Our dear old Europe has some of the most beautiful towns in the world which offer visitors wonderful emotions and a millennia-long charm. From Holland to Portugal, to Lithuania, Slovenia, Austria, Spain, and Italy, all these, and many other, European countries hide small towns as precious as jewels, each containing the splendor of the past eras.
Based on a survey in which participated over 46.000 travelers, including travel specialists and enthusiasts, a list of the 10 most beautiful small towns in Europe was compiled. So, let’s check them out!
1. Giethorn, Netherlands
Located within the Weerribben-Wieden national park, Giethoorn is an idyllic town in the province of Overijssel.
Immersed in an environment full of lakes, reeds, and woods, this charming town is characterized by beautiful farms with roofs covered with reeds and wooden bridges (more than 170!). Called ” Venice of the North “, the must-do activity in this town is traveling along the canals with a punt and/or a silent boat, or simply taking a boat tour.
About 120 km from Amsterdam, this town can be easily visited in a day. This can be done by taking a day tour by bus or boat.
2. Alberobello, Italy
Recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1996 for the presence of trulli, Alberobello is the best example of an urban center of the trulli culture with its nearly 2000 conical-shaped buildings.
Whether you are on holiday by the sea in Puglia or some Apulian or Lucanian cities, you shouldn’t miss the chance to visit this wonderful “nativity scene”. If you want to discover local history and traditions, we recommend you take part in a guided walking tour.
It is easily reachable from the main Apulian cities, such as Bari (63 km, 1h), Polignano a Mare (28 km, 33 min), Taranto (48 km, 1h), and Brindisi (76 km, 1h).
3. Ronda, Spain
Perched on the “El Tajo” gorge carved by the Guadalevin torrent, this Spanish town is one of the most beautiful cities in Andalusia. Its beauty leaves everyone speechless, even celebrities. The city has Arabic and Spanish traditions, with such incredible views that it captured the interest of writers such as Hemingway, Joyce, and Orson Welles.
If you plan a tour in Andalucia, make sure you include Ronda in your must-see places. This enchanting town is located just over an hour from Malaga and almost 2 hours from Seville. You can take advantage of the numerous tours to Ronda departing from the main Andalusian cities.
4. Colmar, France
The charming town of Colmar is one of the jewels of Alsace with successive canals, picturesque corners, mazes of characteristic alleys, and pedestrian streets overlooked by delightful half-timbered houses in all pastel shades. The heart of Colmar is the old town, a labyrinth of magnificent narrow and colorful streets that will leave you speechless!
The beauty of this enchanting location is that it is in a rather strategic geographical position. Whether you are in France, Germany, or Switzerland, you can always easily reach Colmar and dedicate a whole day to it. Moreover, from here, you can discover the wonderful Alsace. You may join a wine tour if you are a wine lover or take a tour of the main towns.
Colmar gives its best during the Christmas period. In fact, you can’t miss its markets, which make it one of the most beautiful European destinations to visit in this period.
5. Oia, Santorini, Greece
The most immortalized glimpse of Greece. The Greece of the common imagination, with the typical white cube houses in clean Cycladic style, the blue domes, the walls full of bougainvillea, and the splendid terraces overlooking the sea. Yes, we are referring to the town of Oia in Santorini. The perfect destination for a romantic getaway and the best place to watch the sunset at least once in a lifetime.
Being such a famous destination, the accommodations on site are quite expensive. Even if you decide to stay somewhere else, out of this or another reason, we still recommend you dedicate a day, or half a day, to visiting Oia. And, if you are short on time, you can opt for a traditional bus tour with a sunset in Oia, where you will be able to see the highlights of the island in one day.
6. Bled, Slovenia
Known for its lake with a small island in the center, on which a church dedicated to S. Maria Assunta was built, the town of Bled, located at the foot of the Julian Alps, was already considered a renowned seaside resort at the beginning of the 20th century.
Apart from being a popular resort, Bled is also suitable for numerous sporting and naturalistic activities. Here you can try canyoning in the Bohinj Valley or join a rafting session.
The town is easily accessible from Ljubljana, the capital, which is well connected to the Italian Trieste. From Ljubljana, you can also take wonderful day tours which combine a visit to the town with the exploration of the beautiful Postojna Cave.
7. Hallstatt, Austria
This small and characteristic Austrian municipality is located on the shores of the homonymous lake, in the Austrian region of Salzkammergut, at the foot of the imposing Dachstein. It seems as it came straight out of a fairy tale book, with small houses inhabited by just under a thousand hospitable inhabitants.
The clear and crystalline waters of the lake reflect the town, framed by the imposing mountains, and make this splendid place more evocative and, if possible, even more beautiful. Hallstatt is truly wonderful in any season, especially in winter when the landscape is snowy.
Apart from being enchanting, this town is also quite expensive, which is why it’s best to visit it via day trips from Salzburg or Vienna.
8. Trakai, Lithuania
One of the historical capitals of Lithuania, Trakai is surrounded by greenery within one of the many national parks and rises in correspondence with three lakes, the largest of which houses the ancient castle.
The inhabited center is distinguished by the typical wooden houses of the Tartars, which are always characterized by three windows on the street side. According to their tradition, in that way. the landlord expressed a very unusual dedication: one window was for God, the second for his family, and the third for the Grand Duke Vytautas.
The town of Trakai, about 28 km from Vilnius, is suitable for a day trip from the capital. If you don’t have a car, we advise you not to miss the opportunity to visit it by taking a day trip from Vilnius.
9. Obidos, Portugal
Located in Portugal, in the Leira district, this small town is surrounded by fortified and well-preserved walls. It is also dominated by a castle, also well preserved and dating back to the 13th century. The castle, which looks like a fortress with battlements and towers, was transformed into a palace in the 16th century, while today it is an elegant Pousada, a luxurious hotel.
Easily accessible from Lisbon, can therefore be visited via a day trip. The town is often combined with other destinations in the area. From Lisbon, many tourists opt for a day tour to Fatima, Batalha, Nazaré, and Obidos.
10. Zermatt, Switzerland
On the slopes of the Matterhorn, lies a town in the center of a region suited for hiking and skiing, which makes it one of the most attractive tourist resorts. Just to give you an idea, the ski area includes 54 ski lifts and 360 kilometers of pistes. The “Matterhorn glacier paradise” region is the largest and highest summer ski area in Europe. Numerous national ski teams train there in the summer. The region is also legendary for climbers.
Hiking, biking, climbing, and high-altitude tours are popular activities in summer and autumn. The rack railway is very impressive, starting in Zermatt and finishing in Gornergrat at 3089 meters above sea level. From there, you have a wonderful view of the Matterhorn, the glacier, and the Monte Rosa massif. We advise you to buy a priority ticket to secure your seat.
Other European Town to Visit
- Marsaxlokk, Malta
- Reine, Norway
- Positano, Italy
- Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy
- Mont Saint-Michel, France
- Giverny, France
- Gruyères, Switzerland
- Volterra, Italy
- Zaanse Schans, The Netherlands
- Eze, France
- Valensole, France
- Vaduz, Liechtenstein
- Počitelj, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Castle Combe, England
- Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland
- Snowshill, England
- Zalipie, Poland
- Sighișoara, Romania
- Smogen, Sweden
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
- Burano, Italy
- Sigulda, Latvia
- Ribe, Denmark
- Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Novigrad, Croatia
- Ohrid, Macedonia
- Grindelwald, Switzerland
- Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
- Vernazza, Italy
- Hay-On-Wye, Wales