Picturesque Small Towns That Should Be On Everyone’s Travel Bucket List

There is something about a small town that pulls at many people’s sense of wonder.

Quaint and quiet, some of these towns are off the beaten path or just a blip on a map. Even so, they’re some of the most breathtaking places in the world. Just see for yourself!

Hallstatt, Austria

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JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images
JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images

With a difficult drive and a tiny population of 779, it’s safe to say the people of Hallstatt, Austria, aren’t looking to invite outsiders to their little part of the world. And, for a good reason.

The breathtaking town is full of pastel Baroque buildings built between the foot of the Dachstein Mountains and Lake Hallstatt and overlooking the Austrian Alps. It’s nothing short of a fairytale.

St Ives, Cornwall, United Kingdom

St Ives
Chris Harris/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Chris Harris/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

For a town that was once nothing more than a fishing village, St Ives, Cornwall, in the United Kingdom has blossomed into a center of art and culture. Home of the seafront Tate St Ives gallery and an annual arts festival, St Ives is nothing if not breathtaking.

People travel long distances just to paint the scenic area with its stunning architecture and white sand beaches.

Jajce, Bosnia And Herzegovina

Daily Life In Bosnia-Herzegovina
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Hristo Rusev/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jajce is one of the hidden wonders in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Surrounded by water on three sides, the small town has some of the best white water rafting around, not to mention the hike that brings people to the 72-foot Pliva waterfall.

And if natural wonders aren’t on the agenda, the former capital city still sports its ancient hilltop castle that overlooks the town and its cobblestone streets.

Tulum, Mexico

MEXICO-TOURISM
DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images
DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

White sand and immaculate weather, Tulum, Mexico, is probably one of the few places on earth that people can really forget all of their troubles and just relax. While the small town has been “found,” it is still one of the most breathtaking places around.

From walking around barefoot to hiking and exploring the Maya sites, Tulum has a little bit for everyone!

Santa Maddalena, Italy

The Villnoss valley and the view towards the Geisler Gruppe mountains, Sankt Magdalena - Santa Maddalena Alta, , Sudtirol - Alto Adige, Italy
Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Santa Maddalena is a tiny village tucked away in the Dolomite Mountains of Italy. With a population of 2,166, this peaceful town is quaint, peaceful, and a winter wonderland when the snow falls.

With no nightlife and only a handful of restaurants, Santa Maddalena is one of the most calming and beautiful towns in the world.

Shirakawa-go, Japan

Asia. Japan. Gifu prefecture. Shirakawa-go
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Lanzellotto Antonello/AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Shirakawa-go, Japan, is something out of a Hallmark holiday movie, with its wintery white landscape that makes the traditional gasshō-zukuri building style look like gingerbread houses.

With a population of 1,630 people, this isolated small village is full of charm, a simple way of life, and has some of the most beautiful scenery, have it be it snowy winter or a colorful summer, in all of Japan.

Eze, France

Èze Village, France
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Located on the French Riviera, Eze, France, is a small town with a huge romantic feel. Between the gorgeous botanical gardens and the views from the winding cobblestone streets, there is always something to do and to explore.

And there is nothing quite like sitting outside the Chateau Eza during a blissful sunset over the Mediterranean.

Bran, Romania

The Romanian castle of Bran ( also known as the Dracula...
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Bran is a small commune in Transylvania, Romania, and is one of the most charming towns in the entire country.

Home to the medieval Bran Castle, based on Bram Stokers Dracula, the tiny town has seen many tourists in recent years, all looking to enjoy the vampire lore and explore the surrounding wilderness.

Ceský Krumlov, Czech Republic

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Ron Van Oers/Wikimedia Commons
Ron Van Oers/Wikimedia Commons

The breathtaking town of Ceský Krumlov in the Czech Republic is something out of a dream. Centered around the Český Krumlov Castle, this tiny town is a sea of gorgeous architecture, green pastures, cobblestone alleyways and should be on everyone’s list of places to visit.

There’s even a direct train line that can bring people to Prague!

Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

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MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images
MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images

Koh Phi Phi, or Phi Phi island, is a tiny providence off the larger island of Phuket, Thailand. Known as the location of the movie The Beach, Phi Phi is a go-to destination for many people enjoying the southern parts of Thailand.

