Europe’s best “slowtrav” towns

People who’ve been to Europe, especially frequent visitors, know that Europe is filled with wonderful small towns. Towns with a long history, great services and friendly people that ooze charm and make you happy just to be there. These towns have had hundreds of years, sometimes even thousands of years to develop their own particular charm and flavor. Chinese visitors to Schenectady in the year 2513 will probably feel just the same way and want to take lots of pictures of locals dressed in their their native costumes.

In the meantime, we’ve got Europe. North Americans often pass through the many lovely towns of Europe just briefly, looking, admiring and clicking but not having the time needed to get a feel for the place or to really understand what their seeing. Sometimes they depart wistfully, saying to themselves “Someday I’ll come back.” But for most that “someday” never arrives.

Proponents of “slowtrav” (slow travel) have long thought that the most enjoyable form of travel is one that involves “staying put” in one place, avoiding constant point-to-point movement. For this travel philosophy to work, of course, travelers need to carefully chose the town (or place) they’ve decided to “stay put” in.

The Travel Learning Network plans to identify the small towns in Europe that are most suitable for a slowtrav vacation. However, before considering various European towns one by one, we first need to decide what features really matter. That is, we’d like to general list of the qualities that would satisfy the needs of North Americans who want to stay put in a charming European town to enjoy a slowtrav vacation.

Can you help? It’s easy. Give a “thumbs up” to items in the list below that are personally important to you, and give a thumbs down for things that don’t really matter. The rank of items on the list will change as we get responses from folks like you.

We created the original list based on interviews with dozens of North Americans who have visited Europe recently. But we can’t be sure to havethought of everything. If there’s something missing from the list, please add it yourself to the list. Thanks!



About Jim Flege

Jim Flege carried out research on phonetic aspects of second-language acquisition and bilingualism at an American university. He moved to Italy after retiring and lives with his Italian wife and their Jack Russell terrier in a small town in central Italy. Jim currently serves as the European Director of the Travel Learning Network, an organization provides educational and cultural immersion programs in Europe. You can reach Jim directly by writing to: director (at) www.travlearning (dot) net
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