniversary, wherever you end up!
Old Apr 4th, 2000, 10:27 AM
Sue Chanko
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Thanx to all who've responded and for all of your well wishes. You people are sooo nice!! You have given us a number of intriguing options. We seem to be leaning towards Cadaques, Spain or Positano, Italy but we're still investigating....

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