Europe is filled with an array of small towns, some of which are "must-visits" and belong on everyone's bucket list.
Europe offers some of the most beautiful sights in the world. With several different countries, traditions and cultures to choose from it’s not hard to believe why the country is a top tourist attraction. Additionally, it has the richest countries in the world and thus, the highest GDP! That kind of money could last the U.S for decades, and the worries about a failing economic system would become a thing of the past.
Europe has many other aspects to be proud of other than its riches, though. The country has the best small towns around and even better excursions. Here are 10 tiny towns in Europe that deserve a place on any traveler’s bucket list!
10 - Hallstatt, Austria
Kicking off our list is Hallstatt Austria, a small European town with a lot of gusto! If travelers are picturing a small, quiet, and quaint little town to relax in, then they’d better think again. This town is very lively and a bit crowded near noon time, so travelers might to arrive into Hallstatt a little earlier. With some of the most exciting excursions to choose from, the best and yet, most unusual attraction is the Hallstatt Ossuary, also known as the Bone House. It houses 2,100 skulls, painted with roses, wreaths and crosses, stacked along the walls of this cave. This was done to combat Hallstatt’s small burial grounds problem, as some bodies were disinterred to make room for recently deceased persons. Believe it or not, this place is one of the most sought-after attractions in the town. Go figure!
9 - Bruges, Belgium
While Hallstatt packs a lot of action for a small town, Bruges is even better. Turns out, Belgium is known for more than just their famous waffles! This magical town has everything from the shops, colorful markets, restaurants and all the history any tourist could ask for.
A great way to get around Bruges is to take a float through the city’s canals, where tourists can marvel at the beauty of the houses and architecture. Tourists can also tour the Church of Our Lady, which features a 15th Century sculpture of a woman holding her child, called Madonna and Child, completed by the great Michelangelo! These attractions make for some memorable sights!
8 - Bled, Slovenia
Among the best magical cities to visit this year, Bled in Slovenia takes the cake. The city is full of wondrous sights and excursions that’ll make any weekend getaway worth wild. Tourists can visit Bled’s Castle, a timeless fortress that was constructed over a towering mountain in the 11-century! Additionally, Bled Lake is just as awesome as the castle. What makes the lake so interesting is its tiny island that houses The Church of Saint Martin at its center. This Neo-Gothic design of a church features statues and frescos featured by some of Slovenia’s greatest artists. Travelers can also go skiing and hiking in the mountains for a bit of fun at the end of touring these great sights. With this much fun around, who wouldn’t want Bled on their bucket list?
7 - Albarracin, Spain
Another beautiful town that deserves a spot on our bucket list is Albarracin, Spain. It is one of the most underrated cities in Spain but has slowly gained attention over the years, thanks to tourism. It’s hard to understand why such a spectacular city as Albarracin isn’t as popular of a destination, given its prominent archaeological sites and signature Moorish architecture that is reminiscent of early Spain.
Tourists will be spellbound by the pink-colored buildings and houses, the narrow cobblestone streets and huge castle walls, such as the Murallas de Albarracin—which literarily translates to The Walls of Albarracin. Travelers who love Spain and its rich history should definitely make plans to visit Albarracin!
6 - Dubrovnik, Croatia
Though Albarracin Spain is a village full of awesome sites worth capturing on camera, it doesn’t compare to the amount of film footage shot at Dubrovnik, Croatia. Dubrovnik was a prime location for The Game of Thrones fictional city King’s Landing and provided the most memorable shot during season five’s “The Walk of Shame” episode, where Cersei Lannister was forced to walk the streets of the kingdom nude. Though the city may have given birth to The Game of Thrones franchise, that’s not the only attraction that makes this European town special. Travelers can go cliff jumping off the Buza Bar, go rock climbing at Brgat, or sea kayaking around the Old Town in the City Walls. There’s so much to do in Dubrovnik that it doesn’t make sense.
5 - Sintra, Portugal
Dubrovnik may have been a popular filming location and top tourist attraction, but nothing beats the lush green mountain town of Sintra, Portugal. In just about every part of Sintra, tourists will come face to face with timeless palaces, rural estates, parks, and a medieval fortress. One of Sintra’s most iconic places to visit is the Pena Palace. The 1838 fortress is an immersion of architectural styles ranging from Moorish to Renaissance but honestly, it reminds us of a real-life Disney castle. A second popular destination is the Roca Da Roca, a cape that encompasses the western border of Portugal’s mainland and continental Europe and slopes down into the beautiful waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Sintra is the place any traveler has to visit!
4 - Brasov, Romania
While some small towns are more popular than others, Brasov is an overlooked city that deserves some love. The Romanian city has a huge historical significance as it was once a main trade route that linked the Ottoman Empire with Western Europe. After a brief history lesson tourist will be tempted to try other excursions, like taking a tour of The Black Church, one of the largest Gothic churches in Romania. The building’s name was coined right after a fire broke out in 1689 that caused substantial damage and blackened its walls with smoke. Luckily, the church has been well looked after since the incident and still holds the record for housing one of the largest organs in Eastern Europe! Why not visit this awesome Brasov?
3 - Salzburg, Austria
There’s just something so special about Austria that it had to appear on our list twice. Not only is Hallstatt an Austrian city well deserving of recognition but so is Salzburg. Similar to Brasov, this city was also famous for its decorative and overtly-dramatic-styled architecture. Much of Salzburg survived WWII with little to no damage done to its precious landscape.
Clearly, the Salt Fortress is a force to be reckoned with! In 1997, the city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, getting its stamp of approval as one of the top tourist’s spots to visit. Not to mention all the other attractions and tours that come with visiting the city. Music was pretty much born in Salzburg as it was the home of both music composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the 1965 film The Sound of Music. Salzburg has it all!
2 - Rothenberg, Germany
Croatia may have been one of the filming locations for Game of Thrones but Rothenberg has gained loads of attention from Walt Disney Studios. The city’s fairytale landscape was used in unforgettable films such as Harry Potter and Disney’s The Sleeping Beauty! The medieval town isn’t just a great film location but is also the greatest shopping destination for travelers. If tourists thought they’ve shopped till they dropped before, then they haven’t seen what Christmas shopping is like in Rothenberg. There is a museum entirely dedicated to Christmas that showcases everything from tree decorations over several generations to mini trees sent in boxes to WWII Soldiers! If fairytale cities and decorative trees are our thing, then Rothenberg needs a spot at the top on our bucket list!
1 - Positano, Italy
Rothenberg may hold the record being the best city to spend Christmas in but Positano, Italy is a top vacation spot. Celebrities and artists alike visit the site as a popular holiday destination, taking advantage of the beautiful beachfront and quaint little cafes and boutiques that dot the streets. Not to mention the colorful backdrop of the city; everything from the oceanic waters to the iconic structure of the villas screams vacation! Positano is most known for its Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta, which contains a Byzantine icon of an 18th Century Black Madonna! Travelers can also travel to the three islets of Li Galli, which are interconnected islands once believed to be home to mythological creatures known as Sirens. A village that is full of so much beauty and fantasy, who could beat that?
BY AJA DANDRIDGE
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