The European continent is culturally and geographically varied. In France, you’ll want to experience the romantic and glitzy French Riviera, dreamy Provence, the Italianate Vieux Nice, and the Grand Canyon of Europe in Provence. Italy bursts with some of the world’s most iconic monuments and historic cities.
For deservedly world-famous lakes, dip into the Italian quartet (Maggiore, Lugano, Como, and Garda) and the lovely Lake District in England. For rivers, cruise the Rhône, the Loire the Dordogne, the Thames, and the Po.
London and Imperial Rome are among the world’s most vibrant cities. And at the other end of the scale, pretty villages in France have an organization to promote themselves: Les Plus Beaux Villages. Italy has its fair share, too, from Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera to the hills of Tuscany and Umbria. — Paul Shawcross