Beautiful medieval towns that you didn`t know of – Neither did most tourists!

It is so hard nowadays to find a place that hasn`t been overtaken by tourists… In the age of Instagram and Facebook, no place is outside limits and all it takes to turn a hidden treasure into the next mainstream destination is one viral image. But it is still possible to find special places, the ones that still keep the original and local atmosphere, where you can still find local shops instead of souvenir shops, and the people walking on the streets actually live there. Here I bring you the most beautiful medieval towns that neither you nor the rest of the tourists know of!

  1. Éze, France
    The beautiful medieval city of Èze, France - by Guiri InsiderThe city of Éze looks like something out of a romantic movie…

    Located on top of a cliff almost 500 meters above sea level, Éze is also known as “Eagle`s Nest”. And really, the views from this beautiful French medieval town are unique: You can see the Mediterranean sea and the french riviera beaches, with its turquoise waters and beautiful houses.

    The medieval village of Éze, France, and its beautiful views of the Mediterranean.
    One of the best places to appreciate the view, along with a glass of champagne, is from the terrace of La Chevre D`Or hotel.

    La Chevre D`Or hotel in Éze, a beautiful medieval village in France.
    Éze may be a small city, but you won’t get bored walking around its medieval streets. There`s a lot of great restaurants, wine bars and interesting shops and art galleries. I had a great time wandering the little stone streets and discovering the secrets of this medieval village.

    The beautiful medieval city of Éze, in the French Riviera - by Guiri Insider
    Initially a roman city, Éze had a turbulent history of wars until finally set as French territory in 1860. Now Éze is one of the sixteen villages part of the Route des Villages Perchés (Route of Perched Villages).
    You can get to Éze by car or by train, from Nice. If you’re catching the train, you have to get out at Èze-sur-Mer station and then get a bus nearby that will leave you in the top of the mountain, where Èze Village is.

    The church of Éze, a beautiful medieval village in France.
    The church of Èze has been built over the remains of a twelfth-century church, and its yellow tower can be seen from the distance. The insides of the church are small and decorated in baroque style. Worth a quick visit!

    The best medieval villages in Europe: Èze, France - by Guiri Insider
    What to see: The Botanical Gardens with its cactus and succulent collection; the cobblestone streets and little alleys with flowers on the windows; the panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea.

    Insider`s tip: Be in Èze in time for the sunset. The city gets a beautiful golden light and the views of the sea at the golden hour are priceless!

  2. Girona, Spain
    The Cathedral of Girona, by Guiri InsiderThe door of Girona`s Cathedral

    Hurry up if you still would like to see this city in the north of Spain with its empty streets and calm atmosphere. If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you will probably recognize some of the spots of Girona: It was used as a location for the famous tv series. This is where the real Braavos is, but the cathedral of Girona with its many stairs was also the scenery of Kings Landing`s Great Sept and that impressive scene with Cercei…

    The most beautiful medieval villages of Europe - Girona, Spain- By Guiri Insider

    Famous characters apart, Girona is still a peaceful, beautiful city. You can stroll some of the cobblestone streets of the old Jewish quarters without even meeting anyone! Except when they have the flowers festival – Temps de Flors –  and the city receives a lot of visitors, this is still a quiet medieval town where you can feel like you are living in another time…

    Wandering around the streets of Bravos - I mean, Girona, in Spain!

    Forget about a map when exploring Girona and just let yourself get lost in the streets of the old Jewish quarter. This Spanish medieval village has a lot of interesting places to visit as the Jewish museum, the Arabian Baths and the main square. If you get tired of walking, Girona has a great gastronomic scene with many good local restaurants and bars. Try the ice-creams at Rocambolesc, a place owned by the culinary stars Roca brothers.

    The gardens of the wall of Girona - Best medieval cities by Guiri Insider

    Another amazing thing to do in Girona is to walk the top of the old city walls that date from the IX century, from where you can have a panoramic view of the whole city. There are four different accesses to the wall and the entrance is free.

    The best medieval cities to visit: Girona, Spain - by Guiri Insider

    Girona can be as peaceful as it looks in this picture, especially around the gardens of the old city wall…

    The best medieval villages to visit in Europe: Girona, Spain - by Guiri Insider

    What to see: The cathedral, the Arabian baths, the streets of the Jewish quarter, the wall and the river with its iconic red metal bridge.

