Top 17 Best Preserved Medieval Cities In Europe

16-12-2022 17 6 0 0 Báo lỗi

Since this amazing era of history ended, countless cities in Europe have managed to retain their Medieval elements, architecture, charm, and flair. From mighty walled cities to small villages with castles, and Gothic meccas, there are a lot of well-preserved Medieval towns to visit in Europe. It was the spirit of the folklore combined with the preserved old-world elements that helped Toplist forge our list of the best Medieval cities in Europe.

1 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Carcassonne

As you approach Carcassonne it looks like you are coming up on a giant fairy tale castle until you realize it is actually an entire village surrounded by a large city wall. The impressive medieval wall easily makes this one of the best Medieval cities in Europe to visit and you’ll fall in love with Carcassonne as you start to explore. Visiting Carcassonne is one of the best overall experiences in Southern France’s Provence region.


Carcassonne's defenses were begun by the Romans in 100 BC and continued by the Visigoths, who helped construct it into a great village during the Middle Ages. Carcassonne, located at a commerce crossroads for the great port cities of Bidart, Nice, and Barcelona, evolved into a powerful military fortification. Walking along Carcassonne's intact Medieval wall and towers is so much joy that you have to push yourself to look around the city center.


The first impressions you get when you arrive in Carcassonne are breathtaking, especially in exploring the stone arch bridge and ramparts that lead into town. Take in the panoramic vistas of the countryside from town as you walk the narrow Medieval streets. The Basilica of Saint Nazaire, which goes back to the 600s and was renovated after a visit by Pope Urban II in 1096, is one of the favorite sites to get a decent view. The magnificent Hotel de la Cite, constructed into the Medieval city walls in 1909, is right beneath the Basilica and is a location to stay in town.


Country: France

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Wikipedia
2 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Edinburgh

With yet its own urban castle and unbeatable charm, the Scottish city of Edinburgh give Prague a run for its money as Europe’s best Medieval city. As you stroll the worn streets your trip gets downright magical as you hear beautiful music from kilt-clad bagpipers, stories of the Loch Ness Monster from the North, and tales of Braveheart himself, William Wallace. There have been Royal Castles in Edinburgh since the 1100s, but it is less about sights and more about the history and folklore which we love about the Medieval city.


The castle lies on a hill and dominates the Edinburgh skyline much like a skyscraper, however the sight of this 11th-century castle is far more stunning than any modern skyscraper. From the street in the city center, you can watch ships arriving in Edinburgh from all over the world.

The streets of the "ancient town" are narrow. The lofty residences with limited windows ascend the slopes to the 1000-year-old Edinburgh castle. The current town is situated in the age of the hills. The streets here are straight and well-planned, making it easy to walk around the city when visiting in Edinburgh. In Edinburgh, many outstanding men have lived and worked. Robert Burns, the great Scottish poet, and the publication of his first collection of poems in Edinburgh. In the city, there is a memorial to him. Edinburgh is also proud of Walter Scott, the author of many historical novels, and Robert Louis Stevenson, a well-known English writer.

Country: Scotland
Business Insider India
Business Insider India
Daily Record
Daily Record
3 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Prague

Prague is the best-preserved great Medieval city in Europe, with a city core that was mostly unaffected by the World War II bombings that destroyed other national capitals. Some of Europe's other Medieval cities may be smaller or have their city walls preserved, but Prague has an unrivaled feel that transports you back in time. We love Prague because it is large enough to be spectacular but small enough to feel warm and welcome. Prague is our favorite Medieval city in Europe, because of its beautiful architecture, bustling culture, excellent drinking, and even a massive urban castle. If you want to feel as if you've traveled to another country with a whole distinct culture, you'll like this historic vacation.


The unique architecture of Prague really stands out, especially with the Medieval facade in Prague the Church of Our Lady Before Týn dominates the Old Town Square, our favorite The Gothic towers peer down at colorful buildings with playful names like the Storch House and House of Gold Ring, as well as the oldest operational astronomical clock in the world. There are nearly a dozen Gothic watchtowers in town, including two you can climb at either end of the famous Charles Bridge which is magical at dusk. The bridge also leads to the sprawling Prague Castle, where you can roam the grounds just like the Kings of Bohemia and Medieval alchemists once did.


After visiting dozens of Medieval cities around Europe, Prague, in particular, won us over after dark. In the evening, the cobblestone streets of Prague light with a yellow tinge from ornate lamps, shadows play on the colorful dwellings' facades, and you sense the silent might of the watchtowers that still protect practically every block of Old Town.


