Last Updated on June 27, 2022 by Nellie Huang
From the Ionian Sea to the Alps, here are some of the most beautiful places in Europe, that will be sure to add a touch of magic to your trip.
Europe may have big cities like London, Paris and Berlin; but it’s the charming hamlets that truly give a sense of what the continent is about. Ancient history, outstanding architecture, and old-world character.
Having lived in Europe for more than 10 years now, I’ve traveled extensively around the region and have seen a fair share of the continent. To help you plan your own trip here, I have compiled a list of the most beautiful places in Europe. Enjoy!
Table of Contents
- The Most Beautiful Places in Europe
- 1. Positano, Italy
- 2. Perast, Montenegro
- 3. Oia on Santorini, Greece
- 4. Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina
- 5. Ohrid, Macedonia
- 6. Krujë, Albania
- 7. Goreme, Turkey
- 8. Triesenberg, Liechtenstein
- 9. Kufstein, Austria
- 10. Trondheim, Norway
- 11. Rovaniemi, Finland
- 12. Sighisoara, Romania
- 13. Ronda, Spain
- 14. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
- 15. Riquewihr, France
The Most Beautiful Places in Europe
1. Positano, Italy
On our first trip to Italy, we made it a point to visit Positano after watching the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun (one of the best travel movies of all time in my opinion). We had to drive along the plunging cliff-edge roads of the Italian Amalfi Coast to get there, but it was well worth it. Carved right into the craggy shoreline, the entire town is made up of narrow alleyways that snake up steep slopes and age-old brick houses, with mosaic-tiled domes poking into the skies.
Most people who visit here are well-heeled Italian and international travelers looking for a hint of romance. Positano can get quite crowded in summer and prices are usually jacked up, but visit in the shoulder season and you’ll see why we named Positano one of the beautiful towns in Europe.
How to Get there: The nearest airport to Positano is the Naples Capodichino Airport. A return flight from major cities in Europe to Naples is usually less than 100 euros. Search for flights here. From there, you can rent a car (just a 1.5hour drive), catch a shuttle bus or ferry options.
Where to Stay: Le Sirenuse is the landmark hotel of Positano and has been featured in many films and magazines. The luxurious hotel is a destination on its own, home to the best restaurant in town and it’s also one of the few places in Positano to have a pool. Check the latest prices here.
2. Perast, Montenegro
Perast is a tiny charming village located in the Bay of Kotor just a few miles from the busy tourist town of Kotor, yet it’s far enough to be relatively quiet and time-warped. Topped with a church and many terracotta-roofed stone-walled houses, the quaint village has an idyllic location right on the water.
We spent our days here kayaking in Bay of Kotor, swimming in the sea (just steps from our front door), going for long walks along the coast, feasting on fresh seafood in charming little taverns, and exploring the beautiful fortified town and surrounding villages. Montenegro was definitely our favorite part of the entire Balkan trip.
How to Get there: The nearest airport to Perast is Tivat Airport, just 19.7km away. The drive is only 20 minutes, so you can easily catch a taxi from the airport. Search for flights to Tivat here.
Where to Stay: Monte Bay Retreat is said to be the best place to stay in town, with a tasteful design and outstanding location overlooking the town and bay. Housed in a historical stone-walled building, the hotel is country-style meets modernism both at once. Check for the best prices.
3. Oia on Santorini, Greece
A personal favorite, Oia village on Santorini oozes romantic vibes and postcard-perfect landscapes. A volcanic island perched above black fertile soils, Santorini boasts of gorgeous stark white-and-blue architecture, with monastery domes juxtaposed against all-white houses, stoned alleys and the dark blue Ionian Sea in the background.
Oia is the prettiest town on the island, with narrow roads running alongside outdoor cafes and art galleries. This was also where Alberto and I spent one of our first Valentines’ together. I recently returned with my 4-year-old daughter and it turned out to be an excellent place for families. Read my article on traveling Santorini with kids and the best things to do in Santorini.
