10 Small but beautiful places to visit in Europe
When visitors to Europe head straight for the well-known big cities and tourist attractions, they often pass by some beautiful towns, without even noticing them. Europe has thousands of hidden gems that are only a few miles off the main tourist routes and are well worth taking a small detour to visit. They may be not big, and they may not be world famous, but here are just ten of the wonderfully beautiful small towns in Europe that you should definitely pay a visit to.
1. Marsaxlokk, Malta
If you have never visited the island of Malta, then make sure it goes on your bucket list and when you get there, be sure to take a take a trip to the tiny town of Marsaxlokk. This town remains completely unspoilt by modern buildings and it has been around since 900BC. Marsaxlokk is the main fishing port in Malta and it’s a charming and beautiful destination for any visitor to the Mediterranean island.
2. Albarracin, Spain
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe is the ancient village of Albarracin in Spain. Famous for its wonderful pink, half-timbered houses, Albarracin is built on a rocky outcrop in a steep sided valley and, despite the number of tourists that it attracts, the town still manages to retain its charm.
3. Annecy, France
This is another one of very beautiful places to visit in Europe. Built around a 14th century chateau, Annecy is surrounded by the French Alps, which provide the perfect backdrop for the beautiful, pastel coloured houses that line the narrow, winding, mediaeval streets. It’s a pure pleasure to simply wander around the town admiring the beauty of the place and stopping occasionally at one of the many small cafés and take in the wonderful views.
4. Portmagee, Ireland
On the Southwest coast of Ireland, you will find the town of Portmagee that looks like it came straight off a picture-postcard. Here, you can enjoy the famous Irish hospitality and a glass of Guinness and take in the unspoiled beauty of one of the most charming fishing villages that you will find on the emerald isle.
5. Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland
With a population of less than 500 and its remote location, Ittoqqortoormiit in Greenland is another one of truly fabulous places to visit in Europe and it is a real ‘get away from it all’ destination. In fact, the only way to reach the tiny town, is by taking the once a week flight from Iceland, followed by a short helicopter ride to the town. Once there, though, you will be stunned by the wonderful glacial landscape that surrounds the town and the peace and tranquillity of the place.
6. Hallstatt, Austria
The lakeside town of Hallstatt is one of Austria’s early settlements that dates back to 800BC and is famous for its salt mining industry that has been a feature of the region for centuries. The town is surrounded on all sides by breathtaking mountain scenery and is considered to be one of Austria’s most picturesque towns. With its beautiful pastel coloured houses that line the edge of the lake and the lush green of the mountainside that rises up behind them, Hallstatt is quite possibly one of the most beautiful small towns in Europe.
7. Toruń, Poland
If you are looking to get off the beaten track in Poland, then take a trip to one of the country’s most beautiful towns. Amazingly, Toruń, which is situated in the north of the country, managed to escape the ravages of World War Two and it was spared from the modern, soulless, architecture of the communist years. Toruń is now a beautiful, gothic, walled town, renowned for its unspoilt beauty.
8. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Even though Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia, it has lost none of its small-town charm and that’s why we’ve included it in our list of amazing places to visit in Europe. Wonderful alabaster buildings and bridges span and cross the emerald green Ljubljanica River. The whole of the city centre is also kept free of traffic, which adds the small town feel. If you do visit Ljubljanica, then you get the best of both worlds: a vibrant capital city by night and peaceful small town by day.
9. Burano, Italy
Burano in Italy is built on a tiny island in a Venetian lagoon and it is the bright colours of the buildings that will stun your senses here; it’s one of the most bright places to visit in Europe. It is said the colourful buildings were first painted so brightly by local fisherman, so that they could easily find their way home. Now, residents have to ask permission to repaint their homes and, if they don’t, or they use the wrong type of paint, then they could face a lengthy jail sentence for their redecorating!
10. Ghent, Belgium
Just a 20 minute train journey from its more well-known neighbour Bruges, is the delightful Flanders city of Ghent in Belgium. This is another city that is large enough to be vibrant, but small enough to still feel cosy, and the wonderful mediaeval architecture that lines the canals is just beautiful. Ghent is a definite must for any visitor to Belgium.
What are your favourite places to visit in Europe?