The most charming small towns in Europe



Slide 1 of 31: From historic citadels to snowy spots, these stunning small towns and villages are brimming with beauty at every turn. Full of culture, color and quirky features found nowhere else on Earth, join us as we virtually explore the marvelous mini-metropolises across Europe that are sure to leave you spellbound.
Slide 2 of 31: Located in Austria's mountainous Salzkammergut region, Hallstatt is a storybook spot. The 16th-century traditional Alpine houses are perched on a narrow cliffside facing Lake Hallstatt, with dramatic mountain views in the background.
Slide 3 of 31: English writer and designer William Morris once declared Bibury the most beautiful village in the country. A hundred or so years later and the sentiment certainly seems to stand. Located in the Cotswolds, an area defined by rolling hills and green meadows, Bibury is a picture-perfect place. Arlington Row, a line of weavers' cottages, is, if not the prettiest sight, certainly the most famous in Bibury. Now discover the UK's prettiest towns and villages.
Slide 4 of 31: Sculpted by erosion, Göreme's fairy chimneys – cone-shaped rock formations – are synonymous with the Cappadocia region, in which the town is located. The town fits in seamlessly with its natural surroundings and, as part of the Göreme National Park, it's been on the UNESCO World Heritage list for more than 30 years.

Slide 5 of 31: The small town of Procida is located on the island of the same name. Pictured is Marina Corricella, the main strip along the bay, where houses are drenched in dazzling shades of pink, blue, yellow and more. Their peeling paintwork only adds to the effortless Italian charm.
Slide 6 of 31: Whether a winter wonderland or a summer sun spot, the quaint town of Bled is one of Slovenia's most famous. Commanding a wondrous view over Lake Bled, the town and the panoramic vistas that surround it, look straight out of a fairy tale in every season.
Slide 7 of 31: Nestled in the truly picturesque valley of the Tramuntana mountains, Valldemossa is one of Mallorca's most idyllic spots. An area of outstanding beauty, the village's sun-bleached stones stand out against the green farmlands and forests around it.
Slide 8 of 31: Known locally as the Bride of Epirus, Parga is relatively young for a Greek settlement, having only existed since the early 13th century. Despite this, the town in northwestern Greece still brims with history – it was the only free Christian village in the region during the Ottoman rule. A dilapidated fortress, called the Venetian Castle, is perched on a hilltop overlooking the hued homes. Take a look at fantastic travel photos that will make you feel better about the world.
Slide 9 of 31: It's almost impossible not to find a picture-perfect street in Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its entirety. The small town in Italy's heel – Puglia – is famous for its unusual trulli houses, built from whitewashed local limestone, with conical roofs.

Slide 10 of 31: Just four miles (6km) away from the south coast of Spain, the hillside town of Frigiliana overlooks the world-famous Costa del Sol. Surrounded by a lush natural park, flora also runs wild in the town itself. Vines of bougainvillea, lavender and jasmine grow freely across the walls of houses, just adding to the magical feel of the town.
Slide 11 of 31: Winding streets, narrow canals and quaint, pastel-colored houses – Colmar has it all. The pretty spot in the Grand Est region of northeastern France is a unique collection of medieval and early Renaissance buildings, including a beautiful 13th-century church. It's also celebrated for being the wine capital of France's Alsace region.
Slide 12 of 31: Just across the river from Germany, tiny Dissenhofen retains its medieval feel. Typically Swiss in appearance, its main streets are lined with multicolored homes. The town’s central tower displays a charming clock which has a face painted with astronomy symbols representing the 12 zodiac signs. It also has a working lunar clock which shadows the moon's phases.
Slide 13 of 31: On Malta's southeast coast you'll find the fishing village of Marsaxlokk. Unlike most of Malta, it's virtually untouched by developers so life here is slow. Pictured is a fleet of traditional luzzu boats bobbing in the harbor.
Slide 14 of 31: Located on the Swedish island of Gotland, the remote Viking settlement of Visby is the only town on the isle. Culture is important as the walled town is a center for art, theater and classical music. It also has its own speciality cuisine characterized by the use of saffron, the world’s most expensive spice.

