The marble statue of Madonna and Child in Bruges, Belgium, is the only sculpture by Michelangelo to have ever left Italy in his entire life.
Traveling gives us an opportunity to explore new places and gain a new outlook towards life. It can be a great stress-buster from the daily routine and hustle-bustle of the city life, especially if they are small towns from the medieval period. That is where we got our modern-day folklore from. We get a sneak-peek at how people used to live centuries ago when there was no present-day technology. Although many of these places are now enjoying the new and modern era, their architecture, history, and identity have been preserved and kept alive. Many of them have now become famous tourist attractions, mainly because of the beauty of old walls, bridges, canals, cathedrals, Gothic-style architecture, etc. So, without further ado, get out of the city and traffic jams, and get ready to step back in time and experience something completely different. Take a look at these beautiful towns from the Middle Ages, which still exist and are definitely worth a visit.
Most Stunning Medieval Towns in the World
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is the capital and the largest city of the Czech Republic. It is one of the best preserved city in the world. It has a rich architecture and flourishing culture, with a warm and inviting feeling. It is filled with old and imposing monuments, which constantly remind you of the past. The Old Town Square is the heart of this city, which became a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1992. The museums and churches here are connected by old-fashioned cobblestone streets.
Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’, Bruges, in Belgium, is a medieval urban landscape, with a marvelous mix of Gothic-style architecture, rich culture, history, canals, and a pleasant atmosphere. It is now a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. It is also known for chocolates, delicious cuisine, and some great local beers. I’m sure all chocolate lovers out there would want to hit this amazing city first. At first glance, it is hard to believe that people actually live there. If you want to witness this town at its best, plan a trip during Christmas.
Regensburg is one of the oldest towns in Germany. It was founded by the Romans around 2,000 years ago. The town’s main attraction is the medieval city center with Gothic buildings, a cathedral, and a stone bridge that gives you the feeling of being in the Middle Age. The old town of Regensburg has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Collioure is one of the most beautiful medieval towns in France. This castle-like town is the merging of two villages that are located on both its sides. It has an interesting history and a strong Catalan culture attached to it. The prime attractions of this town are the beautiful streets and the old church, Notre-Dame-des-Anges de Collioure, the old light tower that gives an excellent view of the sea, and the 13th century Chateau Royal.
Tallinn is the capital of Estonia. It is a compact medieval town that has brightly-colored houses, churches, museums, amazing guard towers, Gothic-style buildings, and crisscrossed alleyways. It is beautiful all year round, but if you want to experience the truly authentic Estonian culture, visit this city in the winters during Christmas.
This Hogwarts-like city of Carcassonne, located in the southwest of France, is known for its walled city. The most beautiful attraction here is the historic fortress that also featured in the movie Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves. It is also thought to be the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s castle of Sleeping Beauty. Don’t forget to experience the local cuisine and wine at the medieval square here. You can’t help but fall in love with this place.
With its historic localities, twisting streets, and canals, Colmar has definitely retained its charm from the medieval era. It is like the princess of towns, with tiny boats in small canals, a miniature train that keeps chugging around town, and an amazing light show that is organized everyday. This popular destination boasts of some of the amazingly beautiful German and French architecture.
San Gimignano, Italy
This beautifully walled hill town from the medieval times is located in Tuscany, Italy. It is known for its attractive towers and some great art, which is why it is also called the Town of Fine Towers. The prime attraction of this place is the town church’s square, called the Piazza del Duomo. When you visit this place, you’ll notice that it is surrounded by old towers that are thousands of years old. The well-preserved buildings here are excellent examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
The history of this exotic-looking medieval city in Spain dates back to 192 BC, at the time of Roman occupation. The ruins of the Romans can still be seen outside the walls of the city. The primary attraction in this city is the cathedral, which is the centerpiece of Toledo. Don’t miss it!
This Scottish city has its own charm, with an urban castle that was once a tough competitor of Prague for the best medieval city in Europe. It has a rich history attached to it. It seems magical when you walk down the streets while listening to the beautiful music from bagpipers. The Royal Castles in Edinburgh exist since the 11th century.
This walled city was constructed during the 14th and 15th centuries, and was extended and strengthened around the 17th century. If you want to witness the beautiful view of the sea and the old city within the walls, then take a walk along the walls.
Alberobello is a small town in southern Italy, which is famous for its trulli. Trullis are white, cone-roofed houses, and the reason why this small town has now been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a population of about 11,000 inhabitants. If you want to experience the authentic culture of this place, then try living in a trullo. You can take a tour of this area, that has even the shops, restaurants, and bars in trulli.
The main attraction here is the Old Town of Amsterdam. It attracts many tourists, mainly because of its rich culture, history, architecture, restaurants and bars, etc. You’ll find all of it in one place. It is full of canals, curled bridges, narrow houses, etc. It plays host to attractions such as the oldest building in the city – Oude Kerk, the Royal Palace, the Amsterdam Historical Museum, and the Madame Tussauds.
Does it ring any bells? Oh yes, you must have definitely heard the song ‘We’re Going to Ibiza’ by Vengaboys. The medieval and old town of Ibiza is located on a little mountain that overlooks the shiny Mediterranean Sea. It is popularly known for its lively and magical nightlife, along with some history. The main attractions here are Dalt Villa, Sa Penya, and La Marina. La Marina consists of some of the best restaurants, bars, and shops around. Sa Penya, or the ‘island that never sleeps’, is obviously popular for its amazing nightlife.
Warsaw is the capital of Poland. Don’t be surprised to see the beauty and originality of Warsaw Old Town. The historic center of Warsaw, which is also known as Stare Miastro, is a place where the sad past meets a fairytale. It was destroyed during WWII, in which more than half of the population was killed. After the war ended, the buildings were constructed back perfectly, but it left the shadow of the cruel past that falls over this beautiful city. If you happen to be here sometime, don’t miss the Old Town Market Square, which is full of cafes, bars, restaurants, and other shops. Make sure that you visit the churches – St. John’s Cathedral, Jesus Church, and St. Martin’s Church. The Barbican is the place that separates the Old Town from the New Town.
These were some amazingly beautiful towns from the medieval period that still exist. So, how many of them have you visited already? And how was your experience? Do let us know by dropping in a few lines in our comments section below.