The 15 Most Adorable Small Towns in Europe

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Paris and Rome: Been there, done that. But you probably haven’t been to these 15 incredible small towns across the European continent. Full of picturesque charm, history and character, they’re worth a spot on your travel bucket list.

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Albarracín, Spain

Located in Aragon, this well-preserved medieval village sits high on a mountaintop 3,878 feet above the Guadalaviar River. The hilly town has narrow streets, stone fortress walls, orange clay buildings and Moorish towers.

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Folegandros, Greece

Skip Santorini and head to this sleepy, remote island in the Cyclades. Think mountainous terrain dotted with whitewashed buildings and donkeys, surrounded by the azure Aegean Sea.

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Quedlinburg, Germany

This town in the Harz mountains will transport you back in time to the Middle Ages. You can still see remnants from the 12th century, like cobblestone streets, the central market square and timber-framed, red-roofed houses painted in vibrant colors.

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Gordes, France

France’s Provence region isn’t all lavender fields and vineyards. The town of Gordes, nestled between the Vaucluse Mountains and the Luberon valley, is home to castles that date back to the 12th century.

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Undredal, Norway

This picture-perfect Scandinavian village is set in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site Naeroyfjord. Undredal’s claim to fame: Goats roam around the grassy village freely, providing milk for the town’s namesake cheese.

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Ravello, Italy

Often overshadowed by nearby Positano, Ravello is an Amalfi Coast town that sits high in the hills, offering breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Garden estates and lemon groves, here we come.

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Eguisheim, France

Eguisheim is a storybook Alsatian town, complete with half-timbered houses painted in blues and pinks, cobblestone roads and flower boxes galore.

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Marsaxlokk, Malta

Malta’s largest fishing village—home to fewer than 4,000 people—hosts an enormous fish market every Sunday. The waterfront harbor is lined with brightly painted fishing boats (called luzzus) and open-air restaurants.

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Rye, England

Traveling to this well-preserved medieval town near the coast in East Sussex is like stepping back in time. Independent booksellers, cafés, seafood shops and quaint guesthouses occupy the Georgian buildings along narrow cobblestone streets.

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Monsaraz, Portugal

In the Alentejo region by the Spanish border, Monsaraz is perched on a hilltop, looking over the surrounding scenic countryside. One of the oldest towns in southern Portugal, it’s been occupied over time by Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, Jews and Christians.

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Cochem, Germany

This town in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate state is begging to be Instagrammed. Its most distinguishing feature is a historic castle that peers over the town and the banks of the Moselle river.

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Sigtuna, Sweden

The oldest town in Sweden, Sigtuna was built in the 10th century. The lakeside town is covered with snow for most of the year, and during the Christmas season it is one of the most festive and charming spots on the continent.

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Whitby, England

This picture-perfect seaside town in Yorkshire is divided by the River Esk. The most famous spot in town is known as the 199 Steps, a steep trail that leads to the scenic Whitby Abbey, the remains of a Benedictine monastery that inspired the story of Dracula.

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Monte Isola, Italy

Surrounded by Lake Iseo in Lombardy, Monte Isola is the largest Italian lake island. Enjoy leisurely walks or bike rides around the lush green isle (cars are banned here), making sure to rest in one of the 11 villages in order to sample the delicious local fish, cheese and salami.

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Hallstatt, Austria

Nope, this isn’t a made-up fairy-tale village, but it might as well be. The Alpine town—which dates back to 800 B.C. and is nicknamed “the pearl of Austria”—is, unsurprisingly, the most photographed place in the country.

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Hannah Loewentheil

Freelance PureWow Editor

From 2015-2017 Hannah Loewentheil held the role of Editor covering entertainment, food, travel and all things nyc.
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