Slide 15 of 31: The Irish coastal town of Kinsale is famed for its exceptional cuisine which showcases the best of the bounty from the Celtic Sea. Besides the fanciful food on offer, Kinsale is also known for its quirky streets which are flamboyantly painted every color of the rainbow. Discover more of the world's most beautiful and historic streets.
Slide 16 of 31: An UNESCO town with a significant Venetian influence, the ancient fortification of Kotor is teeming with history. Due to the town’s maritime past, there's a large population of free-roaming felines and even a Cat Museum in their honor. The charming place is tickled by turquoise waters which lap against the dramatic Adriatic coastline.
Slide 17 of 31: Found on an island between the Croatian coast and the Adriatic island of Čiovo, Trogir's scenery is no stranger to the small screen, having appeared in episodes of Game of Thrones. Surrounded by 15th-century stone walls, the Romanesque-Gothic complex has been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Slide 18 of 31: Set among the striking violet mountains of western Iceland, Stykkishólmur is a rural dream. Made up of a handful of well-preserved old homes in its center, it's also an eco-town. Stykkishólmur has been labeled a European Destination of Excellence for its environmental efforts.
Slide 19 of 31: Truly one of the most beautiful hamlets in Germany thanks to its location on the banks of the Rhine, dreamy Bacharach is a stunner. Surrounded by spectacular views of the Middle Rhine Valley and picturesque vineyards, the town is characterized by the slate roofs of higgledy-piggledy houses centered around the Postenturm (the town's Post Tower). Take a look at more of Germany's beautiful towns and villages.
Slide 20 of 31: A collection of half-timbered houses, steep cobbled lanes and ancient inns, Rye is one of England's best-kept secrets. Located between the rolling hills of East Sussex and the English Channel, Rye is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in England. Discover more of Britain's historic towns and cities.
Slide 21 of 31: Idyllic fishing village Cudillero, in Asturias, has retained its timeless Spanish charm over the years. According to legend, the town is said to have been founded by the Vikings. A delight to look at, the colorful houses towering over either side of the small port frame the bay beautifully.
Slide 22 of 31: The tiny town of Albarracín sits prettily in the hills of central Spain, overlooking the Guadalaviar River. The towering medieval walls dominate the hillside while ruins of an old Moorish alcázar sit on a clifftop above the town, adding to the fairy-tale feel.
Slide 23 of 31: Known for its dramatic scenery, the Lofoten Archipelago in Norway is a rugged wilderness and where quaint Hamnøy is located. The oldest fishing village in the archipelago, it's also considered one of the most beautiful due to the brightly painted traditional homes. The short Arctic winter days here make for a moody setting while at night the sky is illuminated by the Northern Lights dancing above. Here are more stunning images of the Northern Lights. 
Slide 24 of 31: Dramatically perched on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, there's no doubting Positano is a picture-perfect town. The streets, lined with flowering lemon, orange and olive groves, all lead down to the balmy Mediterranean Sea. In idyllic Italian fashion, these streets are also littered with an avalanche of architectural wonders and charming houses in all sorts of colors. Take a look at the world's most charming clifftop towns.
Slide 25 of 31: A splendid medieval beauty with half-timbered houses, cobbled streets and towered walls, Rothenburg ob der Tauber (translating from German as Red Fortress above the Tauber River) is often regarded as Germany's prettiest town. No wonder the charming place is part of the popular Romantic Road through southern Germany.
Slide 26 of 31: Found in the gorgeous Algarve region of Portugal, Lagos is a town of colors: golden cliffs, azure sky, Jacaranda trees, whitewashed buildings and the iconic Portuguese azulejo tiles. It also boasts one of Europe’s best beaches with cool water and plenty of picturesque coves and lagoons.
Slide 27 of 31: In the heartland of some of the world’s finest vineyards (the sparkling Champagne region specifically), lies the fanciful French town of Troyes. It's easy to fall head over heels with the romance of the town thanks to its holy haunts and half-timbered buildings which inject Troyes with such a distinct sense of character.
Slide 28 of 31: Set amid rocky coastal cliffs, Manarola is one of the five fishing villages that make up the breathtaking Cinque Terre in northwestern Italy. Easily the most recognizable of all five, the homes in the cliffside town are painted in shades of pastel blue, pink, yellow and orange. The story goes that the houses were painted brightly so the returning fishermen could spot their homes more easily.
Slide 29 of 31: Greece, and perhaps particularly its islands, is blessed with natural and man-made beauty. But it’s hard to think of a view that more succinctly sums up the country’s gorgeousness than the blue domes of Santorini island. The most famous whitewashed buildings are in Oia, a clifftop town perched by the Aegean Sea, whose azure hue perfectly matches those rooftops. Now take a look at the most wonderful views in the world.
Slide 30 of 31: Villages don’t come much more dreamy than this Cotswolds charmer with its honey-colored stone cottages, 13th-century church (whose faceless clock is thought to be one of the oldest in the country) and little stone bridges that cross the ambling River Bybrook. It’s no wonder Castle Combe has caught the eye of movie location scouts – credits include Stardust and Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse.
Slide 31 of 31: This bonny Scottish fishing hub is shrouded in mystery. According to legend, a gold-laden Spanish galleon ship lies undiscovered beneath the mud of the bay. Above sea level, this pretty port is also home to Tobermory Distillery which mainly produces matured single malt whiskey.

