The evergreen charm of Europe lies in its picturesque and quaint small towns. So much history and so many tales await to be discovered on cobbled streets and in little museums! Lovely and precious without even trying, the fascinating small towns of Europe are a magnet for tourists passionate about history, architecture, and local culture. Discover the top 5 most popular small towns of Europe that will always have a special place on travelers’ maps.
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
A picturesque town in the Czech Republic, Cesky Krumlov is almost as loved and visited as Prague. Situated in southern Bohemia, this small medieval settlement will carry you back in time, on narrow cobbled alleys, over romantic bridges, and in bohemian eateries that serve authentic local food. Dating back to the 13th century and split by the waters of the Vltava River, Cesky Krumlov mesmerizes visitors with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture untouched by time. Exceptionally beautiful and rich in history, this small town is dominated by the presence of a 13th-century castle and impresses visitors with spectacular views. Just follow the Radniční Street that opens to the Lazebnický most, a bridge that crosses the river to take you to the castle. This is one of the best spots to capture incredible views of the enchanting castle and Vltava River while listening to talented street musicians playing romantic melodies.
Perched on top of a cliff on the French Riviera, 1,400 feet above the Mediterranean Sea, Eze dazzles its visitors with jaw-dropping views of Cote d’Azur and the cornices. The area has been inhabited since around 2,000 BC and occupied by Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, and the French. Chapelle de la Sainte Croix, the oldest building in the village, dates back to 1306. Travelers love to wander the medieval streets that take them uphill and reward them with surprising sea views and romantic small restaurants and cafes along the way. At the top of the walled village awaits the famous Exotic Garden, home to a variety of cacti and elegant statues, and from where visitors can admire magnificent views of the coast.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
A fairy tale realm, especially in winter when it hosts one of the most famous and beautiful Christmas markets in Europe, Rothenburg ob der Tauber hasn’t changed a thing about its appearance since medieval times. Lose yourself on its cobbled streets for hours and hours and you’ll discover splendid colorful timbered houses, traditional little shops, and bohemian cafes. The wall surrounding the town is perfectly preserved and has protected this enchanting Bavarian town since the 14th century. Most of its buildings date from the same century, impressing travelers who stop at almost every corner to sigh with awe and take thousands of photos. Time stood still in this scenic little German town and the Night Watchman is living proof that you’re now part of a medieval tale.
The multicolored Colmar is a vision of beauty, especially in the summer when it’s invaded by the colors and perfumes of hundreds of flowers. An Alsatian small town almost as old as time, Colmar has been founded in the 9th century and since then many have known it as “Little Venice”. It’s enough to follow its winding waterways along the picturesque medieval streets and you’ll fall in love with this architectural gem. The capital of Alsace Wine Region, Colmar delights visitors not only with beautiful examples of German and French architecture but also with fine wine and traditional food. The local bakeries sell both “kugelhopf” and croissants, while the restaurants have both sauerkraut and foie gras in their menus to make everyone happy.
The best preserved inhabited citadel in Europe, Sighișoara is one of the most beautiful towns in Romania. Situated in the heart of Transylvania and surrounded by forested hills, this small town surprises travelers with colorful Saxon architecture and a joie de vivre no one expects to find in this country. Dotted with handicraft workshops, charming little cafes, and lovely restaurants that lure visitors in with hearty traditional Romanian food, Sighișoara still tells stories about the Saxons that colonized it in the Middle Ages, Romanian traditions and Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula. This fortified medieval town invites travelers to walk on its cobbled streets while admiring hundreds of years-old towers and churches. Climb in the Clock Tower of the citadel, a place of wonders, where every floor brings new surprises, and stop at the last one to admire superb views of the town.