Country: Czech Republic

Wikipedia
Wikipedia
The Week UK
The Week UK
4 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Mont Saint Michel

The dreamy village of Mont Saint Michel is frickin awesome. The village sits on top of a large rock formation sticking out of the ocean just off France’s Northern coast. The rock is capped by a huge cathedral which looks as if it were being supported by the homes and shops below that hug the sides of the formation. The iconic silhouette Mont Saint Michel was even used in Disney’s Tangled (2014) as the city that Rapunzel was from.


The little Mont Saint Michel is considered Europe's most untouched Medieval city, and has remained nearly unchanged over the years. This is due in part to Mont's small footprint, but it is also due to the fact that for ages, you could only enter the town during low tide by traversing the tidal basin before the oceans retreated. Because it is a good 30-minute walk from the coast, the crossing could be fairly risky at times. In 2013, an elevated road was finished, making Mont Saint Michel accessible 24 hours a day, replacing an outdated basic route and eliminating the need to travel with the tides. If you are in Northern France or Paris you really need to visit or stay overnight in the gem of a true Medieval city.

Photographers will especially delight at Mont Saint Michel. All in all, it should definitely be high on anybody’s travel list, as it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Location: France
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Bnews.vn
ELLE
ELLE
5 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

York

York is one of the few English cities where you may still stroll on top of an actual Medieval city wall. The wall was completed in 300AD by Roman Emperor Constantius Chlorus, who died six years later in York, and was reinforced during the Middle Ages. The magnificent two-mile-long stone wall is still 95% intact, making it England's longest remaining Medieval wall.


Aside from the wall, York has a plethora of great huge city gates, but with an unusual naming scheme. For some reason, streets in York have named gates, while city gates are called bars, which can be perplexing. If you want to get a drink, seek a pub rather than a bar! Snickelways, the 60 traffic-free, alley-sized lanes that makeup York's city core, are the coolest thing in town. These Medieval lanes are lined with residences from the 1300-the 1400s and truly follow the lines of the streets put out during the days when York was full of thatched roof buildings and under Viking authority.

The most famous of York’s Snickelways is Shambles Street which inspired Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books and movies. In Medieval times this alley was the butcher street and derives its name from the meat shelf butcher tables outside each shop called Fleshammels. During the butchering process blood and guts would drain down the street and leading to the phase calling things bloody shambles. We love the crooked second floors above each shop which dramatically hang over the road. They were built like this so the people living on the upper floors could toss the contents of their chamber pots into the street to be washed away without contaminating the meat hanging below. You can still see the outdoor meat hooks above first-floor windows which were still in use until WW2. If you investigate further than most tourists do, you can also weave through the 5 mini side alley Snickelways that branch off of Shambles Street.

Country: England
Visit Britain
Visit Britain
Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia Britannica
6 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Rothenburg

Rothenburg, a charming German hamlet, appears to be fixed in time, specifically in Medieval times. From top to bottom, there is arguably no more realistic feeling Medieval city in Europe than Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The community formed around Germany's King Conrad III's royal castle and became a powerhouse in the Middle Ages due to its location at the intersection of vital European trade routes. Rothenburg was the second largest city in Germany in 1400, thanks to the Free Imperial Statue.


The magnificent city gates, colorful half-timbered residences, cobblestone walkways, and small alleyways will make you feel as if you've stepped onto a movie set rather than the actual world. It's no surprise that aspects from Rothenburg appear in several Disney films, from Pinocchio (1940) to Beauty and the Beast (2017). From the 1440s Christmas Market to the postcard-perfect views of Plönlein Corner, you'll be shooting shots left and right.


Once you wrap your head around Rothenberg’s beauty, you’ll find there is actually a lot to do here as well. You can explore the famous Medieval Criminal Museum, visit the Imperial City Museum, and walk on top of the romantic city wall. The covered Medieval wall is absolutely breathtaking to stroll around at sunset when most of the tourist hoards are long gone. Throw in an old Blacksmith shop, a lively market square, plus great mom-and-pop pubs, and you’ll feel like you have traveled hundreds of years into the past in no time. Rothenberg is the perfect Medieval village in Europe to visit if you are looking for authenticity, fun, and adventure.


Country: Germany

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Hello Jetlag
Rothenburg Tourismus
Rothenburg Tourismus
7 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Siena

Siena's old-world charm surpasses that of any European city, and it should be on the top of every Italian itinerary. This Tuscan paradise exudes a fusion of Medieval and early Renaissance characteristics, which is well complemented by its delicious food and wine. There may not be a more authentically Tuscan town in Tuscany, so it's no surprise that restaurant franchises like Olive Garden have attempted to replicate Siena's enchantment.


