Living the high life: Europe's most beautiful hilltop towns

Living The High Life: Europe's Most Beautiful Hilltop Towns

(CNN) — Picturesque hilltops aren’t always wild along with empty.

Living The High Life: Europe's Most Beautiful Hilltop Towns

Some are adorned by ancient castles or churches, with pretty towns teetering on the edge. These vertiginous villages exude a special aura along with offer far-reaching vistas over the landscape below.

Living The High Life: Europe's Most Beautiful Hilltop Towns

For a glimpse of the high life, here are 14 of the most beautiful hilltop towns in Europe:

Living The High Life: Europe's Most Beautiful Hilltop Towns

Living The High Life: Europe's Most Beautiful Hilltop Towns

St Michael’s Mount, England

Living The High Life: Europe's Most Beautiful Hilltop Towns

This kind of conical tidal island sits opposite the pretty village of Marazion inside middle of Mount’s Bay in Cornwall. Perhaps the southwest England’s most famous sight, the outcrop is actually home to a medieval castle along with church, dating by the 12th century, as well as a smattering of homes overlooking the water.

Living The High Life: Europe's Most Beautiful Hilltop Towns

The island can be reached via a causeway at low tide. Swimmers sometimes brave the half-mile journey, too.

Mont Saint-Michel, France

Mont Saint-Michel emerges by the tides in Normandy, France, like an ancient village by a fairytale. The coastal town built on a massive granite rock cuts a dramatic silhouette against the sky, rising by disappearing marshes to a Gothic Abbey at its height. that has a permanent population of around 50, This kind of well-liked tourist destination includes a history dating back to at least the Roman era. Fancy a tour before the tides roll in?

Perhaps Europe’s most famous hilltop village, Mont Saint-Michel in Brittany has been home to a monastery since the 8th century. Today about 40 people call the idea home.

The lower walls along with simple fishermen’s houses rise steeply to a spectacular abbey, upon which Cornwall’s St Michael’s Mount was based. In fact, the two belonged to the same monastic order inside 11th century.

At low tide, pilgrims can walk across the sand along with scale the ramparts.

Oia, Santorini, Greece

The countless cruise ships along with daily tourist flights can make the tiny island of Santorini feel cramped.

Yet brave the crowds along with head to Oia, on the northern tip of Greece’s most famous caldera, along with you’ll find a picture-postcard village of white houses, windmills along with blue-domed churches. Few Greek islands can match the sunset by here, best viewed by a rooftop bar with an ice-cold Mythos beer in hand.

Heptonstall, Yorkshire, England

Perched above the town of Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall’s cobbled streets retain a spooky, mystical feel. Accusations of witchcraft were rampant here inside 1600s, with This kind of part of Yorkshire known for its history of paganism.

The ruins of a 12th century church loom over the valley, while the graveyard of its 19th century replacement is actually the burial place of poet Sylvia Plath. Her former husband, the poet Ted Hughes, was born in nearby Mytholmroyd.

Bardi, Italy

Bardi is actually dominated by the ninth-century Castello dei Landi which peers over the Ceno Valley in northern Italy.

At a distance, Bardi, just a short drive by Parma, seems impossible to reach. The ramparts of the ninth-century Castello dei Landi are built on sheer rock, yet the winding road switches back along with forth before emerging onto a tiny square, home to the pretty church of San Giovanni Battista.

that has a handful of coffee spots along with pizza joints, there’s ample time to indulge inside local cuisine as well as all of which culture.

Beaumes-de-Venise, France

Sipping on a glass of locally made Cotes du Rhone with views over the vineyards, the idea’s hard not fall in love with Beaumes-de-Venise, named after the caves found inside surrounding hills.

The drive up by the wine trail which runs through This kind of part of Provence offers stunning views of the craggy Dentelles de Montmirail, the foothills of Mont Ventoux. The narrow streets wind up to the ruins of a 12th century chateau. Perfect for walking off lunch.

Bad Gastein, Austria

Bad Gastein, Austria: Cold winters, warm waters.

Deep inside Austrian Alps, Bad Gastein includes a long history as a spa town. The thermal spring waters draw thousands of visitors a year, yet its position high inside mountains along with its spot right on top of the Gastein waterfall mean the idea’s a mecca for climbers, skiers along with adventurers, too.

Its Belle Époque hotels help make the idea one of Austria’s most charming villages.

Arcos de la Frontera, Spain

Andalucia’s pueblos blancos (white villages) are some of the most stunning, precariously built villages in Europe. along with Arcos is actually the most famous.

that has a Moorish castle dating back to the 11th century, a string of awe-inspiring churches along with basilicas along with, of course, those classic, whitewashed houses, This kind of is actually a village of which demands to be photographed along with marveled at by every angle.

Grindelwald, Switzerland

inside shadow of the Eiger, Grindelwald is actually arguably Switzerland’s most beautiful village. Its classic wooden chalets sit among some of the highest mountains inside Alps, producing the idea the ultimate destination for skiers in winter.

Hikers along with climbers pour in over the summer months looking to conquer the peaks or simply walk the 300 kilometers of surrounding trails, with classic views back down the valley along with over the rooftops.

Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy

Civita di Bagnoregio is actually slowly disappearing. The plateau on which This kind of arresting little village stands is actually crumbling away. Many of its classic stone buildings have been lost down the centuries since the idea was first settled 2,500 years ago.

Today, tourism keeps This kind of beautiful hilltop village alive, its tiny population truly living on the edge. The gorgeous San Donito church can be seen for miles around above the Tiber River valley.

Groznjan, Croatia

Croatia’s Istria peninsula is actually blessed with numerous hilltop villages. yet none are as captivating as Groznjan.

Dubbed “the town of artists” because of the large number of musicians, painters along with thinkers who moved here inside 1950s, there are galleries galore to explore. Views over the Mirna Valley, plus its baroque churches, make the idea worth lingering in Groznjan for a few days.

Mdina, Malta

Mdina, Malta: City of conquests.

Malta does a fine line in hilltop towns, yet none are as special as Mdina. The one-time capital of This kind of Mediterranean island, the city still sits behind its ancient walls.

St. Paul is actually said to have spent time here after being shipwrecked off the coast, while various religious orders maintain a strong presence in Mdina’s monasteries along with convents. Palaces built by conquerors by as far as Normandy along with Spain dominate the skyline.

Taormina, Sicily, Italy

A stop on the classic 19th century Grand Tour, Taormina still draws inside tourists.

the idea can get hectic, yet the idea’s easy to see why: dazzling vistas of the big blue; the vast Teatro Antico, Sicily’s second largest Greek theater; views to the smoldering Mount Etna; along with the boutique-filled Corso Umberto I.

All go to make Taormina one of Italy’s most special hilltop towns, a true gem on an island full of treasures.

Monsaraz, Portugal

Believed to be one of the oldest settlements in Portugal, Monsaraz’s hilltop location has been occupied by a string of different conquerors down the years, by the Moors to the Visigoths.

Today, its 14th century castle pulls inside crowds, the village’s walls offering huge views of the surrounding olive groves along with nearby Alqueva Dam.

The locally produced wine is actually best sipped in a tiny café while watching the sunset.

Living the high life: Europe's most beautiful hilltop towns