While visiting bustling cities is one way to travel, small towns can offer a more relaxed feel and a charm that can’t be paralleled.
All around the globe, there are lots of small towns that have an old-school atmosphere, incredible landscape, and an array of activities for travelers.
We’ve put together a list of 22 delightful small towns to visit around the world, from the coastal town of Positano, Italy, to Bled, Slovenia, whose setting resembles something out of a fairy tale.
We defined a small town as one that has a population of roughly 65,000 or fewer.
Talia Avakian contributed reporting to an earlier version of this article.
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Alberobello, located in Puglia, Italy, is famous for its trulli, or limestone dwellings, that have been preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The popular tourist town has stunning scenery and an array of quality dining establishments.
In the old town of Annecy, France, travelers are greeted by pastel-painted houses and cafes lining a lovely lakeshore. Hang out at one of its many outdoor eateries, cycle along the water, or admire historical sites like the Château d’Annecy.
Sedona, Arizona, is often named to lists of the best small towns in America thanks to its easily explored range of red-tinted rock formations. In its Uptown area, travelers are treated to an array of restaurants, hotels, shops, and art galleries.
A favorite destination for celebrities, the coastal town of Positano, Italy, stuns travelers with its beautiful mix of colors as white, pink, and yellow homes combine with the blue waters of the Mediterranean below. Walk around and explore its chic boutiques, trendy restaurants, and colorful streets.
The Hoi An Ancient Town is located in the central Qang Nam Province of Vietnam, near the mouth of the Thu Bồn River. Its exceptionally preserved Japanese merchant houses, Chinese temples, and ancient tea warehouses have contributed to its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Dinan is a picturesque walled town in Brittany, France, that overlooks the Rance River. Grab a crepe and admire the town’s ramparts and quaint streets filled with art galleries and craft shops.
Albarracín sits perched high on a mountaintop above the Río Guadalaviar in the Spanish province of Teruel. Travelers will feel like they’re stepping back in time as they explore the town’s famed half-timbered houses, ragged fortress walls, and maze-like streets.
The Slovenian resort town of Bled is known for its breathtaking scenery. Surrounded by an emerald green lake, Bled boasts views of a church located on an islet, a medieval castle perched on a rocky cliff, and the peaks of the Julian Alps. Bled is beloved both for its romantic ambience and its activities like hiking, biking, and canoeing.
In the seaside town of Tenby in southern Wales, visitors can enjoy pristine beaches and cobblestone streets lined with restaurants, shops, cafes, and pubs. The historic walls of the medieval town still stand today.
In Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, visitors are transported back to medieval times. Walk by windows decorated with hanging baskets, relax in one of the town’s many colorful gardens, or admire the stunning architecture of its churches.
Telluride, Colorado, is famous for its breathtaking Rocky Mountain scenery as well as its challenging ski terrain. Wander through the town, and you’ll find Victorian storefronts, exciting music events and festivals, and luxury hotels that cater to a growing celebrity clientele.
Franschhoek, South Africa, is renowned for its stunning scenery, famous Cape wines, and its world-class restaurants. Enjoy endless gourmet meals, attend wine tastings, or go on a relaxing walk along the many trails on the Drakenstein and Wemmershoek mountain ranges circling the town.
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Tongli is a famous ancient water town located near the city of Suzhou in China. The well-preserved town has homes and temples that date back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. For a relaxing retreat, explore the town through its canals and bridges.
The resort destination of Stowe, Vermont, is known for its skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and world-class spas.
Traveling to Niagara-on-the-Lake in the heart of Ontario’s wine region can often feel like a step back in time, as its streets are lined with horses and buggies, cozy B&Bs, and charming inns. Head to its landscaped shopping area, where you’ll find boutiques, cafes, and fine-dining options.
The Rocky Mountain town of Jackson, Wyoming, is home to ski slopes that get over 500 inches of fresh snow each year. In the summer, travelers can take advantage of fantastic camping grounds, live-music festivals, and top-notch restaurants.
Pucón, which sits nestled beside Chile’s Lake Villarrica, is a popular tourist destination thanks to its gorgeous black-sand beaches and activities that range from skiing to relaxing in thermal pools.
The Swiss town of Arosa sits against the peaks of the Weisshorn, Hörnli, and Schiesshorn, the perfect backdrop for year-round activities. In the winter, its terrain is ideal for downhill and cross-country skiers. In the summer, hikers and downhill bikers can take advantage of its beautiful paths.
While the remote town of Ittoqqortoormiit in Greenland is tough to reach, once you get there, you’ll be taken to a world where dogsledding, expedition cruises, and lots of wildlife are commonplace. From there, you can also sail the world’s largest multi-branched fjord system.
Banff is located within the boundaries of Alberta, Canada’s majestic Banff National Park. It’s a premiere destination for skiing in the winter and for browsing through its boutiques, coffeehouses, and more than 200 restaurants throughout the year.
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