Europe is the second smallest continent on the planet, after Australia, but what it lacks in dimensions it makes up for in beauty and splendor. Make a trip to such picture-perfect towns a priority on your bucket list. Their charming and breathtaking scenery will leave you in awe.
Located in Aragon, this well-preserved medieval village sits high on a mountaintop 3,878 feet above the Guadalaviar River. The hilly town has narrow streets, stone fortress walls, orange clay buildings and Moorish towers.
Skip Santorini and head to this sleepy, remote island in the Cyclades. Think mountainous terrain dotted with whitewashed buildings and donkeys, surrounded by the azure Aegean Sea.
This town in the Harz mountains will transport you back in time to the Middle Ages. You can still see remnants from the 12th century, like cobblestone streets, the central market square and timber-framed, red-roofed houses painted in vibrant colors.
France’s Provence region isn’t all lavender fields and vineyards. The town of Gordes, nestled between the Vaucluse Mountains and the Luberon valley, is home to castles that date back to the 12th century.
This picture-perfect Scandinavian village is set in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site Naeroyfjord. Undredal’s claim to fame: Goats roam around the grassy village freely, providing milk for the town’s namesake cheese.
Often overshadowed by nearby Positano, Ravello is an Amalfi Coast town that sits high in the hills, offering breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Garden estates and lemon groves, here we come.
Eguisheim is a storybook Alsatian town, complete with half-timbered houses painted in blues and pinks, cobblestone roads and flower boxes galore.
Malta’s largest fishing village—home to fewer than 4,000 people—hosts an enormous fish market every Sunday. The waterfront harbor is lined with brightly painted fishing boats (called luzzus) and open-air restaurants.
Traveling to this well-preserved medieval town near the coast in East Sussex is like stepping back in time. Independent booksellers, cafés, seafood shops and quaint guesthouses occupy the Georgian buildings along narrow cobblestone streets.
In the Alentejo region by the Spanish border, Monsaraz is perched on a hilltop, looking over the surrounding scenic countryside. One of the oldest towns in southern Portugal, it’s been occupied over time by Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, Jews and Christians.
This town in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate state is begging to be Instagrammed. Its most distinguishing feature is a historic castle that peers over the town and the banks of the Moselle river.
The oldest town in Sweden, Sigtuna was built in the 10th century. The lakeside town is covered with snow for most of the year, and during the Christmas season it is one of the most festive and charming spots on the continent.
This picture-perfect seaside town in Yorkshire is divided by the River Esk. The most famous spot in town is known as the 199 Steps, a steep trail that leads to the scenic Whitby Abbey, the remains of a Benedictine monastery that inspired the story of Dracula.
Monte Isola, Italy
Surrounded by Lake Iseo in Lombardy, Monte Isola is the largest Italian lake island. Last year, it was home to a gorgeous art installation by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude: a golden fabric that floated on Lake Iseo and allowed visitors to walk across the water.
Nope, this isn’t a made-up fairy-tale village, but it might as well be. The Alpine town—which dates back to 800 B.C. and is nicknamed “the pearl of Austria”—is, unsurprisingly, the most photographed place in the country.