From England and France to Italy and Germany, European countries are full of iconic cities, renowned for their architecture, museums, stunning landscapes, and vast mix of cultures, so it’s no wonder it’s hard to decide which places are best to visit. in Europe.
However, in addition to its iconic destinations, the incredible old continent boasts a myriad of beautiful little towns that capture the spirit of each particular country. These charming towns boast stunning scenery, delicious cuisine, and more. In the following list you will find 17 of them to consider in your next European travel itinerary.
1. Ambleside, England
The sweet town of Ambleside is a gateway to England’s famous Lake District. A green village, with cozy bars and local shops give a glimpse of the local culture, while the 17th century Bridge House, built over the small river, offers a glimpse into the town’s past.
Loughrigg Fell is a popular way to view beautiful Lake Windermere from above. Another big draw is the Grizedale Forest, which offers the chance to go hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and even zip-lining through the lush treetops.
2. Bled, Slovenia
Picturesque Bled resembles a mythical scene dreamed up by one of the Brothers Grimm. Its most prominent feature is a sublime 17th-century church located on a teardrop-shaped island in Lake Bled, which can be reached by boat.
The city and surrounding area offers year-round outdoor activities, from hiking mountain trails to paddling on the lake and summer sledding down Straza Hill.
3. Cadaques, Spain
Located on Spain’s Costa Brava, near the French border, Cadaqués is characterized by its whitewashed houses and stone alleys that descend to a port.
Admire the beautiful city from one of its many hiking trails, sunbathe on the small sunny beaches, and rent a speedboat to explore the dreamy deep blue bays nearby.
4. Castelsardo, Sardinia, Italy
Castelsardo’s charm lies in its winding streets, stunning beaches and Bronze Age ruins. This town is a perfect coastal base to explore the north coast of Sardinia.
The medieval hilltop town boasts abundant accommodation options and charming seafood restaurants and bars serving local swordfish and fresh white wines from the region.
5. Gangi, Sicily, Italy
Gangi is the magic of a small Sicilian village with a hilltop castle, medieval churches and sun-gilded houses. Towering above it all is the imposing Mount Etna.
For a ghoulish detour from all the warm Mediterranean charm, descend into the catacombs of Chiesa Madre Gangi, where mummified priests line the crypt walls.
6. Obidos, Portugal
The captivating town of Óbidos became the home of the queens of Portugal after Alfonso II gave it to his wife Urraca de León in the 13th century. Many of the buildings and monuments were founded or financed by a queen. On a narrow ridge, the city’s winding, car-free streets are contained by the commanding walls of a medieval castle.
You can stroll through its alleys, visit museums and churches, and explore craft shops. Wherever you go, its steep cobbled alleys between whitewashed houses with terracotta tiles, covered in bougainvillea, will make you fall in love with this place.
7. Otepaa, Estonia
Surrounded by forests, lakes, hills and valleys, this small town is famous for its natural scenic beauty. Otepää has long been a destination for those looking to hike, swim and camp in the summer.
When winter arrives, the city is filled with skiers, practitioners of snowboard and other snow-loving sports enthusiasts, perhaps even Olympic medalists in training.
8. Otranto, Italy
The Italian coast, which includes the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas, is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It doesn’t matter if you like secluded bays with calm waters or trendy vacation destinations filled with celebrities and world-class restaurants, Italy’s beaches are stunning in every way and there is something for everyone.
Between afternoons of swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing, stroll through the historic center, visit the city’s medieval cathedral to appreciate the floor mosaics dating back to the 12th century, or take a day trip to beautiful Lecce, best Known as the “Florence of the South”.
9. Pyrgi, Greece
Pyrgi is a picturesque medieval village on the island of Chios, known as the “painted village” due to the unique facade of the stone houses, which mostly consist of stunning black and white geometric designs. An influence of Genoese control over the island in the Middle Ages.
Pyrgi is one of two dozen Aegean island towns involved in the cultivation of mastic, historically used for making liquors, drinks, food and chewing gum.
10. Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Located in the south of Germany, Rothenburg ob der Tauber stands out from all the romantic Bavarian stops due to its towers, stone arches, clock towers, taverns and half-timbered buildings. This was the inspiration for Pinocchio’s hometown and one of the filming locations for Harry Potter.
After walking through its cobblestone alleys, walk the nearly two-and-a-half kilometer stone wall for a dreamy panoramic postcard view of the town and its countryside setting.
11. Rovinj, Croatia
Rovinj is a dazzling little town that occupies every inch of a peninsula bordered on three sides by the Adriatic Sea. The core of the old town is, for the most part, Venetian, built of pale limestone that shimmers in the sun. Plus, it contains exciting snippets from every stage of his turbulent story.
On one visit you can wander the labyrinth of streets, before a meal under the picturesque working harbour. Beyond Rovinj, you can visit ancient ruins, uncrowded beaches, and stunning natural spaces like the 10-kilometre-long Lim Fjord.
12. Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France
Along the coast between Biarritz and the Spanish border, Saint-Jean-de-Luz retains the feel of a Basque Country fishing village, with half-timbered buildings in the charming old town, boats bobbing in the harbor protected, its old streets, its curious church and its elegant beach.
Gone are the glory days of whaling and cod fishing, but a few multicolored historic houses around the docks are charming enough. It is a relatively small and pedestrian-friendly paradise. It has wide trails, parks and coastal cliffs.
13. Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Located in the eastern reaches of Iceland, the natural environment of Seydisfjordur offers close encounters with high, steep mountains and a vast open sea.
During the summer, you can choose from many outdoor activities, ranging from short hikes to day-long explorations on foot or by boat. In winter, this beautiful place offers slopes for all types of skiers.
14. Sozopol, Bulgaria
If you are looking for beautiful beaches, ancient history and spectacular sea views, this is the destination for you. The small town of Sozopol is one of the most beautiful old coastal towns in Bulgaria for its narrow cobbled streets, wooden houses and picturesque beaches with turquoise sea.
The current city was founded by Greek settlers in the 7th century BC. However, its history dates back to the Bronze Age. In addition to its ancient history, the city is famous for the Apollonia art festival and the Sozopol vampire.
15. Telc, Czech Republic
This laid-back town is one of those places that seem like they’re straight out of the pages of your favorite childhood fairy tale. The Old Town of Telč is one of the 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Czech Republic.
The main attraction of this amazing city is its impressive Zacharias de Hradec square. Anchored by a Renaissance castle, this triangular square amazes with stone houses connected by a continuous line of delicate arches.
16. Zell am See, Austria
Situated in a magnificent idyll with high mountains and a crystal clear lake, Zell am See is a beautiful holiday destination in the summer. Countless beautiful sights, exciting attractions and truly amazing excursions await you around Lake Zeller.
Ride the old Pinzgauer Lokalbahn train through majestic alpine scenery at any time of the year. For the latter, the narrow gauge train will put the Krimml Falls at your fingertips.
17. Zermatt, Switzerland
High in the Valais Alps, the town of Zermatt sits below the incomparable and legendary Matterhorn. All over Zermatt there are great photo spots and places where you can learn about the people who conquered the mountain or died trying.
The Matterhorn is just one of 29 peaks over four thousand meters in the Upper Valais region. In addition, in this alpine park you can walk across a glacier, ski in the middle of summer and climb one of the highest mountains in Europe. All this is possible due to an unprecedented infrastructure, from cable cars to funiculars that bear witness to human ingenuity in this extreme environment.