My Top 10 European Villages of 2015 Revealed
＃9-愛爾蘭科恩塞爾縣金塞爾市-在過去的十年中，以乾土豆和油膩的培根聞名的愛爾蘭烹飪已成為美食界的重量級人物。在愛爾蘭崎的大西洋沿岸的金塞爾（Kinsale）鎮，沒有哪個地方比這更真實。實際上，金塞爾（Kinsale）在某些地方被稱為“愛爾蘭美食之都”。它充滿傳奇和傳說，也是愛爾蘭最美麗的城鎮之一。但是這裡的食物（和飲料）是國王！本地產品，肉類和奶製品是規則，而不是例外。這也是墨菲啤酒廠的故鄉，在許多愛爾蘭人眼中僅次於吉尼斯，還有詹姆森遺產中心。嘗試Clonakilty黑布丁，諸如Ardagh Castle之類的當地奶酪，以及Fishy Fishy Restaurant的新鮮魚，它們早一兩個小時就被捕獲了。並在Nelly姨媽的甜品店將其封頂！
＃8-英國AMBLESIDE-這個小村莊的名字得名...因為它是在周圍閒逛的好地方。它坐落在英格蘭美麗的湖區內，靠近國家歷史地標之一-哈德良長城（Hadrian's Wall），這是羅馬時代遺留下來的遺物，蜿蜒穿過小山，山谷，草地和山脈。該鎮也坐落在英格蘭最大的天然湖溫德米爾湖上。它是一個集鎮，一個歷史愛好者鎮，一個步行鎮和一個購物者鎮。這座建於17世紀的橋樓是英國最小的房屋之一。安布賽德博物館（Ambleside Museum）是比阿特麗克斯·波特（Peter Rabbit）的許多財產的故鄉。從安布賽德（Ambleside）出發，到山上只是一個簡短的“序幕”。
＃7-捷克克魯斯洛夫-捷克克魯姆洛夫-捷克克魯姆洛夫擁有歐洲最著名的古鎮之一，擁有一座城堡-該國第二大城堡-以及300餘座中世紀建築。在這裡，鵝卵石街道蜿蜒穿過狹窄的小巷，那裡不斷變化的捷克生活全景展現了遠古時代。這座城堡自1200年代中期開始就存在，小鎮最終開始在它周圍成長。克魯姆洛夫（Cesky Krumlov）可能是一個小鎮，但它擁有充滿活力的文化生活，擁有博物館，美術館，花園和具有地標性的巴洛克式城堡（Castle Baroque Theatre），已有400多年的歷史了。不過，我最喜歡去的地方之一是“文化”設施少一些的-Eggenberg Brewery，已經生產了四個世紀的優質啤酒。周圍的山丘充滿了休閒和觀光的選擇，伏爾塔瓦河河也是如此。而且，如果您爬上城堡的塔樓，將獲得壯麗的景色。
＃5-瑞士的萊茵河畔施泰因-康斯坦茨湖再次成為萊茵河的地方，您會發現瑞士施泰因河畔的迷人村莊。霍亨克林根城堡（Hohenklingen Castle）自1225年以來一直從其崇高的高度監視著這個村莊。萊茵河畔的斯坦因其老城區而聞名，擁有鮮豔的外牆和半木結構的房屋。它也是著名的聖喬治修道院，它是中世紀保存最完好的修道院之一。 Lindwurm博物館，帶您穿越時空；和附近的風景名勝島群。附近是萊茵瀑布，這是歐洲最大的平面瀑布。而且，當然，由於您可能正在遊覽歐洲最大的河流，因此乘船遊覽是欣賞鄉村和周圍鄉村的絕妙方式。在所有漫遊之後，我喜歡在Adler酒店的餐廳大飽口福，這裡提供瑞士特色菜，例如流行的土豆rosti。一種叫ZürcherGeschnetzeltes的美味肉類菜餚（比說起來容易吃！）；或半乾香腸。
＃2-瑞士瓜達市-瓜達區坐落在恩加丁山谷，與歐洲一樣美麗。這裡的房屋本身就是一個風景秀麗的奇觀，擁有17世紀初的精美外牆。當地居民也仍然以傳統方式尊重傳統習俗，例如通過敲響大鈴鐺趕走冬天。 （當您在鎮上茂密的牧場上徘徊時，您還可以聽到無處不在的牛鈴鐺。）您不必走很遠就能找到絕佳的戶外休閒場所。該鎮海拔5400英尺，整潔的遠足小徑從村莊通向風景秀麗的鄉村。此外，瑞士國家公園的巨大山脈也在附近。至於冬季運動...嘿，這是瑞士！那裡有很多良好的滑雪道（下坡和越野滑雪），滑冰，冰壺和馬拉坐馬車。而且，再說說美食，這就是瑞士！嘗試餐廳Romantica Val Tuoi，享受美味佳餚和親密氛圍。
Europe, perhaps more than any other continent, is known for its picturesque old villages. There are so many, in fact, that we could easily do a travel column on the Top 10 villages in each country!
