Villages of Europe: the 10 smallest villages belli - Official Ranking

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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Our dear old Europe owns villages among the most beautiful in the world, which offer visitors wonderful emotions and a charm that has lasted for millennia. From Holland to Portugal, from Lithuania to Slovenia, without forgetting Austria, Spain and our Italy: in all these and in many other European countries small villages are hidden, as precious as jewels that contain all the splendor of past eras.

Following a survey carried out on a sample of over 46.000 community users a ranking of the most beautiful villages of the old continent has been drawn up between specialists and travel enthusiasts. The choice of Italian towns fell on Alberobello, the only one in the "Bel Paese" to be among the top ten. At the bottom of the ranking then, we wanted to mention 30 other wonderful villages that missed the top ten by a whisker.


  1. Giethorn, The Netherlands
  2. Alberobello, Italy
  3. Ronda, Spain
  4. Colmar, France
  5. Oia, Santorini, Greece
  6. Bled, Slovenia
  7. Hallstatt, Austria
  8. Trakai, Lithuania
  9. Obidos, Portugal
  10. Zermatt, Switzerland
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Giethorn, Netherlands

Located inside the Weerribben-Wieden National Park, Giethoorn is a idyllic village of the province of Overijssel.

Immersed in an environment rich in lakes, reeds and woods, this charming village is characterized by beautiful farms from the roofs covered with reeds e wooden jumpers (more than 170!). Called "Venice of the North", the must-do activity is navigating the canals with a 'punter', but also with a silent boat, or simply taking part in a boat tour.

About 120 km from Amsterdam, the village is can be easily visited during the day, perhaps taking part in a day tour by bus and boat.

2 - Alberobello, Italy

Recognized World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1996, due to the presence of trulli, Alberobello is the greatest example of an urban center of the culture of the trulli, with its almost 2000 conical shaped buildings.
Whether you are on a beach holiday in Puglia or in some Apulian or Lucanian cities, do not miss the opportunity to visit this wonderful "nativity scene". To discover local history and traditions we recommend that you take part in a guided walking tour.

E' easily reachable from the main Apulian cities, such as from Bari (63 km, 1 h), Polignano a Mare (28 km, 33 min), from Taranto (48 km, 1 h) and Brindisi (76 km, 1 h).

3 - Ronda, Spain

Spanish town perched on the "El Tajo" gorge carved by the Guadalevin torrent. IS' one of the most beautiful cities in Andalusia, able to leave everyone speechless, even famous people. The city has Arabic and Spanish traditions, with incredible views, so much so that it has captured the interest of writers like Hemingway, Joyce and Orson Welles.

If you plan a tour in Andalucia, remember to absolutely include Ronda which is located just over 1 hour from Malaga and almost 2 hours from Seville. You can benefit from numerous tours to Ronda departing from the main Andalusian cities.

4 - Colmar, France

The charming town of Colmar is one of the jewels of Alsace: a succession of canals, picturesque corners, mazes of characteristic and pedestrian streets on which delightful half-timbered houses overlook of all pastel shades. The heart of Colmar is the old town, a labyrinth of magnificent narrow and colorful streets that will leave you speechless!

The beauty of this enchanting location is to be in one rather strategic geographical position. Whether you are in France, Germany or Switzerland, you will always be comfortable to reach Colmar and spend a whole day there. From here, moreover, you can discover the wonderful Alsace, perhaps with a wine tour if you are a wine lover, or with a tour of the main villages (more information).

Colmar then gives the best of itself on the occasion of Christmas: in fact, its markets cannot be missed, which make it one of the most beautiful European destinations to visit in this period!

5 - Oia, Santorini, Greece

The most immortalized glimpse of Greece. Greece of the common imaginary. With the typical white cube houses in pure Cycladic style, the blue domes, the walls full of bougainvillea and the splendid terraces overlooking the sea: we are talking about the village of Oia in Santorini. There ideal destination for a romantic getaway and the top place to watch the sunset at least once in a lifetime.

