Europe is home to some of the most enchanting villages in the world, from fairytale towns to seaside views. In this post, we will explore 13 Coastal Villages to Visit in Europe that are sure to take your breath away.
Here’s the list of 13 Coastal Villages to Visit in Europe:
- Rain, Norway
- Varenna, Italy
- Wengen, Switzerland
- Itavold, Switzerland
- Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
- Rottenburg, Germany
- Piran, Slovenia
- Alberobello, Italy
- Dinant, Belgium
- Carcassonne, France
- Halstad, Austria
- Zermatt, Switzerland
- Positano, Italy
1. Rain, Norway
Let’s start our journey in northern Norway, in the village of Rain. Founded back in 1743 as a fishing village and trading post, Rain is located in the Lofoten Islands and has a population of around 300 residents.
However, its unique beauty attracts thousands of visitors each year. One of the highlights of Rain is its massive sea mountains that dwarf over the village. The classic red and yellow Norwegian houses add to the charm of this picturesque village.
One of the must-do activities while in Rain is hiking up to the nearby mountain called Reinbringen to get incredible views over the village and surrounding villages.
2. Varenna, Italy
Next, we head down to northern Italy to visit Varenna, located on Lake Como. Founded in the 8th century by local fishermen, Varenna is one of the most idyllic places I have ever been to. The cobblestone alleyways, impressive church, and great plaza are just a few of the highlights of this village.
The northern shore of Varenna is a favorite spot of mine, with its stone beach and restaurants that overlook the lake. Watching the small waves roll in accompanied by some of Lake Como’s majestic swans is a true sight to behold. The sunset on the docks is also a must-see while in Varenna.
3. Wengen, Switzerland
Now, we head over to Switzerland to visit the mountain village of Wengen. Founded back in the 13th century, Wengen overlooks the valley below and is home to around 1300 residents year-round. However, it gets many visitors during the summer and winter months.
To get to Wengen, you can take one of the most scenic train rides from the town of Lauterbrunnen that costs around 13 round-trip. Once you arrive in Wengen, walking around its paths and taking in the Swiss chalets and incredible views of the valley below is a must-do activity.
4. Itavold, Switzerland – A Castle on the Peninsula
Another beautiful village near Grindelwald is Itavold. Itavold is a small municipality located on Lake Brienz. The village is famous for its castle, which sits perfectly on a picturesque peninsula.
The castle has a rich history and offers visitors a glimpse of the past. Itavold is an ideal destination for those who enjoy nature and peaceful surroundings.
5. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic – A Medieval Fantasy
Located in the South Bohemian region of the Czech Republic, Cesky Krumlov is a medieval fantasy. This beautiful town emerged in the year 1240 when the Cesky Krumlov castle was built. The town escaped the bombings of World War II, and it stands today as one of the most beautiful towns in the Czech Republic.
The castle is the second most visited in the country and is surrounded by a moat that’s not full of water but bears instead. The town’s charm and character are well preserved, and it’s a perfect destination for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.
6. Rottenburg, Germany – A Medieval Old Town
Rottenburg is one of the most preserved medieval old towns in Europe. The town thrived during the middle ages, as it was located at the crossroads of European trade routes.
The town faced several adversities during the 17th century, such as the 30-year war and the bubonic plague, which halted its growth and preserved its medieval charm.
7. Piran, Slovenia – A Hidden Gem
Located on a narrow peninsula in the Adriatic Sea, Piran is a hidden gem that deserves a visit. The village was part of the Roman Empire back in 178 BC and became part of the Republic of Venice during medieval times. Piran’s Italian influence is still prevalent today, and the village’s medieval charm and orange root buildings are a sight to behold.
The Tartini central square is the perfect spot to relax and soak in the atmosphere, and the walk around the edge of the town offers a beautiful view of the Adriatic Sea.
8. Alberobello, Italy
Alberobello, a small town located in Southern Italy, is known for its unique architecture. The town was founded in the 14th century and has grown in popularity due to its white-washed houses with cone-shaped roofs called “Trulli.”
The town has the largest collection of Trulli in the world, with over 1400 of them. The Trulli are made of limestone from nearby rock beds without any mortar or cement. There are some theories as to why the Trulli were built in such a unique way, with some speculating that it was an elaborate form of tax evasion. Regardless of the reason, Alberobello’s Trulli are a must-see for anyone visiting Southern Italy.
9. Dinant, Belgium
Dinant is a charming riverside village located about an hour’s drive from Brussels. The town is situated in a picturesque location with a river running right through it and a rock cliff overlooking the town.
This quaint village is perfect for those who want to experience the peaceful Belgian countryside. This is one of my best from the list of 13 Coastal Villages to Visit in Europe.
10. Carcassonne, France
Carcassonne, located in Southern France, is a medieval fortress that exemplifies the medieval era like no other. The fortified city began as a Roman fortified hilltop and was given to the Visigoths in the 5th century.
They continued to fortify and build the city throughout the centuries, making it an impregnable fortress that many armies failed to overtake. Today, the city has 53 towers that are protected by its two outer walls, making it one of Europe’s greatest medieval gems.
11. Halstad, Austria
We placed halstad at no.11 from our list of 13 Coastal Villages to Visit in Europe. Halstad is a picturesque village located in the Austrian Alps that looks like it could be straight out of a fairy tale.
Halstad began as a salt mine nearly 7,000 years ago and today is one of Austria’s most popular tourist attractions. Visitors can walk the cobblestone alleys and marvel at the 16th century alpine houses. It is truly an charming place to visit.
12. Zermatt: A Magical Village Shadowed by the Matterhorn
Zermatt is a charming village that is shadowed over by the daunting Matterhorn mountain. There’s just something magical about this place, from the glacial river that runs through the town to the views of the Matterhorn. Zermatt is full of shops and restaurants, including a favorite among many – McDonald’s.
One of the best things to do in Zermatt is to take the Gornergrat Railway, which starts in the village and takes you up to 3,089 meters to enjoy some of the best views of the Matterhorn. We got off at the Roton bone station, where we were greeted by some of the cutest sheep with the curliest hair and twisted horns. It felt like we were in a fantasy novel, and the views were truly magical.
13. Positano: Italy’s Most Beautiful Village
Our next destination was the Italian village of Positano. This may be the most eye catching village not just in Italy, but in all of Europe. It’s full of good looking colored buildings, shops, and a scenic beach. In Roman times, several magnificence villas were built on the Amalfi Coast, but in the early 20th century, Positano was a little bit poor fishing village. However, tourism began to gain traction in the 1950s, and today it’s one of Italy’s most beautiful destinations.
Since Positano is so popular, it can get crowded, overwhelming, and very expensive. So, if you do go, you might want to avoid the summer months. One of our favorite things to do in Positano was to rent a boat. It can be a little expensive, but trust us, it’s worth it. You’ll be able to get some of the best views of Positano and the Malphie coast while enjoying it away from the crowds.