Many North Americans have visited the capitals and major cities of Europe, but have less experience with smaller towns and centers where special opportunities exist for an intersting form of slow travel. Opportunties for short-term rentals abound in places where it is possible to live without a rental car because all you need is near at hand.
Several years ago I initiated in informal poll among friends and acquaintances in an attempt to learn what, from a North American perspective, would be the ideal kind of town in Europe for a 2 to 6-week sojourn. The question was framed like this:
Imagine that you have an opportunity to live in a small to medium sized town in Europe for two to six weeks. Your primary aim is to get to know this one small town well, and by the end of your stay to have an understand of the town and its inhabitants. You’ll rent a small apartment or stay in a comfortable bed and breakfast, not a hotel. You’ll be free to come and go as you please for the duration of your stay. What characteristics should the town possess to make it interesting and suitable for your stay?