With stunning aqua waters, limestone cliffs covered in vegetation, and an extremely lively nightlife, Koh Phi Phi is a natural wonder that deserves to be appreciated.

Paraty, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro - Paraty
NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images
NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Located between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Paraty, Brazil, is one of the more photogenic places in the entire country.

Backed by mountains on Brazil’s Costa Verde, Paraty is a lazy bayside town with stunning red-roof architecture and cobblestone walkways that lead to some of the most beautiful doorways in the world.

Simiane-la-Rotonde, France

Simiane-la-Rotonde
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The village of Simiane-la-Rotonde, France, is no more than a population of 592 people. But the small number probably helps keep the small town beautiful and pristine with its sprawling lavender fields beneath the medieval castle.

Famous for making and selling essential oils, there is no visiting Simiane-la-Rotonde without enjoying its 500-year-old market hall.

Stepantsminda, Georgia

Khevi,_Georgia_—_Mountainous_Town_Stepantsminda
Giorgi Balakhadze/Wikimedia Commons
Giorgi Balakhadze/Wikimedia Commons

A population of 1,326, Stepantsminda, Georgia, is a stunning village located at the base of the 16,560-foot Mount Kazbek.

With sweeping green hills, hot springs, waterfalls, numerous vineyards, and some of the oldest buildings in the country, including the 14th-century Gergeti Trinity Church, this tiny valley town is full of both natural and man-made beauty.

Cefalù, Sicily, Italy

Cefalù, cityscape, palermo, sicily, italy, europe
Cefalù, cityscape, palermo, sicily, italy, europe. (Photo by: Filippo Barbaria/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Cefalù, cityscape, palermo, sicily, italy, europe. (Photo by: Filippo Barbaria/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Cefalù, Sicily, Italy, is a tiny town built into the cliffside along the Tyrrhenian Sea. Known for its gorgeous 12th-century Norman cathedral, the town also offers day trips to see some of the most spectacular Greek ruins on the volcanic Aeolian Islands.

Despite its tiny size, many travelers have been making their way to Cefalù in recent years.

Oia, Greece

Sunset In Oia Village In Santorini
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Located on the northern tip of the scenic island of Santorini, Oia is a small village that people won’t want to miss while traveling through Greece. With numerous art galleries, winding walkways, iconic windmills, four bells, and the famous whitewashed homes with blue roofs, Oia is nothing short of picturesque.

Especially considering its views of the port Ammoudi and the Santorini volcano!

Wanaka, New Zealand

(EDITORS NOTE: A polarizing filter was used for this image...
Jorge Fernández/LightRocket via Getty Images
Jorge Fernández/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wanaka, New Zealand, is located on a lake of the same name and offers many outdoor activities in both the summer and winter seasons.

The gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park, Wanaka offers a sea of glaciers, hiking, and some of the most breathtaking views in the entire region of the South Island.

Furnas, The Azores

View of the church from the Terra Nostra Botanical Gardens...
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Furnas is a parish on the island of São Miguel in Portugal. With a population of 1,439, this town is beyond tiny, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to do. Surrounded by natural beauty and wonders, the parish is built on an active volcanic crater.

This means the town is filled with natural hot springs and is scattered with active geysers.

Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, Germany

Coronavirus - Rothenburg ob der Tauber
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Daniel Karmann/picture alliance via Getty Images

To say Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany is like walking through a fairytale would be an understatement. A colorful medieval-walled town with cobblestone streets and pedestrian-only walkways is one of the most romantic places in the country.

There is also a lot to do, from exploring the Medieval Crime Museum to tasting some of the local wines!

Suzdal, Russia

Russian Golden Ring Balloon Festival in Suzdal
Vladimir SmirnovTASS via Getty Images
Vladimir SmirnovTASS via Getty Images

Since Suzdal’s council vetoed the Trans-Siberian railway making a track through the town in the 1800s, the small town has been lucky enough to escape industrialization, keeping its otherworldly charm.

One of the oldest towns in Russia, Suzdal has many sites to explore, including the ornate Kremlin fortress and festivals to enjoy, like the Open Russian Festival of Animated Film.

