When considering where to retire, there’s always that dream of taking off to Europe and buying a villa somewhere in Tuscany, or perhaps a cottage in England.
Budget Travel took a look at the best small towns in Europe and its list presents dreamer’s guide to retirement in the European countryside.
Check out our favorite five from the list of best small towns in Europe and consider them when you’re thinking of some of the best places to retire.
No. 5 Best Small Towns in Europe: Palmanova, Italy
Yes, it really looks like this. A stronghold of the Venetian Republic built in the late 1500s, Palmanova is a fairy tale set in the real world. The valley area makes gardens thrive with a lagoon that stretches to the Adriatic. As Budget Travel notes, “the land surrounding Palmanova yields high-quality Chardonnay, while the local waters are stocked with mullet, sea bass, and other delicious fish.” Count us in.
No. 4 Best Small Towns in Europe: Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, Germany
The inspiration for the Disney classic Pinocchio, Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber is a timeless city that’s walled out time relentless march. The small town has kept its red-walls up, and from the top you look out on pastures and rolling German countryside. A host of shops and restaurants add modern charm to this medieval town that feels as timeless as it does magical. Our tip: Hit the town’s lookout in the city center for views that you’ll be enchanted by (though in summer the lines do stretch on a bit.)
No. 3 Best Small Towns in Europe: Bibury, England
Situated on the River Coln, Bibury is a charming English countryside town that has to be one of the best places to call home. From its Old World homes to its cobblestone walks, Bibury is as charming as it is lively — with local pubs to find a separate peace. Enjoy a cup of tea and stroll to your heart’s content through the village — until it’s time for some fishing or perhaps some cards with your mates.
No. 2 Best Small Towns in Europe: Binn, Switzerland
Located in a secluded Alpine valley, Binn is the escape you need after the hustle and bustle of the American business world. Hiking, fishing, and hunting abound — and the town itself is an Old World marvel. Enjoy local wine and cheese as you meander through pastures on a walk. Or just stay in town, but know that it’s remote location means many hours from the city, though you’ll feel worlds away.
No. 1 Best Small Towns in Europe: Tremolat, France
As Budget Travel notes, Tremolat is known for its “dark oak forests, hillside vineyards, medieval châteaux, Stonehenge-like megaliths, and, of course, the prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux.” But the town is so much more. Positioned at river’s edge, the charming village is a foodie’s delight and a place that retirees are likely to sigh deeply when viewing Google images of it. Add its close proximity to Bordeaux, and you’ve got a definite contender as a new place to call home.