Europe's beautiful villages. Photo: KnowInsiders
Europe's beautiful villages. Photo: KnowInsiders

Europe has a multitude of places to offer depending on the type of experience you would like as a tourist. It is perhaps unsurprising to see so many villages located in warmer climates and in coastal areas as this is a major pull factor for tourists the world over.

The List of 10 Most Beautiful Villages in Europe

Village Country Continent Population Total number of Instagram posts Total number of Pinterest pins Combined total social media appearances
Oia Greece Europe 1,545 1,609,706 2,965 1,612,671
Göreme Turkey Asia / Europe 2,000 1,129,021 279 1,129,300
Hallstatt Austria Europe 754 794,326 4,887 799,213
Vernazza Italy Europe 776 491,902 1,232 493,134
Tobermory Isle of Mull (Scotland) Europe 1,000 241,926 284 242,210
Furnas The Azores (Portugal) Europe 1,435 227,533 175 227,708
Folegandros Greece Europe 650 152,160 2,062 154,222
Wengen Switzerland Europe 1,300 121,013 1,124 122,137
Portree Isle of Skye (Scotland) Europe 2,480 119,750 125 119,875
Albarracin Spain Europe 1,006 107,878 120 107,998

Which are the 10 Most Beautiful Villages in Europe?

1. Oia

Photo: Quà tặng in hình
Photo: Quà tặng in hình

Oia in Greece leads the way and has more social media appearances than the bottom seven villages combined. Built on the slopes of the volcanic island of Santorini, it is clear to see why it is top of the list, with stunning views across the south Aegean Sea and a rich, architectural and religious history.

Located on the top of the cliffs of Santorini, Oia is a beautiful village with an amazing setting. The picturesque village is located on the steep slope allowing the residents and travelers to enjoy jaw-dropping gorgeous views of the world-known Santorini caldera. The cityscape is dominated by elegant white buildings gleaming in the sun, with stand-outs being a ruined fortress facing the entire area, the Captain’s houses, and a windmill, which is probably the most iconic building of this charming village.

Despite being packed with tourists in the Summer months, the picturesque village of Oia has an undeniable charm. Located on the beautiful Greek island of Santorini, Oia is blessed with scenic whitewashed houses and blue domed churches.

2. Göreme

Photo: Elite World Hotels
Photo: Elite World Hotels

Ranked second on the list, Göreme will offer a unique tourist experience. Located within the “fairy chimney” rock formations of Turkey, this magnificent village allows for hot air balloon rides and the opportunity to visit local, artisan markets and impressive churches.

Located on the top of the cliffs of Santorini, Oia is a beautiful village with an amazing setting. The picturesque village is located on the steep slope allowing the residents and travelers to enjoy jaw-dropping gorgeous views of the world-known Santorini caldera. The cityscape is dominated by elegant white buildings gleaming in the sun, with stand-outs being a ruined fortress facing the entire area, the Captain’s houses, and a windmill, which is probably the most iconic building of this charming village.

Göreme is small town in Central Anatolia, in the heart of Turkey. Established amongst the world famous fairy chimneys, it is one of the best places to go if you want to see these astounding rock formations up close.

First settled around two thousand years ago, there’s a certain otherworldly feeling about the place, especially since many of the dwellings are carved directly into the rock, same as some churches, which are also beautifully decorated.

3. Hallstatt

Photo: Triptoday.vn
Photo: Triptoday.vn

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hallstatt in Austria has the most Pinterest pins out of the top 10 with 4,887 - almost double that of Oia and Folengandros. But they are unable to push any higher than third in the list, with total Instagram posts of just under 800,000. This would be a great destination for exploring the mountainous landscapes, majestic glaciers, and historic salt mines.

The lakeside village of Hallstatt, located southeast of Salzburg right in the heart of Austria, is not only stunningly picturesque, but also has quite a past behind it. Historically wealthy thanks to its rich salt mines, the village is famous for giving its name to the Hallstatt culture, which mostly associated with the ancient Celts. Nowadays its appeal is such that a full scale replica of the village, with houses and even the church, was built in China.

This stunning European town features beautiful old churches, a subterranean salt lake, a museum with 7,000 year old artifacts and a glass-like lake set against the breath-taking backdrop of soaring mountains.

