If you dream of castles, stone streets, rolling fields, breathtaking views and church bells these villages in Europe deliver. With every bit of old-world charm, these small towns give you the feeling of walking through a fairytale. While Europe is home to hundreds of beautiful villages, the following 10 locations are voted by visitors as some of the quaintest in Europe.
1. Reine, Norway
Sapphire waters flow on the coast of Reine Norway, creating stunning coastal views and cozy nautical cottages. Reine is a small fishing village located north of the Arctic Circle allowing for breathtaking views of the northern lights during the late winter and spring seasons. If January through March is just too cold for you, autumn is another great time to visit, while still avoiding the summer crowds. Autumn in Reine is a perfect time for wonderful hiking through wildflower fields and magnificent mountains.
2. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
The medieval town of Cesky Krumlov will transform you into a land set in the 13th century. Since the construction of the town, Gothic architecture has remained seemingly untouched. You won’t see many tourists in this town, but there’s plenty to see and do in Cesky. Visiting during the summer allows the chance to raft down the Vltava River, or take a day trip to Prague located close by.
3. Colmar, France
Waterways flow through this small village in Alsace, creating the feel of a miniature Venice town. French and German heritage makes up the culture, food and architecture in Colmar. Autumn is a great time to taste the authentic harvest foods and take in the colorful views in the town. You will also miss the rush of tourists that flock to Colmar during the summer months.
4. Hallstatt, Austria
Hallstatt is one of the eldest, most charming towns in Austria, and it makes the list for most quaint in Europe if not the world. The town was first established for the harvesting of salt in 5000 BC and continues to exploit salt today. Tours of the salt mines are available and are a great way to see how the salt is collected as well as learn about the history of Hallstatt. If you don’t mind the cold, winter is a magical time to visit, as the whole town turns into a winter wonderland. Spring also welcomes visitors with fewer crowds and warmer temperatures.
5. Bibury, England
This may not be your first time seeing a photo of the town of Bibury. 17th-century buildings line the cobblestone streets making Bibury the picturesque image for a quaint European village. It seems everything in Bibury is charming, including the fish. You can witness them for yourself at the Bibury Trout Farm, a fish farm experience like none else.
6. Albarracin, Spain
History literally flows from the walls of Albarracin. Ancient cathedrals, rock paintings, stone towers, narrow alleys and bridges are frozen in the Middle Ages. Albarracin is a historic and breathtaking town that stands out for its sites, solitude and stories. Trust us, there’s more to Spain than Barcelona.
7. Sintra, Portugal
Mystical is the word visitors use to describe Sintra. Pena Park specifically is a magnificent spot within the village that just adds to the fairytale feel in this village. Winter is a great time to visit to avoid the intense summer heat in Portugal. However, try to visit on weekdays or in the evening to avoid crowds. The town’s beauty was why the Romans designated Sintra as a place of worship to Cynthia the goddess of the moon. Pena Palace is the ideal spot to visit to learn more about the town’s history and add to the ambiance of this village.
8. Annecy, France
Annecy overflows with romance. Surrounded by the French Alps, there are stunning views everywhere you look. Learn about the town’s romantic history at the Pont des Amours footbridge, or gaze upon modern art at the Château d’Annecy.
9. Manarola, Italy
Colorful and welcoming is Manarola, Italy. This town transforms you into a different time so much so that you cannot even park a car in the village. Traffic lights and rushing cars are foreign to Manarola. Fortunately, a shuttle bus can take visitors from their cars to the city in order to see the artistic homes, paintings and stone carvings that makeup Manarola.
10. Bled, Slovenia
This town of roughly 5,000 inhabitants centers around the deep turquoise waters of Lake Bled. Trails around the lake lead to panoramic views as well as the Bled Castle. After a day of hiking the many spectacular trails in Bled, a trip to the spa is in order. The most beautiful spas in Slovenia are located in the small village of Bled.