UN Tourism
Mabel Fatokun

UN Tourism: 5 European Villages Rated Best For Vacation

According to UN tourism, Europe’s most visited cities, from Venice to Athens, are collapsing under the weight of unsustainable visitor numbers. There are lines, throngs of people, and dilapidated infrastructure for visitors. Locals are becoming more and more resentful of tourists as a result of their limited resources.To mellow down on overtourism, the UN tourism came up with a list of European villages can be toured and enjoyed. These villages offer the same level of excitement the most visited destinations give.

Now is the moment to venture off the beaten path. The Best Tourism Villages have been selected by UN Tourism to assist you in your quest for unexplored locations.

These are the locations where tourism protects nature, celebrates diversity, and maintains cultures and customs. Basically, rural areas where tourism benefits both locals and tourists.

This year, the award was given to 53 communities worldwide, 16 of which were in Europe. The winners were revealed in October at UN Tourism’s General Assembly in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

All of Europe’s award-winning villages are listed here:


Andorra, a small European state with a population of less than 80,000, is located between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains. The country is known for skiing and duty-free shopping, but also offers a medieval town called Ordino, adorned with picturesque stone houses. Outdoor adventures include the high-mountain Tristaina Lakes, Sorteny National Park, Casamanya mountain, and Ordino Arcalís ski resort. The town is accessible via a three-hour drive from Barcelona, Girona, or Toulouse.


UN Tourism

St Anton am Arlberg, located in the Tyrolean Alps, is the gateway to the Arlberg ski region and is known as the ‘cradle of alpine skiing’ for its pioneering role in inventing the sport. Visitors can learn about the sport at Museum St Anton am Arlberg, located in a wooden ski cabin. The WunderWanderWeg, a wonderful hiking trail, offers barefoot walking, alpine herb, and flower paths. Schladming, a former mining town, is known for its world-class skiing, biking, hiking trails, and refreshing lakes.


Most visitors rush to Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, but if you travel into the country’s hilly interior, you’ll be treated to beaches by rivers and breathtaking waterfalls.Though it’s only a short drive from the well-known Plitvice Lakes, the village of Slunj has its own aquatic spectacle. There are 23 waterfalls in Rastoke that cascade into the Korana River, which is bordered by historic mills. Swim in the cool water during the summer and then cycle through the serene Jelvik woodland beside the river.


Wine enthusiasts should visit the ancient Hungarian town of Tokaj. The original “noble rot” wine, Tokaji, is made in this wine district, which is central to the Tokaj-Hegyalja region.

Botrytis, a unique kind of fungus that infects overripe grapes and converts them into shrivelled, sugary berries, is the source of this sweet, complex drink. The grapes are harvested by hand, and the process depends on local weather conditions. It goes without saying that a visit to the Tokaj World Heritage Wine Museum and a wine tasting session are essential to any tour.


The northwest coast of Italy is a town called Lerici that is home to the famously coloured houses that make up Cinque Terre. UN Tourism has recognised the town, nonetheless, because of its dedication to the blue economy. The Santa Teresa Smart Bay, Italy’s first underwater “living” laboratory, is located there. Here, scientists use the development rate of aquatic invertebrate organisms called bryozoans to detect harmful ocean acidification. Their goal of preserving the fragile ecosystem of the bay and promoting environmentally friendly travel in the region will be aided by this research.


Portugal has had a sharp increase in appeal as a travel destination in recent years, from Lisbon to Porto. However, there are still a tonne of undiscovered treasures in the nation. Sortelha is an old walled town that has preserved its Renaissance and mediaeval features. Its remote granite homes, dominated by a massive 13th-century castle, depict a bygone era, while its wind turbines depict a sustainable future.Portugal won numerous awards at the UN Tourism Best Tourism Villages. Vila da Madalena on the Azoresan island of Pico, the surfing haven of Ericeira, and the verdant mountain settlement of Manteigas were also recognised.


Explore the stunning natural beauties of Moldova in the southwest village of Valeni. The establishment of Eco Village Văleni in 2014 as a base for guests to explore the area has helped this destination’s tourism credentials grow. Explore the Lower Prut Natural Reservation, which is listed in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves, and see swarms of pelicans en route to the Danube Delta at Lake Belleau.


Central Spain’s Sigüenza is renowned for its castle resembling a fortress and its Museo Diocesano, which houses priceless religious artwork. However, the current depopulation has caused this living museum of a city to become stagnant. It is currently on a mission to reverse that by turning into a centre for rural development, with tourism playing a crucial role in the process. The city is promoting weekday travel on its one-hour and twenty-minute Mediaeval Train, which departs from Madrid. You are accompanied on your journey by troubadours and knights who narrate the histories of the cities and villages you pass through with music and theatre.


Travellers will find it impossible to resist Morcote on Lake Lugano with its picture-perfect appearance. The waterfront of this protected Swiss village is lined with arcades of old patrician buildings, all backed by vegetation, and welcome to the ferry that arrives from Lugnano. A Best Tourism Villages award was also given to the Swiss village of Saint-Ursanne, which is known for its mediaeval homes and Romanesque abbey church.


Şirince in Türkiye, which has a history dating back to the Hellenistic era, aims to maintain its historical ambience. The town’s small streets are off-limits to cars, so residents must move around on foot or by horse. Greek villagers lived in the hilltop settlement prior to the Greco-Turkish War. Fruit trees, olive and grape orchards, and the historic city of Ephesus are all around it; it is 12 miles away.


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