Are you flying to Europe this summer and you’ve not got your itinerary fully mapped out just yet?
We know it can feel like it’s a lot to organize, particularly when you’re cramming as many iconic spots as possible into a single trip, but it’s important not to fall victim to the increasingly-common travel burnout.
Cities like Barcelona, Athens, Paris, London, and Amsterdam should definitely not be missed, but before exhaustion settles in from having consecutive city breaks as you tour Europe, why not mix it up a bit and add one or two smaller towns to temporarily escape the hustle and bustle?
Here are 4 of the prettiest small towns you can visit in Europe to take a breather this summer, and recharge your batteries ahead of the next big city:
Greece is best known for its Aegean islands, particularly the Cyclades, where party hubs like Santorini and Mykonos lead booking trends over summer.
If you’re flying across the pond to entertain your Hellenomania, however, you better do it right and add some more diversity to your sunny getaway:
Mainland Greece is just as stunning, and while you will not find whitewashed resorts cascading down to the water in the hinterland mountains, nor an electric music scene, you will be mesmerized nonetheless by the quaintness and ancient charm of tiny townships like Arachova.
Located in Central Greece, in the historical region of Boeotia, it is famous for its woodcut handicrafts and quirky, centuries-old shops where colorful rugs and drapery are displayed.
Though it is regionally known as a winter destination due to the nearby ski facilities, it can also be enjoyed in the balmy summer months, where folkloric events take place, and tables are set along the uneven cobbles for outdoor dining.
Close to Arachova, tourists can visit the ruined Delphi, site of Ancient Greece’s oracle, boasting incredible views of the Parnassos mountain range.
For those renting a car during their visit, the drive from Athens to Arachova takes just under 2 hours, making it a popular weekend getaway if your base is the Hellenic capital.
Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain
Heading to Spain this summer? You will likely find yourself heading to the popular Costa del Sol at some point.
Located within the historic region of Andalusia, it is full of resorts, beaches, and is home to one of Spain’s trendiest coastal cities, the vibrant Malaga.
Once you tire yourself of swimming in the Mediterranean and socializing at those jam-packed beach clubs, you can always take the short one-hour drive to Setenil de las Bodegas.
One of Spain’s signature pueblos blancos, it is a surreal whitewashed village nestled in the Andalusian hills that’s gained traction on social media for having been built beneath a dramatic rock overhang.
Setenil’s most famous street is Calle Cuevas del Sol, where the houses are etched onto the rock, and a row of tapas bars and Andalusian restaurants await you.
You will also find a perfectly-preserved Moorish-era medieval settlement, with old stone bridges spanning a picturesque river and a fortification perched atop the highest rock.
The easiest way to get to Setenil is driving, though alternatively, regular day tours depart from Malaga, Seville, Ronda, and other bigger cities in the province.
From Ronda, inter-municipal buses to Setenil depart several times per day, covering the 8-mile distance in just under 40 minutes.
Southern France is commonly associated with the Cannes Film Festival, the azure waters that run along the extension of the world-famous Cote d’Azur, and the Belle epoque sophistication of Nice.
On any visit to the region, taking a day trip to smaller, more traditional villages in and around the Alpes-Maritimes department is an absolute must. Otherwise, when failing to leave the city behind, will you even experience the magic of the Mediterranean South?
Forget about Antibes, Frejus, St Tropez, Menton, and the like: head instead inland to Tourrettes-sur-Loup, a mountain town most tourists are unaware exists.
It may not be the most accessible destination, as there are a lot of stairs to climb, but the town is arguably one of Europe’s most fascinating, with its narrow streets and unique geography, with medieval stone houses passed down through generations that seem to merge with the arid backdrop.
Untouched, with virtually no cars, zero noise pollution, and 15th-century narrow passageways that have seen no modification since they were first laid out, Tourrettes-sur-Loup serves as a rare window into life in the rural France of old.
A historically-overlooked country, Bulgaria is rising to prominence as one of the best alternatives to an overcrowded Mediterranean Europe this year due to its pristine Black Sea Coast, laid-back atmosphere, and competitive prices.
Of course, there is more than meets the eye: far from the golden sand beaches and the bustling nightlife of Varna and Burgas, there is a hidden spot foreign visitors are yet to discover.
Koprivishtitsa is a historic town brimming with History and replete with Bulgarian Revivalist architectural gems, colorful houses that have been restored since its cultural appeal was acknowledged, and adorable souvenir shops.
Walking Koprivishtitsa, the only sounds are those of chirping birds in the neighboring Sredna Gora mountain, which borders the municipality’s outer edges, the blathering of curious Bulgarian babas, and the continuous, relaxing flow of the stream that meanders its way through the heart of town.
Koprivishtitsa can easily be visited as a day trip from Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, as it is only 1h45 away, but we would recommend you spend an overnight here to truly take in the bucolic scenes, appreciate the hospitality of the locals, and take leisurely walks in the surrounding nature.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com