Europe is abundant with beautiful historic towns. But like with lovers some catch your eye immediately, they have you at the very first glimpse, others while seemingly perfect leave you cold. From North to the South these are the places that we still remember, way after our trip was concluded. While we have forgotten the exact names of the their streets, we can still tell you specifically what it was that made us fall in love with each and everyone of these towns. From fortified walls, to historic churches, tall towers and stunning locations here is the list of our best towns in Europe.
- Cesky Krumlov
As a big fan of Czech fairy tales, visiting Cesky Krumlov felt like suddenly finding myself in one. It proudly stands on the bankes of the romantic Vltava River and is dominated by a Castle with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. The old center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a special treat to discover. And don’t miss a visit to the Eggenberg brewery.
Read more about Czech Republic.
Set on the foothills of the Monts of Vaucluse, in the Luberon region it is one of the most beautiful places in France. While the view of the village is a sight to behold, do make sure you walk through the labyrinth of its narrow cobblestone streets. (And indulge in some very delicious French pastries). Many artists, like Marc Chagall have found their inspiration here and it still remains a cultural hub with its museums, a festival, concerts and numerous exhibitions.
In the valley of the beautiful Snowdonia Forest Park, this small town with buildings mostly built in Victorian times will enchant you. Abundant with water, as it is located near the point where the River Conwy is joined by the River Llugwy and the River Lledr and surrounded with dense Gwydir Forest it is no wonder Betws-y-Coed is North Wales’ most popular inland resort. Don’t miss the chance to further explore the Snowdonia National Park.
An impressive coastal town surrounded with fortifications hugging the incredibly beautiful Bay of Kotor, in Montenegro. Its remarkable position as well as beauty were recognized and the town is now a part of the World Heritage Site. Explore the marbled streets of the town, hidden squares and its many different churches.
Perhaps it’s due to a long drive where you only encounter a few buildings or maybe it’s the view of Icelandic modest yet alluring houses stretching over the bay that made us fall in love with Husavik. Simple town where the most famous landmark is the wooden church Húsavíkurkirkja, it is widely known for the bay it guards –with rich wildlife and a great chance to catch a sight of whales…
Iceland will make you believe in magic.
Picture perfect town even we couldn’t resist. It’s that everything works in its favor: historic buildings, a pristine lake and a mountain setting. Don’t miss the walk around the town up to the church with a macabre bonehouse. Kept in this charnel house are 1200 human skulls. Though you will probably enjoy the oldest salt mine in the world, the Salzwelten more.
Not as famous as its neighbor Bergen, but it is a terrific starting point for exploring the SW part of Norway. Try and catch the bustling harbor at sunset as you will get the best glimpse of the town. Especially in summer the place to be is the waterfront packed with great places to eat or have a drink while people watching.
- Skofja Loka
The name Skofja Loka derives from the medieval times and it was originally named Loka, which means wet, grassy area near water. But because at that time there were many Lokas in Slovenia, Skofja (bishops’) was added to the name Loka. This region was owned by the bishops of Freising. It lies at point where two rivers meet and on top of the castle, historic buildings it does make a beautiful sight. They say that the town is the best preserved town from the middle Ages in Slovenia.
Skofja Loka is just 20 kilometers away from the capital of Ljubljana. You shouldn’t miss it.
- San Gimignano
A bit of a cliché I know, but can’t really help it. Though both Tuscany and Italy have many enchanting places worth taking time to explore, I fell in love with San Gimignanon and its medieval architecture. While walking around the center is nice, what makes it stand out from the crowd (literally, due to its many tower houses) is the view from afar. Then you get the whole picture of this small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena.
Take “At least you’re in Tuscany” book with you when you go exploring this part of Italy.
The legend says Marco Polo was born here. We even visited the house he was born in. But I find it hard to believe, as the historic fortified town on the east coast of the island of Korcula, is just too hard to leave behind. The old part with buildings such as the Cathedral of St Mark and the Town Hall are safely guarded by the walls. And there are great many views of the inlets around it.
If we got you excited about visiting this places, here are two great sites to help you with planning:
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