A quiet escape to the verdant European countryside is rarely complete without a stop at one of the many beautiful mountain towns. These picturesque settlements often feature traditional architecture and are surrounded by undulating mountains that will make you feel one with the wilderness. These picturesque mountain towns are sure to inspire you to take a trip to the lush countryside. Here are 12 beautiful mountain towns for your next escape to the countryside for a breath of fresh air in unadulterated nature.
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12 Best Mountain Towns In Europe Worth Visiting
1. Kotor, Montenegro
Kotor is a medieval town located on the Adriatic coast in Montenegro in the stunning Bay of Kotor. The quiet and tiny town has become the new hot spot for travelers. Don’t go by its size, this tiny town is loaded with stunning views and loads of activities. From Hiking, swimming, fishing, horse riding, wine tasting, Kotor has everything to lose yourself in. This beautiful mountain town amidst soaring Balkan Mountains is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its Venetian-inspired architecture and narrow streets make it a truly picturesque place to visit. Don’t miss the spectacular natural harbor and impressive medieval fortress while here.
2. Reine, Norway
Located on the coast of one of the Lofoten Islands 140 miles south of Tromsø, Reine is one of the prettiest villages in the region. This small fishing village is so pretty that it’s ranked one of the most photographed villages in Norway. Set in a beautiful bay surrounded by dramatic cliffs and soaring mountains, it is also an excellent place to see the Northern Lights. Its scenic landscape and several small beautiful Islands will make you want to add this town to your bucket list right away. Reine has been a huge inspiration for artists/filmmakers and has been featured in theme parks too. Activities like hiking, kayaking, stand-up paddling or going on a fishing trip are some of the best things to do here.
3. Vlkolinec, Slovakia
This beautiful village is one of the seven Slovak villages that have been granted a UNESCO status. Vlkolinec, located in the town of Ružomberok in northern Slovakia remains intact as this place is untouched by modern development. It has 55 log houses built in a traditional central European style. They are remarkably well preserved and set amidst the lush pastures of the Veľká Fatra Mountains. Several preserved buildings from the 18th century are a perfect example of the countryside architecture in this region. The Virgin Mary’s Visitation Church, a wooden belfry, a rustic well, the Padre Horsky Gallery with historical photographs and the ‘Peasant House’ are some of the best places to visit.
4. Soglio, Switzerland
The fairy-tale town in Switzerland was once called “the gateway to paradise” by Austrian painter Giovanni Segantini. Located in the Maloja district, it is known for the beautiful wildflowers that spread across the countryside in spring and summer. The population is not very big (170 people), Soglio is pretty isolated with no museums and no big activities. But don’t be disappointed, the impressive landscapes make up for this. This calm old town is ideal for nature lovers who enjoy cross-country tours and winter hikes. The climate is very unpredictable here. Every three days you can expect showers, so always keep an umbrella handy. Church of St. Lorenzo located on a hillside, a couple of hotels and a restaurant makes for an amazing atmosphere.
5. Lech, Austria
Pricy, posh Lech is one of Austria’s main visited mountain towns by the rich and famous. This Austrian ‘chocolate box’ town is famous for its lavish ski resorts. Located in the Bludenz district of Vorarlberg, the town was once a simple farming village. However, it gets quite isolated here during the winter when it gets snowed in until the connecting Flexen Pass can be cleared. This cosmopolitan mountain town, fabulous Ski Arlberg ski region, lively bars, excellent restaurants and plenty of shopping opportunities makes it one of the best mountain destinations in Europe to visit.
6. Berat, Albania
Berat, also Known as the ‘City of a Thousand Windows’ is one of the largest mountain towns in Albania. This city on the Osum River with its towering castle, pretty window frames and winding cobblestone streets makes for a perfect family or couple destination. Its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is filled with buildings from several civilizations throughout history. It also sits in the shadow of Mount Tomorr and is known for its beautiful Byzantine churches and mosques. From hiking to wine tasting, there are many things to explore when it comes to the best things to do in Berat Albania.
7. Chamonix, France
Chamonix’s mountain towns are perfect locations for people who want to explore the French Alps. What was a small mountain village until the 19th century is now a cosmopolitan center in the French Alps of Haute-Savoie. The ski resort here is considered to be one of the best in the world. You can check out your skiing skills at Mont-Blanc which is Europe’s highest summit in all of the Alps. Skiing, Snowboarding, Sledding, Climbing the Aiguille du Midi, Mountain Biking or a Heli-Skiing tour are some of the adventure activities one can indulge in while here. The Aiguille du Midi, the Mer de Glace and the Brévent Mountain can also be explored from here.
