Small town or village in Europe (West or Central)
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Nov 29, 2012 6:21 AM Last Post By: MTL
Nov 28, 2012 6:30 AM
Small town or village in Europe (West or Central)I am in desperate need of a break and need to get out of the city.
I live in Cape Town (South Africa) and am looking to go to Europe from just before Christmas until just after New Year.
I have been in Europe a number of times, but mostly to the cities (Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris, Marseilles, etc.)
I am now in need of advice. I am looking for a smallish town or village where one is out of the main rush of tourists, a small artist village or something that will be fresh and extremely local. I travel with camera gear, so pretty/beautiful will help.
I aam not exactly looking for a one-horse town, but maybe a 5-horse town, so that there are places to see or go to close by or do during the day, but I am not looking for shopping centers, loads of tourists, etc. Just a simple village experience, where sightseeing, reading, relaxing and good food would be the order of the day.
Any suggestions for Western or Central Europe?
Nov 28, 2012 6:42 AM
1can you be more specific? theer are 100s, if not 1000s of places like that.
Nov 28, 2012 6:54 AM
Nov 28, 2012 6:59 AM
Nov 28, 2012 7:00 AM
4It is because there are 100's and 1000's of these that I am asking. Google has melted my brain.
I am not partial to any particular country, but have seen a lot of the Netherlands, France and Spain, so would prefer to look a little bit more East.
What would help is if the town/village is easily accessible from a major airport and won't take days to travel to.
I do not plan on renting a car, so would need to rely on public transport (trains/buses/boats/whatever).
I have been to Girona in Spain, Delft in the Netherlands and Aix-en-Provence in France (as examples of the smaller places I have been to). I am looking for something a little smaller than that.
It would help if there isn't a shopping mall or an Ikea ...
I was thinking that Poland or Croatia may be interesting. But, I am not averse to suggestions from Western Europe.
Does that help?
Nov 28, 2012 7:02 AM
5And, yes, I speak Afrikaans! :-)
I am planning on escaping the 35+ degrees C in South Africa.
I LOVE snow, if that can be guaranteed, even better, I am well equipped for the cold, because of previous trips.
Nov 28, 2012 7:39 AM
Nov 28, 2012 10:01 AM
7A part of Spain where you are not likely to find many tourists in the period you plan to go would be Santiago de Compostela or Galicia in general. Santiago itself is a rather old town with a car-free center with lots of bars and restaurants. It is easy to go to the coast by public transprtation (buses), where you are sure to find interesting sites for pictures.
Nov 28, 2012 5:02 PM
8It's not exactly a small town, much less a village - and I hesitate to mention it for fear of it being included in 'Top Destinations in Europe 2013' or some such list - but I can't recommend Schwerin in North-East Germany highly enough.
It's the state capital of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, with a population of 100,000, although it is split up by a number of lakes so certainly doesn't feel that big. It's a beautiful little city (especially in the winter snow), with a truly breathtaking castle, friendly people and a load of nice pubs. There's also a good museum and art gallery and a nice cathedral if you get fed up of just wandering. I honestly don't know why it isn't more famous; perhaps the fact that it is in the old DDR (East Germany) puts people off, as they imagine grey, concrete tower blocks and all the rest of it.
You can get there in about an hour by train from Hamburg Airport. The airport is connected directly to the main train station in Hamburg by the S-Bahn system and from there you can take a direct train to Schwerin. Couldn't be easier.
Nov 28, 2012 10:43 PM
9If you want sights to see, well, you're not going to find them in a 5-horse town. So I think you're going to have to make a choice. Quaint village with snow and photo opps? Or some place big enough to actually have sights worth seeing?
The smallest city I've ever been to that still packs a powerful sight-seeing punch is Ravenna, Italy. Easy, frequent, cheap regional trains from Bologna--so be sure to stamp your ticket before boarding. Snow is unlikely.
Nov 28, 2012 11:13 PM
10I do not know if Greece qualifies as Western on your agenda, but as it is included on this TT section,, here is an idea of a scenic town with many near by interesting sites (Nafplion, only 2 hours bus ride from Athens) :
Nafplion is frequented by Greek visitors all year around, but not many foreign visitors on winter months. It was capital of the first modern Greek state and its old part of town is very scenic with forts and wide streets, squares, many nice eateries and boutique shops etc. It will be busy with Greeks on your dates, but on the low key side rather than a zoo. I think it is a town rather than a village though, around 12000 citizens I think (?)
An other idea: Snow might or might not be a possibility around Christmas on Arahova, which is a 3500 citizens village 2+ hours bus ride from Athens. Parnassos ski center is only 30 minutes drive away. Delphi UNESCO Heritage site is a 10 minutes bus ride away. Arahova was and still is a place for rich and famous Greeks to be seen etc and it will be busy around Christmas, but it is not the zoo it used to be anymore. Arahova is known since at least the Middle ages although most scientists agree that a local cheese that Homer mentions on Iliad as formos relates to the local cheese that is known till nowadays as formaela.... It was always a wealthy village dealing with agriculture and producing local cheese. pastas. traditional linen etc A very important battle took place there on the Greek Revolutions against the Ottomans, so you will see statues of Greek leader Georgios Karaiskakis and possibly an exhibition on the former school with the famous Clock Tower related to this . There are many low key cafes and bars and restaurants, and if you head away of the busy main street that can be a nightmare, you will find old village architecture with stone-built houses, fire places,small cobble-stones lanes etc.
If you consider going quite East, not a small town, but not a metropolis either, an other lovely place is Wroclaw in Poland.
Nov 28, 2012 11:51 PM
11small town with good chance (yet no guarantee) of snow around Christmas: Mittenwald
good access, beautiful mountain scenery, hiking possible even in winter, useful base for excursions. don't know about the horses, though, but there are even smaller places nearby.
I recommend checking some of these results and eventually the official page.
drop a line for more ideas on this area.
Nov 29, 2012 6:21 AM
Tuscania, VT has:
- 2 Romanesque basilicas from the 10th century
- several Etruscan tombs from 8-6 C bc
- a Roman road and ruins of Roman baths and houses
- Medieval fountain
- medieval walls and towers
- several baroque churches
- renaissance city architecture
- a national park wth stunning views
8000 inhabitants. And by no means an exception in this part of Italy.
In France, try
Semur en Auxois
(1 star Hotel)
From US$79.70 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$24.54 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$182.87 per night