For many in Europe, a vacation means spending a week in a seaside town, swimming and lying in the sun, and enjoying the freedom from the busy cities (for instance, Paris!) where they work. Luckily, seasides are not the only popular holiday destinations in Europe: travelers and vacationers tend to prefer visiting some mountain towns in Europe, too, next to the traditional seaside chilling. Getting hiking boots and carrying a backpack all day is not for many, but the reward is truly inspiring. Not to mention the unmatched charm of these little towns: it’s impossible to get lost in the streets, locals are friendly and helpful, and you can hear the birds chirping in the trees.
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The power of these mountain towns of Europe is underrated, indeed. They not only ensure the calm and relaxing environment for the stressed-out but also invite us to take a step out of our comfort zones. I can test my limits in a safe environment, yet away from the familiar faces and the setting I’ve grown into.
Going off the trail and avoiding crowded capital cities for a weekend has its magic, especially when all you need is a space to clear your mind. Thankfully, nowadays it is easier to visit these less traveled places by bus or trains, for instance, GoEuro is the travel platform I personally use to find good deals and travel options to any smaller towns and cities in Europe.
By visiting some of these gorgeous towns you will feel the chilly mountain weather on your skin, and you can take a deep breath of the healthy mountain air – it’s no surprise that many come here to cure themselves physically and mentally as well. A little journey to a slower pace environment only benefits your mind, body, and soul.
I love to walk around, enjoying the panorama: it’s a real feast for the eyes. In these enchanting Alpine towns, you can marvel at the centuries-old buildings and architecture as well as go for a trip in the nearby mountain hills. It’s also very easy to meet and team up with fellow travelers here, especially for more challenging trips to see Europe attractions and enjoy the natural beauty away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s always the funniest people who end up meeting here, so one is never sure about how the trip will end, sometimes it’s wine-tasting and laughing all evening after a day-long hiking.
These days, when deciding what to see in Europe next time, I always check smaller destinations as well. They are less crowded, more affordable, and have breathtaking panorama you can’t see anywhere else. Also, if you prefer going into the wild now and then, a weekend trip to the Alpine towns might just satisfy your wanderlust as they are perfect to find the most challenging and less-known trails.
PICTURESQUE MOUNTAIN TOWNS IN EUROPE
1. Wengen, Switzerland
This charming little town is a treasure in the Swiss Alps. Visiting Wengen is not only a journey in space, but in time, too: the timber houses and holiday chalets were built in the belle époque, and the style remained the same ever since. Climbers adore this car-free paradise as they often prepare and relax here between climbing Eiger, one of the toughest mountains of Europe.
2. Val de Funes, Italy
Especially in the wintertime, this small Italian Alps town is home to the most beautiful winter landscapes. These mountains are so familiar – it’s as if we stepped into an old fairytale. Val de Funes is not only a beauty but as a part of the Dolomites; it’s also protected by the UNESCO World Heritage name.
3. Olden, Norway
Olden is definitely among the less-known places to see in Europe. The Briksdalsbreen glacier is within an hour long trip from Olden, so it’s no wonder that the curious ones already discovered it as a perfect place to get on a cruise. The natural beauty of the surrounding glacier and national park might be one of the most scenic places in Europe.
4. Vik I Myrdal, Iceland
This village is the largest settlement in the South of the Icelandic mainland. It’s no wonder it’s constantly buzzing with tourists as well: Vik I Myrdal is not only a key service point in coastal trips between Iceland’s attractions, but also has a marvelous black pebble beach coast with scenic cliffs and basalt columns. This cute little town has a lot of surprises, that’s for sure!
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5. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Also located in the Dolomitic Alps, Cortina is famous for its winter sports paradise. The ski resorts and winter homes make this town a second home to quite a few aristocrats in Europe. Not only for the exciting social scene, but also for the unforgettable townscapes, Cortina is one of the most beloved holiday destinations in Europe.
