Dreaming of vacationing in one of Europe’s fairy-tale- isque, postcard-perfect towns? Blessed with abundant scenic beauty, everything from stunning sun-soaked Greek islands to majestic Swiss Alps is worth visually feasting on. There are little-known fishing communities, green hamlets based along mountains, picturesque villages right on the coastal belt and a host of other awe-inspiring towns that will leave you asking for more! Europe isn’t about glitzy wonders of the world and high-end shopping destinations. It is also about the nature splashed beauty of small and relatively unexplored towns. Here is our list of expert recommendations on the top 10 European towns to visit.
1. Manrola, Italy
A popular Cinque Terre town, replete with an assortment of rainbow hued houses carved in stone walls along the alluring Mediterranean coast, Manorola looks straight out of a travel brochure. This tiny fishing community is known for its fantastic wine (read Sciacchetra), Antonio Discovolors’ paintings and a pleasant no-cars rule. Park just outside town and set off on a pollution adventure into this effortlessly gorgeous, Instagramable town.
2. Colmar, France
Dating back to the 9 th century, this spectacularly colorful town has earned the title of “Little Venice” owing to its network of waterways and cobbled medieval streets. Visit Alsatian village, famous for its exquisite wines and local bakeries (with German and French inspired creations) or witness the charm of Colmar’s Neo-Baroque and German Gothic style architectural structures.
3. Hallstatt, Austria
One of Austria’s oldest communities (dating back 5000 BC), Hallstatt is a storybook town in the mountain that features a mining history spanning more than a thousand years. Hallstatt’s prosperity is evident in its pretty square-ringed, ivy hued buildings and gorgeous setting (juxtaposed between an idyllic lake and verdant mountains) on the Hallstatter See banks. This well-preserved and visually stunning town is a treasure of fascinating human history.
4. Bibury, England
Nestled prettily on the flourishing green, hilly region of Cotswold, Bibury is known as England’s most photogenic town. First metioned in the Domeday Book (1086), the town dates back hundreds of years. Featuring verdant, emerald meadows, ancient stone houses and the dramatic River Coln, this Enid Blyton style town will sweep you off yourfeet. Visit Arlington Row, famous for its scenic town region and 17 th century sepia colored cottages.
5. Giethoorn, Netherlands
Giethoorn Netherlands is all about rustic charm, untouched beauty and simple living. The pristine Dutch town nestled in Overijssel doesn’t have any roads, and is interlinked via an old-world style canal system. Every home features tiny private islands. You can only reach via water or foot as vehicles are parked just outside town. Expect to see beautiful canal ways and farmhouses (dotted with thatched roofed homes) built by 18 th century Mediterranean fugitives. The 1958 flick Fanfare brought the town plenty of global fame.
6. Dinant, Belgium
Juxtaposed between Meuse River and a citadel, Dinant is known for its striking architecture and gorgeous, mountain top views. Enjoy a day trip to witness Grotto of Dinant’s waterfalls or head to the Sanctuary of Beauraing (where you can plonk yourself in one of the local open-air cafes), where you can enjoy gorgeous vistas from one of the continent’s most picturesque cities.
7. Lungern, Switzerland
Located 2, 460 ft over sea level on the picturesque Lake of Lungern shore, this mountainous town radiates a hard to resist fairy-tale appeal. Apart from the charming Lungern village, this scneic region includes Burglen and Kaiserstuhi settlements, the Obsee hamlet (featuring old-world style homes) and other strikingly pretty communities and natural wonders.
8. Reine, Norway
This tiny yet spectacular Norwegian fishing community (located within the Lofoten Archipelaho, a stunning group of islands in the Arctic Circle) speaks straight to the nature lover’s heart. Housing a population of about 300 people (yes, you read that right), this is a great place to enjoy a laidback, slow-paced holiday, eat to your heart’s content and witness the spectacular northern lights phenomenon.
9. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Located in one of the country’s most picturesque Alps valleys, Lauterbrunnen is sandwiched between gigantic rocks and lush mountain peaks. With over 72 lashing waterfalls, isolated valleys, vividly-hued alpine meadows and secluded, family-run mountain inns, the town also features one of the largest Swiss conservation regions. Experience the 300 meters high Staubbach Falls, the glacier Trummelbach Falls(gushing past mountains and viewing platforms) and a cable car ride from Stechelberg to Schilthom Mountain (for stunning views).
10. Rothenburg der Tauber, Germany
Rotherburg der Tauber is a town in Bavaria, Germany, located strategically between Munich and Frankfurt. Famed for its medieval town center, and surprisingly intact 14 th century city wall, the quaint little town is unaffected by time. Visit the busy Market Square (filled with tourists), the 13 th century Town Hall Tower, the Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum, Church of St. Jacob and other popular tourist attractions.