Are you dreaming of discovering some European villages filled with charm and fairytale houses? Here is a list of some picturesque small towns in Europe!
1. Hum, Istria, Croatia
Hum is a 100×30 m medieval village located in Istria, Croatia, known as the smallest town in the world. This little town is situated on a hilltop overlooking the Mima Valley and is surrounded by medieval walls. Despite its small dimensions, Hum has become a popular tourist destination. Everybody is welcome to visit the city, as it is reported on the town gate inscription: “come and visit this little town, the warmth radiates from its hard stone.”
2. Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
Sveti Stefan (or Saint Stephan) is an ancient fishing village located on a very small islet in Montenegro. The entire islet is occupied by a luxury 5-star resort, owned by the franchise group Aman Resorts. The resort has three idyllic beaches and beautiful suites overlooking the Adriatic Sea. It includes the 15th-century property on Sveti Stefan islet and the 19th-century Villa Milocer on the mainland, connected by a sandy isthmus. Together, they occupy an area of 80 acres.
3. Bled, Slovenia
Bled, one of the symbols of Slovenia, is absolutely worth a visit. Even Lonely Planet has included it in the world’s top 10 must-see destinations. Bled is a small town in the north-west part of the country. The main attraction is Bled island, located in the middle of Bled Alpine lake. Visitors can reach the islet using traditional wooden boats named pletnas, operated by standing rowers called pletnars. Once on the island, a 99-step staircase leads visitors to the beautiful Church of the Mother of God. Thanks to its natural beauties and history, this Slovenian gem was nominated one of the seven new wonders of the world.
4. Durbuy, Belgium
This little settlement is located in Wallonia on the shores of the Ourthe River. Its old town is characterized by stone streets and stone houses from the 17th and 18th century. One of the main attractions is the “Rocher de la Falize,” a 300-million-year-old natural monument famous for its stratified limestone layers which are clearly visible. In front of it, there is a small pond with a fountain which makes the place even more magical. The second must-see place is the Château des Comtes d’Ursel, a castle dominating the right bank of the Ourthe River. Although it’s closed to the public, it is worth to admire it from the opposite bank of the river.
5. Giethoorn, The Netherlands
Also known as “The Venice of the Netherlands”, Giethoorn is a quiet and remote village located in Holland. It is characterized by many small canals, wooden arch bridges, and farmhouses with thatched roofs, many of which are reachable only by boat. This village has no roads, but only canals and bike lanes. During the colder months it is possible to explore this marvelous town by ice skate on the frozen canals!
6. Hallstatt, Austria
Hallstatt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Upper Austria in close proximity to the main Austrian cities of Vienna and Salzburg. The small town is nestled in a breathtaking Alpine landscape surrounded by mountains and right on the shores of a glassy lake. The town features ancient churches, a beautiful market square and many charming restaurants. In medieval times, its prosperity was mainly based on salt mining. Today, Hallstatt has become a very popular and crowded destination, attracting millions of tourists each year.
7. Vernazza, Italy
Vernazza is one of the five villages of the Cinque Terre area located on the Ligurian coast, Italy. Its territory is part of a large UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes the Cinque Terre area, the town of Portovenere and three islands (Palmaria, Tinetto, and Tino). Although very small, there are plenty of things to do in Vernazza: hiking, sunbathing on the beach, taking a boat trip to admire the beauty of the village from the sea, and taste some Ligurian specialties such as trofie al pesto, focaccia and anchovies.
8. Dinant, Belgium
Dinant is a charming small town located on the Meuse River in Wallonia, Belgium. The jointly view of its colorful little houses, the 16th century castle, and the Gothic cathedral is breathtaking! Dinant is also the birthplace of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone: this is why throughout the city you will find many huge saxophones to commemorate its inventor.
9. Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a picturesque city located in Middle Franconia, in the land of Bayern, Germany. The city is situated on a hill overlooking the Tauber river, hence the name “ob der Tauber,” which literally means above the Tauber. If you visit the city, you will be amazed by the typical houses with their colorful facades. The best time to visit is with no doubt during Christmas time, when the city becomes a magical winter wonderland.
10. Colmar, France
Colmar is a French little city located in Alsace. It is not as small as the other villages included in this list, but it is absolutely worth to mention it! It is a fairytale town nestled among vineyards, traditional colorful houses, and canals. Its picturesque historical center is classified as a protected area and thus benefits from careful restoration. The large and charming pedestrian zone includes perfectly preserved heritage, from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, featuring amazing architectural details and colors. Colmar’s food and wine scene must also be mentioned: Colmar Wine Country is the capital of Alsace wines that can be paired with local speciaties such as tartes flambées and Munster cheese.