Top 10 small town gems in Europe
The best secret spots for a unique, hidden holiday
Tired of the crowds, lines and swarming cities? A holiday is meant to recharge, inspire and remember forever. This vacation, get off that beaten path and take the family on an unforgettable adventure. Spend quality time together and appreciate the little things Europe has to offer. Check out these ancient architectures, colorful communities and spectacular suburbs!
10. Delft, Netherlands
Discover the origin of the famous Delftware ceramics, easily recognized by the original white and “Delft Blue” glaze. Produced since 1602, the city of Delft’s hand-painted earthenware is world famous. Visit the Royal Delft museum and factory, find souvenirs and tasty “bitterballen” at the Thursday market, take a canal cruise tour and witness the bullet holes in the wall from the 1584 assassination of Prince William of Orange.
- Campsite Kijkduinpark (10 miles from Delft)
9. Siurana, Spain
This historically tragic village has transformed into a beautifully romantic getaway, as well as a popular spot for rock climbers ot outdoor enthusiasts alike. In 1153, after many battles between the strongholds of Christianity and Islam, Siurana was the last Saracen Muslim bastion in Catalunya, as well as the last stronghold of the reconquest of Christianity. This is due to its unique location at the top of a hill. The legend goes that the Moorish Queen, Abdelazaia, made the fatal choice to plunge off of the cliff while riding her famous white horse, as a last resort plan to resist the Christian conquerors. As she was about to descend off the cliff, the horse became frightened and tried to stop, leaving an imprint of its horseshoe on the rock. This people of Siurana see this as a sign of its resistance to death. Today, Siurana is a favored destination for rock climbing, hiking and sightseeing.
8. Vianden, Luxembourg
Enjoy picturesque views of the Our River, the naturally lush landscape and the stunning Vianden Castle. This 9th century town still retains its encircling outer wall with guard towers, providing a medieval finish. Visit art museums, Gothic-style architecture and unspoilt nature through a network of hiking paths. Less than a one-hour drive from Luxembourg city, the town of Vianden is the perfect holiday destination for those wishing to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
- Campsite Fuussekaul: (15 miles from Vianden)
7. Bruges, Belgium
The stunning squares, lovely lakes and beautiful bridges of Bruges make this town as romantic as can be. Lovebirds flock to this historic city to take boat rides on the canal, discover charming cellar cafes and indulge in the famous Belgian beers and french fries. There is even a “Frietmuseum” in Bruges dedicated to the salty snack. Take a bicycle tour to view the town’s stately castles, garden mazes, art museums and all else this fantastic destination has to offer.
6. Tossa de Mar, Spain
This municipality in Spain is famous for its stark blue waters, wine production and fishing culture. Tossa de Mar has three main beaches: Platja Gran (Tossa Beach), La Mar Menuda and El Cocolar. Other than relaxing at the beach, there are plenty of things to do in Tossa de Mar: tour the ancient hospital (now cultural center) founded in 1773, the Vila Vella (Old Town) and the Tossa de Mar Castle. Other activities include water sports such as kayaking windsurfing, etc. at the stunning beaches. In 1989, this was the first place in not only Spain, but the world, to declare itself an Anti-Bullfighting City.
5. Giethoorn, Netherlands
Welcome to the “Dutch Venice”, Giethoorn, with its lack of roads and cars, but surplus of canals and boats to maneuver around the town. Witness the locals’ beautiful homes with detailed landscaping. Stop at one of the many cafes and try typical Dutch delicacies, such as “stroopwafels” (syrup waffles), “bitterballen” (hearty meatball snack) or a classic “kopje” (a cup of coffee). The village offers many specialty museums as well as art museums to view at your leisure. Don’t miss out on a canal boat cruise through the village, it’s what makes the town famous. Nearby you’ll find beautiful tulips, windmills and plenty of bicycle routes, which are typical of the country.
- Campsite Hunzedal: (45 miles from Giethoorn)
4. Freiburg, Germany
In the midst of the Black Forest, lies the charming university city of Freiburg. Its medieval architecture and temperate climate make it a cosier alternative to the bigger cities in the country. In fact, Freiburg is known as the sunniest city in Germany. Check out the Cathedral Market on weekday morning to enjoy fresh produce, flowers and souvenirs. Taste test the famous Freiburg “Lange Rote” (long red), a 35 cm barbecue sausage. Other attractions include Castle Mountain, the House of Baden Wines and the Markthalle Freiburg.
