There are so many incredible places to see in Europe, but sometimes the smaller villages get overshadowed by the bigger cities. If you’re looking for a perfect weekend getaway in 2023, consider one of these underrated European villages! From picturesque landscapes to charming cafes and shops, these hidden gems have everything you need for a relaxing escape.
Giethoorn, Netherlands – This village is often called the “Venice of the North” because of its canals and bridges
Giethoorn, often nicknamed the “Venice of the North,” looks almost like a dreamland and it has been called one of the most underrated European villages. It was founded in 1230 and still boasts beautiful, centuries-old architecture and many canals connected with small bridges. Residents get around via punting boats instead of cars and it almost feels like traveling back in time when passing through this untouched village. Streets have no names but numbers instead; small gardens adorn every house while small farms take up some of the area’s land. It’s hard to deny Giethoorn’s appeal as a perfect foothold for discovering the beauty of nature mixed with traditional Dutch structures.
Riquewihr, France – This picturesque village looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale
Riquewihr in France is quite possibly one of the most underrated European villages around. Its unique architecture gives it a fairytale atmosphere, with ancient walls echoing a Middle Age style and colorful painted facades dating back to the 15th century. Its scenery has inspired many writers and painters, who frequently traveled here to take in the serene surrounding nature. Passersby are welcomed by cobblestone paths surrounded by vines, where quaint cafes and wine boutiques line the streets, offering travelers a taste of local culture. Altogether, Riquewihr offers an unforgettable experience for anyone looking to indulge in some history and flavor from one of the world’s most picturesque villages.
Cinque Terre, Italy – Five villages make up this UNESCO World Heritage Site, each offering stunning views
Underrated European Villages don’t get much more beautiful than the five villages that make up Cinque Terre, Italy. Framed by azure waters and rolling hillsides, these coastal settlements are as charming as they are serene; an ambiance which is only intensified by the astounding views which can be found around every corner. Those who have visited will attest to being almost speechless when standing in front of the villages – needing no further convincing that this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see destination. Here visitors can while away the hours simply strolling and soaking up the atmosphere of one of Italy’s finest gems.
Menton, France – This French Riviera town is known for its beautiful gardens and Mediterranean climate
Menton, a small yet enchanting town tucked away in the southeastern corner of France, is often overlooked among other, better-known European destinations. However, those who have had the pleasure of discovering its hidden charms are left with a luminous impression; this underrated paradise at the foot of the Maritime Alps carries an effortless appeal that grasps your attention and leaves you never wanting to leave. With its quintessentially Mediterranean climate, picturesque views of the lush riverbanks and breathtaking gardens, it’s no wonder that Menton has been nicknamed “The Pearl of France”, and is a must-visit delight on any traveler’s list of Underrated European Villages.
Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, France – This medieval village sits atop a cliff overlooking the Lot River Valley
Underrated European villages don’t get much better than Saint-Cirq-Lapopie in southern France! Sitting atop a cliff overlooking the Lot Valley below, this magnificent medieval village is the perfect stop if one is looking for some stunning scenery and antique charm. From Chateau de Cenevieres to Musée Masrey, there are endless activities and monuments to explore. Don’t be surprised if while you’re strolling through the streets you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time. Get lost amongst its narrow alleyways, look out at picturesque views of the countryside or take a boat ride down the river – no matter what activity you choose to do make sure you keep it off your over crowded tour guides and experience this gem for yourself. You won’t be disappointed!
Although well-known tourist destinations like Paris and Rome are stunning, sometimes it’s the lesser known places that take your breath away. If you’re looking for a breathtaking European getaway, consider venturing to one of these five under-the-radar villages. From France’s Riquewihr to Italy’s Cinque Terre, each of these locations is sure to leave you in awe. And with ETIAS visa waiver set to launch in 2023, now is the perfect time start planning your trip. So why not add one (or all) of these villages to your travel bucket list? You won’t regret it.