Planning a trip to Europe? Consider bypassing its more famous cities, with their hordes of tourists, and soak up the vibe in some of these small historic towns, villages and cities instead.
St Gallen, Switzerland
Named after Irish missionary monk Gallus, who founded a hermitage here around 612, Gallen was an important hub of culture in the Middle Ages. Its traffic-free old town is filled with colourfully-painted oriel windows and it has a university, Baroque cathedral and Abbey library with an exquisite Rococo hall which houses around 170,000 documents, some of which are more than a thousand years old.
St Gallen. Image: MySwitzerland.com
Parts of the Hollywood movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves were filmed in and around this UNESCO World Heritage-listed medieval hilltop town in southern France. The fortified town has a fairytale castle, more than 50 towers and a Gothic cathedral, with food markets held in Place Carnot every Saturday morning.