The beauty of many Europe’s more rustic, calm and quiet towns is often overshadowed by the excitement of the continent’s lively, hustling and bustling capitals. And though quite far off the beaten track, these stunning small towns are well worth the journey.
Korcula – Croatia
Located no more than three hours from Dubrovnik by ferry, the luscious rolling hills, friendly shores and warm breeze of Korcula beckon to travellers across the world. From its secluded beaches and olive orchards to its stunning and varied architecture, the tiny island in the Adriatic Sea is the perfect spot for a relaxing getaway. Though historians may be doubtful, local superstitions will have you believe that the winding streets dotted with miniature Venetian Gothic and Renaissance palaces were once home to famed explorer Marco Polo.
Bibury – England
Situated just off of the river Coln in central England, honey-coloured stone cottages line the streets of Bibury as if from a fairy tale or a legend. The fourteenth century buildings of Arlington Row converted into weavers’ cottages are so frequently photographed that they’ve earned the town a reputation as the “most beautiful town in England.”
Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Germany
In the heart of Bavaria, just over 100 miles from Munich, lies a charming little red-walled town set atop a hill above the Tauber River. Though the castle that once dominated the landscape was destroyed in the mid fourteenth century as a result of a massive earthquake, the quaint red-roofed houses and charming cobblestone streets remain. Walt Disney was so affected by the beautiful town that he used it to inspire the setting of his classic film, Pinocchio.
Kuressaare – Estonia
Located just off the coast of Estonia, the beautiful island of Saaremaa was closed to visitors during Soviet rule and subject to 50 years of total isolation. The resulting authentic old-town feel makes you feel as though lost in time. The cobblestoned town square is transformed on Sundays as the smell of salted fish wafts over the city and vendors selling home-made wooden trinkets and woollen wares take to the streets. The medieval dolomite castle erected in the mid-fourteenth century stands proudly on the waterfront providing breathtaking views over the acres of rolling hills.
Tenby – Wales
Deriving its name from the Welsh expression meaning “Little Fortress of the Fish,” the seaside town of Tenby in Southwestern Wales aptly fits the description. Its ancient medieval walls and revitalised Victorian streets remain standing to this day recalling a long and rich cultural heritage. The town’s narrow and winding streets and alleys dotted with charming Georgian cottages extending onto the stunning waterfront make it a popular holiday destination among the Brits.
Mariapfarr – Austria
Tucked away deep in the Austrian countryside, Mariapfarr is a charming little town set around a striking gothic church atop a hill sparsely strewn with brown gabled cottages. Inspiration to the classic carol, Silent Night, the calm and idyllic village is the perfect destination for a quiet ski holiday. Breathe in the crystal clear air and take in the breathtaking view over the Lungau region.