Favourite Village

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1. Posted by king_golo (Respected Member 122 posts) 39w 1 Star this if you like it!

Hi there,

It's easy to say this or that city is one's favourite, but what about the villages? All of us will have stopped in smaller places of, say, less than 5,000 inhabitants. Very often, these have their own special character - old buildings, intact city walls (or should that be village walls?!), an atmosphere of peace and quiet, an inviting country pub or bistro, flower-bedecked gardens and much more. As an inspiration for other travellers, could we put together a list of our favourite villages? I'll kick off by some that just came into my mind, giving the reason why I liked or even loved that place.

1. Lower and Upper Slaughter, The Cotswolds, England: two of the nicest Cotswolds villages, just a short hike apart from each other. Nestled in the hills and dales of this lovely part of England, these have everything a Cotswolds village needs: a pub, honey-coloured sandstone cottages, and olde worlde feel etc.

2. Edam, North Holland, the Netherlands: OK, according to WIkipedia, Edam has more than 7,000 inhabitants - but it's one of the loveliest Dutch villages I know, complete with a canal, lots of tiny little bridges, cute brick houses and of course kaaswinkeltjes (cheese shops).

3. Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada: A touristy place with a lighthouse every visitor to Maritime Canada has on their travel wish list. Still, Peggy's Cove is more than just the lighthouse and has some really beautiful cottages dotting its hills, plus a small harbour which offers plenty of photo subjects.

4. Châteauneuf, Burgundy, France: There are many Châteauneufs in France, but this one is a definite highlight. Sitting perched on a hill surrounded by lush meadows with the ubiquitous Burgundy cows, Châteauneuf is visible from miles around. In the village, there's an old castle, lots of old houses, a few taverns and shops. And, at least in summer, countless hollyhocks grow wild in the streets, giving the village a unique character.

5. Lower Diabaig, Wester Ross, Scotland: Having driven down the dramatic switchbacks to this village, you'll end up in an end-of-the-world kind of place. The skeleton of an old ship rusts on the beach, a few fishing boats bob on the water of a tiny harbour. The views are dramatic, and the numerous hiking trails starting here make you want to discover more of this remote part of Scotland.

Well, what are your choices?

2. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1036 posts) 39w Star this if you like it!

1) Port Isaac (where they film "Doc Martin") - a small fishing village in Cornwall
2) Holmfirth (where they filmed "Last of the Summer Wine") - a small town in Yorkshire
3) Willemstad, Netherlands - inside the star fort
4) Silver Cliff, Colorado - my father's home town
5) Solomon's Island, Maryland - Across the bridge from us. A maritime museum, and lots of restaurants
6) Chincoteague - eastern shore of Virginia. Beach location and there is the pony penning each year
7) Tangier Island - off the eastern shore of Virginia - crabbing and fishing are the principal industries.
8) Onancock, VA - Capt John Smith called it the Gem of the Eastern Shore
9) Ocracoke, NC - An island on the outer banks - Blackbeard's former hideout
10) Oberlin Ohio - the town is mostly college and conservatory

3. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1612 posts) 39w Star this if you like it!

Portmeirion, an italianate village in North Wales built by an eccentric architect.

Geiranger, in Norway. The most amazing waterfall. Go when there isn't a ship in!

Little Langdale, English Lake District. Scattered through a valley that the tourists overlook, it's heaven on earth. It has a cosy pub, and an easy walk to Slater's Bridge (a medieval packhorse bridge) and the Cathedral Cave - a breathtaking chamber in a slate quarry.

In trying to write this I've realised how many of my favourite places are natural wonders but the settlements there are nothing special.

4. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1320 posts) 39w Star this if you like it!

Of all the countries I've travelled in, I still think the villages in Britain are the 'quaintest' - Clovelly in Devon, Treen in Cornwall, loads in the Pennines between Yorkshire and Lancashire (including the aforementioned Holmfirth - The Nook is a firm favourite). Of all of them though, my personal favourite is Robin Hood's Bay on the Yorkshire coast. It's close to Scarborough and Whitby and a perfect base for the North York Moors.

5. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1612 posts) 39w Star this if you like it!

If you like Robin Hood's Bay, see also Staithes further along the same coast, and Polperro in Cornwall.

6. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 943 posts) 39w Star this if you like it!