Being such a noble destination, the accommodation facilities on site are quite expensive. If for this reason, or if you simply prefer to stay elsewhere, we still recommend that you dedicate a day, or half a day, to visiting Oia. If you are short on time you can opt for a traditional sunset bus tour in Oia, where you will be able to see the highlights of the island in one day!

6 - Bled, Slovenia

Known for its lake with a small island in the center on which a church dedicated to S. Maria Assunta was built, the town of Bled, located at the foot of the Julian Alps, was already considered a renowned seaside resort.

Bled also lends itself for numerous sporting and naturalistic activities. Here you can try canyoning in the Bohinj Valley or join a rafting experience.

The village is easily accessible from Ljubljana, the capital, which in turn is well connected to the very Italian Triste. From Ljubljana you can also take part in wonderful day tours that combine a visit to the village with exploring the beautiful Postojna Cave.

7 - Hallstatt, Austria

This small and characteristic Austrian municipality is located on the shores of the lake of the same name, in the Austrian region of Salzkammergut, at the foot of the imposing Dachstein. It seems straight out of a fairytale book, with the small houses inhabited by just under a thousand hospitable inhabitants.

The clear and crystalline waters of the lake mirror the village, framed by the imposing mountains, and make this splendid place more evocative and, if possible, even more beautiful. Wonderful in any season, especially in winter when the landscape is snowy!

It is also about a fairly expensive destination, for this reason the best way to visit it is via day trips from Salzburg or Vienna!

8 - Trakai, Lithuania

One of the historical capitals of Lithuania, it is surrounded by greenery within one of the many national parks, and rises in correspondence of three lakes, the largest of which houses the ancient castle.

The inhabited center it is distinguished by the typical wooden houses of the Tartars, always characterized by three windows on the street side. According to tradition, the landlord thus he expressed a very singular dedication: one window was for God, a second for his family and a third for the Grand Duke Vytautas.

The town of Trakai, about 28 km from Vilnius, lends itself to be visited in a day from the capital. If you don't have a car, we advise you not to miss the opportunity to visit it by taking part in a day trip from Vilnius!

9 - Obidos, Portugal

Located in Portugal, in the district of Leira, this small town is surrounded by fortified and well preserved walls; it is also dominated by a castle, also well preserved and dating back to the th century. The castle, which looks like a fortress with battlements and towers, was transformed into a palace in the th century, while today it is an elegant Pousada, a luxury hotel.

Easily accessible from Lisbon, and can therefore be visited with a day trip. The town is often combined with other destinations in the area. From Lisbon, many tourists opt for a day tour to Fatima, Batalha, Nazaré and Obidos!

10 - Zermatt, Switzerland

On the slopes of the Matterhorn, it is a town in the center of a region suited to hiking and skiing, which makes it one of the most attractive tourist locations. Just to give an idea, the ski area includes 54 ski lifts and ski lifts and 360 kilometers of slopes. The region of the "Matterhorn glacier paradise" is the largest and highest summer ski area in Europe. Numerous national ski teams train here in the summer. The region is also legendary for the climbers.

Hiking, biking, climbing and high-altitude tours are popular activities for the summer and autumn season. The rack railway is very impressive (we advise you to buy the priority ticket to secure your seat) which starts from Zermatt and reaches the Gornergrat at 3089 meters above sea level. From here you have a wonderful view of the Matterhorn, the glacier and the Monte Rosa massif.

Other European villages to visit

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  • Marsaxlokk, Malta
  • Reine, Norway
  • Positano, Italy
  • Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy
  • Mont Saint-Michel, France
  • Giverny, France
  • Gruyères, Switzerland
  • Volterra, Italy
  • Zaanse Schans, The Netherlands
  • Eze, France
  • Valensole, France
  • Vaduz, Liechtenstein
  • Počitelj, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Castle Combe, England
  • Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland
  • Snowshill, England
  • Zalipie, Poland
  • Sighișoara, Romania
  • Smogen, Sweden
  • Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
  • Burano, Italy
  • Sigulda, Latvia
  • Ribe, Denmark
  • Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Novigrad, Croatia
  • Ohrid, Macedonia
  • Grindelwald, Switzerland
  • Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
  • Vernazza, Italy
  • Hay-On-Wye, Wales

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