8 Idyllic European Towns You'll Never Want To Leave
Europe is known for its charming and sequestered towns, but these are right up there with the best and showcase a way of living that many aspire to but could never realistically afford, such is modern-day society's reliance on the major cities for jobs.
However, if you ever find yourself considering such a lifestyle, then these eight quaint European towns may just be to your liking.
1. Annecy, France
France is synonymous with Paris, one of the most decorative places on Earth, but venture further afield to the more rural regions, and you'll come across plenty of towns nestled away from the throngs of tourists.
A good place to start is Annecy. Offering a France free from gift shops and selfie sticks, this romantic enclave is known as the Venice of France due to the sun-dappled canals that run through the peaceful town. Offering everything one would want from a quiet getaway, Annecy is perfect for couples. You can picnic beside Lake Annecy, stroll hand-in-hand as you cross the lover's bridge "Pont des Amours" or simply bask in your good company in one of the many cute sidewalk cafes.
2. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
A prepossessing renaissance town few are likely to have heard of, Český Krumlov is situated around the bend of the River Vltava and is home to one of Europe's finest castles.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 13th-century baroque castle theatre houses an array of medieval taverns, and panoramic views of the town can be viewed from the top. For thrill seekers and adventurers, the Šumava National Park is an hour's drive away.
3. Alsace, France
Unbeknown to many, certain parts of France are rooted in German culture. One of these regions, Alsace, lies near the German border, and as such shares many traditional German customs.
A 20-minute drive from the small city, Colmar, Eguisheim is characterised by its bright pink buildings and the floral decorations outside them, and the city was included in a 2003 list of France's most beautiful villages.
A quiet place with a selection of restaurants and cafes, visitors often spend the afternoons exploring the narrow walkways and cobbled streets. If you wander into the more rural parts of the village, you may come across their ever-increasing population of adorable Alsace storks. Perfect then, for a picturesque Disney setting, like the classic animated movie, Beauty and the Beast, which based its fictional setting on the wonders of the small town.
4. Chiavari, Italy
Less than an hour's drive from Genoa's main airport lies the small seaside town of Chiavari. Known to few outside Italy, the town offers a relaxed alternative to the more popular Italian coastal destinations like Capri or the nearby Ligurian town of Portofino.
Perfect for couples and even honeymooners, the area, which has many clifftop villas available for renting, offers a superb array of downtown restaurants, with the pizzeria Claudio's a firm favourite among locals. Ferries to the more costly parts of Liguria, such as Portofino and Cinque Terra run regularly, making Chiavari a more modest yet quieter alternative to the often congested areas more synonymous with the region.
5. Cochem, Germany
Overlooking the Moselle River, Cochem's cobbled stone streets and half-timbered houses and famous Reichsburg castle make it a perfect location for those with a penchant for a more medieval and gothic vibe.
Inhabited by little over 5,000 people, this picturesque postcard town is laden in a kaleidoscope of colours, despite being an area of Europe that isn't exactly famed for its warm weather. For a panoramic view, Cochem's 1,000-year-old Reichsburg castle overlooks the town from a hill, thus offering ample photo opportunities.
6. Monsanto, Portugal
For those wanting an authentic taste of Portugal, then look no further than the Medieval town of Monsanto. Voted the “most Portuguese village in Portugal,” the unorthodox landscape is what endears visitors most, with large boulders supporting many of the town's homes.
After exploring the town, a trip to Monsanto wouldn't be complete without a horseback ride through the nearby bucolic countryside and mountains the town overlooks.
7. Şirince, Turkey
Much like Portugal, Turkey isn't known for its inland towns, but the Eurasian country has many hidden gems, and the small town of Sirince is an excellent example of that.
Populated by just 600 residents, Sirince is an awe-inspiringly beautiful hilltop town that would work wonders for those suffering from the stress and anxiety from big city life.
Characterised by its phantasmagorical olive groves, apple orchards and peach trees, this town could easily be mistaken for a painting.
8. Mittenwald, Germany
Scenically nestled between the majestic mountains of the Bavarian Alps, the narrow streets and assorted colours of the homes further complement a place that could boost your zen level tenfold.