If there is something that attracts me, as honey draws flies, are the charming towns. It’s not that I don’t like big cities, but small towns have something special. They can be easily seen on foot and usually have an old vibe and atmosphere that cities don’t have.
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6 Charming towns in Europe
On this occasion, I would like to share with you 6 of the charming towns in Europe that I am dying to visit. I hope I’ll be able to visit them all in a near future. They are not listed in order of preference, I am sure that each of these places has its own beauty.
Colmar is a town in the north of France very close to Strasbourg. In 2015 it had 70,284 inhabitants. In different periods it’s belonged to Germany to later return to French jurisdiction. During Nazi Germany, it was annexed to Germany, but it was recovered by France after the Second World War. In fact, it is common for locals to speak German. Besides they also get much tourism from this neighboring country.
One of its most popular neighborhoods is Petite Venise named after its canals. The peculiar buildings of the old town have a German Gothic and Renaissance styles. One of its attractions is the Unterlinden Museum which is an art museum. Here they display the famous Isenheim Altarpiece made by the German Matthias Grünewald.
In June there is a wine festival because the Alsace region in which Colmar is located is famous for its vineyards. But the most attractive season to visit Colmar is in winter due to its popular Christmas markets. I’d wish to see it covered in snow soon.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is another of the charming towns that have drawn my attention. It’s a small city in the Bavarian region with a well preserved medieval old town despite the battles and wars it has suffered. In 2016 it had a population of approximately 15,650 inhabitants.
They built the Imperial Castle under the orders of King Conrad III around the year 1142. The town of Rothenburg begins to prosper in the surroundings of this castle. Unfortunately, the castle was destroyed in the earthquake of 1356. Today there are many gates and towers of the wall that are possible to see taking a walking tour
In Rothenburg, there are several interesting museums to visit. For example the Museum of the Imperial City located in the ex Dominican Convent. It is a museum that tells the history of the city with exhibitions of art, crafts and antique objects.
There’s also a museum about medieval criminology, and another one more cheerful, the Christmas Museum! By the way, Rothenburg, like Colmar, is an ideal destination to experience in winter as the Christmas Markets are part of its tradition.
On this link, you can download a brochure and a map, in case you plan to visit it soon.
Obidos is one of the charming towns that can be visited from Lisbon. It’s probably the one I can travel to sooner since I am planning to make a trip to Portugal. It’s a town of little more than 3,000 people but it is always full of tourists, especially in summer. Its charm is due to its castle, its walls, and its medieval old town.
The origins of the Castle are from Roman times but was during the Arab conquest that they made it a fortress. In 1950 it was conditioned to function as a luxurious inn. The entrance to the town is through the Porta da Vila that leads to the main street.
The building’s architecture has Arabic, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. There are several churches that you can visit, such as the Church of Santa Maria, and interesting monuments such as the Aqueduct. I don’t know what you think, but it sounds to me like a must visit in Portugal.
As it’s so close to Lisbon and you can see it in a few hours it’s an ideal day trip. On my first trip to Europe, I visited Portugal but I was completely unaware of this medieval jewel. I only visited Sintra on that occasion, another fairytale town that I recommend you not to miss. You can read about my experience here: A day trip to Sintra from Lisbon. What to see in one day
San Gimignano, Italy
Of all the charming towns in Italian Tuscany, it has been difficult for me to choose one. But I had to as I didn’t want to fill the post with only Italian towns. I chose San Gimignano for two reasons: Because of its popularity and because I have already traveled to Tuscany, and I missed it. 🙁
There are records that it was founded around the 3rd century BC but it’s in the 10th century that it reaches its greatest splendor. Also around this time, it takes its name from Bishop San Geminiano. It currently has a population of approximately 7780 inhabitants. Its location, very close to Siena and Florence makes it an ideal destination for a day trip.
In this link, you can read about my experience in Florence Advice about what to do in Florence: art and shopping
Hallstatt is a picturesque village located next to the lake of the same name. It also has a beautiful background with mountains that make it one of the most attractive charming towns in Austria. It has barely more than 800 inhabitants according to the last census.
Hallstatt is one of the oldest towns in Europe still inhabited. There are records of settlements since prehistory. Archaeologists have also found many graves in the area. It has a salt mine that is one of the oldest in the world. You can reach the mine using the funicular that leaves from Hallstatt
Also in Hallstatt, there are several activities that you can enjoy. For example, rides on the lake and tours to the Waldbachstru waterfalls, the ice caves and to the archaeological excavations. There’s also a kinda spooky attraction. An ossuary where they exhibit bones and human skulls taken from the Hallstatt cemetery. Not having enough space to bury their dead they had to move their remains to the ossuary.
Sighisoara is a small town located between the Carpathians of Transylvania. Its population is 32,287 inhabitants. It is the hometown of Vlad Tepes, who inspired the story Dracula by Bram Stoker. It has German influence since a Saxon group settled in Sighisoara in times of King Geza II of Hungary.
The medieval old town within the Citadel is well preserved. Among its buildings stands the Clock Tower that was built in the 14th century. It currently houses a History Museum which is available to visit. It’s also possible to visit a Medieval Weapons Museum and the Vlad Dracul House where this character supposedly was born
This is the end of my list of the charming towns in Europe that I most want to visit. I wanted to make a short list to be able to tell you more about them, but there are many more that are worth seeing.
Now tell me about you, have you visited any of these towns? What charming towns or magical places have you included in your bucket list? which can you recommend for me? Leave your comments in the section below.
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