1. Kilkenny, Ireland
On the banks of the River Nore in the province of Leinster, Kilkenny is often referred to as a city though it is the size of a large town. Its heritage is on display in the form of Kilkenny Castle, St Canice’s Cathedral and its medieval walls.
Mangalem, the city of Berat’s old town, sits on the banks of the river Osum and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. In medieval times it was a frontier town of the Byzantine Empire, to which its citadel testifies.
3. Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy
With a permanent population of around 10 people but 600,000 annual tourists the hilltop village has become a focal point of central Italian holidays. It is, however, at risk from the steady erosion of its volcanic perch.
4. Procida, Italy“Procida is enchanting, like an imaginary Italian island come true. The architecture, with houses apparently blending into each other or separated by intertwining passages in a riot of pastel colours, is like something from a film set,” explains our guide to the best Mediterranean islands.
5. Conwy, WalesConwy was the only UK location to make the list of 30 most beautiful towns and villages. “It has a wonderful approach, not just during the day but at night, too. It is one of the Europe’s finest medieval towns,” wrote a reader when a Telegraph guide to the best towns in Wales omitted Conwy. Its medieval walls and castle are highlights.
A fashionable Austrian ski resort whose charm is often amplified by a covering of snow, Lech is an old farming village set high in a valley that spends large parts of winter cut off from the outside world, until the Flexen Pass can be cleared.
Readers will perhaps have heard of this town in northern Netherlands thanks to the winter ice skating on the frozen Ijsselmeer inland sea nearby. The old city itself has its own language, a mixture of West Frisian, English, Danish and Norwegian.
8. Lefkara, CyprusFamed for its lace, Lefkara is a village in south Cyprus. According to legend, Leonardo da Vinci visited in 1481, and purchased a lace cloth for the main altar of the Duomo di Milano.
“The car-free old town is made up of Venetian-era pastel coloured houses built around a pretty fishing harbour and overlooked by a hilltop church,” writes our Croatia expert Jane Foster. “The food is pretty good too, with local cuisine influenced by the region’s affinity with Italy.”
Austrian painter Giovanni Segantini described Soglio as “the gateway to paradise”. High in the Swiss Alps, the village of 300 is also famous for its flowers – when not coated in snow.