8. Covadonga, Spain
Covadonga is a place that has a blend of religious, historic and natural beauty. Located in the heart of the Picos de Europa National Park, the small community of Covadonga can be found up in the mountains. The very famous ancient basilica, the holy cave and Fountain of Seven Spouts are essential destination spots during a trip to these mountain towns. Travelers come in from very far off places to experience this religiously significant place. The gorgeous locations, art, heritage, history, and worship all makes Covadonga worth the visit.
9. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Located within the Dolomites of the Southern Alps, in the Veneto region of northern Italy lies the jewel of Italy. These beautiful mountain towns are famous for their distinctive “tufa” rock formations. Best time to visit is during the winter season to indulge in winter sport activities like, Skiing, Snowboarding and Sledding. Summers too will not disappoint you, hiking, mountain biking and aerial cable car journey is sure to give you the thrills of your life. Shopping at an open-air market or treating yourself to a meal at one of the town’s finest restaurants are the other things to do here.
10. Bled, Slovenia
This romantic and timeless place is the best option to escape from your busy urban life for a while. Beautiful Bled, surrounded by the Julian Alps, is one of the most beautiful places in Europe. The main highlight of the town is the famous islet that features a church in the middle of a dream-like place. This mountain-lake combo attracts large numbers of tourists from around the world in the summer. Get immersed in the divine atmosphere of this magical place by taking a walk, ride or a tourist train around the lake. Plan quick day trips to Lake Bohinj, Vintgar Gorge, Radovljica and Kropa through crystal clear water of Lake Bled.
11. Sintra, Portugal
Sintra is one of the most beautiful mountain towns in Portugal and is absolutely worth the visit. It is a small town and municipality in the Greater Lisbon region, located on the Portuguese Riviera. It’s a must-do one day trip from Lisbon, if time’s not an issue, there’s more than enough things to do here for a few days. Sintra is not like just another classic European mountain town, it is unique in its own Mediterranean way. The fairytale-like castles, royal palaces, enchanting gardens, historic estates and villas give a feel like you have come to the other side of the world. The colorful Pena Palace, historic center of the Vila de Sintra and the 19th-century Romanticist architecture has earned Sintra the tag of UNESCO World Heritage site.
12. Val de Funes, Italy
This surprisingly quiet valley in the Dolomites is home to the most beautiful winter landscapes in Europe. The quaint churches of Val di Funes that sit on rolling green meadows under the jagged spires of the Puez-Odle massif are a remarkable scene. There are several vantage points for capturing these churches and other stunning locations. The towering peaks surrounding Val de Funes are visible from almost everywhere in the valley. With the beautiful Italian Alps forming the background, the dramatic scenery, hospitable alpine farms, it’s one of the best hikes in the Dolomites. This UNESCO World Heritage site gives a feel of stepping into an old fairytale.
Packing List For Mountain Towns Getaway
Wondering what to pack for your first mountain trip? Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a week’s trip, packing right is very important. Here’s our list of essentials for a mountain getaway:
- Check the weather forecast and pack appropriately as per the conditions. Generally it is warm during the day and often cold during the nights.
- Pack comfortable clothes, layered clothes and waterproof jackets.
- Pack two pairs of shoes, one for hiking and the other for walking and other activities.
- Bring a variety of colorful scarves. You can mix and match these scarves with the same jacket every day.
- Good hats, for they keep your head warm during winter, dry during rain and keep the sun off your face in summer.
- Keep all prescribed medicines and first aid kit handy.
- All necessary electronic items like, Phones, Camera kit, Tablet/Laptop, Electric converter/adapter/charges/Power bank.
- If you are planning to indulge in some adventure sports like skiing or hiking, you don’t have to carry the gears with you, just rent them.
Go off the trail and visit a magical place to clear your mind. What better way than to escape to one of these picturesque mountain towns in Europe this summer. Feel the chilly mountain breeze on your skin, take a deep breath of the pure mountain air – to cure oneself physically and mentally. Are there any beautiful mountain towns we’ve missed? If yes, do share them in the comments box below.
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