Hallstatt Salt Mine is another popular attraction, being the oldest salt mine in the world. Another must-see is Dachstein Giant Ice Cave, which has some impressive stalactite formations.

4. Vernazza

Photo: Italy Travel – German Travel Boutique for Italy
Photo: Italy Travel – German Travel Boutique for Italy

Fourth place Vernazza in Italy, with just under 500,000 social media posts, will perhaps offer you a traditional, Mediterranean-style holiday experience with a protected harbour on the north-west side of this historic fishing village and a scattering of local restaurants, churches, and castles.

One of the villages of Cinque-Terre in North Italy, Vernazza offers tourists a scenic beauty of magnificent turquoise waters and a proper harbour. Spread over a small area of 12 square kilometres, this tiny city provides home to more than a thousand people and reflects a laid-back country life. Its cobbled streets dotted with cafes and road side food eateries give a traveller ample opportunity to taste the local cuisines of Italy.

Earliest historical records noted Vernazza as a maritime base to the Italian Nobility of Obhertenghi around the year 1080 and became a part of Genoa in 1286. A medieval castle named Castello Doria was later built to protect the city from pirates. It is said to be the oldest surviving fort till date. However, on October 25th, Vernazza faced a huge loss due to the torrential pours and mudslides and the city was evacuated for a long time. With a lot of pain and hardwork, it was restored back to its beauty. For instance, the existing Santuario di Nostra Signora di Reggio was renovated into a Latin Cross in the 14th century.

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5. Tobermory

Photo: Power & Motoryacht
Photo: Power & Motoryacht

Or perhaps your desires lie in exploring the beauty that the UK has to offer. Tobermory on the Isle of Mull (242,210 social media appearances) and Portree on the Isle of Skye (119,875 social media appearances) make up fifth and ninth places respectively in the top 10. As the location for the children’s TV show Balamory, Tobermory is the setting for brightly coloured shops and restaurants situated along the pristine, white sands and crystal-clear waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Tobermory is the capital of, and until 1973 the only burgh on, the Isle of Mull in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. It is located on the east coast of Mishnish, the most northerly part of the island, near the northern entrance of the Sound of Mull. The village was founded as a fishing port in 1788; its layout was based on the designs of Dumfriesshire engineer Thomas Telford. It has a current population of about 1,000.

Many of the buildings on Main Street, predominantly shops and restaurants, are painted in various bright colours, making it a popular location for television programmes, such as the children's show Balamory. The burgh hosts the Mull Museum, the Tobermory whisky distillery (and from 2005 to 2009 there was also a brewery, the Isle of Mull brewing company) as well as Mull Aquarium, the first catch and release aquarium in Europe.

6. Furnas

Photo: Dreamstime.com
Photo: Dreamstime.com

If a unique experience is what you are after, then sixth placed Furnas (227,708 social media appearances) may be your calling. Located on the east of the Azores in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, this stunning little village is situated within a giant, volcanic crater, making it the setting for geothermal pools, hot springs, and steam holes - a site of peace and serenity.

The village of Furnas, as well as the nearby volcanic complex of geothermal springs, is situated beside the easternmost of the three spectacular caldera lakes on the island of Sao Miguel - Lagoa das Furnas. Apart from other places in Azores, Furnas, as one of the main tourist attractions on Sao Miguel, is extremely extraordinary yet still very authentic and, comparing to mainland Portugal, visited by few. Probably due to the deficit of beaches and guaranteed sunny weather.

But it has so much more to offer! It is idyllic, easily accessible and sometimes confusing, but in a very positive way: when you leave one of the cozy towns, you begin to doubt you are in Portugal and start to think you've been teleported to Iceland, Ireland and New Zealand, all blended into one.

7. Folegandros

Photo: Liadis Travel
Photo: Liadis Travel

For seventh place on the list, hop on a flight back to Greece to visit the marvellous village of Folegandros (154,222 social media appearances). This is a locale of incredible, natural beauty and having been relatively untouched by international tourism, it has managed to sustain its unspoiled charm. Made up of traditional, white-washed Cycladic architecture, wild natural landscapes and peaceful atmosphere certainly make it one of the most desirable places to visit within the region.

Folegandros is a small island (32 km2, 650 registered inhabitants). It has become fashionable but has maintained the untouched feeling of true Greece, a Cycladic piece of quiet land. On account of the simple and relaxing atmosphere that reigns all around the island, also thanks to the population hospitaliy it is and island to love and to fall in love with.