    Insider`s tip: You can visit Girona from Barcelona on a day-trip, it`s only a 40 min train ride!

  3. Assisi, Italy
    The most beautiful and undiscovered medieval towns of Europe: Assisi, in Italy - by Guiri Insider
    In the winery region of Umbria you can find more than wine: The medieval town of Assisi is not only a beautiful village, it is also an important religious site, even if you`re not Catholic: San Francisco de Assis was born and raised here and visiting its gigantic and stunning basilica is a thing that should be part of every traveler`s bucket list. The most beautiful and undiscovered medieval towns of Europe: Assisi, in Italy - by Guiri InsiderI visited Assisi while on my last holidays in Umbria – you can read about it here –  and since the city is not big, you can see it all in one day, or even one afternoon.The most beautiful and undiscovered medieval towns of Europe: Assisi, in Italy - by Guiri InsiderIf the city is not that big, the Basilica of Assisi makes up for it. I’ve traveled quite a lot and I always visit the churches, cathedrals, and basilicas of a new city (more because of the architectural features than anything else) but I have to say: The basilica of Assisi is not only huge, it is unique and one of the most beautiful churches I’ve seen. Sadly they don’t allow pictures inside so I can’t show you, but it has two floors, completely separated from each other, with really high ceilings and the interior is all… hand painted with the most beautiful, intricated geometric patterns. Something like I`ve never seen before…

    The most beautiful and undiscovered medieval towns of Europe: Assisi, in Italy - by Guiri Insider

    Assisi also has some charming restaurants, where you can have a fresh glass of wine while enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of this beautiful medieval town…

    The most beautiful and undiscovered medieval towns of Europe: Assisi, in Italy - by Guiri Insider

    For a more authentic medieval feeling, you can climb up the hill where the castle is. Honestly, there’s not much to see inside the walls of this fortress, but the view from up there is nice and it’s an easy walk from the city. I didn`t think it was worth paying for the entrance, though.

    The most beautiful and undiscovered medieval towns of Europe: Assisi, in Italy - by Guiri Insider

    What to see: The basilica, for sure. Walk up to the castle to have a panoramic view of the city and then just let yourself get lost in this charming medieval town.

    Insider`s tip: If you go in the summer, as for a mint granita (a frozen non-alcoholic drink) to refresh because it can get really hot!

    4. Besalú, Spain

     

The best medieval cities to visit: Besalú, Spain - by Guiri Insider
The bridge that gives access to the medieval town of Besalú, in Spain.

For the ultimate medieval experience, you might want to travel to Besalú, in Spain. A city that looked like it came out of a fairy tale book, the village of Besalú not only has kept its old style, it also hosts one of the most authentic medieval fairs: The Feira Medieval de Besalú, every September.

The best medieval villages to visit in Europe: Besalú, Spain - by Guiri Insider

I am kind of obsessed with medieval times, I love history, architecture, archeology… Getting to a city that not only has kept its original archeological features but also recreate the customs and culture of the medieval times through the coolest Medieval Market I`ve ever seen was… Magic. This only happens once a year so it was even more special. You can check the exact dates here.

 

The amazing Medieval Fair of Besalú, in Spain - by Guiri Insider

The amazing Medieval Fair of Besalú, in Spain - by Guiri InsiderSome pictures I took of the battles that happen during the Medieval Fair of Besalú. And yes, I felt like I was in a movie!

You don`t need to worry if you`re not in time for the Medieval Market, though – the beautiful medieval town of Besalú is enchanting during the whole year. Starting from the bridge that gives access to the city and crossing the river, exploring the cobblestone streets of Besalú is a memorable experience on itself…

from the bridge that gives access to the city and crossing the river, exploring the cobblestone streets of Besalú is a memorable experience on itself...

You can get to Besalú from Barcelona by bus (about 2:30h) or from the other medieval town of Girona, which is only 35 min away by bus – even closer if you`re driving!

The best medieval villages to visit in Europe: Besalú, Spain - by Guiri Insider
What to see: The stone bridge, walk by the river to get some photos of the reflexions in the water.

Insider`s tip: Go in September and enjoy the most amazing and authentic Medieval Fair, with everybody in the village dressed like they would centuries ago, and live battles happening while you are there!

Have you been to any of these cities? Do you know any other who could be on this list? Let me know in the comments!

