The 10 most beautiful towns in Europe

1.Kilkenny, Ireland


On the banks of the River Nore in the province of Leinster, Kilkenny is often referred to as a city though it is the size of a large town. Its heritage is on display in the form of Kilkenny Castle, St Canice’s Cathedral and its medieval walls.

2.Lech, Austria

A fashionable Austrian ski resort whose charm is often amplified by a covering of snow, Lech is an old farming village set high in a valley that spends large parts of winter cut off from the outside world, until the Flexen Pass can be cleared.

3.Rovinj, Croatia

Rovinj (Rovigno in Italian) is coastal Istria’s star attraction. While it can get overrun with tourists in summer, and residents have developed a sharp eye for maximising profits by upgrading hotels and restaurants to four-star status, it remains one of the last true Mediterranean fishing ports

4.Soglio, Switzerland

Giovanni Segantini was almost certainly sitting in the garden of the Palazzo Salis when he claimed that Soglio was “the gateway to paradise”. Soglio is an enchanting village of 300 souls in the Bergell region, also famous for its flowers. What could be more romantic?

5.Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain

Famed for its dwellings built into the rock, Setenil de las Bodegas, 100 miles north east of Cadiz, has also gained a reputation for its chorizo sausages from pigs bred in the surrounding hills

6.Quedlinburg, Germany

British writer Simon Winder described Quedlinburg as a “daft little Harz Mountain town” and said that its sheer beauty was never far from his mind. He misses its “rambling street pattern, the beauty of the countless, red-roofed half-timbered houses and, of course, the ‘pocket Schloss’ perched on its hill with a beautiful Romanesque abbey.”

7.Riquewihr, France

A famous part of the Alsace wine-growing region, Riquewihr is “the prettiest village in the region, its medieval defensive walls still largely intact, and many of the half-timbered houses hemming the narrow streets date back to the 16th century.”

8.Procida, Italy

“Procida is enchanting, like an imaginary Italian island come true. The architecture, with houses apparently blending into each other or separated by intertwining passages in a riot of pastel colours, is like something from a film set.”

9.Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy

With a permanent population of fewer than 10 – but 600,000 annual tourists – the hilltop village has become a focal point of central Italian holidays. It is, however, at risk from the steady erosion of its volcanic perch.

10.Berat, Albania

Mangalem, the city of Berat’s old town, sits on the banks of the river Osum and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. In medieval times it was a frontier town of the Byzantine Empire, to which its citadel testifies.


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