This list is our own personal top ten towns we have visited around the world, based on what we have seen and experienced in our travels.
The town of Pai in the mountains of the north of Thailand. It is a small town, less developed than Chiang Mai, and though similarly it is geared towards tourists, it does not seem as touristy. We found a very nice wooded cottage to stay in, with a private balcony overlooking the river. Here we relaxed for a couple of hours, enjoying the peacefulness.
Whitby is in the north-east on the coast. It is famous as the home of Captain James Cook. The hostel in Whitby is perched on a hill with magnificent views of the town and harbour, and views of the Abbey ruins out of the window. We sampled some of England’s finest cuisine, fish and chips, and what better place to do it than on the coast.
This beautiful small town is set on a hillside. It was an old silver mining town – it is now renowned for sales of silver to tourists. As we hiked up the narrow cobble stoned alleyways to our hotel, Clare´s jaw dropped on seeing the multitude of jewelry shops. We spent the afternoon exploring and getting lost in the narrow streets, where in parts you have to go flat against the wall to let the cars go by. Most of the cars are VW beetles, ideal for this terrain.
What a paradise. A majestic view of the crystal clear water river from the hammock on the balcony of our bamboo and straw hut. Tranquility at its finest, we could stay here for ever – except for all the other tourists!
We booked into a ‘fairy chimney’ room – a room carved out of rock that is shaped like a massive upside down cone. We had a majestic view over the village, which was full of similar weirdly shaped rock formations. After resting we visited an outdoor museum of churches with painted frescoes, which have been carved from these amazing soft rocks in the 11th century. From there we walked through one of the nearby valleys to the next small town. On the way enjoying a Mediterranean lunch of cheese, olives and bread.
Atrani, Amalfi Coast, Italy
Amalfi is an absolutely unbelievable coastline of cliffs falling into the ocean with splattering’s of houses and towns and tiny beaches. It tops the ‘great ocean road’ and the ‘big sur’ easily. We stayed in Atrani which is in the next bay to Amalfi town.
A living fort city, crazy markets and narrow streets, beautiful havellis, and from here you can go on camel safaris into the surrounding desert. We went for three days. While on our camel trek, a young boy from a nearby village arrived by camel with some warm beers – it is hard to be isolated anywhere in India. Another great meal cooked up by our guides, some Rajasthani songs around the campfire, then off to sleep under the stars. So peaceful.
We splurged on a nice place with airconditioning so we could get some sleep. Directly in front of the hotel we walked out to the reef and did some amazing snorkeling in the Red Sea, despite the small amount of floating rubbish and jelly fish in this area. Back on shore, we zonked out under the sun, to catch up on more necessary sleep. This town is very relaxing, very different from other towns we have visited in Egypt. It has no traffic, but still has the hassle element from locals trying to sell stuff. We finished the day with some beers on the waterfront.
Cesky Kromlov, Czech Republic
We went on a day trip by bus to the small medieval town of Cesky Kromlov. We visited another amazing castle, and enjoyed an entertaining and informative tour. We especially liked the masquerade ballroom, and the pet bears that made their home in the moat around the castle. We had a hot lunch in a dark and smoky traditional inn, then had a leisurely and very pleasant walk around the cobbled streets and castle gardens.
Tolla, Corsica, France
A hillside town of Tolla in the centre of Corsica. We stayed in an old stone cottage in this sleepy village, perched on the hill overlooking a huge lake – a perfect location for relaxing. The town has no shops to buy food supplies.
* just missing out on the top 10 are: Vang Vien Laos, Guanajato and Zacetacas Mexico, Orvieto Italy, Bath and Cambridge UK, Avion France and towns of the Cinque Terre Italy.