How to Get there: Flights to Santorini Airport from most parts of Europe are really affordable these days. You can easily catch a public bus from the airport to Fira and then change a bus to Oia. Search for flights to Santorini here.
Where to Stay: Mystique is the best choice if you’re celebrating a special occasion or don’t mind splurging. Perched on Oia’s most famous cliffs, Mystique features an infinity pool with a deck, and a bar with breathtaking views of the Volcano and the Caldera. Check for the best prices.
4. Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina
The small town of Mostar in Bosnia has got to be one of the most underrated destinations in Europe. Even though Mostar was heavily bombed during the Bosnian War in the early 1990s, most parts of the Old Town have been completely restored and cleaned up.
Today, rebuilt mosques stand alongside churches and synagogues and charming cafes line the cobblestoned alleys. Stari Most or the Old Bridge, continues to be the star of the show, perched high and mighty over the green waters of the raging Neretva River. Even the age-old bridge-diving tradition can be seen as local divers collect money from tourists before plunging 21m into the icy water.
How to Get there: You can fly straight to Mostar Airport, but flights to Mostar aren’t cheap. The second closest airport is in Dubrovnik, which is much cheaper to fly to. There are a few daily buses that go from Dubrovnik to Mostar, taking 3-4 hours each way. Search for flights to Dubrovnik.
Where to Stay: Boutique Hotel Old Town has the best reviews in Mostar and I definitely agree with the others who have stayed there. It has a superb location in the old town and next to the Old Bridge, as well as comfortable and old-world furnishing. Check for the best prices.
5. Ohrid, Macedonia
Of all the sights I’ve seen in the Balkans, I found Lake Ohrid to be the most beautiful natural attraction in the region. The cobble stoned stairways and ancient Orthodox churches of the coastal town of Ohrid are artfully assembled against a backdrop of calm and peaceful Lake Ohrid.
On a clear day, you can even see a hallucinogenic reflection of the surrounding snow peaks on the glassy water surface. This Macedonian city is one of only around 28 sites around the world that qualify for Unesco’s lists of both cultural and natural sites.
How to Get there: The nearest airport is in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. Flights to Skopje are cheap, less than 100euros return. There are many buses that go from Skopje to Ohrid each day, taking 3.30 hours each way. Search for flights to Skopje.
Where to Stay: I stayed at Villa & Winery Mal Sveti Kliment, and highly recommend it for those looking for comfort and affordable prices. It has a great location in town, and good standard of service and comfort. Check for the best prices.
6. Krujë, Albania
Krujë came as a surprise for me during my Balkan trip in 2008. I was feeling down from having lost my wallet and being stuck with a perverted Couchsurfing host, but I came across this charming village and it turned the trip around. Tirana may be a hectic mess, but Krujë – albeit located just 20km away – is a charismatic Ottoman city that felt like an East-meets-West enclave.
As one of the most beautiful towns in Europe, Kruje was once the capital of the Kingdom of Albania, but the Ottomans took control of the town in 1478, and incorporated it in their territories. Albania tourism is still in its infancy but the country has lots of surprises in stall for adventurous travelers.
How to Get there: It’s easy to find cheap flights to Tirana from most of Europe. Local buses leave every 15 minutes from the market behind the train station. The trip lasts about one hour. Search for flights to Tirana.
Where to Stay: There aren’t many choices in Krujë, and the best option is Hotel Panorama. It offers the best views in town, and beautiful and modern furnishing. Check for the best prices.
7. Goreme, Turkey
Whimsical fairy chimneys, cave churches and bizarre rock formations dominate the landscapes of Cappadocia. It’s the kind of place you’d imagine elves and fairies living in. While Turkey is one of the most visited countries in the world – receiving millions of tourists each year – this part of Turkey still feels relatively quiet and absolutely stunning.
The best town to stay at is Goreme, a village that’s well equipped with beautiful cave hotels and restaurants. Goreme is definitely my favorite item on this list of the most beautiful places in Europe.
