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We love Europe, yes we do, we love Europe, how about you!
It just felt appropriate, okay? 😉 In last week’s post, we talked about why we love Europe, and one of those reasons was the cute and quaint small towns. So we’re going to dive into that a little more and list out our favorites! These are some of the places that we’ve visited over the last few years, but there is obviously so much more to explore, and so much we haven’t seen. We can’t wait to continue to add to this list over time, but for now, these are some of the small towns dearest to our heart.
Also…we’re interpreting the term “small town” pretty loosely. Some are tiny villages and some are larger towns – but all are great!
Giethoorn, The Netherlands
Giethoorn is a village in the Netherlands that is known for all its waterways. In the mostly car-free village you get around by walking, biking, or our favorite – boating around the canals. A boat through the waterways will take you all through the village – past homes, under bridges, and out onto the lake that is nearby (and connects to all the canals).
If it’s suppose to rain on the day that you’re headed to Giethoorn, don’t let that stop you. Pack an umbrella and rain jacket and still rent that boat. I’m speaking from experience here because the two times I’ve been it’s rained, but still, this village’ charm is so evident!
Amersfoort, The Netherlands
Amersfoort is an old medieval Dutch town where the history is still so evident. You can see the Koppelport, the old city gate, and the Muurhuizen which are houses that were built into the 13th century defensive walls around the city. From cafe and shops to strolling the streets, this place is overflowing with charm and as the Dutch like to say, “Gezelligheid”. On our trip to Europe in 2016 this is on the the places that surprised us the most, in the best possible way!
Okay, okay. Definitely not a small town, but it does have those small town charms! Let’s see – with a beautiful old city center, plenty of cafes and old churches to explore, home to the oldest University in Germany, a riverfront, a beautiful 18th-century bridge, and not to mention a castle (!), this place is full of charm. On top of everything else, it’s nestled into the foothills of a valley in the Odenwald (a low mountain range in Germany).
This little town in southern Germany on the shores of Lake Constance (the Bodensee) is surrounded by vineyards and views of Switzerland. There are walkways that take you through the upper part of the city center, and then down a steep hill so you’re right on the water – and they’re all lined with coffee shops, bakeries, and cute little stores. Just prepare for a little workout, because the hill is quite a steep one. And fun fact: Meerburg is also home to the oldest inhabited castle in Germany!
Meerburg also has a ferry dock that takes you across the lake to Konstanz (another German town we would highly recommend!) and back.
They might not be a part of Europe much longer, but as of now England still is, so we’re putting this quaint village on our list! But really just any little village in the Cotswolds could be on this list – you can’t go wrong! But it was Bourton-on-the-Water that we really fell in love with and wish we could have spent A LOT more time there. We only got to visit for 30 or so minutes on our trip through the Cotswolds, but we loved the traditional stone houses and low bridges over the River Windrush. There were families out and about, kids playing in the river and a great tea / sweet shop – what more could you ask for!
Again, not the smallest of towns, but still a great one! 😉 From where we were staying we could easily walk to the downtown strip with its shops and restaurants (go to Quinlan’s for Fish and Chips!). But another thing that made this town so great was everything that it was close too. It got tons of green space around it and also border’s Killarney National Park – the first national park in Ireland – which is home to a lake, mountains, and woodlands. The Gap of Dunloe, a narrow mountain pass road which can be hiked, biked, and driven (we’d recommend walking since the roads are very narrow at parts, and we’ve heard driving it can be a bit treacherous!). The bonus is that it’s also a short drive from Killarney. Hiking the Gap of Dunloe was one of our favorite things we did while we were in Ireland and the views and scenery will leave you awestruck!
The Simple Summary
Alright, there it is folks! Our favorite small (and maybe sometimes not so small towns) in Europe! We can’t wait to keep adding to this list as our travels continue!