Europe is often described as rustic and rural and can be serious business when you think about travelling there.
Europe’s countryside has most of its unique flavours and unique features in stone from thrones to roadsides and is often full of authentic and charming communities and landscapes.
Europe’s famed streetscapes are also available in gondolas, terraces, parks, swans and sheep.
It can mean traveling long distances and concentrating on sightseeing rather than truly enjoying the European destinations and cultures to which you’re travelling.
With the new In-the-Fields Travel app, we’ve picked the seven most beautiful places in Europe for two or three days out.
Montgolfier am Chiasso, Switzerland
Any people who imagine Switzerland’s other major ski area to be just the “village” with the, er, village tavernas and 12 ski lifts, will be surprised to discover the mountain town of Montgolfier is packed with dynamic shops, restaurants and bars. Montgolfier, a charming Alpine town surrounded by alpine mountains, was voted Switzerland’s best town in 2018, and is a major tourist attraction. It is reasonably cheap, with a top price for a room at Berghaus, a luxury hotel owned by the Berghotel group. Look for some of the best hotels in the region when travelling from one canton to another.
Surrounded by the medieval fortress of Sherbroke fortress and the wonderfully preserved city walls, the medieval city of Bruges is a visual feast. Known as the ‘Spitalgem, because it has some of the largest underground catacombs in Europe, the city was started by monks in 813. It is a well-kept medieval mystery, located in Flanders, a region which contains some of Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited townscapes and which has been the seat of culture for Europe since Roman times. The colorful capital and heart of the country has jewels of Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. The medieval city is synonymous with wine and also with bean curd – always a pleasant addition to a meal of wine and cheese.
A beautiful medieval city with an exemplary architecture, Caiazzo was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and is the geographical centre of Italy’s Occitan region, spanning over the Adriatic Sea between Marche and Valle d’Aosta. With a population of some 25,000, Caiazzo has over 2,000 houses built from terracotta bricks which are combined with tile-work, ironwork and woods such as oak and ebony.
There are countless historic sites, both ruins and monuments around Osijek, founded in the 11th century by the rulers of the region, Ismayrovsk. With one of the highest altitude towns in Croatia at 1,200m, Osijek has its own unique characteristics and is dominated by the mountain surrounding it and the green hills with the dramatic setting of the 7th-century castle of Partisans, created from a meeting point where the two major river tributaries of the Bosporus ran in parallel. This dramatic scenery is preserved by a well-preserved Ottoman period, high stone baroque and Italianate buildings and tourist attractions.
Markepoort is a small town, founded in the 15th century, located 100km south of Amsterdam. It has a fascinating skyline of buildings dating from the Renaissance including a quaint old church and a weaving guild hall. Markepoort is located on the edge of a beautiful lakeside or central forest and its beautiful wooded cityscape has an identity of its own. It was one of three towns chosen to host the Eurail Operators’ Eurotrack 20th Anniversary celebrations in 2017. Markepoort is a wonderful place to see some of the old Dutch countries architecture, its stone castle and its stunning square. It was originally a nest of pottery workshops and has worked as a harbour of Dutch vessels during the Netherlands’ time as an independent country.
Villa d’Este, Croatia
Villa d’Este is a small village in Croatia’s central Dalmatian Sea. Located in the village of Edvardi, in the Village of Santa Vrolijd, it was named best village in Europe by the Eurail Operators’ Eurail Rail Awards in 2018. Located in the village of Edvardi, it is little more than a cluster of houses. Villa d’Este’s story is almost as interesting. Named “Este adane va d’Otel” – The only island from St. Petersburg to Dzerzhinsk’s with its own city – after St. Petersburg, Villa d’Este was originally established in the 16th century