Grinton - beautiful setting in Swaledale, Yorkshire, England

Lindisfarne - on Holy Island, Northumberland, England (https://toonsarahnorthumbria.travellerspoint.com/3/)

Warkworth - also in Northumberland (https://toonsarahnorthumbria.travellerspoint.com/11/

Offagna - one of Italy's 'piu bello', i.e. most beautiful, villages, in Marche

Chimayó - New Mexico, US - with the beautiful and fascinating adobe church, the Santuario de Chimayó, and the Santo Niño chapel

And I agree with Rosalie/greatgrandmaR about Ocracoke

7. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1036 posts) 39w Star this if you like it!

I forgot to say why I liked these (it was late and I was in a hurry). I rejected some places that I really like because they were too big. I was disappointed in Edam because we were to have gone to Maarken and went to Edam instead. But I do think Edam was nice.

Quoting greatgrandmaR

1) Port Isaac (where they film "Doc Martin") - a small fishing village in Cornwall

The main thing about Port Isaac is that it is extremely photogenic, even without looking for the Doc Martin locations. There are great tides which means that boats "anchored" inside the breakwater are on dry sand for much of the day. The car park at the foot of town can only be used by locals because tourists forget the tides and their cars may be floated away. There are walks that can be taken along the cliffs, and there are local inns and restaurants and shops (no McDonalds).

2) Holmfirth (where they filmed "Last of the Summer Wine") - a small town in Yorkshire.
Holmfirth is a river town which has experienced significant flooding and one can see the marks left by the floods. One of the nice things to do is to take the "SummerWine Magic" tour in an antique bus - Colin, the driver gives the actual history of the locality in addition to showing you where things were filmed. This town does rely quite a bit on the TV show - the grave of Bill Owen who played Compo is in St. John's churchyard, decorated with the signature wellies. But there are also cycling tours, and birdwatching walks.

3) Willemstad, Netherlands - inside the star fort.
This is a place which I think is best visited by boat. There's very little parking in the town which is constricted by the fort walls. From the water it is an enchanting view, and since the area inside the fort is small, it is quite walkable. Lots of little restaurants and shops, and a windmill on the hill.

4) Silver Cliff, Colorado - my father's home town. This is in a valley between the Sangre de Cristo mountains on the west and the Wet Mountains on the east. My mother bought a city block of lots so that no one could build on it and block my grandmother's view of the mountains Silver Cliff is a ghost silver mining town which was once considered for the capitol of Colorado. It is cheek by jowl with Westcliffe which is where the original railroad junction was located. You can hike up Round Mountain (which is really a big hill) or up to Hermit Lake, and fish for trout

5) Solomon's Island, Maryland - Across the bridge from us.
A maritime museum, and lots of restaurants and a big tiki bar. Solomons is primarily a boaters town. there are numerous marinas. The maritime museum has the original Drum's Point lighthouse furnished with furniture of the last lighthouse keeper.

6) Chincoteague - eastern shore of Virginia.
Chincotequge has a historic district, and is right next to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, on Assateague Island, which has beaches and wild ponies. The breed is showcased at the Chincoteague Pony Centre. One a year, the local volunteer fire department swim the wild ponies across to the town and have an auction of the foals. Marguerite Henry has written several books about the ponies - the first one was "Misty of Chincoteague"

7) Tangier Island - off the eastern shore of Virginia - crabbing and fishing are the principal industries.
You can only get here by boat unless you have your own plane. The island has one of the most isolated communities in the US - almost all of the islanders descend from the first settler on the island, a guy named Joseph Crocket, who moved there in 1778. The isolation has spawned a style of speech that you’ll not hear anywhere else in America. Their specialty is soft shell crabs - they collect the crabs and keep them in pens until they shed. But there are lots of restaurants which have other things to eat including some of the best crab cakes you will find anywhere. If you want an island tour, it will be in a golf cart. There are very few cars on the island.

8) Onancock, VA - Capt John Smith called it the Gem of the Eastern Shore
With a population of about 1,500, Onancock is one of the largest towns on Virginia’s remote Eastern Shore. You can go down to the waterfront and sit on the Liar's Bench at the marina and watch people try to launch their boats. Then you can have lunch or dinner at the old Hopkins & Bros. Store. There is an abundance of large Victorian-era homes on tree-lined streets. Onancock is a walkable town with several inns, restaurants, and an old time hardware store. There are galleries, a movie theater and a playhouse. You can also take a ferry to Tangier

9) Ocracoke, NC - An island on the outer banks - Blackbeard's former hideout. The island is noted for fishing and birdwatching.
Ocracoke is another place which is accessible only by boat. There is a historic lighthouse, a tiny British cemetery where sailors killed in WWII are buried, and a small museum. The village of Ocracoke was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. The town is laid out with Old World irregularity along sandy streets overhung with moss-covered oaks and yaupon. The first European visitor was probably Sir Walter Raleigh's 1585 colony in their flagship, "Tiger" which ran aground on a sand bar in Ocracoke Inlet and was forced to land on the island for repairs.

