Beautiful Villages. Photo: KnowInsiders
Beautiful Villages. Photo:

Even though most of us prefer visiting big cities, quaint little towns can occasionally have something unique to offer. There are countless villages around the world that provide amazing experiences. While tourists are drawn to the cities' opulent settings, high-rise buildings, and posh malls, the best way to experience the local way of life is to visit the smaller towns that lie outside of the larger cities.

The List of The 10 Most Beautiful Villages in the World

Rank Village Country Total number of Instagram posts Total number of Pinterest pins Combined total social media appearances
1 Oia Greece 1,609,706 2,965 1,612,671
2 Ha Long Bay Vietnam 1,167,858 160 1,168,018
3 Göreme Turkey 1,129,021 279 1,129,300
4 Hallstatt Austria 794,326 4,887 799,213
5 Mission Beach Australia 608,703 93 608,796
6 Wanaka New Zealand 565,973 741 566,714
7 Vernazza Italy 491,902 1,232 493,134
8 Shirakawa-Go Japan 254,975 1,706 256,681
9 Tobermory Isle of Mull (Scotland) 241,926 284 242,210
10 Furnas The Azores (Portugal) 227,533 175 227,708

Top 10 Most Beautiful Villages in the World

1. Oia

Photo: Mind Games
Photo: Mind Games

With just over 1.6 million social media appearances, the majority of which are from Instagram posts, the gorgeous Greek village of Oia tops the list.

Perched atop Santorini's cliffs, Oia is a stunning village in a breathtaking location. The charming village is perched on a steep slope, giving locals and visitors alike breathtaking views of the well-known Santorini caldera. Elegant white buildings shining in the sun dominate the cityscape, with the windmill—possibly the most iconic structure in this quaint village—and the Captain's houses standing out as notable structures. A ruined fortress faces the entire area.

Oia is a charming village that attracts a lot of tourists in the summer, but it still has its own special charm. Situated on the stunning Greek island of Santorini, Oia is endowed with picturesque blue-domed churches and whitewashed houses.

Situated atop a precipitous incline that connects the sea to the caldera, lies the village. There is a labyrinth of alleyways with shops and eateries in the old town.

One of the greatest spots to see breathtaking sunsets is Oia Castle. Make reservations at a posh cave hotel in Oia for a genuinely unforgettable experience.

2. Ha Long Bay

Photo: PlanetWare
Photo: PlanetWare

Halong Bay in Vietnam comes in second place with slightly more than 1.1 million social media appearances. Given that its name translates to "Bay of Descending Dragons," it's easy to see why Ha Long Bay is so evocative of myth. The most popular tourist destination in Vietnam combines an incredibly gorgeous coastline with an emerald sea that ripples with thousands of limestone monoliths. Add picturesque islands, eerie caves spiking with stalactites, and amazingly constructed floating fishing villages, and you have a destination worthy of any traveler's bucket list.

UNESCO designated it as a world heritage site in 1994. In 2011, the Swiss organization New Open World selected it as one of the world's seven new natural wonders. "Ha Long Bay is home to 1,969 islets of hulking limestone and deep, green waters that are home to myriad floating villages."

When you travel to Halong Bay, you can witness a very varied range of natural landscapes, from long, sandy beaches to limestone karst that is thousands of years old. Nearly 1900 islets of varying sizes make up Halong Bay; some are very large, like Thien Cung Cave or Surprise Cave, while others are only a few meters wide. Find out what awaits you on your journey to this breathtaking natural feature.

Ha Long Bay is well-known for its breathtaking natural beauty and charm. Though it is merely one of the fishing villages on Ha Long Bay, Cua Van is thought to be its most visited location. The tranquil Cua Van is nestled on an emerald-green bay encircled by mountains. It is the home of exotic and beautiful marine life, as well as fascinating caves and grottoes to explore and a lively village culture.

3. Göreme

Photo: Tiqets
Photo: Tiqets

Göreme, who has more than 1.1 million Instagram posts, is in third place. Perched atop Santorini's cliffs, Oia is a stunning village in a breathtaking location. The charming village is perched on a steep slope, giving locals and visitors alike breathtaking views of the well-known Santorini caldera. Elegant white buildings shining in the sun dominate the cityscape, with the windmill—possibly the most iconic structure in this quaint village—and the Captain's houses standing out as notable structures. A ruined fortress faces the entire area.

In the center of Turkey, in Central Anatolia, sits the little town of Göreme. One of the greatest locations to visit if you want to get a close-up look at these incredible rock formations is among the fairy chimneys, which are renowned throughout the world.

