The tourism economy of the world represents 5% of the global GDP.
Exploration is the best idea to bring about a change; a change in the routine from our busy schedules and from 'Life'! Traveling gives us a new life, almost like in a game. Whether with someone or alone, moving around the world is simply fun. No need to say why.
So, if you feel you have 'been there and done that' with almost all the famous cities of the world, finding a 'still-better' place to visit might be a task. Even if you haven't been all over the world yet, you can still think of planning an exotic trip to some less-known places, instead of the big fat crowded cities!
Take a look at some such marvels - small towns and villages across different nations that a globetrotter must visit.
Most Beautiful Small Cities in the World
1. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Sitting amidst the Zugspite mountains at an altitude of around 3,000 meters in Bavaria, it portrays the beautiful landscape of Southern Germany. The name suggests the earlier identities of two different towns - 'Garmisch' in the west and 'Partenkirchen' in the east, which were forcefully amalgamated before the Winter Olympics of 1936.
2. Telč, Czech Republic
The 16th century Renaissance and Baroque influences in the architecture are reflected through the design of houses at the main square in Telč . This UNESCO World Heritage Site lies in southern Moravia. The town was founded in the 13th century, as a royal water fort.
3. Reine, Norway
Reine is a small fishing village with a population of around just 300 people. Located above the Arctic circle on the island of Moskenesøya, it was selected as the most beautiful village in Norway in the 1970s by the largest weekly magazine there, and is still believed to be one.
4. Colmar, France
It is considered to be the 'capital of Alsatian Wine'. Also known as 'little Venice', this is an old town with some landmark buildings including the Unterlinden Museum with the Isenheim Altarpiece. A 9th century found, the sunny and dry climate with low rainfall makes it the perfect land for the Alsace wine.
5. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Imagery of this beautiful 'Old Bridge' reminds us of the 16th century Ottomans, and of a prominent piece of Islamic architecture in the Balkan province. The Neretva river flows underneath it. Mostar, the most significant city in Herzegovina, got its name from the 'mostari' or bridge-keepers, who guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge).
6. Hallstatt, Austria
This little village in Austria is identified by its location near the Hallstätter See (lake). Hallstatt has the first known salt mine, which can be visited even today. Besides salt production, tourism runs the town's economy. A World Heritage Site, Hallstatt is also named after it the culture of the 8th and 4th centuries B.C.
7. Arosa, Switzerland
Situated in Graubünden canton (eastern Switzerland), Arosa was home to the Romansh-speaking people, before the German-speaking Walsers settled here. Interestingly, it is a winter and summer tourist location. It is popular for its vast ski-slopes.
8. Göreme, Turkey
Yes, this is a strange-looking town in the Cappadocia region of Anatolia, Turkey. Almost the entire region is known for its characteristic erosional rock formations. Known as 'fairy chimney', the picture seen above shows how a hotel room has been placed within such a rock. The Göreme National Park is a World Heritage Site too.
9. Manarola, Italy
This beautiful scenic town of Manarola, or Manaea, as it is locally called, is the second-smallest of the five popular Cinque Terre towns in northern Italy. The colorful facades of the buildings are simply mesmerizing.
10. Alberobello, Italy
A small town in Apulia, in southern Italy, it is famous for the typical 'Trulli' houses. These conical roofs rest upon traditional Apulian dry stone huts. These were shelters made for agricultural laborers, or as temporary storehouses. A stay here would surely make for an unforgettable experience.
11. Albarracín, Spain
This is how delightful and charming the town of Albarracín looks in the evening. It is named after a Moorish family, during the dominant Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula. It is nested upon a meander of the Guadalaviar river, which adds to its beauty.
12. Annecy, France
A settlement on the tip of Lake Annecy, this was once believed to be the capital of the county of Geneva. However, in the 15th century, it came into House of Savoy's possessions. Seen above are the Thiou river and the Palais de l'Isle, a castle and a historical monument.
13. Bibury, England
These are the Cotswold stone cottages in the Arlington row, an architectural conservation area. This is a village and a civil parish (lowest tier of local government) in Gloucestershire. The old villages, Arlington Mill, cottages, and tea houses form popular tourist attractions of Bibury.
14. Giethoorn, Netherlands
Pictured here is a traditional Dutch house, in what is also known as the 'Venice of the North'. Rising to fame after 'Fanfare', a famous comedy by Dutch filmmaker Bert Haanstra, the village used to have no automobiles once. Canals were the primary mode of transport. Lakes in the village were created by removing peat.
15. Shirakawa-go, Japan
This is a village in the Gifu prefecture, with a peculiarity called 'gasshō-zukuri', which is the distinct local architectural style. Also a UNESCO site, it inhabits a population of less than 2,000. The Miboro dam and lake, and the Hida Tunnel are some other spots to visit, besides the unique houses here.
Other Notable Mentions
Gásadalur, Faroe Islands
Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
Morro de São Paulo, Brazil