10) Oberlin Ohio - the town is mostly college and conservatory
The college and conservatory are on three sides of Tappan Square which is a public park and National Historic Landmark designed by the Olmsteads. The fourth side has shops and an old fashioned bakery. Because there is a large music conservatory, there are almost always musical events and there is also a very good small art museum. There is also an arboreteum. (This is where I went to school)

[ Edit: Edited on 13-Oct-2018, at 11:33 by greatgrandmaR ]

8. Posted by Tabithag (Full Member 132 posts) 39w Star this if you like it!

Quoting AndyF

In trying to write this I've realised how many of my favourite places are natural wonders but the settlements there are nothing special.

I have to agree, the area may be beautiful, but the place not so much - or it has grown bigger, sometimes to its detriment.

I suppose that having not driven until very recently, I haven't tended to visit as many villages, simply because they're harder to reach on public transport. Of the OP list, I have been to the Slaughters, which I agree are beautiful when not full of tourist coaches, and to Peggy's Cove, but we only reached the latter in time for sunset, so didn't see much of the village.

I suppose that, being from the UK, I have a preconceived idea that a good village is old and picturesque, so I think that Europe generally does them well, but of course other areas of the world can have villages that are great for other reasons. One rather pretty village close to where I grew up is Chilham in Kent.

9. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 710 posts) 39w Star this if you like it!

In Australia what you call a village we call a town, even if the population is three people we still call it a town So places I have been to with small populations that I particularly enjoyed:

Omeo, Victoria and Ross, Tasmania are probably the definition of quaint.

Seaside towns Bingie and Yamba NSW have some beautiful scenery and I did love my stay in Port Albert Victoria.

Lightning Ridge NSW is an eccentric place you can't help but fall in love with.;)

Internationally I can't say I am as blown away by European villages. Maybe because I roadtrip a lot I feel they all start to look a bit samey

Driving through Jutland Denmark we passed through many villages whose houses had thatched roofs. Having never seen that in real life I was totally fascinated . Unfortunately I didn't get the names of all those villages:(.

In France I visited Les Baux-de-Provence, which I know is technically a tourist village but the location makes it a spectacular place to visit.

The hilltop villages in Istria Croatia were very interesting. Hum and Motovun were my favourites.

Njegusi Montenegro mostly because of the amazing road to get there and Zabljak because the mountains were mind blowing.

Tlacotalpan Mexico while a little more populated than 5000 it certainly doesn't feel it even during festivities. It is a very relaxed and picturesque place.

There were some whitewashed villages in the south of Spain that fascinated me and Ribadesella north Spain was one of my favourite places we stayed. The beach was beautiful and the historical houses a little eccentric.

Bronnoysund was a gorgeous sleepy village in Norway that had an amazing sunset.

Lastly has to be Hanavave in French Polynesia, it is everything you expect a tropical village to be.

[ Edit: Edited on 13-Oct-2018, at 18:22 by Teoni ]

10. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1120 posts) 39w Star this if you like it!

I thoroughly agree with Châteauneuf-en-Auxois in Burgundy. It is beautiful and has one of my favorite restaurants.

Collioure, France was my second thought with the lighthouse, Château and beaches.

Tourrettes-sur-Loup above Nice is a favorite of ours. Another beautiful village nearby is Saint-Paul-de-Vence although it can be overwhelmed by people on a nice day.

La Rochepot in Brittany is gorgeous and relatively unspoiled.

Domme, St. Geniès and St. Léon-sur-Vezere in the Dordogne are all beautiful although if I wanted to live in the area, I'd choose Le Bugue.

On no one's tourist list but a wonderful village in the Loire is Montrichard. You have to spend a little time there to appreciate it but most people zip through from one château to another.

Most of the Plus Beaux Villages of France live up to their title.

We enjoyed Lacock in England but the whole village is a National Trust site so I'm not sure it counts.

Bar Harbor, Maine in the USA is the perfect New England village.

Loudenville, Ohio in the USA is a really cute Midwest small town with a lot to do in the area.