Two of the most impressive buildings from the Middles Ages are also in Siena. The first is Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall) which sits on the main square and houses some of the best Medieval frescos in Europe. The town hall also has the Tower of the Eater (Torre del Mangia) which you can climb and was the tallest in Italy when it was completed in 1348 at 289 feet tall. The other major structure is the famous Cathedral of Siena (Duomo) which was built over an Etruscan Acropolis and consecrated in 1215. The interior of the stunning cathedral is our favorite in Italy as it is filled with zebra-striped columns, amazing mosaic floors, plus artwork from masters like Michelangelo and Donatello. Next to the Cathedral is a true gem from the Middle Ages called the Santa Maria Della Scala which is a former hospital turned into a wonder Medieval museum.


In addition to the wonderful city of Siena, there are numerous great Medieval castles to visit, such as Castello di Celsa and the Castello Meleto Castle Winery. The magnificent Castello di Barone Ricasoli, where Chianti wine was developed, is our favorite local castle to visit. This farm was founded in 1141, and both the castle and its family have been among Tuscany's most famous wine producers.


Country: Italy
Hotels.com
Hotels.com
CEOWORLD magazine
CEOWORLD magazine
8 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Kraków

Poland is home to some of the most beautifully preserved medieval cities – in fact, you’ll find beautiful medieval cities all over Poland. However, many people agree that, despite the sheer wealth of beauty available in Poland, little compares to the sights of Kraków.


Kraków's Old Town is easily one of the most spectacular in Europe. One will find dazzlingly cathedrals, old cobbled streets, charming outdoor cafes, heritage horse and carriage rides, and hundreds of years of the richest Polish history. In the center of it all, is the largest medieval town square of any European city.


Kraków was the official capital of Poland until 1596 and is traditionally one of the leading scientific, cultural and artistic centers of the country, being the former residence of the Polish kings. Poland and a capital of Poland, considered by many Poles to be the spiritual capital due to the city's history of more than 1000 years. Quoted as one of Europe's most beautiful cities, the Old Town is UNESCO's first world cultural heritage site. Kraków is also a major center for domestic and international tourism, attracting 7 million visitors a year. Today the Medieval Kraków Old Town is still surrounded by its 3 km (1.9 mile) long defensive wall. It is complete with some 46 towns and seven main entrances.


Country: Poland

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The Digital Globetrotter
The World Pursuit
The World Pursuit
9 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Heiligenbrunn

Heiligenbrunn is a town in the district of Güssing in the Austrian state of Burgenland. If you want the hidden gem of Austria, the village of Heiligenbrunn is it. There aren’t many travelers that have ever heard of tiny Heiligenbrunn, but when you think of the early-Middle Ages, there may be no better preserved city. With a population of only 862 people, this village serves as a living museum of days gone by. Most of Heiligenbrunn’s houses have thatched roofs, and it almost doesn’t feel like real life while you are visiting.


Heiligenbrunn has only 1,000 residents, two hotels, and no castles or fortifications, but it is full of character. The community is best renowned for its quaint, thatched-roofed, hobbit-style cottages, but don't overlook the wine. The wine, which was first produced in 1225 AD, was originally outlawed for being excessively powerful, but it is now ideal, and grape vines may be found growing in unexpected locations. The Kellerviertel, or Basement, is a fantastic straw stellar that has been conserved as a living relic of Heliligenbrunn's wine culture. You should pay a visit to Ulrich's Chapel since its bubbling spring is reputed to have curative properties, particularly for the eyes.


Country: Austria

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Wikimedia Commons
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TripAdvisor
10 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Rhodes

As one of the most famous Classical antiquity locations, it should come as no surprise that the historic city of Rhodes is one of the most stunning and gorgeous medieval cities one could ever wish to visit. There is a lot to see and do in Rhodes, which sits above a large beach. The Roman influence kicks off Rhodes' varied mix. Rhodes became a Roman province in 164 B.C., and after Rome collapsed, it remained a province of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire for hundreds of years until the Middle Ages. There has a vast classical Roman influence on the city from buildings and columns to artistic statues.


From a pure Medieval standpoint, Rhodes was a late bloomer and didn’t start hitting its stride until the island was sold to the Order of the Knights Hospitaliers of Saint John of Jerusalem in 1309. The Knights quickly started molding Rhodes in their own image by adding baths to the houses, archways narrow streets, new cathedrals, and a greatly enhanced city wall. The new fortified wall and fresh mindset helped the city grow in strength and as an international trading partner. The good times didn’t last forever though as just over 200 years later Rhodes fell to the Ottomans in 1522. This Ottoman rule brought a new mix to the city as mosques and Arab culture was injected into Rhodes, but they felt most of the Knights Medieval city center well intact.


