How to travel to Europe after college

Jason, a loyal MR reader, asks as a request:

I'm a graduating senior who is planning on taking the much cliched trip
to Europe after graduation. I'm also an economics major and, naturally,
want to maximize my time spent there. I have never been to Europe. Do
you recommend travelling around Europe and seeing a little bit of
everything, or is it perhaps better to focus on one particular area? If
you'd recommend focusing on one area, which would it be?

I am of the mind that when it comes to travel you won't know in advance where you will like — especially on a first trip — so diversify.  Not long ago I offered up five spots to visit in the United States.  My five spots for a first European trip would be:

1. Paris. Duh.

2. Rome, the major city of antiquity plus still a major national capital.

3. Süsten Pass in Switzerland, or Zermatt on a clear day.  Rural Europe, and scenery, with a Germanic slant.  I love Germany but am hard pressed to pick out a single locale to make this list.

4. Prague, with architecture from all major periods of European history since medieval times.  Plus you get a dash of Eastern Europe and corruption, as well as some Germanic and Jewish history.

5. Rural Albania, maybe Shkodra or Girokaster.  See how much of Mediterranean Europe lived in the 19th century.  Recall a Malthusian world.

Don't tell Natasha I said this, but Russia to me is really a part of Asia.  England belongs to the northern orbit, which maybe someday gets a post of its own.


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