But, for now, here are my Top 10 European village picks for 2015...
#10 - INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA - Here, it's still the Middle Ages...a delightful, fantasy-filled Middle Ages, with onion domes and green roofs and pastel buildings and gables and spires and that distinctive MittelEuropa architecture and ambience. It doesn't hurt, either, that this magical village is in the middle of the Alps, surrounded by enormous peaks with snow-capped tops (and in winter, bottoms, too!). The town is a joy in which to walk around, and to sample Austrian favorites such as strudel, of course, and weiner schnitzel. And when it comes to winter sports, Innsbruck takes a back seat to no one; in fact, the town hosted both the 1964 and the 1976 Winter Olympics.
#9 - KINSALE, COUNTY CORK, IRELAND - Irish cooking, for ages known for dry potatoes and greasy bacon, has become a heavyweight in the foodie scene over the past decade. And nowhere is this truer than in the town of Kinsale, on Ireland's craggy Atlantic Coast. In fact, Kinsale is known in some quarters as the "Gourmet Capital of Ireland." Steeped in legend and lore, it's also one of Ireland's prettiest towns. But food (and drink) is king here! Local produce and meat and dairy are the rule rather than the exception. This is also the home of Murphy's Brewery, second only to Guinness in the eyes of many Irishmen, as well as the Jameson Heritage Centre. Try Clonakilty black pudding, local cheeses like Ardagh Castle, and the fresh fish at Fishy Fishy Restaurant, caught just an hour or two earlier. And top it all off at Auntie Nelly's Sweet Shop!
#8 - AMBLESIDE, ENGLAND - This little village is appropriately-named...because it's a great place to "amble" around. Sitting inside England's beautiful Lake District, it's also near one of the nation's historic landmarks - Hadrian's Wall, a leftover from Roman times that meanders through hill and dale and meadow and mountain. The town sits, as well, on Lake Windermere, largest natural lake in England. It's a market town, a history buff's town, a walking town, and a shopper's town. The Bridge House, built in the 17th Century, is one of the smallest houses in Britain. And the Ambleside Museum is home to many of Beatrix Potter's (author of Peter Rabbit) possessions. And from Ambleside, it's just a short "amble" into the mountains.
#7 - CESKY KRUMLOV, CZECH REPUBLIC - Český Krumlov boasts one of the most famous Old Towns in Europe, with a castle - second largest in the country - and over 300 Medieval buildings. Here, cobblestone streets wind past narrow alleys where an ever-changing panorama of Czech life has unfolded for time immemorial. The castle has been around since the mid-1200's, and the town eventually began to grow up around it. Cesky Krumlov may be a small town, but it has a vibrant cultural life, with museums, galleries, gardens, and the landmark Castle Baroque Theatre, more than 400 years old. One of my favorite places to visit here, though, is somewhat less "cultural" - the Eggenberg Brewery , which has been producing great beers for four centuries. The surrounding hills are full of recreation and sightseeing options, as is the Vltava River. And if you make the climb up the tower in the castle, you'll be rewarded with spectacular views.
#6 - DOBBIACO, ITALY - I love mountains. Which is one of the reasons I'm always attracted to the steep, spikey, spectacular Dolomites in Italy. Especially in winter, when they're tinged with an other-worldly color that I still can't describe. Dobbiaco is known as "The Door to the Dolomites." It's also a door to great winter sports (and summer ones such as hiking and mountain-biking)...and if there's one you can't do here, I haven't found it yet. The village is surrounded by some of the most stunning panoramas in Europe - any time of year - and the sweet silence afforded by walking in them. In the Dolomites, the sound you may hear most is the clanging of cow bells in the verdant fields.
