6 most beautiful lakeside cities in EuropeVika
You don't need to be by the sea to enjoy the stunning views of the water and sun-drenched beaches. A lakeside vacation in Europe is perhaps even more romantic. Just think serene waters like the sun, historic villages lost in time, and often stunning mountain backdrops not even found in the magical Riviera. There are six coastal towns that are as charming as the people who visit them.
1. Ascona, Switzerland.
This low-lying resort town on the northern shores of Lake Maggiore is as the Mediterranean as Switzerland - we're talking five-star hotels, lake tours by Riva boat, and endless Aperol Spritzes, just 30 minutes from the Italian border. Beauty is everywhere - from the snow-capped distant Alps to the cobbled streets of the Old Town known as Borgo, where you will pass the 16th-century Pietro e Paolo church and colorful buildings to Piazza on the waterfront. It can be difficult to find a menu even in English, but this is part of the charm: people come here to escape the crowds of the Riviera, relax on one of the local beaches (public pools) and enjoy the warm summer days.
2. Lake Como, Italy.
No list of European lake towns would be complete without mentioning Lake Como, a glamorous aristocratic playground in Italy's Lombardy region, beloved by today's biggest stars - Clooney, Madonna, Versace, and Richard Branson. Cernobbio is one of the most picturesque villages along the coast of Como, with historic houses lining a beautiful lakeside promenade and a small but lovely garden called Il Giardino Della Valle. Just a five-minute walk away you will find Villa d'Este, a 16th-century palace in the old world-famous for its fountain-filled gardens and floating pool.
3. Ohrid, Macedonia.
Tired of competing with the crowds (and prices) of Italy and France? Target the Balkans. Lake Ohrid, which crosses the border of Albania and Macedonia, is one of the deepest and oldest lakes in Europe and has been a resting place for local residents for centuries. The city of the same name was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 for its Byzantine landmarks, Ottoman architecture, and prehistoric plant and animal species in the lake. Visit the church of St. Jovan Kaneo, explore the lake's many tiny beaches, and stroll around the shops and bazaars along the 10th-century main square.
4. Hallstatt, Austria.
An Iron Age village on the shores of Lake Hallstatt, Hallstatt looks straight from the pages of a fairy tale. The tiny village, all 16th-century Alpine houses, and Baroque churches slope down the slope to the water's edge, from where steep wooded hills rise into the clouds. The area is known for the world's oldest salt mine, as well as for scenic trails that begin in the area's glaciers and for incredible fall foliage in the fall. Winter is also a fantastic time to walk, with the city often covered in thin snow and a charming Christmas market taking over the main square.
5. Talloires, France.
On the shores of Lake Annecy, the magnificent lake town of Talloires looks like a village stuck in time. This may be due to the fact that it remains behind the scenes for everyone but the French, who spend their summers here relaxing on the beaches, swimming, biking, and indulging in Michelin-starred restaurants. The 17th century Abbaye de Talloires is the city's most legendary hotel.
6. Bled, Slovenia.
Backed by the looming Julian Alps, the cobalt blue lake is calm and mirrored in itself, with a 15th-century spire church on the central islet.