- Campsite Kinzigtal: (30 miles from Freiburg)
3. Burano, Italy
Fishermen, foodies and photographers will all rejoice in Burano, an island of the Venice Lagoon. Just a 40-minute vaporetto (water bus) ride from Venice, Burano’s bright, colorful houses along the canals are unlike any other. The town is also famous for its delicate needle lace-making shops, delectable seafood restaurants and Murano glass processing. From the photo alone, it’s easy to see why Burano is worth a visit.
2. Hum, Croatia
Known as the “smallest town in the world” by the Guiness Book of Records, Hum has only 20 buildings and 17 people living in the village. This stone-made town is truly unique and full of historic value, dating back a thousand years. Visit the local pub to try the home-brewed aromatic brandy named “Humska biska”, made from an ancient Croatian recipe said to have curative powers and medicinal properties. Every year the town has “Hum Day” where they elect the local town leaders and perform the Hum rituals.
1. Bled, Slovenia
Our favorite small town in Europe is Bled, Slovenia. The lush, green environment met with the most teal lake you’ve ever seen, makes the perfect backdrop for all of the adventures in the town. Take a pletna ride to the island, tour the Lake Bled Castle (the oldest in Slovenia), zip through the Straza Bled toboggan track or taste the regional Bled cream cake dish. Bled’s over-the-top postcard-perfect views lure couples, families and sports enthusiasts. Hiking, biking, stand-up paddling, canyoning and many more activities are available in the town. This is the perfect camping destination for all!
- Campsite Bled: (2 miles from Bled)
Delft Blauw Market
Between the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) and City Hall, you'll find about 150 stalls set up in the Delft general market every Thursday.
Holiday resort Kijkduinpark
- Directly located on the beach
- Covered pool with jaccuzzi
Sport Climbing in Siurana
For many climbers, Siurana doesn't need much of an introduction. It has become one of the most known sport climbing destinations in Europe suitable for all levels.
Campsite Playa Montroig Resort
- 4 large swimming pools with 6 slides
- Directly on the beach
Campsite Cambrils Park
- Spa with hot tub
- Walking distance from the center of Salou
You can't miss this stunning castle in the heart of Vianden. With its medieval background and detailed architecture, this is a must-see on your trip.
- Indoor and outdoor swimming pools
- Rope climbing adventure park
Jerusalem Church in Bruges
This eerie constrution is the Jerusalem Church in Bruges, with much history and architectural detail. Many legends and tales come from the church, but you'll have to see for yourself.
Campsite Kompas Westende
- Beach 1 km away
- Water playground
Campsite Kompas Nieuwpoort
- On a large recreational lake
- Adventure course
- Three swimming pools and large jacuzzi
- Close to Plaja d'Aro beach
Campsite La Masia
- Walking distance of beach
- Spa & wellness centre
Campsite Bella Terra
- Directly on the sea
- Beautiful swimming pool
Museum Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus
If you'd like to learn more about this car-free town, check out the museum.
- Swimming pool paradise
- Indoor adventure hall
Lange Rote in Freiburg
A famous snack eaten in Freiburg, Germany.
- In the Black Forest, walk and cycle
- Large heated pool
Campsite Marina di Venezia
- 9 swimming pools with slides
- Located on private beach
Campsite Ca' Savio
- Private beach with lifeguards
- Two swimming pool complexes
- At a wide, sandy beach
- Large pool with jacuzzi
Istria: peninsula of Croatia, Slovenia and Italy
Stay in the beautiful Istria, known for its stunning sunsets on the beach and its Venetian influence.
Campsite Santa Marina Boutique
- 5-star campsite
- Right on the beach
Campsite Lanterna Premium Resort
- Multiple swimming pools
- Sports at the miles-long beach
Campsite Park Umag
- Beautiful water park with pirate ship
- Adrenaline Park
You can't miss these one-of-a-kind views in Bled. The mountains, the lake, the island... What's not to love?
- Rare location on the lake
- Kids Club