Have you ever stumbled upon a quaint town or village in the middle of nowhere that seemed almost magical in its beauty? Just because they don't have underground trains or famous galleries or houses of parliament, doesn't mean they're not worth visiting.
9. HALLSTATT, AUSTRIA
Originally founded in 5000 BC in order to exploit the vast salt reserves in the mountains surrounding the town. Thousands of years of salt mining translated to enduring prosperity for the town, which can be seen in its beautiful square ringed with ivy-covered buildings. Today the town still mines salt, but it is also considered as a treasure trove of human history. It is not only the oldest settlement in Austria but also the most picturesque and can be located on the bank of the Hallstätter See, between the pristine lake and a lush mountain, dramatically rising from water’s edge.
10. BIBURY, ENGLAND
Located on the hilly Cotsworld region, it is often called England’s most beautiful town, and it certainly holds a place amongst Europe’s best and brightest. Most of the town still stands as it did hundreds of years ago, whit lush meadows abut ancient stone cottages with steep pitched roofs and the River Coln dominating the main street. The most scenic area in town, Arlington Tow was built in the 17th century, with its lane of sepia-hued cottages built to house weavers working at Arlington Mill.
11. ANNECY, FRANCE
Located 22 miles from Geneva in the Upper Savoy region of Eastern France, the town is one of the most beautiful, romantic places on earth. The town is divided by small canals and streams running from the blue Lac Annecy.Highlights include the popular terraces that line the canals, giving it a Venice-like feel, as well as the famous Palais de l’Isle, a picturesque 12th century castle built right in the middle of one of the canals.
12. GOREME, TURKEY
Constructed amid the exquisite rock formations that dominate the area during the Roman era. The hard natural rock served as foundations and fortifications for those that built the town, and to this day, much of the ancient architecture still stands, with many of the churches carved directly into the rocks themselves. Every morning just before sunrise, hundreds of hot air balloons are fired up across the region, floating above and around the rock formations.
13. ALBARRACIN, SPAIN
Dating back from the 11th century, this beautifully preserved medieval village with rock paintings in the cliff-foot caves is definitely a must see! Cultural Park provide some of the most important evidence of Levantine prehistoric art in the nation. Within the fortified walls a slice of medieval Span was preserved - winding lanes, narrow alleys, ancient stone towers, castles and chapels. Visiting here, you might just feel as if you’ve been instantly transported to the Middle Ages.
14. PUCISCA, CROATIA
Located on the northern coast of the island it is sheltered by a protective cove. The village is certainly one of the most picturesque places in all of Europe. The gleaming white stone, indigent to the island of Brac, is what makes this small harbor town a truly one-of-a-kind destination, and even an exquisite work of art. You can stretch out on pristine sands, soaking in the sunshine and taking a cool, refreshing dip in the sparkling Adriatic.
15. VESTMANNAEYJAR, ICELAND
The town is located on Heimaey, the largest of the 14 islands in the Western Islands of archipelago, just off the southwest coast of Iceland’s mainland. The town is also considered one of the Iceland’s best kept secrets, noted for its immense biodiversity, including 150 plant species not yet classified as well as millions of birds that nest in cliffs. The town is also one of the best places to see puffins.
16. SINTRA, PORTUGAL
The village was described by Lord Byron to his friend Francis Hodgson as the most beautiful in the world in 1809. The Romans made it a place of cult moon worshiping, naming it ”Cynthia” after the goddess of the moon. Pena Palace has been the highlight as one of Europe’s most fantastic palaces since 1840. It is surrounded by mystical Pena Park, filled with a variety of trees and exotic plants from the former colonies of the Portuguese empire, ponds, fountains, and black swans.
17. BURANO, ITALY
The Technicolor town is actually a tiny island in the Venetian lagoon. The bright colors pop out in a way that gives it a tropical feel, with all of the houses here following a particular color pattern that dates back to the island’s “golden age” when it was first created. Legend has it that local fisherman first painted their houses in these vivid colors so that they could be seen while they were out fishing. If resident want to paint their abode, they will have to get permission from the government, if approved they will receive a list of colors that can be use. If the rules are broken and you use the wrong paint, you’ll get thrown in the pokey.
18. GIETHOORN, NETHERLANDS
The idyllic Dutch town located in the province of Overijssel offers to those who prefer a simple life, the perfect place.With no roads, connected instead by a network of old-world canals, creating small private islands for each home. Access to the town is by foot over its pictures wooden arch bridges or by water. It is dating back to the 18th century with four miles of canals and farmhouses with thatched roofs. It was founded by a group of fugitives from the Mediterranean region around 1230 AD, and became internationally renowned in 1958 when it was featured in the Dutch film “Fanfare.”
To be continued...