Best Locations for a Rural Holiday
The 15 most impressive rural getaways in Europe
Europe’s prosperous cultural diversity offers the modern traveler a great mix of locations and cultures to select from. Here are 15 of the most picturesque villages that are worth going out of your way to visit (with links below the photos for deals to each place). Maybe you should just quit your job, go and never come back. Just don’t forget to send us a picture of your #PirateParadise!
1. Bled, Slovenia
It’s difficult to find a more picturesque spot than Bled, in northern Slovenia. The Alps majestically surround the village and a baroque style church sits on a small island in the middle of a glacial lake. It is definitely a fairytale landscape with beautiful waterfalls, impressive castles and hidden caves.
2. Wernigerode, Germany
The Harz region is flooded with folklore and was the main inspiration for many of the Brothers Grimm stories. One of the best examples is the town of Wernigerode, which holds a great medieval castle.
3. Zermatt, Switzerland
If you just have the opportunity to visit the Alps only once in a lifetime, you must visit Zermatt . This small Swiss village near the Italian border has beautiful scenery, wooden chalets and plenty of Alpine style. As if that were not enough, combustion engines are prohibited in its tiny streets, so you will see many electric cars parked between chalets.
4. Ardèche, France
Surrounded by vineyards, the Ardèche is a pleasure to the eye. Among its architecture we can find Romanesque churches, Renaissance art and an impressive suspension bridge over 100 years old. In addition, the surrounding fields are full of fresh lavender, with its characteristic violet flowers populating the horizon.
5. Lacock, England
Closer to home, this English village has been the scene of many costume dramas like Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice and many Harry Potter movies. A thirteenth century Abbey is the centerpiece of this village, about 75 miles from London. If you want to explore a little more, there are many chapels and churches to consider, besides the beautiful British countryside.
6. Reine, Norway
Located in the Lofoten islands, this former Viking village is a site that you can not miss.Their fishing huts and spectacular mountains are the perfect setting to enjoy the Northern Lights between the months of September and April (weather permitting).
7. Procida, Italy
In The Talented Mr. Ripley, Matt Damon travels to Procida, an idyllic island resort just off the Neapolitan coast. He is obsessed with the exquisite life of Jude Law and risks everything to snatch his lifestyle. Surrounded by sandy beaches, castles, abbeys and magnificent ports … would you not do everything possible to stay here too?
8. Sintra, Portugal
Sintra, for centuries the residence of the kings of Portugal, is an amazing city of stately mansions, all with a landscape of lush mountains as a backdrop. The many strengths of Sintra include the Palácio Nacional de Sintra (an important residence of Portuguese royalty until the early twentieth century), the high Palácio da Pena, which is like something out of a fairytale, Quinta de Regaleira, the dos Mouros Castelo and Palácio de Monserrate.
9. Korcula, Croatia
With a Romanesque church, narrow Venetian streets and picturesque medieval port, you might say that this small Croatian town has been chosen as the setting for Game of Thrones. It would not be so far from reality, as part of the famous series was filmed just two hours from this village, in the city of Dubrovnik. As if that were not enough, it is said to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, the legendary globetrotter.
10. Kaiserstuhl, Germany
The fact that we have two German regions in this list seems an excellent tribute to the rustic charm of the German villages. In particular, we choose the villages located in the Kaiserstuhl, a region full of hills in the state of Baden-Württemberg.
11. Vejer de la Frontera, Spain
15 minutes from the Cadiz coast we find this picturesque village situated on a hill, painted white and with many narrow streets. Vejer de la Frontera is perfect for a rural getaway and gives you a taste of North Africa in Europe.
12. Hallstatt, Austria
This Austrian village is so pretty that the Chinese built a replica in the province of Guangdong, nevertheless, its version can not boast the incredible scenery surrounding the original. Situated in a cove between a small lake and alpine ranges, Hallstatt is considered the oldest inhabited village in Europe and it’s also home to the oldest salt mines in the world.
13. La Roque-Gageac , France
This French village is built into the rock of a mountain, next to the River Dordogne. With the smell of jasmine and honey in the air, dreamy cafés, a divine wine, exotic gardens and a stunning Renaissance mansion, it looks more like a scene of a film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet than a real and tangible place.
14. Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland
In the East Hebrides, the island of Skye is flooded with exotic wildlife. It is inhabited by deer, eagles and Atlantic salmon as well as surrounded by beautiful lakes and spectacular scenery. The port village of Portree is the best base for exploring the island as one side faces the sea and the other the surrounding hills.
15. Oia, Santorini, Greece
Santorini has many attractions, here you can visit, for instance, the beautiful city of Firaand enjoy pleasant walks. However, in order to enjoy great sunsets, we recommend Oia . If you like the harbour life, do not fail to visit the Amoudy to taste it’s delicious dishes. It is also possible to make visits to interesting archaeological sites such as Akrotiri. Finally, it also has magnificent beaches, such as those in Perissa, ideal for a quiet and relaxing stroll.
* Based on an article by Daniel Cole from Thrillist.
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