The big cities of Europe, such as Paris, Rome, Berlin, London, have a lot to offer. They boast enormous art galleries, iconic famous attractions, fantastic shopping and plenty to see and do. However, in your travels around Europe it’s also worth taking the time to visit a few small towns and villages as well.
Small villages offer a completely different experience and another insight into a culture. Large cities have become somewhat globalised and a busy city street of fast food restaurants won’t be too different in Berlin or in Madrid. However, in the small cities the traditional character and sense of place comes through in the architecture, cuisine and overall feeling of the location.
So here are some of the most beautiful small towns and villages that you can enjoy during your travels around Europe:
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Cesky Krumlov is a quaint and beautiful fairy tale-like town in southern Bohemia. Stroll through the narrow cobblestone roads and the bridges over the Vltava River, admiring the Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic elements. The town was built around a 13th century castle and it makes you feel like you have stepped back in time to the medieval era.
The lovely lakeside town of Hallstatt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its pastel houses casting reflections in the tranquil waters of the lake. This picturesque town is so pretty that the Chinese mining company China Minimetals Co. built a full scale replica of the entire town in Huizhou, Guangdong.
Cinque Terre, Italy
The Cinque Terre is an area that comprises five towns on the Italian Riviera – colourful fishing villages perfect along incredibly dramatic scenery. Sinuous paths weave along the sides of cliffs and a 19th century railway line cuts through coastal tunnels. Cars were banned over a decade ago, so as you walk through the villages you can imagine what things would have been like when they were founded in the early medieval period.
Albarracin is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Spain, known for its half-timbered houses with lovely dusky pink facades. It was an important military fort between 718 and 1492 when the Christian Kingdom fought back to reconquer the Iberian Peninsula. The town is surrounded by old stone fortress walls and is set on a steep rocky outcrop surrounded by a dramatic valley.
Located in the Flanders region of Belgium, Bruges is another one of the prettiest towns in Europe – with street after street of charming historic houses and peaceful canals. The story-book houses are centuries old, although they have been lovingly restored and they look brand new. After a walk through the streets of Bruges, relax with a local Belgian beer or some delicious chocolate.
These are just a few of the prettiest small villages in Europe, so why not go beyond the big cities on your travels and see what these little towns have to offer?