How to Get there: Kayseri Airport is 70km from Goreme and the drive takes about 1 hour. The Nevsehir Airport is located 40km from Goreme and the drive is about 40 minutes. Airport transfers cost around US$30-40 each way. Search for flights to Kayseri.
Where to Stay: Yunak Everi is easily one of the coolest hotels I’ve stayed at. Staying in a cave hotel is amazing, and Yunak Evleri makes it all the more special with really personal service and high-end furnishing. I would return and stay here in a heartbeat. Check for the best prices.
8. Triesenberg, Liechtenstein
Most people have never heard of Liechtenstein, let alone Triesenberg! Liechtenstein is a tiny nation sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland. Most people who visit Liechtenstein only spend time in the capital, but if you do get a chance to explore its countryside, you’ll see how it’s one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
Set in the Rhine valley, the landlocked alpine country is mainly mountainous, making it a winter sport destination. Perched on the mountains surrounding the capital is Triesenberg, an alpine town surrounded by pine forests, medieval churches, traditional houses and ranches. Everywhere you go in Triesenberg, you’ll see views of the Rhine River beneath your feet and the Swiss Alps looming in the distance.
How to Get there: There is no airport in Liechtenstein, so getting in is only possible by road or train. The closest major airport is in Zurich (1-hour drive) followed by Munich (2.5-hour drive). Buses from Bruchs (Switzerland) and Feldkirch (Austria) are the easiest way to get to Liechtenstein.
Where to Stay: Hotel Restaurant Kulm is the best in town: centrally located and full of old-world charm without compromising on modern comfort. Spectacular views! Check for the best prices.
9. Kufstein, Austria
Cows roam freely on the rolling green hills, the sounds of their bells ringing in the distance; women dressed in perfectly fitted dirndls smile and wave, while men in their lederhosen belt out tunes with their accordion in hand. Framed by a castle and towering mountains, Kufstein is the Austria of many people’s dreams.
It’s as alpine as Europe gets, with mountains that make you want to yodel out loud and patchwork pastures chiming with cowbells. Folk music echo through the valleys and steins (giant jugs) of beer are served in centuries-old wooden A-roofed mountain huts. Read more about traveling Kufsteinerland with kids.
How to Get there: The nearest airport is in Vienna, 67km away, followed by Innsbruck, at 71km away. Flights to Vienna are less than 70 euros return from most of Europe. The Austrian railway network is amazing and highly efficient, with many daily trains to Kufstein from Vienna and other parts of the country.
Where to Stay: Arte Hotel Kufstein is a new hotel located right in the heart of the city, next to restaurants, bars and all the attractions. It’s perfect for those looking for modern, edgy accommodation. Check for the best prices.
10. Trondheim, Norway
Of all the places we visited on our journey through Norway, Trondheim really left a deep impression on me. Surrounded by fjords, the city is a charming Nordic enclave rich in history and traditional flair. The town itself is studded with narrow cobble stoned alleys, classic Norwegian houses and walled fortresses.
During our short stay, we wandered through the old docks, visited the magnificent Nidaros Cathedral, sampled the best seafood soup in town, and had a cosy Christmas meal, Norwegian style.
How to Get there: You can fly direct to Trondheim from London and other parts of Europe for under 100euros return. Search for cheap flights to Trondheim here.
Where to Stay: Thon Hotel Trondheim is a great option for families who need space. The chain is very popular in Norway and offers good value for money. We stayed at several Thon Hotel branches when in Norway and highly recommend them. Check for the best prices.
11. Rovaniemi, Finland
Welcome to the world of Narnia! Located in the northern edges of Scandinavia, Lapland is a magical part of the world that you have to see for yourself to believe. Streets here are blanketed in sparkling snow, pine tree forests sprawl across the region, and cosy wooden cabins dot the pristine landscape.
Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, is an excellent spot to experience Lapland at its best: you can go dog sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, reindeer herding or stay in a snow hotel. Best of all, Rovaniemi is known to be the official hometown of Santa Claus. Amidst the glittering snow and colorful Northern Lights, it’s easy to see why Rovaniemi is one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
How to Get there: You’ll have to transit in Helsinki when flying to Rovaniemi but flights are less than 100 euros return. Search for flights to Rovaniemi.