#5 - STEIN AM RHEIN, SWITZERLAND - Where Lake Constance again becomes the Rhine River, you'll find the charming Swiss village of Stein am Rhein. Keeping watch on this village from its lofty heights - as it has since 1225 - is Hohenklingen Castle. Stein am Rhein is famous for its Old Town, with brightly-painted facades and half-timbered houses. It's famous, too, for the Monastery of St. Georgen, one of the best-preserved of the Medieval period; the Lindwurm Museum, which takes you on a trip through time; and the nearby scenic island group of Werd. Nearby is the Rhine Falls, largest plane waterfall in Europe. And, of course, since you're on perhaps Europe's greatest river, boat cruises are a wonderful way to see both the village and the surrounding countryside. After all the roaming around, I like to feast at the restaurant in the Hotel Adler, serving Swiss specialties like rosti, a popular potato dish; a delicious meat dish called Zürcher Geschnetzeltes (easier to eat than it is to pronounce!); or landjager, a semi-dried sausage.
#4 - INVERNESS, SCOTLAND - In truth, Inverness is now actually more of a small city/big town than it is a village. But I don't care. When you stand in the middle of town and look around at the surrounding mountains (some of them darkened by shadows from clouds), the sounds of bagpipes reverberating from them, Inverness still feels very much like the little village it once was. And how many towns - big or little - can say they actually have a monster? Sitting astride the River Ness, its profile topped by its stately castle, Inverness has an Old Town (which has been around since at least the 5th Century) section filled with historic buildings. The riverside is lined with cafes and restaurants. Just outside of town is Culloden, site of the most famous battle in Scottish history. And don't forget the Loch Ness monster...you can look for him on one of the "Monster Cruises" given by local lake-cruising companies.
#3 - ALESUND, NORWAY - If you're looking for a gingerbread town with gabled houses and multi-colored roofs - set against a magnificent Nordic backdrop - you've come to the right place. Alesund is on the ice-blue Norwegian Sea, surrounded by dense-green fjords and glassy mountains protruding from the ocean around it. As you might guess, it's a natural wonderland, and the locals spend a lot of their time skiing, sledding, skating, climbing, kayaking, hiking, and biking in it. For a close-up view of this Art Nouveau town, take a ride on the "Town Train." For a panoramic view of it, as well as the surrounding Sunnmore Alps, go up to the Aksla Viewpoint. But Alesund, for all its natural beauty, is best sampled by just walking around the shops and plaza, and sampling the culinary wares as you go.
#2 - GUARDA, SWITZERLAND - Situated in the Engadine Valley, Guarda is as beautiful a village as there is in Europe. The houses here are a scenic wonder in themselves, with beautifully-painted facades from the early-17th Century. Local residents still honor the traditional ways, too, with customs such as chasing away winter by ringing large cowbells. (You can also hear the ubiquitous cowbells as you wander the lush pastures around the town.) You don't have to go far to find great outdoor recreation. The town is located at an altitude of 5,400 feet, and well-groomed hiking paths lead from the village into the scenic countryside. In addition, the huge mountains of the Swiss National Park are nearby. As for winter sports...hey, this is Switzerland! There's plenty of good skiing (both downhill and cross-country), ice skating, curling, and horse-drawn carriage rides. And, as for cuisine...again, this is Switzerland! Try the Restaurant Romantica Val Tuoi for good food and intimate ambience.
And now, my choice for my top village in Europe. Do you agree...?
#1 - SEMUR-EN-AUXOIS, FRANCE - As you get closer, and see this ancient city sitting on a hill, you know you're in for something special. Semur-En-Auxois is a Medieval fantasy come alive, amidst the lush farmlands and vineyards of Burgundy. As you approach, it feels like you're hurtling back in a time-machine toward a long-ago century. Spires and turrets and towers and castle ramparts and flying banners with the fleur de lis and huge stone gates with watchtowers envelop you. And so do smells...of chocolate (the movie "Chocolat" was filmed around here) and freshly baked breads and croissants, of a dozen sidewalk cafes and patisseries, and of scores of open windows in front of the houses. Soon you find yourself walking on cobblestone sidewalks, and venturing down narrow, winding alleys with wonderful surprises (and more aromas). This ancient town was built on granite hills...and each hill brings new surprises. And it's a wonderful place to sample the wines of Burgundy Province.
That's my Top 10 in European villages. Do you have any? We'd love to hear from you!