Paris, London, and Rome…Everyone is familiar with these big cities as premier destinations when travelling to Europe. And for good reason. They are full of history, tourist attractions, entertainment, and beautiful architecture. But not all of what Europe has to offer resides in big cities. Some of the best and most interesting locations lay outside of city limits. If you’re thinking of taking a trip soon, you may want to consider visiting a few of these gems.
Bruges is a must if you’re planning on visiting Belgium. Brussels may have the beer and waffles, but Bruges has the charm. The main square is filled with photo-worthy buildings, chocolate shops on every corner, and a quaintness you would just love to squeeze! To really get the feel of Bruges, take a canal tour and see the town from the water. From there, you are able to view the medieval architecture still intact on many of the churches and buildings. This canal town is so pretty, it has been given the nickname as the “Venice of the North.”
Only one hour bus ride from Florence is the picture-perfect town of Greve. Greve is part of the Chianti wine region in Tuscany, one of Italy’s famous regions. Only a few shops and houses make up Greve, but it’s not just the town that makes this a desirable stopover. It’s the wine. Situated all around Greve are some of Italy’s best and oldest vineyards. There are some vineyards and family estates that date back to over a thousand years ago! Try to plan a full day out there, taking in a wine and lunch tour to really enjoy the local food and drink.
Many already know of the small town as the gateway to the famous Matterhorn mountain. This ski resort town is so small in comparison to other resorts, it’s car free! With only a few roads that make up this village, Zermatt could be the most perfect small town in the world. With its old-world charm, swiss chalets, and the Matterhorn looming in the backdrop, you never want to leave. Especially with the train ride into the village; it’s one of the best scenic experiences you can have in Europe.
I can pretty much say any part of this country is stunning and worth seeing, but if you have an extra day or two to play, visit Radstadt. This little town is smack dab in the centre of the country. With mountain ranges all around, this makes for a great ski spot too, just ask the locals. You’re more likely to find them on the slopes than in the town. The town is also close to historic castles, and the famous Eisriesenwelt Caves, located 1,700 metres high in the Austrian Alps.
Mont St. Michel, France
Another famous landmark and UNESCO Heritage Site, this small village is built on a hill with a church located at the top. Built in the 8th century AD, it has been the seat of the monastery ever since. Located one kilometre off the coast of Normandy, Mont St. Michel has steadily welcomed visitors for thousands of years. Less than 50 people actually live on the island, even during the busy summer months. You used to only be able to reach the island twice a day during low tide, but there has been a walkway and bridge built across the water due to the increased popularity. Touristy or not, this hill-top village is not to be missed.
Located 40 minutes from Valencia, Bunol is famous for one thing: La Tomatina. This tomato festival brings in 30,000 people for a day of tomato throwing nonsense. Dump trucks file their way in the tiny alleys and leave a trail of ripe tomatoes for everyone to throw at each other. It’s a dirty, wet, and wild festival ending with locals opening their store fronts and homes to wash everyone off with a hose. Even when the village is quiet, it’s worth a visit to stroll the alleys, say hello to the nice locals, and see a bit of residential Spain.
Have we missed a small town that should be on this list? Please comment below!