7 Small Towns in Europe Worth Visiting

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Hallstatt, Austria. Image: 1zoom.me

Even though big capitals like Paris and London are the most popular places for tourists to visit in Europe, there are several small towns that are well worth a visit. Escape the bustle of the city and enjoy all the food, history, and culture of a country in a more relaxed setting by visiting one of these 7 small towns in Europe!

Annecy, France

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Via mustseeplaces.eu

For fairytale charm in a beautiful alpine setting, visit Annecy, France. Pastel buildings line the canals in the old town, where you can find countless cafes, restaurants, and shops. One of the main attractions in this town is Lake Annecy, a pristine blue lake lined with mountains. Grab an ice cream or beer and enjoy the view of the lake, or rent a boat and explore the water yourself! For dinner, try some authentic French fondue or raclette, a melted cheese dish popular in the alpine region.

Rothenburg, Germany

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Via Lonely Planet

Take a step back in time to the Middle Ages in picturesque Rothenburg, Germany. This charming town is located in Bavaria, just over an hour-long drive away from Nuremberg. Walk along the medieval town walls for panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside, or visit one of the town’s quaint museums. This beautiful town is perfect for a day trip when touring southern Germany.

Bourton-on-the-Water, England

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Image: cotsworlds.com

Bourton-on-the-Water is perhaps the most beautiful Cotswold village in England. The Cotswolds region is a British “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,” filled with tiny, charming villages set in the English countryside. Bourton-on-the-Water is sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the Cotwolds” because a small river runs through the city. Walk along the river and admire the quaint town and grab a meal at one of the old-school pubs. Bourton-on-the-Water is the perfect place for a quiet getaway from the bustle of England’s larger cities.

Salamanca, Spain

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Image: vinciihoteles.com


Salamanca is a vibrant Spanish city located about 140 miles north west of Madrid. The old city, a recognized UNESCO site, has several interesting attractions, including a cathedral from the 12th century. Be sure to check out the beautiful Plaza Mayor in the heart of Salamanca, and try traditional foods like tosta tapas and hornazo, a meat pie.

Porto Santo Stefano, Italy

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Image: monteargentario.info

When it comes to Italian beaches, the cities along the Amalfi Coast get all the attention, but lesser-known Porto Santo Stefano is worth checking out. This coastal town is located on Italy’s west coast, north of Rome in Tuscany. Porto Santo Stefano is the perfect place for a quiet romantic getaway, with beautiful views of the Tyrrhenian Sea and delicious Italian seafood.

Hallstatt, Austria

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Image: 1zoom.me

Visit Halstatt, Austria for a secluded getaway in the beautiful alpine mountains. For thousands of years, this small town was only accessible by boat. Today, Hallstatt is home to just under 800 residents. Hallstatt is located on a beautiful lake, surrounded by stunning mountains. Visit the salt mines to take a boat ride across an underground lake and slide down mine shafts that were originally dug thousands of years ago. Halstatt is just over an hour from Salzburg, Austria, so it’s a great place to stop if you’re in the Austrian Alps.

Saint-Malo, France

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Image: u/kencrema via reddit

Saint-Malo is a beautiful coastal town in the Brittany region of northern France. Although the walled city was completely destroyed during World War II, it was perfectly restored to its historic glory in the mid 1900s. This beach town has gone relatively unnoticed by American tourists despite its close proximity to world-famous Mont Saint Michel, so it is definitely worth a visit. You can tour the remarkable old town, lounge on the beaches, and indulge in delicious French cuisine in Saint-Malo.

Article and photos by Elizabeth Rhodes. Find Elizabeth on TwitterInstagram, and her website. Also, check out our guide of cities to visit in the United States.