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Fairytale Towns in Europe You Never Knew Existed

While famous for big cities like Paris and Rome, Europe has a lot of amazing small towns that look like they came straight out of a storybook. These fairytale towns will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time with their old-fashioned charm and picturesque medieval elements.

If you want to see a different, enchanting side of Europe, exploring the Old World on a European cruise lets you easily visit multiple fairytale towns. Many cruise itineraries include stops near these enchanting villages so you can hop off and experience their magic. Here are some delightful towns you should definitely visit on your next European trip.

Colmar, France

Colmar, in the Alsace region of France, looks plucked straight from the pages of a fantasy book. Its tiny, cobblestoned streets are lined with adorable half-timbered houses painted in vibrant hues. You can wander the picturesque canals of the Little Venice neighborhood, where one house is even adorned with carved heads on its exterior. Strolling through Colmar’s old town center can make you feel like you’ve truly stepped back in time.

The town’s charming atmosphere is further enhanced by the presence of quaint cafes and shops, perfect for leisurely exploration. Colmar is also known for its delicious Alsatian cuisine, making it a delightful destination for foodies.

Hallstatt, Austria

Nestled on the shores of an alpine lake, with towering mountain peaks surrounding it, is the village of Hallstatt. Its historic houses appear to cling to the hillside, their reflections shimmering in the crystal clear waters below, creating a perfect little snow globe scene.

While in Hallstatt, you can visit the centuries-old salt mine known as Salzwelten which offers a glimpse into the region’s storied past. Or, you can explore the unique bone house located at the local church, an intriguing glimpse into the village’s traditions.

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

This bohemian town — designated a UNESCO World Heritage site — will absolutely charm you with its narrow medieval streets lined with pastel-colored buildings. Make sure to explore the hidden gardens tucked away and relax at its cozy cafes.

Don’t miss the chance to visit the famous Cesky Krumlov Castle, which towers above the winding Vltava River and offers stunning views of the town and surrounding countryside. Additionally, immerse yourself in the local culture by attending one of the many music or theater performances that take place throughout the year.

Ronda, Spain

Ronda is built right across a dramatic cliff gorge with houses perched on each side. The two halves of the town are connected by an incredible stone bridge nearly 300 years old. As you wander through Ronda’s whitewashed alleys and plazas, you’ll be enchanted by the town’s beauty. Don’t miss the chance to tour Spain’s oldest bullring while you’re there or take in views from the many lookout points overlooking the rocky canyon far below.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

With its almost mythical-looking houses, cobblestone streets, and towering church, Rothenburg looks like it’s stuck in the Middle Ages — in the best way. This Bavarian gem has one of the most well-preserved old towns anywhere. The gingerbread-style buildings with their wooden beams are so quaint and picturesque.

The Essence of Europe’s Charm and Beauty

These storybook towns give you an amazing glimpse into Europe’s rich history and traditions. Whether wandering medieval lanes, admiring beautiful architecture, or trying local foods, you’ll make wonderful memories in places that seem frozen in time.

Just remember to pack smart for your vacation by focusing on bringing comfy shoes for lots of walking, versatile layers to adjust to weather changes, and a small bag to carry essentials during the day. Don’t forget must-haves like cameras, travel docs, and medications, too.

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