The Colossus of Rhodes is long gone, but still remaining are the daunting city walls that guard the entrance to this magnificent city. The entire island of Rhodes is well worth visiting, as it’s one of the most beautiful and unique places on earth.


Country: Greece

Greeka
Greeka
Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia Britannica
11 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Nuremberg

Before being heavily bombed in WW2 for being a Nazi stronghold, Nuremberg was one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe. Luckily enough the city remained that Nuremberg has slowly rebuilt over the decades and is becoming a great tourist destination yet again. We like to start off with the city’s biggest attraction, the Kaiserburg Castle which dates back to 1050 AD (rebuilt in 1140 & after WW2). The Castle sits at the highest point of Nuremberg which offers commanding views of the town and provided a natural defense. The historic castle looks plainer than some of Germany’s other over-the-top fairytale castles which were built after the Middle Ages.


The former Nazi rally grounds, where 100,000 people would congregate for rallies, are one of the most emotional sights. The grounds were later utilized as a concentration camp for over 50,000 Socialists by the Nazis and now house the Fascination and Terror Museum. There is also a memorial to the Nuremberg Trials, where Nazi leaders were tried for the horrors of WWII.

Nuremberg
has many more ancient buildings and mansions to see, in addition to having one of Europe's best Medieval Christmas Markets. If it's not the holiday season, you can still get into the holiday spirit at the magnificent toy museum, as Nuremberg has been famed for its toys since the Middle Ages.

Country: Germany
Voyaging The World
Voyaging The World
TripSavvy
TripSavvy
12 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Eze

Eze may be small, but it is one of Europe’s only authentic Medieval cities built in the Alps. The little village is mainly set on the mountainside leading up to Centenaire Palace and has streets so old and narrow that you can only navigate them on foot. While Eze isn’t overly flashy it has the back alley, old-world feel that keeps its strong Medieval vibe alive. The city is so proud of its Medieval appeal that it has declared itself “Cite Medievale” on all the local town maps and directories. Around everyone's corner and up every stair, it feels like you are entering a secret passageway which is part of the reason Walt Disney permanently rented a hotel room right in the middle of town. Many of the small shops are actually carved into the caves on the mountainside.


You'll get one of the best-elevated ocean vistas in the world while sipping a drink on the patio of the Michelin-starred Chateau Eze. Drinks followed by dinner at the fantasy Mas Provencal Restaurant. It takes the staff 6 hours a day to fill the room with fresh ornamental produce, and it is only open for dinner from Spring through Fall. Even a brief visit to Eze will leave you with a pleasant aftertaste that you will long remember.


Country: France

Wandering Carol
Wandering Carol
Adventurous Travels | Adventure Travel
Adventurous Travels | Adventure Travel
13 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Istanbul

Even before you start to learn about the history or see the attractions, it is the fairy tale vibe of Istanbul that brings you back to the Middle Ages. Istanbul started as the Greek city of Byzantium before becoming the capital of the Western Roman Empire known as Constantinople (Nova Roma) in 330. Through early-Medieval times, the trade routes through this Christian capital helped to spread influential Byzantine throughout Europe. To some scholars, Constantinople was the most important city in Europe through much of the Middle Ages. The Church of the Holy Apostles even inspired the design of today’s Saint Paul Cathedral at the Vatican. The Muslim Ottoman Empire sacked Constantinople in 1453, making it their own capital throughout their Golden Age of expansion further adding to the melting pot of culture which is still alluring today.


A tour to the huge Topkapi Palace, erected in 1465 on top of an ancient Greek Acropolis, showcases Ottoman might and lifts the veil on the Medieval Sultans' harem. The vast Grand Bazaar's labyrinth-style paths (established in 1455) are also a fantastic opportunity to travel back in time in Istanbul, as you are surrounded by rugs, pottery, spices, and Turkish delights.

Country: Turkey
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Tripadvisor
Time Out
Time Out
14 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Venice

Spread over 118 small islands joined by over 400 bridges, romantic Venice lays virtually unchanged since the Middle Ages. As you walk through the tightly-packed cobblestone alleyways and weathered waterfront homes, you are still able to experience Venice exactly how it was in the 1400-1500s.