The area, which was first inhabited some 2,000 years ago, has an ethereal quality, perhaps because many of the homes and some of the exquisitely adorned churches are etched straight into the rock.

4. Hallstatt

Photo: Chuyên trang Du lịch - PetroTimes
Photo: Chuyên trang Du lịch - PetroTimes

We drop to fourth place on the list with Hallstatt, Austria, coming in at just under 800,000.

Not only is the lakeside village of Hallstatt incredibly picturesque, but it also has a rich history. It is situated in the heart of Austria, southeast of Salzburg. The village is well-known for naming the Hallstatt culture, which is primarily connected to the ancient Celts. It was historically wealthy due to its abundant salt mines. These days, it is so popular that a scale model of the village, complete with homes and a church, was constructed in China.

This breathtaking European town boasts a glass-like lake, a museum housing 7,000-year-old artifacts, subterranean salt lake, and gorgeous old churches all surrounded by towering mountains.

Ride the funicular cable car to the summit of Salt Mountain, or 1,030-meter-tall Salzberg. The Hallstatt Skywalk, a free-floating observation deck, is located at the summit. Enjoy expansive views of the Hallstatt Dachstein Salzkammergut region, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, from this location.

The oldest salt mine in the world, Hallstatt Salt Mine, is another well-liked destination. Dachstein Giant Ice Cave, which features some striking stalactite formations, is another must-see.

5. Mission Beach

Photo: The Guardian
Photo: The Guardian

With over 600,000 Instagram posts, Mission Beach, Australia, ranks fifth in the world.

Mission Beach, which stretches fourteen kilometers in length, boasts some of the most picturesque beaches on Australia's east coast. Located just a few minutes offshore are the renowned Dunk and Bedarra Islands, making it the closest mainland access to the Great Barrier Reef.

Enjoy the many wonders of stunning Mission Beach, whether you choose to snorkel, dive, fish, or take a stroll through the World Heritage Rainforest.

There are many different kinds of lodging options, including luxurious resorts, beachfront residences, apartments, motels, hostels, and affordable lodging. There are choices to fit every budget and preference.

There are lots of eateries in the area that serve a variety of foods; some are fully licensed, while others are BYO. At Mission Beach Central, there are also a ton of takeout options, coffee shops, plenty of retail stores, a brand-new large supermarket, and specialty shops.

There are plenty of activities to suit all energy levels. Take a tandem ski dive, go fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, beach combing, birdwatching, golfing, hiking through rainforests, and white water rafting. Alternatively, simply recline and enjoy the abundant natural splendor.

6. Wanaka

Photo Flipboard
Photo Flipboard

The Otago region of New Zealand's South Island is home to the well-known ski and summer resort town of Wanaka. The entrance to Mount Aspiring National Park is located at the southernmost point of Lake Wānaka, marking the beginning of the Clutha River / Mata-Au.

The main purpose of Wānaka is to serve as a summer and winter resort town. The numerous outdoor opportunities this provides are the foundation of its economy.

In the past, Māori would travel to the Wānaka region in search of pounamu (greenstone) on the West Coast, or they would come here to hunt and fish during the summer. Ngāi Tahu left their seasonal camps in 1836 following a raid by a war party from the North Island.

During the 19th-century gold rush, the present town was established as Pembroke and changed its name to Wanaka in 1940. Like the rest of the Queenstown-Lakes District, Wānaka is expanding quickly; between 2005 and 2015, the population increased by 50%.

7. Vernazza

Photo: Kayak
Photo: Kayak

Vernazza, one of the Cinque-Terre villages in northern Italy, welcomes visitors with picturesque turquoise waters and a well-kept harbor. This little city, which occupies a mere 12 square kilometers, is home to over a thousand people and epitomizes a relaxed rural lifestyle. Travelers have plenty of opportunities to sample the regional cuisines of Italy thanks to its cobblestone streets, which are lined with cafes and roadside eateries.

According to the oldest historical accounts, Vernazza served as a naval base for the Italian nobility of Obhertenghi circa 1080 and joined Genoa in 1286. Later, Castello Doria, a medieval fortress, was constructed to keep out pirates and defend the city. It is purported to be the oldest fort still standing today. On October 25, however, Vernazza suffered a great deal of damage as a result of the heavy rains and mudslides, and the city was evacuated for an extended period of time. After much suffering and labor, its beauty was brought back. For example, in the fourteenth century, the current Santuario di Nostra Signora di Reggio was converted into a Latin Cross.

