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A Whistle-Stop Tour of Europe's Most Intriguing Architectural Towns

Words: Sheona Mountford

European cities are renowned for their architectural wonders, from Barcelona's relationship with Gaudi to Christopher Wren's masterpieces across the UK. However, if you are looking for a more relaxed break on the continent, there is an assortment of towns to visit, all with a unique architectural blueprint. Whether that is hobbit houses or fairytale spires, here are our favourite most intriguing architectural towns from across Europe.

Alberobello, Italy

Alberobello Italy

This commune is a must-see in the Southern Italian region of Puglia, its whitestone trullo buildings giving the town a distinctive aesthetic and determining its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.

There have been many theories about why these buildings emerged in the 17th century. Some say it was to avoid paying taxes to the state, as the trulli was easy to dismantle so that they could claim to be an uninhabited area!

Regardless of the reason, the landscape of dry stone walls and conical roofs remains today, making Alberobello the perfect destination to visit in sun-drenched Southern Italy.

Tokaj, Hungary

Takaj Hungary

Whilst the town of Tokaj possesses its own quaint charm, you cannot miss its renowned vineyards in this Hungarian wine region. The cellars resemble little hobbit houses dotted on an equally charming landscape.

For wine lovers, Tokaj offers romantic walks amongst the vines and warren of cellars, all comfortably in the foothills of the Zemplén Mountains.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Rothenburg ob der Tauber Germany

Encapsulating the fairytale essence of central Europe in one town, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is exactly how you pictured Germany when you were a child. Located above the Tauber River in Bavaria, the town's medieval architecture is perfectly preserved from when it was the second largest city in Germany during the Middle Ages!

Whether you are visiting in Winter for the Christmas Markets or enjoying the Imperial City Festival, you can enjoy the escapist allure of this town any time of the year.

Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain

Seteil de las Bodegas Spain

Popularly nicknamed the 'Cave Village' of Spain, its whitewashed houses are built on the surrounding cliffs, offering plenty of shade if you still need to adjust to the Spanish heat.

That's not all. You can also explore the ruins of an old Roman theatre in the Cadiz region. Alternatively, why not relax in one of the many bars and restaurants in the pueblo? It may be a small town, but there are a variety of experiences you can enjoy amongst the clifftop architecture.

Sighișoara, Romania

Sighisoara Romania

Sighişoara is a town in the Transylvania region, but it is not all doom and gloom. Instead, the town is popping in rainbow hues, with cobblestone streets winding up to the next architectural wonder.

Of course, you can dive into the mythology of the world's most famous vampire here. Still, if buying a Dracula fridge magnet is not your thing, we recommend exploring the ancient churches or admiring the unparalleled views across the historic region.

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