Vernazza, Italy

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MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images
MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

One of the “five lands” of the Cinque Terre region, Vernazza, Italy, is one of the only true fishing villages left in the country. Even with no cars in the small town of 1,000 people, there is a whole lot to see, including the Doria Castle, which was built as a lookout post for pirates!

The 2021 Pixar film Luca was also based on this particular Italian town.

Hvar, Croatia

Hvar Island, panoramic photo of a tourist in Dalmatia region of Croatia.
Matthew Williams-Ellis/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Matthew Williams-Ellis/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

An island located off of Split, Hvar, Croatia, is a tiny town no one knows they need in their life.

Surrounded by clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, all people need to do in Hvar is rent a cabana on the pebbled beaches and order a fruity cocktail to forget all of their troubles.

Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia

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FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images
FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images

Nestled into the cliffside, Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia, overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and is one of the most scenic towns around. Walking through the cobblestone streets, both locals and tourists can enjoy an array of shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

Travelers can even visit the Ennejma Ezzahra palace, a magnificent building constructed between 1912 and 1922.

Port Douglas, Australia

Green sea turtle and scuba diver, Chelonia mydas, Australia, Great Barrier Reef
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Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Port Douglas, Australia, is a small-town dream for any traveler interested in a relaxing trip that also involves exploring the Great Barrier Reef.

Located at the base of the reef as well as the Daintree National Park rainforests, Port Douglas is anything but boring and the perfect place for outdoor lovers.

Alberobello, Italy

Alberobello, Italy
Andrew Hasson/Getty Images
Andrew Hasson/Getty Images

Alberobello, Italy, is a small town full of trulli, whitewashed stone huts with conical roofs, aka the streets are lined with what look like beehives. Located in southern Italy, Alberobello is an amazing place to go for a day trip.

The town is full of quirky shops, interesting museums and has some of the best food around!

Rincón, Puerto Rico

Rip Curl Search
Kirstin Scholtz/World Surf League via Getty Images
Kirstin Scholtz/World Surf League via Getty Images

For those who chase the best swells, look no further than the small town of Rincón, Puerto Rico. A vibrant and fun surf town, the golden beaches are almost as fantastic as the waves that come in on a daily basis.

Rincón is also home to one of the most famous beach bars in the world, Tamboo Tavern.

Guatape, Colombia

Colombia
Daniel Garzon /VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Daniel Garzon /VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

While it is difficult to get to Guatape, Colombia, traveling through the bumpy, mountainous terrain is well worth the car sickness. The town is wonderfully colorful, especially the Pueblo de Zócalos, where homes are hand-painted with faces of people, animals, and places.

It is a quiet, peaceful town that takes things at its own pace.

Ait Ben-Haddou, Morocco

Historic Village In Morocco
Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images
Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images

The small town of Ait Ben-Haddou, Morocco, looks as though it was frozen in time, with the entire village made out of clay bricks. Even so, the natural beauty of the town and its location at the base of the Atlas Mountains is nothing short of a wonder.

The earthy town looks like an oasis in the middle of the desert.

Cua Van, Vietnam

A girl fishes at the Cua Van floating village, in Halong Bay...
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Jorge Sanz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Located in the iconic Ha Long Bay, the floating town of Cua Van, Vietnam, is one of those things people have to see to believe. An ancient and traditional fishing village, the small town is a marvel, with its array of exotic marine life and eccentric locals.

In total, there are 176 homes for a population of 776 people.

Júzcar, Spain

Juzcar, Genal river valley, Serrana de Ronda, Spain
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Located in the sprawling green hills of Andalusia, Júzcar, Spain, is a sleepy little town with an interesting history. Once known for its whitewashed buildings, in 2011, Sony struck a deal with the town.

To promote the new Smurfs movie, they painted the white buildings a vibrant blue! They’ve stayed that way ever since.

Wengen, Switzerland

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chensiyuan/Wikimedia Commons
chensiyuan/Wikimedia Commons

The Swiss Alpine village of Wegen, Switzerland, is nothing if not beautifully scenic.

While the small town is usually overrun with tourists looking to take advantage of ski season or hiking in the summertime, it has been able to remain quaint and cozy with its timber homes and magnificent landscape.