Vernazza's magnificent arcades, fine galleries, and graceful housing all demonstrated its grandeur. You can take in the warm Italian summer mornings on this city's beaches. In terms of activities, you can take pleasure in hiking the breathtaking Cinque Terre trail. Alternatively, you could go boating around Cinque Terre's coastline. In addition to this, you can take a wine and food discovery tour with the group "Save Vernazza," where you can sample the local cuisine and traditional wines.

Vernazza's gorgeous seashore, picturesque church, and quaint little harbors all contribute to the town's allure, making it a must-visit destination for anyone planning a trip.

8. Shirakawa-Go

Photo: Japan Travel
Photo: Japan Travel

On the banks of the Sho River (Shogawa), in a valley, sits the village of Shirakawa-go. This village is encircled by mountains and spans the border between the prefectures of Gifu and Toyama. As a result, there are four distinct seasons in the weather here, with the winter months having an abundance of snow.

This village is virtually cut off from the outside world due to its remote location and natural challenges, which has allowed it to develop its own distinctive customs and culture, which include the "Gassho zukuri" style of roof architecture.

Haunted by fog and customs, it appears to be more myth than fact. There is, in fact, such a location; it is the Shirakawa-gō UNESCO World Heritage Site in Gifu Prefecture. But because of its legendary, ethereal beauty, it has become more and more popular with tourists, which has led to some reminders (like a lot of tour buses) that we haven't quite left Earth for paradise.

9. Tobermory

Photo: Flickr
Photo: Flickr

In the Scottish Inner Hebrides, Tobermory is the capital and, up until 1973, the only burgh on the island of Mull. It is situated close to the northern entrance of the Sound of Mull on the east coast of Mishnish, the northernmost point of the island. The Dumfriesshire engineer Thomas Telford's designs served as the basis for the village's layout when it was established in 1788 as a fishing port. There are currently about 1,000 people living there.

A lot of Main Street's buildings, which are mostly stores and eateries, have bright paint jobs, which makes it a popular setting for TV shows like the kids' program Balamory. The burgh is home to the first catch and release aquarium in Europe, Mull Aquarium, the Tobermory whisky distillery (which also housed a brewery, the Isle of Mull brewing company, from 2005 to 2009), and the Mull Museum.

One well-known landmark is the clock tower on the harbor wall. The town is also home to An Tobar, an arts center whose management joined forces with Mull Theatre in 2012 to become Comar, a governing body for the arts. The theater still exists, and it is located in Drumfin, just outside of Tobermory. Adult and youth dance and drama groups use it to host a variety of performances. Popular boat tours, Staffa Tours, visit the Treshnish Isles and Fingals Cave on Staffa, departing from Tobermory. Out of the total population of Tobermory, 71% were born in Scotland, 23% in England, and 6% elsewhere.

10. Furnas

Photo: Portugal Travel Guide
Photo: Portugal Travel Guide

The village of Furnas is located next to Lagoa das Furnas, the easternmost of the three magnificent caldera lakes on the island of Sao Miguel, along with the neighboring volcanic complex of geothermal springs. In contrast to other locations in the Azores, Furnas, one of the primary tourist destinations on Sao Miguel, is incredibly unique, authentic, and, when compared to mainland Portugal, seldom visited. Most likely as a result of the lack of beaches and consistently sunny weather.

But it's capable of so much more! It is beautiful, easily accessible, and occasionally perplexing, but in a very good way: as soon as you leave one of the quaint towns, you start to question whether you are actually in Portugal and instead believe you have been teleported to a blended version of Iceland, Ireland, and New Zealand.

* The villages in the dataset were gathered from various sources using internal metrics, and they span a wide range of global locations. The Excel document that goes with this article contains the complete list of sources.

* Only places that fit National Geographic's definition of a village were chosen for additional examination in order to narrow the focus of our research: "Some geographers specifically define a village as having between 500 and 2,500 inhabitants."

* The population of each location was ascertained by utilizing pertinent sources and the most current official government census population data.

* The total number of Instagram hashtags for each of the 40 remaining villages in our sample was acquired. Variations of each hashtag were also taken into consideration when applicable.

* After that, scraped Pinterest to find out how many pins were associated with each village. To guarantee that the pins were relevant, certain search parameters were applied.

* A total popularity ranking was then produced by combining the data from Pinterest and Instagram.

* By continent, the rankings were further separated. Note that despite being categorized as Asian nations by the UN, Georgia and Turkey have been included in Asian and European rankings because of their historical, political, and geographic ties to Europe.

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