They say a picture is worth a thousand words – but it can also create a serious case of envy. My list of ‘must visit’ places in Europe seems to be growing all the time and after stumbling across these photos recently, I’ve been inspired to add ten more destinations to the list.
Inspired by the stunning images, I thought I’d share them in the hope that they might also inspire you and you’ll consider including one or more of these destinations on your next European holiday. I’ve provided a little bit of information about each destination but I’ll let the photos tell you the whole story.
1. Thun, Switzerland
Despite being just 40 kilometres from what is possibly my favourite village in all of Europe, Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland, I’ve only made a fleeting visit to Thun. It was also so long ago that I barely remember it – something I’ve vowed to amend very soon. Update: In July 2017 I visited Thun. Here are my 13 reasons to visit Lake Thun.
With its location on the banks of the beautiful River Aare at the western end of Lake Thun and surrounded by the majestic Swiss Alps, Thun really is my idea of heaven.
The former market town boasts the obligatory turreted castle built on a hill with the town spreading out below to the river bank.
Where: Thun, canton of Bern, Switzerland.
2. Cobh, Ireland
With its pretty harbour lined with brightly painted houses, it’s hardly suprising that Cobh (pronounced Cove) is a popular tourist spot.
Previously known as Queenstown until 1920, Cobh has a rich maritime history and was the final port of call for the ill-fated maiden voyage of the Titanic in 1912.
Set back from the harbour is the magnificent St. Colman’s Cathedral, one of Ireland’s tallest buildings.
Where: Cobh, County Cork, Ireland.
3. Krka National Park, Croatia
Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park and the magnificent waterfalls within have long been on my must-visit radar but photos of Krka National Park now have me longing for a visit there, too.
Situated in Dalmatia, just north of Split, the park covers an area of around 110 square kilometres. The River Krka flows through the park with the Skradinski Buk and Roski Slap waterfalls forming a series of lakes and rapids before the water heads out to sea.
Peace and tranquility are words that immediately come to mind when I look at the photo of Krka National Park above.
Where: Krka National Park, Dalmatia, Croatia.
4. Olargues, France
One of the exclusive members of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages of France’, Olargues is located in the newly-formed Occitanie region, formerly Languedoc Roussillon, in the south of France.
The fortified village looks picture perfect with its paved streets, the remains of an old castle and covered archways but I think it’s photos of the humpback bridge – said to date back to 1202 – across the River Jaur that have me pining for this medieval beauty.
Where: Olargues, Herault department, Occitanie, France.
5. Tallinn, Estonia
Located on the Baltic Sea, Tallinn is the capital of Estonia. Its fairytale Old Town retains the charm of yesteryear with cobblestones and city walls and many impressive buildings.
The Gothic Town Hall and St. Nicholas Church both date back to the 13th century but amongst them you’ll find all the modern services and facilities you would expect in a European capital.
A city of almost half a million people, Tallinn is just 70 kilometres across the Baltic Sea from Helsinki (Finland) and regular daily ferries make day trips between the two cities popular.
Where: Tallinn, Estonia.
6. Fjallbacka, Sweden
With its bright red fishing shacks huddled alongside the harbour, what’s not to love about Fjallbacka?
Sweden’s famous film star, Ingrid Bergman, used to spend her summer holidays in the fishing village and these days it’s a popular tourist destination.
There’s not an abundance of things to do in Fjallbacka (the permanent population is less than nine hundred) but to me, that is part of the charm. Boat rides and enjoying the scenery are about the most action you can expect here – and I’d be very happy with that!
Where: Fjallbacka, Bohuslan Coast, South West Sweden.
7. Bibury, England
I saw my fair share of honey-coloured sandstone buildings when I visited England’s Cotswolds a few years ago but I regret the fact that I didn’t make it to Bibury. (Update: I returned to the Cotswolds in 2018 and visited Bibury!)
Surely one of the most photographed streets in England, Bibury’s famous Arlington Row is the quintessential picture of an English village. The soft colours of the houses (which date back to the 16th century) are in stark contrast to the lush green lawns and brightly coloured flowers that adorn the buildings.
Add in a bubbling stream (the River Coln runs through the village), a town square, Jacobean mansions and a Saxon church and you’ll see why Bibury has been described as “the most beautiful village in the Cotswolds”.
Where: Bibury, ‘the Cotwolds’, Gloucestershire, England.
8. Tyrol region, Austria
I’ve been fortunate to visit the Tyrol region of Austria on a few occasions and it’s an area I’d be happy to return to again and again.
In Austria’s west, this mountainous region is well known for its ski resorts but the thing that attracts me to Tyrol is the raw beauty. Thickly wooded forests, sparkling lakes and snow-capped alps abound, giving you to perfect excuse to get away from it all and totally unwind.
Winter or summer there are plenty of outdoor pursuits on offer even for the less energetic, but regardless of your fitness level you’ll be blown away by the sheer beauty of Tyrol.
Where: Tyrol, Western Austria.
9. Kotor, Montenegro
I can’t say I’ve ever had a strong desire to visit Montenegro, however, having recently seen photos of Kotor, that has changed.
Surrounded by 4.5 kilometres of fortifications and hugging the Bay of Kotor in the Adriatic Sea, the town of Kotor is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Watching over the red-roofed houses below is the Church of Our Lady of Health whilst the well-preserved medieval old town features a pretty square, numerous other churches and easy access to some of the small islands nearby.
When I visit, I think I’ll just be sitting somewhere quiet to take in that jaw dropping view!
Where: Kotor, Montenegro.
10. Reine, Norway
In the north of Norway, above the Arctic Circle, you’ll find the pretty fishing village of Reine. Less than one square kilometre in area, the tiny village is located on the island of Moskenesoya in the Lofoten Archipelago.
As you’d expect, fishing has played an important part in the village’s history but these days tourism is just as vital. With the scenery Reine boasts and the chance to witness the Midnight Sun in summer and the Northern Lights in winter, it’s no wonder tourists are attracted here.
With a peaceful harbour surrounded by sharply peaked mountains and postcard-perfect red fishing huts lining the shore, Reine would surely appeal to most travellers.
Where: Reine, Lofoten islands, Nordland, Norway.
Want more ideas?
If you’re still looking for more European travel inspiration, check out my Pinterest boards where I save photos of other great destinations in Europe. You can also order complimentary travel brochures by clicking on the image below.
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