While tour operators often focus on large cities, there are small villages in Europe that are also worth visiting. Sometimes remote corners, with an abundance of history, which are great to explore, summer and winter alike, on spectacular road trips.
1. Cordes-sur-Ciel (France)
Jewels of the Tarn department, Cordes-sur-Ciel was built in 1222 by Count Raymond VII of Toulouse. Since then, this emblematic place of Catharism has seen the whole world parade, from Keith Richards and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones to Ben Harper, among other celebrities. Classified Grand Site d’Occitanie, this village of less than 900 inhabitants, perched on its hill, allows you to fully immerse yourself in a fascinating medieval atmosphere.
2. Furnas (Portugal)
Pearl of the Azores, on the island of Sao Miguel, Furnas is particularly remarkable for its numerous volcanic manifestations. The village itself has about thirty hot springs and the surroundings allow you to admire geysers, steaming basins, fumaroles, burning sands and a hot river colored with iron. Here, nature is on stage and yes it is definitely worth a look.
3. Oia (Greece)
Not easy to retain only one Greek village. However, Oia imposed itself fairly quickly. Located in the region of Santorini, in the Cyclades, this small town, partly destroyed by the 1956 earthquake, shines thanks to its superb houses, whose immaculate whiteness contrasts with the blue of the sky. A true life-size masterpiece!
4. Vernazza (Italy)
824 people enjoy the wonders of Vernazza, in the province of La Spezia, in the Liguria region, all year round. Firmly attached to a rocky promontory, this village revolves around the castle of the Doria family, one of the most glorious vestiges of an exciting past. Plus it’s cool, because it’s not very far from the French border either.
5. Queen (Norway)
This fishing port at the foot of the mountains is part of Moskenes, in the Lofoten Islands. The cliffs give a picturesque and spectacular character, while the houses, alternately white or red, with magnificent green roofs, blend perfectly into the landscape to once again form a naturalistic fresco encouraging letting go and relaxation.
6. Tobermory (Scotland)
The Isle of Mull itself is sublime. But if only one place had to be selected, it would undoubtedly be Tobermory, a village of 700 inhabitants, known for its panorama of multicolored houses which blend harmoniously into the surrounding vegetation. Tobermory which is also subject to a legend. It is said that a Spanish galleon filled with gold sank in its waters. A treasure yet to be found. Hello Nathan Drake?
7. Hallstatt (Austria)
Feet in the water, at the foot of mountains covered with vegetation, Hallstatt is the most beautiful village in Austria. Even UNESCO could not resist listing it as a World Heritage Site. Located in the south of the country, on a site formerly occupied by men wishing to exploit the salt mines of the mountain, Hallstatt also shines thanks to the architecture of its beautiful colorful houses which, when the weather permits, are reflected in crystal clear water.
8. Albarracin (Spain)
Unmissable village of the autonomous community of Aragon, Albarracin was built in length, on the mountainside, on a site surrounded by the Guadalaviar river. As if nature, in its great generosity, had ensured that men could build here an architectural marvel still today hailed throughout the world for its beauty.
9. Cong (Ireland)
On the shores of Lake Corrib, this Irish village is popular for Ashford Castle, a 12th century building, but also for hosting the 1952 filming of The Quiet Man, starring Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne. It was also on this occasion that electricity was installed in the city. Cong which offers a sort of best-of of all that Ireland has to offer.
10. Bled (Slovenia)
We end with this magnificent bled in northwestern Slovenia, located at the foot of the Julian Alps. A village with an incredible lake in the middle of which sits a neo-Gothic church. The fact that Bled is also a spa resort is no stranger to its success. End of the end, the place lends itself perfectly to hiking and in winter, you can even ski there.