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The most beautiful Medieval Towns that you didn`t know of - Neither did other tourists! - by Guiri Insider

The most beautiful Medieval Towns that you didn`t know of! - by Guiri Insider

Showing 22 comments
  • Vanessa
    Reply

    These cities are beautiful, and I love all your photos! I’ve been to Assisi, and absolutely fell in love with it. I agree the basilica is one of the prettiest I’ve seen. I’ll definitely be adding these other places to my list.

    • Vick Fichtner
      Reply

      Hi Vanessa!

      Thank you!!! 🙂

      The basilica of Assisi was truly something unique and utterly beautiful, too bad I couldn`t take photos so people can see what we`re talking about!

  • Indie Chick
    Reply

    Wow! These places are timeless! Besalu & Eze – what romantic settings! I am a fan of all things medieval myself and I love the feeling of being taken back in time when I visit a place. Thank you for sharing these gems! Your photos are amazing!

    • Vick Fichtner
      Reply

      Hi Indie Chick!

      Thank you so much, I`m really glad you liked the article and my photos!

      That feeling of being taken back in time is what drives me too, I love to imagine how life was when those cities were built, how people dressed, how they lived, what they wore…

      The amazing thing about the Medieval Fair in Besalú is that you can actually see it, and have an idea of how it was, really cool!

  • Amanda
    Reply

    Love this roundup, and love Medieval towns and cities, we have visited a few in Germany and live near one in Rhodes Greece, in April and May before the tourist numbers rise it’s a magical place. If only the walls could talk, adding a few more to my list of must see ones now thanks.

    • Vick Fichtner
      Reply

      Hi Amanda!

      I would love to hear more about the medieval cities in Germany! I`ve only been to Berlin, which was nice, but next time I would like to see something less cosmopolitan and more authentic!

      Living in Greece must be awesome, like living in paradise!

  • Jordan
    Reply

    Thanks to you, Eze is now on my European bucket list! Gorgeous photos xo

    • Vick Fichtner
      Reply

      Thank you, and great choice Jordan! There are a lot of beautiful cities in the French Riviera, but Éze to me was really special. I think you will enjoy it a lot!

  • Janine beynon
    Reply

    Wow love this post!! So nice to read about some hidden gems. I live in Spain so definitely want to take some time to visit Girona and Besalu. I love the look of Besalu in particular! Your photos are amazing, great guide!!

    • Vick Fichtner
      Reply

      Hi Janine!

      Thank you so much! Glad it was useful! And you should definitely explore those cities, Besalu especially, not many people usually go there and the village is so beautiful! Like going back in time!

  • Missy
    Reply

    Such beautiful photos! I love the look and feel of medieval towns, so I’ll definitely be adding these to my travel list!

    • Vick Fichtner
      Reply

      Thank you Missy!

      I love everything medieval, but exploring those medieval towns do have something magic!

  • Ariana del Rio
    Reply

    I have literally noted all these down. I’m living just a ferry ride from Barcelona on the Spanish Island of Mallorca currently, so I can surely explore some of these on your list. Hoping to really take advantage of the weather on the East of Spain (i lived in the cold northwestern region of the country before)! Thanks for this great list. Cheers!

    • Vick Fichtner
      Reply

      Living in Mallorca must be great! So many beautiful calas to explore! 🙂

      I`m really glad you liked the article and that it was useful! Thanks for commenting!

  • Sarah
    Reply

    I had no idea Girona was the setting for that scene in Game of Thrones! I was there 7 years ago and stayed at a hotel up at the top of the church so had to walk those stairs everyday! It’s such a gorgeous city – one of my favorites.

    • Vick Fichtner
      Reply

      Girona is awesome! I love taking my guests there, it`s a nice change of scenery from the busy Barcelona and the city is beautiful!

  • NieNie
    Reply

    Your photos are absolutely stunning! I can see why these were beauties on your list! I wish I knew of some of these places before I went to Spain!

    • Vick Fichtner
      Reply

      Thank you so much NieNie! 🙂

      You can always come back to Spain, some many beautiful places to see! If you ever do, contact me and I can help organizing your trip with lots of tips!

  • Lenka
    Reply

    All towns look so beautiful! Thank you for this inspiration, I enjoy so much going to places that are not overcrowded.

    • Vick Fichtner
      Reply

      You`re welcome Lenka!
      I love going to places that are still kind of empty, it`s like discovering something really special!

  • Caroline
    Reply

    Love finding little historic towns like these – really transports you back in time! These look like such beautiful towns, and I love your photos!

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