Romantic Villages in Europe

When you visit Europe for the first time, you can’t help but be swept up in the old world romance of the famous cities like Paris, Venice, and Rome. The only problem is, all the other tourists are experiencing the same thing, and that can make the experience feel less authentic and more manufactured for visitors. However, you can capture that same romantic feel from lesser-known picturesque villages scattered throughout the European countryside, without any of the huge crowds that the Eiffel Tower or the Venice canals draw.

Like how about Colmar, France? This rustic little village looks like it’s straight out of Beauty and the Beast, and it boasts a number of Renaissance-era churches. However, possibly the biggest draw to Colmar is that it sits squarely in the middle of the Alsatian wine route! If you visit, day trips to one (or several!) of the wineries in the countryside just outside the city are a must! If Venice was on your wishlist, try Giethoorn, in the Netherlands – it’s also known as “the Venice of the North!” Built on marshland just like the famous Italian city, Giethoorn maintained it’s sleepy village atmosphere through the years by preserving the thatched roof homes, wooden bridges, and personal row boats, which makes the whole area completely charming!

If you want to escape to a town out of time, try Hallstätt, Austria. Sandwiched between a gorgeous lake and the sharp rise of the Dachstein mountains, this little Austrian village has a market square and 12th century churches to keep you strolling for hours.

If warmer weather is more your speed, check out Sintra, Portugal, or Taormina, Italy. Lord Byron called Sintra the most beautiful town in the world, and with reason.

Set atop a mountain is King Ferdinand II’s Pena Palace, which is stunning in it’s own right but also has gardens with 500 species of trees! And Taormina is just as pretty, with the Ionian sea to one side and Mount Etna to the other. The city is built into the cliffsides and has miles of cafes and ancient ruins to explore. So what are you waiting for? Get going already!