When considering a visit to Europe, some might become overwhelmed with the endless options when it comes to finding the best places to visit and the huge variety between countries. While hitting up Europe’s capital cities like London, Paris, Prague, or Rome, it’s always a great idea to include a few, smaller, picturesque towns, but finding these pretty little towns can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. So, I’ve gathered 50 small cities and cute towns in Europe that are just downright STUPID PRETTY!
We traded in Roman ruins, Venetian architecture, delicious pasta and gelato in Italy for a two week road trip through the Balkans visiting new, up & coming destinations as the mysterious veil over Eastern Europe is slowly disappearing. While we had wanted the romance of Tuscany and the Almafi coast, we decided that Italy is 1. Expensive. 2. Crowded 3. Typical for honeymooners. Don’t get me wrong, I have a serious love affair with Italy and I still want to go, but I found myself more intrigued by the lesser known.
Set on a rocky peninsula jutting out into the Black Sea, the ancient Bulgarian town of Old Nessebar is one of the country’s few UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Today, it is one of Bulgaria’s most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason: it’s packed with exceptionally picturesque wooden houses and churches. The small peninsula is connected to the main land via a man-made isthmus meaning “narrow strip of land connecting two areas of land” in Ancient Greek.
Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city and quite possibly the oldest in Europe, and therefore the world, was originally supposed to be a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kind of day trip between our drive from Sofia to Sunny Beach. I had heard so many wonderful things about this beautiful city which boasts some of the best “National Revival” architecture that I knew we absolutely had to visit because it’s as STUPID PRETTY as they come!
I know. It’s terrible. Please forgive me now for what I’m about to say! I’ve never felt this way before about any town! Sure, there were a few cities I just didn’t care for that I had had high expectations about, for example, Aachen, Germany. Then there were cities like Stuttgart, Germany that I just overall didn’t like. But never before have I absolutely hated a city and wanted to leave ASAP as I did with Sofia, Bulgaria.
Before I discovered Rila Monastery, I knew next to nothing about Bulgaria. The country wasn’t even on my radar and I wasn’t even entirely sure if it was safe to visit the country. Over time, I started collecting other beautiful pictures of stunning buildings throughout Bulgaria. Before I knew it, the country made it on the itinerary for our honeymoon road trip.