Top-tier travel website “Travel + Leisure” included the two Greek villages of Chora on the island of Folegandros and Kardamili in its “Top 25 Secret European Villages”. The piece presents off the beat villages around Europe offering the visitor a unique experience. Here is the list from T+L:
A few winters ago, my family and I checked into a restored 17th-century estate in the tiny town of Lower Monferrato, in Piedmont, Italy. Our bay window looked out onto rolling hills covered in grapevines and, far, far in the landscape, the snow-topped Alps. No cars passed the cypress-dotted landscape; each morning we sat down in total tranquility to a breakfast of fresh-baked bread, soft cheeses, and blood orange juice. The experience was one that many modern travelers are searching for: a few nights hidden away in a European village, experiencing the traditional culture and soul of a destination.
What is the allure of these small towns with their meandering streets, lunch-only cafés, and intimate shops? “Perhaps it is the scaled-down size, the greater ease of catching a shopkeeper’s eye, the colorful flowers hanging in a window,” says Travel + Leisure A-List travel agent Marjorie Shaw of Insiders Italy, a Rome-based agency. Writer David Farley agrees: “In a time of creeping globalization, villages offer a look into the past as well as a clearer sense of the country or region, including its food.”
Staufen im Breisgau, Germany
There’s no mistaking it, this tranquil spot in the Cyclades has nothing in common with neighboring Santorini: no building stands above two stories, no cruise ships pull into port, and there are no boutiques or fancy restaurants. Instead, on this remote island in the Aegean, waves crash on pebbled beaches, goats scurry up the hills, and an old wooden windmill twists in the salty breeze. It’s a delightfully quiet escape for those who have grown tired of Greece’s more trammeled getaways.
Terschelling, The Netherlands
Slavonice, Czech Republic
St. Mawes, England
If you’ve heard murmurs that the jagged mountains and white-sand beaches of the Mani region are worth the trip from Athens, you’re not alone. Insiders head there for a traditional experience: authentic Greek salads and moussaka at Lela’s Taverna before spending the evening at the Elies Hotel’s outdoor patio, which overlooks the Gulf of Messenia. About three hours away on the Ionian Sea is the 765-room Costa Navarino resort with an observatory and tourism office dedicated to sustaining the village’s community and seafront.
Hall in Tirol, Austria