The city-state of Venice was also quite formidable in terms of shipbuilding and naval force during the Middle Ages. Venice rose to become one of Europe's most important commerce cities, connecting Europe, the Middle East, and Asia after clearing the Adriatic sea of pirates. By 1204, Venice had grown so powerful that it successfully destroyed Constantinople, the Eastern Roman Byzantine capital, in what became known as the Fourth Crusade. This triumph served as a springboard for Venice, bringing in wealth, artifacts, and relics. The Horses of Saint Mark statues looted from Constantinople's Hippodrome, still stand above Saint Mark's Square (actually replicas, but the originals are on display inside).

Even the two most popular tourist attractions in Venice have deep Medieval roots. The first is the gondola rides, which have been in operation since 1094. While there are only about 400 gondolas left today, they were the most popular mode of transportation in Venice during the Middle Ages, and the canals were jammed with 10,000 of them. Even the magnificent mascaraed balls date back centuries to 1162 when Venice hosted the first Carnival. In 1797, Emperor Francis II abolished the festival, but thanks to preservationists, the Medieval feast was resurrected here in 1979.

Country: Italy
Conde Nast Traveler
Conde Nast Traveler
Nothing Familiar
Nothing Familiar
15 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Colmar

If you imagined the village from Disney's Beauty and the Beast as a real-life location, Colmar would be it. Colmar's vividly colored half-timbered buildings and weeping willow trees cling to the margins of canals from the Launch River, creating a postcard-perfect atmosphere. The Fishmonger's District, Little Venice, where you can rent a rowboat, hundreds of historic structures from the 1500s to the 1600s, and one of Europe's best Christmas markets are all must-sees in Colmar. The Oeuvre Notre-Dame Art Museum, located at the foot of the city's cathedral, houses the best sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages in the Upper Rhine River Valley.


While it is the old-world beauty that has made Colmar the bell of France’s Alsace region (pronounced Alls-Ass), it is the amazing wine history that cements it on the Top Medieval Cities list. Colmar started as a rural community of wine producers and it quickly became known as the region’s king of wine. This is pretty impressive as the Alsace region is widely known as the Route du Vin or Wine Road. By the Middle Ages, Colmar’s Horbourg-Wihr port was being sent to the far corners of Europe. Today the city specializes mainly in perfect white wines including Riesling, Gewürztraminer; Pinot Gris, and Muscat d’Alsace.

Country: France
Wikipedia
Wikipedia
Visit Alsace
Visit Alsace
16 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

San Gimignano

Italy is teeming with historic villages set on hilltops and surrounded by forests or vineyards. San Gimignano is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the world. The key feature that distinguishes San Gimignano from the other towns on this list is its abundance of rival Medieval watchtowers. These skyscraping structures transform San Gimignano into a Medieval Manhattan. San Gimignano is known as the Town of Fine Towers because of its medieval architecture, particularly the preservation of its 14 intact tower residences, which were formerly a sign of the town's prosperity.


The buildings within the town walls are a great example of medieval architecture with influences of Florentine, Sienese, and Pisan styles from the 12th to the 14th century, with notable examples of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture. There are still 15 well-preserved tower houses in San Gimignano which seems like a lot, but at its peak, the tiny village had 72 of them. The city’s most powerful families each had their own tower with the height indicating their owner’s influence. Most of the cities in the region, including Florence, were actually filled with house towers like this, but most were brought down due to wars, catastrophes, and expansions. It is amazing that over a dozen of these original skyscrapers still exists today in one Medieval village.

Country: Italy
Italy
Italy
Audley Travel
Audley Travel
17 Chu Thị Quỳnh Anh

Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre is a coastal area within Liguria, in the northwest of Italy. Hike along this scenic coastline is the best way to explore the five villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. These 5 tiny towns making up Cinque Terre are a Medieval delight. These magical fishing villages have been here for 1000s of years, but it was the fortifications added in the Middle Ages that helped them remain untouched. The sections of the wall were built to keep pirates from sacking the towns which you can still see elements of today. In addition to fresh seafood and wine, the region is also known as the birthplace of pesto. In Cinque Terre, it’s all about slowly making your way between the villages, eating, and relaxing. As you walk through the tight, traffic-free streets and look up at the brightly colored clusters of homes you’ll never want to leave.


The Cinque Terre is famous for its natural beauty. People have meticulously built terraces on the harsh, steep topography for generations to harvest grapes and olives right up to the cliffs that overlook the Mediterranean Sea. The stunning views of harbors deep below the untamed yet welcoming shoreline, as well as the medieval strongholds, abundant vines, and vivid colors, make this a wonderful vacation.


Country: Italy

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