Have you ever come across a small town in your travels that was absolutely breathtaking? There are many small towns that are unparalleled in beauty, yet find themselves merely dots on the map. Here are a few examples of beautiful small towns that are worth heading off the beaten track to visit.
Located in the heart of the Isle of Skye, you’ll see one of the world’s most stunning harbors with picturesque views of the Highlands in the background. It is a popular tourist attraction and the bustling harbor continues to be used for recreational and commercial purposes.
Often named as the most beautiful small towns in the United States, Sedona is famous for its range of red-tinted rock formations. At sunrise and sunset these rocks produce a red and orange glow, forming a dramatic landscape.
This stunning walled town in the Brittany region in northwest France overlooks the serene Rance River. It is by far one of the most well-preserved small towns in Brittany with a quay lined with old stone houses, with many now turned into restaurants and cafes. Plus, even the trip to Dinan is picturesque, as you can arrive by boat from Dinard or St. Malo.
Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
This small resort town located just north of Tunis sits on the top of a steep cliff, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. The view from Sidi Bou Said is absolutely unforgettable. Not surprisingly, its beauty has also inspired many artists and intellectuals such as Paul Klee and Michel Foucault.
With an estimated population of 300, this quaint Norwegian fishing village is one of the most beautiful small towns in Scandinavia. If you’re looking for a place to unwind, there’s no better place than this island destination, located in the Lofoten archipelago, above the Arctic Circle. This remote piece of paradise is so beautiful that it attracts visitors from all around the world for its world-class kayaking, whale watching, biking and birding. You can also catch the aurora borealis on clear nights from September through April.
This bucolic rural mountain town is well-known for its thatched roofs designed like praying hands. It is so lush and pastoral that it looks like something straight out of a Tolkien novel. The densely forested mountains of the region occupy 96% of the area. This traditional village is so historically significant that it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Local lore has it that there are more lanterns in the town of Hoi An than people. Considered by many to be one of Vietnam’s most beautiful towns, this former major port near the mouth of the Thu Bon River was once one of Vietnam’s most wealthy towns. While it is now a shadow of its former self, Hoi An is a fascinating example of a thriving 15th century port city and comprises a well-preserved complex of 1,107 timber frame buildings, including an open market, ferry quay, and religious buildings such as pagodas.
In a country full of beautiful small towns, Giethoorn is one of the most stunning. This charming town made up of canals feels right out of a children’s storybook. Known as the “Venice of the Netherlands” it has absolutely no roads. Locals live on their own private island and get around through a canal network which stretches up to 4 miles and by foot via 180 wooden bridges.
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
This pretty Canadian port town has a rich maritime past and is famous for its shipyards and for its tall ships It is also one of only two communities in North America designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due its standing as one of the best surviving British colonial towns in Canada and the United States. Lunenburg’s brightly colored painted historical homes give the town the feel of a living history museum.
Famous for its trulli, or limestone dwellings, this popular tourist town has absolutely stunning architecture to complement the natural beauty of the Puglia region. The town’s whitewashed limestone structures are so iconic that they’ve been preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Port Fairy, Australia
This lovely fishing village is home to one of Australia’s largest music festivals: Port Fairy Folk Festival. In addition to stunning coastal views, Port Fairy also provides a high quality of life for its locals as its was voted one of the world’s most livable cities with a population under 20,000 after winning in 2012.
This picturesque island resort town site at the foot of the Julien Alps is where many Slovenians go to relax. Not only is it full of natural beauty, but it is also home to a picturesque white and red castle surrounded by a Romanesque wall, making it feel like it’s something straight out of a fairy tale.