European getaways: Off-the-beaten-path

Grindelwald, Switzerland | Photo by Eva Bocek
Grindelwald, Switzerland | Photo by Eva Bocek

European getaways: Off-the-beaten-path

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

Home to iconic sights and landmarks, living and traveling in Europe is a dream. The lovely canals of Amsterdam, the remarkable works of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, the Acropolis in Greece – the list goes on and on. You’ve probably got a few of these postcard-worthy spots on your bucket list, but so does almost everyone else. If alpine villages, snow-capped jagged peaks and serene lakes sound appealing, discover these three off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Grindelwald, Switzerland
Enveloped by impressive mountains and sheer limestone cliffs in the Bernese Swiss Alps is the charming village of Grindelwald. Tucked at the base of Eiger Mountain, this village is a prime location for adrenaline junkies all year long. In the winter, visitors can whizz down pristine slopes on one of the 12 surrounding mountains. Grindelwald also hosts the International Snow Festival in January, complete with intricate ice and snow sculptures. During the summer, take a journey back in time on the Jungfraubahn. The train travels a steep 9 kilometers from the base of the mountain to the highest railway station in Europe. Once at the top, head to the Sphinx Terrace and drink in the stunning vistas from the viewing platforms. If you’re craving a little winter sports action, pop over to Snow Fun Park, where visitors can enjoy sledding, skiing and snowboarding in the middle of the summer.

Linz, Austria | Photo by rudi1976

Linz, Austria
The third-largest city in Austria rests along the Danube almost exactly halfway between more well-known cities such as Vienna and Salzburg. Once home to Mozart, this enchanting city is full of cobblestone streets, imposing cathedrals and plenty of museums. Named a UNESCO Creative City, Linz also has an incredible up-and-coming arts scene. The Ars Electronica Museum is home to innovative and futuristic technology. Visitors are encouraged to explore the hands-on, interactive exhibits. Or if you’d rather discover the city, take a ride on the Pöstlingbergbahn — an old cogwheel railway that takes riders to the top of Pöstlingberg. Experience breathtaking views and sweeping panoramas of the city and the countryside below.

Friedrichshafen, Germany | Photo by Zdenek Matyas

Friedrichshafen, Germany
A little closer to home for those stationed in Germany, the lakeside hamlet of Friedrichshafen on the shores of beautiful Lake Constance is a worthy contender. For aviation buffs, significant German aviation history was made in this industrious city. Ferdinand von Zeppelin established his factory for making the gigantic namesake steel airships. Today, the Zeppelin Museum houses a replica of the infamous Hindenburg which visitors can walk through. If younger kids get a little restless, take a small 20-minute drive northeast to Ravensburger Spieleland. This amusement park has plenty of rides and attractions to expend their energy. Need a slower pace? Stroll along the Uferpromenade Friedrichshafen. Gaze across the water (yes, you’re looking at Switzerland over there) and enjoy local delicacies as the sunsets.

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