6. Torla, Spain
The best choice when you need to relax, and you’re unsure about where to travel in Europe. Torla is known for its peaceful and quiet streets and mountain views, with green trees and birds chirping everywhere. For the brave, however, Torla offers mountaineering and hill walking activities as well. Moreover, if you are determined, this is the place to pass the Pyrenees and across the mountain frontier to France. Whether you are a nature lover or a hardcore hiker and climber, you can’t miss out on Torla in the summer.
7. Bled, Slovenia
Bled is one of those pretty places in the world everyone’s heard about but only a few have seen. The Lake Bled with an island, the dream-like scenery and naturally peaceful and divine atmosphere of this place make it truly magnetic. For history-lovers, it has a great chance to visit the Bled Castle as well, and the more adventurous travelers can take a trip to the Vintgar gorge. The wooden bridges and the crystal clear water bring everyone in the mood of escaping urban life for a while.
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8. Selfoss, Iceland
As part of the Golden Circle, Selfoss is not only among the best mountain towns but is also a key point in Icelandic trips to discover the natural beauty of the mainland. The Selfoss Geyser and the Kerid Crater are in the nearby. The Golden Circle trips are on the bucket list of many travelers, not only for the unique geologic formations but also for the marvelous scenery.
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9. Hallstatt, Austria
Hallstatt, this wonderful little Austrian town is, without a doubt, one of the most picturesque places in Europe. A well-known holiday resort, loved by the most exhausted and most stressed-out businessmen and leaders in Europe, the village of Hallstatt remains a quiet and peaceful place for those who prefer tranquillity during their holiday. The landscape has a wonderful effect on the soul: the reflection of the town on the Hallstatt Lake, with the mountains in the background, soothes and heals everyone.
10. Rougon, France
You won’t find Rougon among the most sought-after places to see in Europe, yet it’s one of the strange and beautiful places that worth a day. This tiny village has only a few streets, so no one gets lost by only wandering around. In Rougon, travelers often go out hiking in the mountainous area. Here they are likely to meet vultures, too – a famous resident colony of the birds is one of the attractions of the place.
11. Lucerne, Switzerland
Lucerne deserves the love that comes from all directions to this charming Swiss town. As many European towns, Lucerne has preserved its medieval parts, so the historic architecture and town squares make everyone feel like they’re coming home. A home to many museums and monuments, Lucerne attracts many culture-lovers and travelers who are looking for a tiny Swiss town among the highest European mountains.
12. Canazei, Italy
Canazei is the center of the ski-resort paradises in the Val di Fassa, and it has a key position in the Sella Ronda ski circuit, too. The most spectacular and challenging mountains of Europe are all easily accessible from Canazei, but the small village itself has a heartwarming panorama, especially with the snowy tops and evening lights.
13. Covadonga, Spain
One of the less known yet fabulous mountain towns in Europe, Covadonga is located in the Asturias, Spain’s natural paradise. The town is home to the Sanctuary of Covadonga, a group of monuments that give a particular medieval touch to the streets and local landscape. The impressive sights as the Basilica and the Holy Cave attract not only the religious but lovers of history and culture as well.
14. Annecy, France
Embedded in a mountain setting, Annecy is among the best mountain towns in the Alps. Rich in culture and history, Annecy is a beloved tourist destination and holiday resort in the South of France. You can wander around in the street and canals of Annecy, and you couldn’t leave it without feeling immersed in the lovely traditional French old town feeling. The castle, the markets and the flowers in the balconies never fail to amaze any traveler looking for a vibrant Alpine town.
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15. Innsbruck, Austria
Innsbruck is a capital in many ways: officially, it’s the center of Tirol, but Innsbruck also earned the “capital of the Alps” name, for a reason. With its world-known sights, signature scenery and architecture, Innsbruck is one of the best places to visit in Europe when it comes to mountain holidays. The city offers great opportunities for those who love alpine sports, but the old town has a pleasant atmosphere as well for those who prefer relaxing.
16. Lecco, Italy
Lecco is one of the most popular waterfront mountain towns in Europe. The panorama with the mountainous scenery inspires many travelers to take walking trips to enjoy the view along Lake Como’s shore. The romantic old town with its belltower is a signature look of the area, and it also has charming cafés and restaurants that set the evening vibes high.