Do you dream of traveling to a place to get away from it all for awhile? Some of the best mountain towns on Earth offer you a chance to do just that. Mountain towns combine some of the best views with quiet spots to relax, have fun and enjoy the surrounding countryside. Check out these eight most breathtaking mountain towns as you plan your next vacation, and marvel at the natural beauty of our home planet.
1. Telluride, Colorado
Telluride sits 8,750 feet above sea level in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The town is surrounded by mountains on all sides, and the place turns into a winter wonderland when it snows. As of 2017, Telluride boasts the highest commercial airport in North America and the only free public gondola of its kind on the continent. The resort town thrives on visitors who come to snow ski.
2. Grindelwald, Switzerland
Grindelwald is not as high as Telluride at 3,392 feet above sea level in the Bernese Alps. However, the picturesque town looks like something straight out of a Hollywood movie. Surrounding Grindelwald are some of the best ski slopes in Europe.
3. Hallstatt, Austria
Hallstatt is another picture-perfect town, and this one sits on the edge of beautiful Lake Hallstatt at 1,677 feet above sea level in the mountainous Salzkammergut region of Austria. Many of the buildings in town date back to the 16th century, including a historic church. The region is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site due in part to the fact that humans started to inhabit the region more than 1,000 years ago.
4. Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre, Italy, is a coastal town along the Maritime Alps that is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The area contains five small towns, a small harbor and plenty of twisty, narrow roads as you come down from the hills towards the seaside cliffs.
5. Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg, Austria, is along the northern boundary of the Alps at 1,391 feet above sea level. The town prides itself as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and it also lies on the banks of the Salzach River near the German border. The mountains above the town welcome skiers and hikers. The architecture of the town is in the baroque style, including the churches and palaces of the area. There is something for everyone in this fantastic mountain destination.
6. Reine, Norway
Reine, Norway, is perhaps one of the most unique mountain towns on this list. Residents live an island on the coast of a mountain more than 50 miles north of the Arctic Circle. This tiny hamlet of 329 people relies on the fishing industry for income. The town is at the base of Hermannsdalstinden Mountain, and Reine has a reputation as the most beautiful place in the world.
7. Sitka, Alaska
Sitka, Alaska, is also an island town. It’s located near the most mountainous island in the Alexander Archipelago just south of Juneau. In addition to the bears and mountains, experience the native culture there as you discover that humans and the surrounding landscape are intricately connected.
8. Bled, Slovenia
Bled, Slovenia, features an 11th century church on a tiny island in the middle of Lake Bled. The place serves as a museum for the area’s rich history. The resort town has hot springs to relax after an active day of hiking, horseback riding or exploring.
Mountain towns offer us an escape from the ordinary when we arrive at some of the most extraordinary places we can imagine. Whether you love skiing in the winter or hiking in the summer, the vistas seem as if Mother Nature blessed these areas with a beauty beyond explanation. If you love mountains, check out this incredible footage of the Cascade Range brought to you by some daredevil paragliders.
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