Published On: Mon, Mar 27th, 2017

Discovering Europe – The Best Small Cities

The continent of Europe is an alluring concoction of natural magnificence and cultural diversity. From the sun-kissed coasts to the lofty peaks, Europe is a kingdom of exemplary geographical beauty. Equally mesmerizing is the culture of this region which is a fine depiction of the welcoming and affable nature of the locals. Each part of the continent offers a harmonious blend of traditional heritage and contemporary artifacts, which is livened up by a backdrop of dense greenery, sparkling water bodies, and staggering cliffs. The small towns and cities are the best places to explore the majestic architecture and surreal landscapes. Following are some of the undiscovered locations of Europe that glow with an old world charm and provide serene retreat.

Freiburg, Germany

The gateway to the untarnished splendor of the German Black Forest, Freiburg is a university town that resembles a postcard from the medieval times. The warm weather, gurgling brooks, and tranquil environment create the perfect atmosphere to indulge in the architectural marvels of this city. The most striking landmark is the Freiburg Minster, a cathedral with an impressive tower that dates back to the 13th century. The Old and New Town Halls will transport you back in time – as will the many gates that have survived since the original fortification of the city. The quaint surroundings and well-preserved ancient buildings make Freiburg a great option for travelers who wish to experience the more rustic side of Europe.

Rovinj, Croatia

A coastal town on the Istrian Peninsula, Rovinj is a fishing port with unspoiled beaches and pristine forests. As is the case with most Croatian cities, Rovinj has preserved several historical relics in the form of its museums and monuments. Sitting atop a hill in the middle of the town is the Church of St. Euphemia, a Baroque building that houses a marble tomb of the patron saint. Visit the Batana House, a museum dedicated to the fishing community, to gain some interesting insights regarding the culture of the fisher-folk of the region. The Punta Corrente Forest Park offers fresh forest air and is ideal for walking and cycling amidst pine and oak groves and rocky beaches. Rovinj is also a hot-spot for boating activities, so many wonderful Croatian yacht charter vessels can be spotted in its crowded port.

Trondheim, Norway

The city of Trondheim in Norway is one of the most colorful and picturesque parts of the country. A great example of the coexistence of history and modernity, Trondheim is both a technology hub and a cultural center. The most popular attractions include the Nidaros Cathedral and Archbishop’s Palace, ornate buildings that date back to the time when the city was the heart of Viking culture. Trondheim boasts of a plethora of museums that showcase the different aspects of this region. The Rockheim Museum is dedicated to music whereas the Sverresborg Museum holds ancient ruins and items of daily use from the past few centuries. One can also climb up to the Kristiansten Fort for a glorious view of the city.

Vicenza, Italy

Embellished with the unique Palladio style of Venetian architecture is the idyllic town of Vicenza in Italy. The breathtaking villas and monuments of this city resulted in Vicenza being named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. A modest stone-cutter turned architect, Palladio, created some of the most spectacular structures that still attract tourists from all over the globe. The elliptical theater of Teatro Olimpico and the impressive villa of La Rotonda are surely the most iconic pieces of architecture that adorn the city. While here, be sure to surround yourself with the spellbinding art displayed at Palazzo Chiericati. It’s also worth mentioning the ancient ruins of Roman Criptoportico which hold a magical collection of artistic creations, both overwhelming and enchanting.

Hallstatt, Austria

Nestled on the shore of the expansive lake of Hallstatter See is the village of Hallstatt, a town so beautiful that the Chinese have created its replica in their country. Home to some of the world’s oldest salt mines, Hallstatt also holds some intriguing architecture in the form of the Catholic Church of Hallstatt. For an enthralling experience, head over to the Skywalk that offers a jaw-dropping view of the city. You can enjoy the cafes and restaurants of the market square for a taste of the local culture or can spend your time in the lap of nature, floating through the lakes surrounded by mighty mountains. Hallstatt might be a small place but it is abundant in natural and archaeological treasures.

These small cities and towns are less crowded than the major cities and allow travelers to indulge in the traditional glory of Europe. Standing strong in the face of urbanization, these delightful locations have managed to preserve the true cultural flavors of the region.

About the Author

- I'm a passionate world traveler with particular interest in world history and culture. Hoping to visit Japan some day. Cycling and hiking enthusiast, and an aspiring writer from time to time.