Small places big on beauty

Hallstatt, Austria

Bibury, England

English writer and designer William Morris once declared Bibury the most beautiful village in the country. A hundred or so years later and the sentiment certainly seems to stand. Located in the Cotswolds, an area defined by rolling hills and green meadows, Bibury is a picture-perfect place. Arlington Row, a line of weavers’ cottages, is, if not the prettiest sight, certainly the most famous in Bibury. Now discover the UK’s prettiest towns and villages.

Göreme, Turkey

Procida, Italy

Bled, Slovenia

Valldemossa, Mallorca, Spain

Parga, Greece

Known locally as the Bride of Epirus, Parga is relatively young for a Greek settlement, having only existed since the early 13th century. Despite this, the town in northwestern Greece still brims with history – it was the only free Christian village in the region during the Ottoman rule. A dilapidated fortress, called the Venetian Castle, is perched on a hilltop overlooking the hued homes. Take a look at fantastic travel photos that will make you feel better about the world.

Alberobello, Italy

Frigiliana, Spain

Colmar, France

Diessenhofen, Switzerland

Marsaxlokk, Malta

Visby, Sweden

Kinsale, Ireland

The Irish coastal town of Kinsale is famed for its exceptional cuisine which showcases the best of the bounty from the Celtic Sea. Besides the fanciful food on offer, Kinsale is also known for its quirky streets which are flamboyantly painted every color of the rainbow. Discover more of the world’s most beautiful and historic streets.

Kotor, Montenegro

An UNESCO town with a significant Venetian influence, the ancient fortification of Kotor is teeming with history. Due to the town’s maritime past, there’s a large population of free-roaming felines and even a Cat Museum in their honor. The charming place is tickled by turquoise waters which lap against the dramatic Adriatic coastline.

Trogir, Croatia

Found on an island between the Croatian coast and the Adriatic island of Čiovo, Trogir’s scenery is no stranger to the small screen, having appeared in episodes of Game of Thrones. Surrounded by 15th-century stone walls, the Romanesque-Gothic complex has been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Stykkishólmur, Iceland

Bacharach, Germany

Truly one of the most beautiful hamlets in Germany thanks to its location on the banks of the Rhine, dreamy Bacharach is a stunner. Surrounded by spectacular views of the Middle Rhine Valley and picturesque vineyards, the town is characterized by the slate roofs of higgledy-piggledy houses centered around the Postenturm (the town’s Post Tower). Take a look at more of Germany’s beautiful towns and villages.

Rye, England

A collection of half-timbered houses, steep cobbled lanes and ancient inns, Rye is one of England’s best-kept secrets. Located between the rolling hills of East Sussex and the English Channel, Rye is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in England. Discover more of Britain’s historic towns and cities.

Cudillero, Spain

Albarracín, Spain

Hamnøy, Norway

Known for its dramatic scenery, the Lofoten Archipelago in Norway is a rugged wilderness and where quaint Hamnøy is located. The oldest fishing village in the archipelago, it’s also considered one of the most beautiful due to the brightly painted traditional homes. The short Arctic winter days here make for a moody setting while at night the sky is illuminated by the Northern Lights dancing above. Here are more stunning images of the Northern Lights. 

Positano, Italy

Dramatically perched on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, there’s no doubting Positano is a picture-perfect town. The streets, lined with flowering lemon, orange and olive groves, all lead down to the balmy Mediterranean Sea. In idyllic Italian fashion, these streets are also littered with an avalanche of architectural wonders and charming houses in all sorts of colors. Take a look at the world’s most charming clifftop towns.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Lagos, Portugal

Troyes, France

Manarola, Italy

Oia, Greece

Greece, and perhaps particularly its islands, is blessed with natural and man-made beauty. But it’s hard to think of a view that more succinctly sums up the country’s gorgeousness than the blue domes of Santorini island. The most famous whitewashed buildings are in Oia, a clifftop town perched by the Aegean Sea, whose azure hue perfectly matches those rooftops. Now take a look at the most wonderful views in the world.

Castle Combe, England

Villages don’t come much more dreamy than this Cotswolds charmer with its honey-colored stone cottages, 13th-century church (whose faceless clock is thought to be one of the oldest in the country) and little stone bridges that cross the ambling River Bybrook. It’s no wonder Castle Combe has caught the eye of movie location scouts – credits include Stardust and Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse.

Tobermory, Scotland

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