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Europe’s most beautiful small towns and villages – for holidays away from the crowds

Do you already know Paris, Rome or London? How about an alternative? Away from the tourist crowds, there are hundreds of small, charming towns across Europe that are worth a trip. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a tiny town on Iceland with a breathtaking landscape, an old coastal settlement with quaint fishing boats or a lively market square with unusual architecture in the south – we’ll show you our ten favorites for your next short trip.

Zell am See, Austria

Forget Vienna or Salzburg – Zell am See in Austria is probably one of the most enchanting small towns in Europe! The little beauty convinces with the Zeller See and nestles against the mighty Schmittenhöhe. Skiers and other winter or hiking enthusiasts may have heard of the mountain giant with its impressive height of 1965 meters on the eastern edge of the Kitzbühel Alps.

Zell am See is without a doubt one of the most beautiful small towns in Europe.

But Zell is also worth a visit in summer – here you can swim, explore the area by bike or visit the idyllic city with its charming architecture. Also interesting is the Pinzgauer local train, with which you can drive through the majestic Alpine landscape and even get to the impressive Krimml waterfalls.

Seydisfjordur, Iceland

Small but mighty: Tucked away at the end of a wild fjord in the far east of Iceland is the small Seydisfjördur. A ferry passes here every week that connects Iceland with Denmark and the Faroe Islands.

The rainbow path and the white church in Seyðisfjörður are real eye-catchers.

The little beauty has fewer than 700 inhabitants, but there are still some charming guest houses as well as breweries and restaurants to be found. On the outskirts, in Tvísöngur, an impressive sound sculpture made of concrete awaits visitors. The scenic backdrop there is particularly beautiful.

Gangi in Sicily, Italy

Here’s Bella Italia with a portion of understatement – or have you ever heard of the impressive city panorama of Gangi in Sicily? It’s especially nice at dusk.

The enchanting small town also convinces with an idyllic castle that sits majestically on a hill, baroque and medieval churches and, last but not least, with the massive Mount Etna, which seems to watch over everything high above Gangi.

The beautiful Italian town of Gangi with the imposing Mount Etna in the background.

Those who like something steeped in history will find what they are looking for in the underground tomb of the Chiesa Madre di Gangi, where mummified priests line the walls of the crypt.

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Bled, Slovenia

The small town of Bled in Slovenia has become a real tourist magnet. This is mainly due to the picturesque view of the lake, in the middle of which there is a church from the 17th century on a teardrop-shaped island. Anyone who visits them by boat feels like diving into mystical pasts like from Grimm’s fairy tales.

Bled in Slovenia enchants visitors with its mystical beauty.

You can also row or enjoy other outdoor activities on the beautiful lake. A 20-kilometer-long hill hike around the lake is particularly beautiful. You get a panoramic view of the landscape – and the church island at various points. The highlight is the view from Velica Osojnica – which our travel reporter Maike has already enjoyed.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Pure winter wonderland: someone could have thought of that for Zermatt in Switzerland! The beauty of the Matterhorn is impressive, and it is not the only more than 4000 meter high summit that surrounds Zermatt.