Small town Europe: the heritage of seven settlements across Europe

painting showing a house on a town street

Europe’s cities are famed attractions for visitors from around the world – whether chic Paris, beautiful Venice or historic Budapest.

Away from the cities, however, across Europe many smaller towns are home to beautiful sights and fascinating local heritage. 

Let’s learn more about seven smaller European towns that you may not already know.

Cariño, Spain

Cariño is a town in the northwestern Spanish province A Coruña. It is a coastal town, located on a tidal inlet of the Ría de Ortigueira y Ladrido.

The coast nearby Cariño has some of the highest cliffs in Europe.

EXPLORE MORE: Visit this gallery of seascapes

Kinsale, Ireland

Kinsale, a town in County Cork in Ireland, is known for its restaurants and gastronomy. 

Just outside the town, at the Old Head of Kinsale headline, stands a lighthouse – one of the first lighthouses to be built in Ireland following permission granted by Charles II in 1665.

EXPLORE MORE: Visit this gallery of lighthouses across Europe

Edam, The Netherlands

The name Edam is known around the world due to the cheese named after the town. 

A regular cheese market has been held in the town for centuries, since Emperor Charles V first granted the right for this in 1526.

For centuries, the town, to the north of Amsterdam, stood on the sea coast of the Zuiderzee, with shipbuilding and fishing being an important part of the town’s heritage. Since the early 20th century, the Zuiderzee has been enclosed to prevent flooding and is now an inland sea, the IJsselmeer.

black and white landscape photograph, a town with a bridge over a canal, a church in the background
Cityscape of Edam, Siebe Jan Bouma, Zuiderzee Museum, CC BY-SA

EXPLORE MORE: Browse more photographs of cultural heritage sites in Edam

Fiskars, Finland

Fiskars in the south of Finland is another place which has given its name to a company known throughout the world.

Fiskars developed around ironworks founded in 1649 which developed through the 18th and 19th centuries to become a world-leading company. Fiskars itself was the site of mills, workshops and factories.

The company is no longer located in Fiskars. Today, those buildings are home to artists, artisans and designers, and Fiskars is a popular tourist destination. 

EXPLORE MORE: Read stories of working lives in Fiskars

Bușteni, Romania

Bușteni is a small town in Romania, located in the Prahova Valley surrounded by the Bucegi mountains.

This gives the town spectacular views, and today it is a popular mountain resort for skiing and mountain hiking.

On top of one of these mountains stands the Commemorative Cross of the Romanian Heroes from World War I, a memorial which was completed in 1928. 

EXPLORE MORE: View this gallery of mountain scenery

Marsaxlokk, Malta

Marsaxlokk is a vibrant fishing port in Malta, with a weekly fish market on the Mediterranean seafront.   

The port has been inhabited for centuries and used by Phoenicians and Carthaginians. The name Marsaxlokk comes from the Arabic word marsa, which means port and xlokk, which is the Maltese word for south-east.

EXPLORE MORE: Visit this gallery of ports and harbours across Europe

Perast, Montenegro 

Perast in Montenegro is a town located on the Bay of Kotor. 

Perast was an important trading town for the Venetian Republic, and is known for its baroque architecture. For a small town with one main street, there are 16 churches and 17 former grand palazzi.

EXPLORE MORE: Visit Picture this, an exhibition of vintage postcards of southeastern Europe

By Adrian Murphy, Europeana Foundation

This blog is part of Europeana’s Discovering Europe season featuring cultural jewels and hidden gems from across the continent.

Feature image: Motif from Vichy, Hjalmar Sandberg, Nationalmuseum, Sweden, Public Domain

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