Small town Europe: the heritage of seven settlements across Europe

colour painting of a horse and cart on the street of a town

Learn more about seven smaller European towns that you may not already know

Adrian Murphy (opens in new window) (Europeana Foundation)

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.

colour aerial photograph of a town on a bay

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

colour aerial photograph of a cliff
Visit this gallery of seascapes in art

Kinsale, Ireland

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

black and white landscape photograph of a town by a bay

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 King Charles II in 1665.

black and white photograph taken from a boat on the sea of a lighthouse above cliffs
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.

black and white photograph of a cart filled with cheese at a cheese market

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 lansdcape photograph of a town, a canal and bridge with buildings along the quay and a church in the background
colour illustration with text for a boat trip, the image shows a fisherman standing on a quay, holding a jug in his left hand. In the background two boats can be seen; one at the quay left and one at sea right.

Fiskars, Finland

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

black and white illustration of a town and gardens near a lake

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.

black and white photograph of a factory in a rural landscape

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. 

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.

colour painting of a mountainous landscape
black and white photograph of a building in a hilly landscape

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.

colour aerial photograph of a large metal cross on a stone plinth on top of a mountain
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.

colour photograph of colourful boats in a harbour

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.

colour photograph of people shopping in a market in front of a large church
Visit this gallery of ports and harbours across Europe

Perast, Montenegro

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

colour postcard of Kotor bay, with mountains running down to the water and two islands in the bay with churches

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.

colour photograph of a church steeple
Visit Picture this, an exhibition of vintage postcards of southeastern Europe