Essential Travel Experience #46 – Walk the Narrow Streets of a Medieval Village

   Europe is wonderful! All over the continent there are well-preserved villages with narrow, cobblestone streets and a delightful feeling that you have entered a time capsule and emerged in Medieval times. Even though many of Europe’s cities are loaded with tourist attractions, we have found that these small towns and villages are the “true” Europe. We always plan to stop at several during any European trip. No matter what country you are in, these places are enchanting.

     Here is a survey of some of the villages we liked the best in our travels around Europe.

       In Italy, our favorite country, we loved San Gimignano,

San Gimignano

and Siena (which probably stretches the idea of a “village”), in Tuscany.

Piazza del Campo, Siena

 Assisi is lovely


 as is San Marino (actually a separate Republic)

San Marino

 Along the Amalfi coast are the villages of Positano (Lee’s favorite)


 and Ravello


 In Germany, we particularly liked Rothenburg ob der Tauber


 and Mittenwald, with its Painted Houses


 and Oberammergau, where the Passion Play is performed every ten (10) years


 France is loaded with Medieval towns as well. Just drive along the Wine Route in the Alsace Region — all the towns are classic medieval villages with cobblestone streets and a castle on the hill above town. We visited Riquewihr


 and Ribeauville


 and Kaysersburg


Elsewhere in France, there is Mont-St-Michel, site of the famous monastery


 In the south, near Monaco, is the lovely village of Eze, which clings precariously to steep cliffs.


 In the Burgundy region, the town of Beaune is charming.


 Spain has its share of interesting villages as well. Avila is famous for its medieval walls


 while Ronda is noteworthy because of its bridge over a deep gorge


 Toledo has impressive gates

Bisagra Gate, Toledo

 Salamanca’s buildings are made of an attractive honey-colored stone.


 In Cordoba, everything revolves around La Mezquita.

Avenue of the Flowers, Cordoba

  Portugal has some quaint villages too. One of them is Faro.  

Faro, Portugal

 Bruges is the loveliest town in Belgium, with its narrow streets and peaceful canals.


 In England, York is one of the most enchanting medieval towns, with its walls and cobblestone streets.


 while the Cotswold region is replete with quaint villages.

A Village in the Cotswolds

   One of my favorite small towns in all of Europe is Cesky Krumlov, in the region of Bohemia, in the Czech Republic.

Cesky Krumlov

 The ambience there is really special.

A Square in Cesky Krumlov

 In the neighboring country of Slovakia, Bratislava, although the Capital, has the feel of a small town.


One of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland is Luzerne.


 and Bern, although the Capital of the country, is a charming town of its own.



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