Dubrovnik’s Adriatic Coast
Dubrovnik, Croatia has a coastline along the Adriatic which is part of the Mediterranean. It is part of the former Yugoslavia, but there are many vestiges of a Venetian influence, when Venice was not part of Italy. And geographically it’s just across the Adriatic from Italy. So it is no surprise that this is some of the same kind of beauty that a traveler will find in parts of Italy. The Italian influence can be both seen and felt in Croatian Istria, which was once part of Italy, and is also off the Adriatic. But a trip to Dubrovnik in all its glory along with its troubled historical past is both beautiful and educational. But the beauty is undeniable, and places Dubrovnik right at the top of the list in terms of Europe’s most beautiful if a contest were to be held.
Italy’s Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi coast in southern Italy is fantastic. It is right off the Mediterranean, about two hours south of Rome. Naples is the gateway, but a great place to stay and take it all in is Sorrento. From Sorrento there is Pompeii and Herculaneum, two of the great excavated cities in the area, as welll as the small Italian cities that dot the picturesque Amalfi coast. For the first-time visitor, this is heaven. Capri, Positano , the Bay of Naples, and so much more are in striking distance of Sorrento, and the views are out of this world. The song “Return to Sorrento” was written because Southern Italy gets into the soul of the traveler.
Northern Italy’s Cinque Terre
Italy’s northern coast is spectacular and is part of the famed Italian Riviera. Of special interest to many are the five hill cities of Cinque Terre which consist of Vernazza, Corniglia, Monterosso al Mare, Riomaggiore, and Manarola. This is an easy day trip from places like Milan (three hours each way), or one wisely spent with a few days in any one of the five hill towns. A traveler can arrive in Monterroso. From there it is a two hour walk to the next town, so a train ticket for 10 Euros will allow easy access to all five cities in a single day, with time to return to Milan. From the train stop in Monterosso the last town is Riomaggorie. It is a stunning, unique, and spectacular area to explore while in Northern Italy. The hillside vistas are great to view for a long European lunch or just to take one’s breath away. Many enjoy the walk between the five towns when they plan a few days there.