For the discerning adventurer these smaller nooks of beauty, often reachable only by car, boat, trail or ferry. These villages and towns are marked only by the smallest print on world maps, if they appear at all. They’ve managed to stay small despite their stunning beauty, and for that, they deserve a toast. None are secret, but their size makes them all tricky to reach in their own ways. And yet we’re confident you’ll find them absolutely worth the pursuit.
1. MANAROLA, ITALY
It is one of Italy famed Cinque Terre towns, filled with an array of vibrant rainbow-colored homes carved right into an impenetrable wall of stone along the Mediterranean coast. The charming fishing town is most famous for Sciacchetra there fabulous wine, and the paintings of an artist who fell in love with the fishing town “Antonio Discovolors”, he devoted much of his later works to the region. There are no cars in the town, visitors must park outside the town and visiting the town on foot.
2. GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, BAVARIA, GERMANY
Just 80 minutes by train from Munich, the resort town was once one of two separate towns - one Roman and the other Teutonic. The Winter Olympics from 1936 forced them to combine, but today still the two sided have distinct personalities. Partenkirchen dates back to 15 AD, filled with narrow, cobblestoned streets lined with historic buildings in Bavarian gasthaus style: three or four floors, swept open shutters and facades painted with pastel colored imagery or pastoral, regional and religious scenes.
3. PORTREE, SCOTLAND
As the largest town on Scotland’s Isle of Skye with a population of less than 2 500, the town is a bustling port as well as a thriving cultural center. The main attraction of the town is the harbor, featuring a number of pubs, seafood restaurants and spectacular views across the bay. Surrounded by incredibly scenic wild region and some of themost breathtaking and unique attractions, including rock formations like the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock, and the extraordinary pinnacles of the Quaraing.
4. REINE, NORWAY
Situated on the picturesque arctic island of Moskenesoya, the tiny fishing village has a population of just a little over 300. It was rightfully voted as Norway’s most beautiful village.Set north of the Arctic Circle in the Lofoten archipelago, this remote wilderness region features sapphire bays that sit at the edge of breathtaking mountains and towering fjords. Many of the bright red rorbuer, or fishermen’s cabins, have been transformed into cozy visitor cottages with direct access to the Norwegian Sea as well as amazing night sky vistas, including the mesmerizing northern lights.
5. COLMAR, FRANCE
Dating back to the 9th century, it’s often been referred to as “Little Venice”due to the waterways that wind through medieval streets. This well-preserved Alsatian village is also considered the capital of wine in the district, known for its exquisite aromas. With both German and French influences, you’ll find local bakeries selling kugelhopf and croissants, while eateries often specialize in sauerkraut and foie gras. Various architectural styles can also be seen, from French Neo-Baroque to German Gothic.
6. MARSAXLOKK, MALTA
It was established in 900 BC as a trading port when the Phoenicians first landed in Malta. The picturesque town is today the main supplier of fish to the island nation that sits in the Mediterranean Sea. An extensive array of fish, including the local favorite, Lampuki is stocked in the massive markets.With no modern buildings and the tranquil surrounding, the seaside village is a particularly charming place to visit.
7. PORTMAGEE, IRELAND
Sitting on the Ring of Kerry on the southwest coast of Ireland, the postcard-perfect seaside fishing village features a row of brightly colored buildings along with a rich and colorful history. At The Bridge Bar, you’ll find live music many nights of the week along with fantastic food and a fine pint of Guinness. The village is also the departure hub for trips to the awe-inspiring Skelligs Rock, the home of preserved monastic settlements dating back to the 6th century.
8. BLED, SLOVENIA
Established in 1004 and sheltered by magnificent mountains, the village was considered so beautiful by the Holy Roman Emperor that that it was gifted to the Bishop of Brixen. Bled Castle sits in the center of the picturesque Lake Bled and surrounded by glacial blue waters, the village is renowned as the home of some of the most beautiful health spas in the region. Hiking to the medieval hilltop castle provides especially stunning panoramic vistas.
To be continued…