7 towns where you’ll love visiting Europe’s countryside

Europe was bustling on Tuesday in the lead-up to the opening ceremonies of the Tour de France – Germany’s top sports event of the year. However, there is another love affair taking place in…

7 towns where you'll love visiting Europe's countryside

Europe was bustling on Tuesday in the lead-up to the opening ceremonies of the Tour de France – Germany’s top sports event of the year. However, there is another love affair taking place in the countryside of Germany which sees thousands of people travel to beautiful locales with breathtaking landscapes that should only be enjoyed by those with strong stomachs.

“Simply Beautiful” author Randi Nix-Gunn celebrates the charms of Europe’s countryside. Here are seven of her favorite towns where you can make this a summer holiday to remember.

1. Birches Trastevere – Rome

In central Rome lies the neighbourhood where citizens cram into the renowned St. Paul’s Square to watch the cyclists on their bicycles race past the iconic Pantheon. Throughout Rome there are dozens of beautiful birches, and in the summertime they are one of the most popular attractions to see while walking around the Eternal City. The area is a romantic respite for lovers who enjoy the laid-back charm that the cool breezes bring and the traditional artisans are always ready to show off their wares.

2. Heppenheim – Braunau

Near the city of Braunau in Germany is the vineyards and magnificent castles of the Heppenheim wine region. Living here are the well-heeled who get to enjoy the timeless charms of this beautiful part of southern Germany. Visitors can enjoy the string of black townhouses that dot the village or the breathtaking river valley that surrounds it.

3. Reichenbach in Bavaria – Baden-Baden

This small Bavarian village is known for its beautiful baroque and Gothic architecture, museums and spectacular vantage points for mountain biking and hiking. As a natural area, Reichenbach provides views of the Jungfrau and the Egger glacier – the best places for icy mineral water and fresh mountain views.

4. Kinn in Germany’s Vierrthof region – Luxembourg

Just southeast of the German capital of Berlin lies Kinn, a luxury mountain village surrounded by lakes. In addition to the leisurely lakeside walks you can take along the small market square or enjoy picnics on its gently sloping wooden terraces.

5. Comillas de Serbrebey – Madrid

This picturesque romantic village is located on the outskirts of Madrid near the province of Castellon and is known for its spacious hamlets, mountains and lush greenery. It is also known for the colorful houses it takes to decorate the small village square and canals which runs on an old highway, and for the grand cisterns where residents can enjoy soaking in the outdoors and buying orchids, oranges, papayas, or turquoise glassware.

6. Thaueznice – France

The French countryside of Thaueznice may be best known for its picturesque manor house, the village of Forest, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Argentate hilltop. Known for its picturesque natural landscape, the village was the inspiration for the 1983 French film, “Anouk.” This small village in south France is small – less than 7,000 residents – but the visitors who visit enjoy the wide roads, hills and mountains with well-marked trails that wind through the countryside.

7. Haptons – Austria

A country town located in the country of Austria, Haptons provides locals with a Mediterranean-like atmosphere that is free of the crowds that tourists love to try and experience. The picturesque cafe is said to be a frequent meeting place for locals while enjoying the classic Austrian cuisine that is one of the main attractions for visitors to this town.

— Randi Nix-Gunn, host of Nature’s Stage, NBC’s new online program “Nature’s Tour: Halt X” offers free daily video clips, focusing on wildlife, the environment, and culture. Go to Nature’s Tour at NBC.com.

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