As tourism to major destinations around the world continues to increase, travelers are searching for small town destinations that are off the beaten path. As capital cities continue to swell with crowds, small towns around the world are gaining popularity and are becoming a popular travel trend for 2019 and 2020. The first time you visit a country, you’ll want to visit the major cities: your first trip to Italy will probably include Rome and Florence on the itinerary, your first trip to France might include Paris, and your first trip to the United States will likely include NYC or LA. However, once you’ve seen the Colosseum, Eiffel Tower, Brooklyn Bridge, and Malibu Beach, you might want to venture farther into some small town destinations.
We have found that small town destinations invariably offer a rich local culture, delicious food, and friendly locals. There are hundreds of small towns around the world that we love and recommend, but these are 6 of our favorites that you should visit this fall or winter.
The first time we visited France, we spent a month living in Nice and never visited Paris. We had the opportunity to experience the gorgeous South of France by train as we swam in the sea near Nice, wine tasted through Provence, ate our way through Marseille, and had our breath taken away at this epic spot in Cassis. Cassis is arguably the most beautiful destination along the southern coast of France. Cassis is famous for its unique Calanques and world-renowned rose! It’s the perfect destination for couples looking to enjoy beautiful views, delicious food, and the best rose in the world.
If you’re keen to visit the south of France on a budget, we got you!
Utah is a destination that too few travelers ever visit. For those of us from the United States, we know Park City as one of the greatest ski and snowboard destinations in the world. When we visited Park City we explored ice castles, ate at a cute restaurant downtown, and snowboarded/skied in some of the best powder of our lives. Park City is a great small town mountain destination for couples this winter!
Quaint is the word that comes to mind when thinking of Bruges. Everything from the architecture to the food, the horsedrawn carriages, the canals, and the ubiquitous flowers just screams dream small town. It’s a fairy tale town that’s reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast. Treat yourself to a boat ride on the canal, the best hot chocolate and wafels of your life at Lizzie’s Wafels, and of course, some frites!
If you’re visiting Brussels, make sure to plan a Bruges day trip!
The mountainous cigar farming town of Vinales is the quintessential Cuban paradise. A few hours drive outside of the madness of Havana, Vinales is a small town destination that warps time. Couples can ride horses, see how Cuban cigars are made, and eat Moros y Christianos with the view above.
Cuba’s Caribbean climate means warm, humid temperatures all year long, so fall and winter are great for a romantic getaway. There are some legal details you’ll need to be cognizant of, so follow our tips on how to get to Cuba in 2019.
Just 1.5 hours outside Florence by train is the walled-in Tuscan town of Lucca. Lucca is famous for its Renaissance walls that have endured 700+ years since the days of Da Vinci and Michelangelo. The walls were an awesome defense to fortify the town of Lucca against invasions. Now, Lucca is a charming small town with much to offer for families and couples alike. Rent bikes and you can ride in a circle around the town of Lucca.
Ride your bikes through town, explore the palaces and cathedrals, and soak in history that dates back to the Etruscans in the 3rd Century BC. For families visiting Lucca, there are awesome parks and playgrounds for the kids, plus they’ll love the castle walls!
As Ventura County locals, we were lucky to grow up with Santa Barbara right in our back yard. This gorgeous beach town along the California Mission El Camino Real is famous for its gorgeous beaches, incredible mountain hikes, and of course, the Old Santa Barbara Mission. There is so much rich Native American and Californian history in Santa Barbara and it is the kind of beach community that just feels like home. There’s plenty to do, yet it’s isolated enough and far enough from Los Angeles to be a solace to anyone who calls it home.
Just near Santa Barbara, you can venture to the vineyards of Santa Ynez, Chumash Casino, and many other surrounding attractions – all within a short drive. Santa Barbara has beautiful weather all year long, so fall and winter are great times to visit!