Where to Stay: I stayed at Scandic Rovaniemi, one of the most popular upscale hotels in town. It’s steps from restaurants and shops, and definitely a great base for those looking to explore in comfort. Check for the best prices.
12. Sighisoara, Romania
On my trip to Transylvania with Lonely Planet, I traveled to three extremely charming villages and Sighisoara was my favorite. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this perfectly intact 16th century gem with nine towers, cobbled streets, burgher houses and ornate churches rivals the historic streets of Old Prague or Vienna.
It is also the birthplace of Vlad Dracula, also known as Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), who inspired Bram Stoker’s fictional creation, Count Dracula.
How to Get there: The closest airports are located in Targu Mures (60km away), Sibiu (100 km away), and Cluj Napoca (150 km away). The cheapest place to fly to is Sibiu. Search for flights to Sibiu.
Where to Stay: Fronius Boutique Residence surprised me with extremely spacious rooms and topnotch food. It’s also just steps from Dracula’s birth home and the town center. I really liked the traditional Transylvanian feel. Check for the best prices.
13. Ronda, Spain
While living in Spain (for over seven years), we visited countless villages and small towns in the country. Of them all, Ronda definitely stands out as one of the prettiest towns in Europe. It is set in a deep gorge spanned by an impressive bridge, and linked with romantic winding streets and white-washed houses.
It is also a good base to explore the surrounding area, where you will find beautiful mountains and many of the iconic pueblos blancos (white villages) of Andalusia. As one of Spain’s oldest towns, the historical quarter is an important cultural centre filled with mosques and palaces.
How to Get there: It’s just a 1.5-hour drive from Malaga Airport, which is extremely cheap and easy to fly to from most parts of Europe. There’s one direct train from Malaga to Ronda each day, and several bus departures per day. Search for flights to Malaga.
Where to Stay: Parador de Ronda is another landmark hotel that’s a destination on its own. Perched on the top of the cliffs right next to the iconic bridge, this heritage hotel is converted from a historical building and is now the best hotel in town. Check for the best prices.
14. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
This charming town located in Bohemia’s deep south is one of the most beautiful places in Europe for good reason. It’s a little like Prague in miniature – an old town square, Renaissance and baroque architecture, and a magical castle – but all on a smaller scale.
You can walk from one side of town to the other in 20 minutes. There are plenty of lively bars and riverside picnic spots. It can be particularly atmospheric in winter, when the crowds are gone and the castle is blanketed in snow. Its historic centre has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992. Český Krumlov was the highlight of our 1-week Czech Republic itinerary.
How to Get there: The nearest airport is in Prague. Trains link Prague with Český Krumlov every 2 hours through the day taking 3h30. Search for flights to Prague.
Where to Stay: Garni Hotel Castle Bridge is one of the best-reviewed hotels in town. With an excellent location, the modern hotel is surprisingly affordable. Check for the best prices.
15. Riquewihr, France
Officially one of the most beautiful places in Europe and yet largely unknown to international travelers, Riquewihr is found in the heart of the Alsace wine-growing region. This village really has everything that you expect to find in a fairy-tale village: fortified walls, stone entrance gates, cobbled streets lined with brightly painted half-timber houses, carved wooden beams and stone doorways, wrought iron signs for the shops, and lots of flowers. It’s definitely the perfect setting for a Disney movie.
How to Get there: The nearest airport is in Strasbourg (50km away). You can easily rent a car or take a train to Riquewihr from there. Search for flights to Strasbourg.
Where to Stay: Remparts de Riquewihr Apartments offers tastefully designed accommodation in the rustic fairy-tale houses of the old town. It’s ridiculously cute and well worth splurging on. Check for the best prices.
What do you think are the most beautiful places in Europe? Did we miss out anything from this list? Share with us in the comments field below!