15 of the most beautiful villages in Europe for travel snobs

15 of the most beautiful villages in Europe for travel snobs

Almost everyone loves a pretty village, you know a place where the houses are impossibly perfect and time just seems to stand still. Well, luckily Europe has plenty! From dreamy fishing villages to tiny fortified towns, here are our favourite picturesque villages in Europe guaranteed to impress your travel snob friends…

Eze, France – an impossibly pretty hilltop village in France

Eze France - the prettiest villages in France

The ancient village of Eze – with its fabulous views over St Jean-Cap Ferrat – is a more traditional alternative to the glitz and glamour of the Côte d’Azur’s resort towns. Perched on rock 1,400 feet above sea level, the focal point of the village is the ruins of a 12th-century castle. Wander through its labyrinthine streets and then stand back to admire the gorgeous view of the villas that lead down the hillside to the Mediterranean.

Pitigliano, Italy – a striking small town built on sheer cliffs

Pitigliano village Italy

Surrounded by woodland and the fabled rolling hills of Tuscany is Pitigliano – an ancient small town built on sheer cliffs. Dating from as early as 1061, the town is filled with Etruscan tombs (which locals use to store wine) which are connected by a network of caves and tunnels. An extraordinary, steep fortress surrounds the commune which ensures its status as one of the most unusual and photogenic towns in the area. See other pretty places to visit in Italy and Tuscany.

Polperro, England – often cited as one of the prettiest villages in England

Polperro village in Cornwall

The popular English holiday county of Cornwall is filled with chocolate-box pretty villages, but perhaps the most beautiful is Polperro. With its narrow winding streets and cottages perched on steep slopes overlooking a tiny harbour it seems to be everyone’s idea of a picturesque Cornish fishing village.

Hallstatt, Austria – easily one of the most beautiful villages in Europe

Hallstatt Austria

Often considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Europe, Hallstatt is very picturesque. This is mostly due to its location on a narrow rocky west bank of the Hallstättersee with the sheer rising mountains behind it. Famous for its production of salt, this tiny village was once a settlement that dates back to prehistoric times. You may also like other pretty places to visit in Austria.

Wengen, Switzerland

Wengen Switzerland

Wengen is an impossibly perfect example of an Alpine village where traditional timber chalets cling to the slopes of the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Yes, it does look something straight out of Heidi and although it’s a little touristy in the summer, in winter the high altitude attracts so many skiers its population increases almost ten-fold. Although Switzerland is famously expensive it doesn’t always have to be, especially if you look around for some late deals.

Obidos, PortugalObidos - prettiest village in Portugal

This is an ancient fortified town located in the Estremadura Province and a very beautiful village in Europe to visit. In the 13th century, Portuguese Queen Isabel was so enamored by the village of Obidos that her husband, King Denis I, gave it to her as a present. Today its perfectly preserved collection of medieval architecture ensures its status as a popular tourist destination.

Deià, Mallorca

Deia village in Majorca

Deia is a renowned picturesque village – located on the northern ridge of the island – which is known for its literary and musical residents. Positioned in a valley in the shadow of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, it’s home to a cluster of stone-built houses complete with terracotta roofs that seem to hug the dramatic mountain range.

Ravello, Italy

Ravello - prettiest villages in Europe

The Amalfi coast’s most peaceful and charming resort is easily worth the stomach-churningly steep drive to get to. A favourite haunt of celebrities (Greta Garbo, Jacqueline Kennedy and Tennessee Williams all holidayed here) Ravello is known for its mostly traffic-free lanes, elegant gardens, picturesque squares and its famous vertigo-inducing glimpses of the Mediterranean miles below.

Pučišća, Croatia

Pucisca Croatia - one of the most beautiful villages in Europe

Pučišća is a small and gorgeous harbour town located on the northern coast of the island of Brač. Sheltered by a protective cove and filled with attractive Mediterranean style white and terracotta houses, this kind of place is the reason why Croatia is such a popular travel destination.

Kazimierz Dolny, Poland

Kazimierz Dolny Poland

 

This small historic town has a pre-war, precommunist charm that really draws the crowds. Besides the cobblestone streets, preserved Renaissance buildings and picturesque ruins of a medieval castle the town is also known for its superb panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Autoire, France

Autoire Village France

Autoire – located in Lot, close to the border with the Dordogne department – has the honour of being titled as one of the ‘most beautiful villages of France‘. A place where little has changed in 800 years, it’s filled with a collection of attractive 16th and 17th century honey-coloured houses, a pretty church and central fountain all set with a backdrop of the dramatic cliffs of the Causse.

Carlingford, Ireland

Carlingford Ireland - pretty villages of Europe

Just an hour’s drive from either Belfast or Dublin, Carlingford Heritage Village is famous for both its attractiveness and its surrounding landscapes. It enjoys a very beautiful location on the southern shore of Carlingford Lough and at the foot of Sliabh Foye surrounded by Irish myth and legend.

Mittenwald, Germany

Mittenwald Village Germany

Mittenwald is where ‘Old Germany’ stills exists. Traditionally very Bavarian, its has gorgeously decorated houses, painted facades and ornately carved gables. The painted buildings are exceptionally pretty so take your time to stroll around while doing a spot of shopping at the same time. You may also like our post on the most beautiful places to visit in Germany.

Crupet, Belgium

Crupet village Belgium

Crupet is a small pretty village set in a woody valley of Wallonia and surrounded by a large moat. Dating from the 13th century its famous for its beautiful castle and its grottoes. Although the medieval Crupet castle can’t be visited (it’s privately owned) it makes for an extremely photogenic backdrop. You may also like our other post on the most beautiful places to visit in Belgium.

Fjallbacka, Sweden

Fjallbacka Sweden

Fjallbacka is a dreamy fishing village which is also a gateway to Sweden’s most westerly islands, The Weather Islands. Soon you’ll also be hearing a lot more about this tiny and very pretty European village – the forthcoming feature film and TV series, The Fjällbacka Murders – were filmed here.

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Born in England, with a few family roots from Bavaria, and a heart in Scandinavia I've always been a bit of a restless soul. My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I've lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up over 40 countries on trips and living in Dublin, South East Asia and Australia. I'm a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, easy-on-the-eye travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian - from cloudberry liquors to Scandi Noirs. When not wandering the world, you'll find me walking my rescue dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Laines on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about returning to my all time favourite places in the world; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Thailand and the frozen landscapes of a wintry Iceland. Follow Becky on Twitter and Google+.

31 Comments

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    Raffaella

    16 August, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Beautiful, makes me want to visit all of them! I know Pitigliano, a true gem… I would also suggest Capalbio in southern Tuscany, medieval village surrounded by vineyards

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    Kjetil Kjernsmo

    16 July, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Ah, that’s a good list to see new places! I’d also recommend Lyngør, Norway, which was voted “best kept village in Europe” by the European Commission.

    Reply

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