Villages & Hamlets – Favourite Travel Destinations

Alpin villages like Weggis on the side of Lake Lucerne. Switzerland on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Pretty alpine Weggis

Beautiful villages of France like Najac and its castle in the Aveyron on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Colourful Najac

Villages are small townships and one of those evocative words, which can conjure up specific images in most of us. Small attractive homes, often built in traditional stone, maybe just a public house or restaurant and a village store, this charm is attractiver to all.

Those of us in the United Kingdom can identify with the small rural communities portrayed in the radio series ‘The Archers’ or the television soap opera ‘Emmerdale’.

Everybody knows each other, and each other’s business, which is possibly considered a disadvantage. However in some villages they can still leave their front door unlocked, which is certainly an advantage.

Small villages and their communities in the Pelion, Makrinitsa in the Greek Pellion on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Greek village charm

“Village life seems idyllic to many of us”

Many villages are built in local stone or are possibly even half-timber construction. In some national parks the materials used for construction of new buildings is controlled. Builders are required to source and use local materials to retain the character of the region.

Village life seems idyllic to many of us, the slower, traditional pace of life is attractive. Plenty enjoy the clichéd bright lights of the big city but also enjoy escaping to the rural tranquillity of small villages.

The village of Braithwaite in Cumbria, English Lakes on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Braithwaite in the English Lake District

This attractiveness is actually endangering many villages throughout Europe and especially in the United Kingdom. Those with the means to do so buy a ‘dream cottage’ in the country in search of the quiet, rural life which seems so perfect. Only managing to visit once or twice a year for a couple of weeks, the remainder of the time unless it is rented out the house remains empty.

Spanish Catalonian villages like Sant Esteve d'en Bas on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

La Garrotxan village Catalan

The cost of this second home to the community is high; locals are usually quickly priced out of the market. The village population is absent for most of the year and local businesses do not have sufficient custom to remain open. The single village pub and store closes, reducing the facilities for the few people still residing there year round. These are often the older generation that have owned their home in the village for many years.

Peyre, a village in the shadow of Millau Viaduct Aveyron on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Peyre on the River Tarn

For this reason it is even more important that these hamlets attract tourists. However without such basic facilities as a place to get a bite to eat or a drink most will merely pass straight through marvelling at how pretty it looks.

Historical and of religious importance, the French villages such as St Antonin in the Aveyron on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Saint Antonin Noble Val

It is probably the same for many of the residents, they enjoy their own peace and quiet, it is probably the reason they moved there in the first place but need the revenue that tourists bring.

Holiday cottages on Île de Ré in Poitou-Charentes, France on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Pretty holiday homes

“perfect Catch-22 situation”

Europe is blessed with so many beautiful unspoilt villages, this can be a blessing and a curse as the very solitude we seek is attractive to others too. We enjoy the quaintness, love how pretty they look but desire the peace and quiet, so visit in droves, perfect Catch-22 situation.

Another France's most beautiful villages Bruniquel in the French Midi-Pyrenees on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Pretty Bruniquel

Hamlets, plaats, dorfs, aldeas are all names used for villages dependant on the European country. They are a large part of our heritage; many of them have been standing for centuries and have great historical or religious significance. Rural churches, prominent homes and in some cases even medieval castles, wars have been fought on the land surrounding and even through the narrow streets of them.

It is probably the same for many of the residents, they enjoy their own peace and quiet, it is probably the reason they moved there in the first place but need the revenue that tourists bring.

Villages do not just deserve our adoration, they deserve our respect. Some are isolated communities that have survived and even thrived for generations, often living off their own resources and cut-off for months during every year.

They often preserve a way of life which has changed very little this side of the turn of the century. This is another reason we are attracted to village life, it can provide us with a glimpse at how our ancestors lived just a few generations ago.

The most picturesque villages enjoy a steady stream of visitors throughout the year, those that manage to retain their charm and character despite this are treasured the most.

I am beginning to think of village as an adjective, describing a small, attractive, rural town which sounds like the perfect definition anyway.

We all seem to crave a little village life, they are favourite travel destinations for many of us. I could even be persuaded to start watching Emmerdale…. okay maybe not!

The Saronic Island of Spetses of the coast of Athens in the Aegean Sea on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Taxi service in Spetses

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Comments 6

  1. Ryan Brown

    I think I could rock the village lifestyle for a little while, though my dependance on Wifi might make it difficult! I love medieval and ancient villages, the rustic beauty of stone and timber. I can’t wait to travel around parts of the world with centuries old villages and buildings like these!

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  2. Johanna Bradley

    Makes me feel quite guilty Iain. We have a home in the Algarve which stands empty for much of the year. Tavira is far from a village, of course, and one of these days we’ll be living there, but I certainly agree with the points you raise. There are a few York Moors villages similarly affected. Lovely photos as ever- must look Najac up on the map.

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      Iain

      Wasn’t trying to make anybody feel guilty Johanna or actually lecture I was just trying to highlight some of the difficulties that our endangered viallges are facing in the modern era. Pleace do take a look at Najac it is lovely one of my favourite French villages and my favourite image of it was the photo of the day today too.

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