Folegandros has three small villages, Karavostasi (the port), the Chora, Ano Meria and we like to mention also Agali. A paved single road running side them connects the villages. What immediately catches the eye is the endless series of "dry-placed" walls that have been erected over the centuries by the inhabitants to create terraces on the sunny slopes of the territory to be able to raise cereals.

8. Wengen

Photo: Lữ Hành Việt Nam
Photo: Lữ Hành Việt Nam

Similarly, in eighth spot is Wengen, with a comparatively low 122,137 social media appearances. But do not let that fool you as, located on a sunny, sheltered terrace below the Bernese Alps, this charming village offers spectacular views across the Lauterbrunnen valley and copious hiking trails that meander through pine forests and wildflower meadows.

Wengen was once primarily an alpine farming community but has since become a resort town teeming with tourists eager to ski the snow-covered slopes in the Winter and hike trails in the Summer. Despite the influx of tourists the mountain village has retained it’s homestyle, postcard vibe with its timber houses, well dispersed holiday chalets, soaring mountains and magnificent landscape.

9. Portree

Photo: GetYourGuide
Photo: GetYourGuide

Alternatively, slightly further north, and a short boat ride, will take you to Portree on the Isle of Skye, where you can visit a traditional fishing village with a picturesque harbour and pier, surrounded by hills and hiking trails aplenty.

Port Rìgh is the largest town on, and capita of, the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It is the location for the only secondary school on the island, Portree High School. Public transport services are limited to buses. Portree has a harbour, fringed by cliffs, with a pier designed by Thomas Telford.

Attractions in the town include the Aros centre which celebrates the island's Gaelic heritage. Further arts provision is made through arts organisation ATLAS Arts, a Creative Scotland regularly-funded organisation. The town also serves as a centre for tourists exploring the island.

Around 939 people (37.72% of the population) can speak Scottish Gaelic.

The A855 road leads north out of the town, passing through villages such as Achachork, Staffin and passes the rocky landscape of the Storr before reaching the landslip of the Quiraing.

10. Albarracin

Photo:  AFAR Magazine
Photo: AFAR Magazine

Completing the list, and perhaps offering one of the most unique experiences, is the iconic village of Albarracin. Do not let the relatively low number of social media appearances deceive you (107.998) because this is a gem! The imposing, fortified perimeter is home to a village that has preserved its Islamic and medieval flavour. Surrounded by red, sandstone boulders and cliffs, this is a location that offers a blend of passive and adventure touristic opportunities.

Located about a three-and-a-half-hour drive east of Madrid, the ancient walled town of Albarracín is built on the hills above the Guadalaviar River and is home to some 1,000 people.

While the area around Albarracín has been inhabited for centuries (cave paintings have been found nearby), the town gets its name from the Berber dynasty that settled here—the Banu Razin—sometime around the 9th century and is best known for its beautifully preserved medieval city center. After centuries of Muslim rule, the town was peacefully passed back to the Roman Catholics in the 12th century, so the town has a Gothic cathedral in addition to the ruins of a Moorish alcázar.

Uswitch's Report Methodology:

*Uswitch.com sought to uncover the most popular beautiful villages in the world, according to Instagram and Pinterest.

* The villages contained in the dataset cover a breadth of worldwide locations and were obtained from multiple sources using in-house metrics. The full list of sources can be found on the accompanying Excel document.

* To focus our research, only locations that met National Geographic’s definition of village were selected for further analysis: ‘Some geographers specifically define a village as having between 500 and 2,500 inhabitants’.

* The most recent official government census population data and other relevant sources were used to discover the number of residents of each location.

* Total Instagram hashtags counts were obtained for each of the remaining 40 villages in our sample. Where appropriate, variations of each hashtag were also considered.

* Uswitch.com then scraped Pinterest for the number of pins connected to each village. Specific search parameters were used to ensure the relevancy of pins.

* Pinterest and Instagram figures were then combined to create an overall popularity ranking.

* The rankings were further divided by continent. Please note that Georgia and Turkey, whilst classified by the United Nations as Asian countries, have been included in both Asian and European rankings due to their geographical, political, and historical connections to Europe.

* All data was collected on 05/10/2021 and is subject to change.

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