9 Small European Towns Everyone Should Visit at Least Once

Portree Scotland_Small European Towns

If you simply love exploring small towns and villages, there are a few in Europe that you simply have to see. This is our recommended list.

Europe is well known for its larger cities such as Paris, London and Berlin but in between all these popular tourist destinations are smaller, charming towns that truly embody all that Europe’s about. From beautiful cobbled streets and colourful buildings to spooky bridges, there is so much to see once you venture outside of the busier European cities.

If you would like to experience some old-world charm and beautiful scenery during your next vacation, here are a few towns that you should definitely consider adding to your list.

1.Ribe, Denmark

Population: 8,168

Ribe is the oldest town in Denmark and all of Scandinavia. Established back in the eighth century, Ribe is home to some of the most striking cathedrals and quaint houses made of timber, all of which are connected by cobbled streets. Some of the must-see attractions include the Ribe Cathederal, which was built in 948, the VikingeCentre, the art museum and Sælhund, which is a black and white inn on the waterfront.

Source: Britannica

2. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, Germany

Population: 26,178

Just 80 minutes outside of Munich, you will find a delightful Bavarian town filled with historical buildings, painted religious scenes and beautiful cobbled streets. Garmisch-Partenkirchen was once split into a Roman and Teutonic town but they were combined after hosting the 1936 Winter Olympics. The town is situated at the bottom of Germany’s highest peak, Zugspitze, which is a sight to behold. Other worthwhile sights include the Partnach Gorge, Michael Ende Kurpark and Riessersee, a picturesque Alpine lake.

Source: TripAdvisor

3. Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Population: 2,480

If it’s natural beauty you’re after, the Isle of Skye in Scotland is a must-see. Portree, in particular, is home to an abundance of pastel-coloured buildings, small pubs and a peaceful harbour. Along with taking in the nature along the coastline and around the town, Portree is a great place to try new food and do a little shopping.

Source: Herald Scotland

4. Colmar, France

Population: 70,284

This dreamy town dates back to the 9th century and is often referred to as Little Venice because of the waterways that run through it. Colmar is known as the capital of wine and since it has both a French and German influence, there is an abundance of eateries and bakeries around every corner. Top things to do in Colmar include seeing St. Martins Church and the Renaissance-style Pfister house and visiting the Tanner’s and fishmonger’s districts.

Source: Jana Meerman

5. Hallstatt, Austria

Population: 779

From the moment you arrive via the ferry, you will realise how special Hallstatt is. This breath-taking town is a UNESCO World Heritage town and is home to quaint restaurants, 12th-century churches and a vibrant market square. Some of the top attractions in Hallstatt include the famous Ice Cave, Bone and House Cemetery, Lake Hallstatt and the 5 Fingers Lookout Point.

Source: Road Affair

6. Bled, Slovenia

Population: 8,171

Established in 1004, Bled is surrounded by beautiful mountains and was at one point gifted to the Bishop of Brixen by the Holy Roman Emperor. Bled Castle can be found in the middle of the lake, while another hilltop castle offers some of the most stunning views. If health spas are your thing, you will love this town. Other worthwhile things to do include ringing the wishing bell, exploring Bled Island and taking a hot air balloon ride over the town.

Source: Eurail

7. Rye, England

Population: 9,041

Located in East Sussex, Rye was once one of the most important shipping centres during Roman times. This medieval-looking town is filled with terra cotta roofs and is home to St Mary’s Parish Church and the Ypres Tower. Rye is only a two-hour train ride from London and hosts the Bay Scallop Week in February. Along with eating and drinking like locals, visitors should definitely see Mermaid Street, the Rye Windmill and explore the Rye Castle gardens.

Source: Reddit

8. Goreme, Turkey

Population: 2,000

Built during the Roman era, Goreme has one of the most unique landscapes because of the rock formations that surround the town. In fact, many of the hotels and homes are built into these caves and rock faces, making for a very different accommodation experience. Goreme looks like something out of a fairytale, especially when you watch the hot air balloons sailing above you in the early morning light. Goreme is home to a number of historical and religious sites and an array of restaurants. Must-see attractions include the open-air museum and Devrent (Imagination) Valley.

Source: World of Travel

9. Albarracín, Spain

Population: 1,016

This gorgeous mountain town is located in a rocky valley near the Guadalaviar River and is filled with red, pink and orange homes. Most of the town was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War but the homes and streets were gradually rebuilt. Some of the attractions that you should see include the Catedral del Salvador, the town’s castle and the Torre del Andador (Walkway Tower).

Source: Afar

With so many wonderful little towns to explore in Europe, you may just need to extend your stay.

Quick Tips to Help You Pack Lighter for Your Euro Trip

Packing for a Euro Trip_Air Doctor

Planning a euro trip over the December period? Here are a few simple tips that will keep your luggage as light as possible.

There’s nothing quite like spending a snowy December in the beautiful cities of Europe – it just has an entirely different energy about it. However, if you’re going to brace the colder temperatures, you’re going to need the right clothing.

So, how do you decide what to pack without having to bring your entire wardrobe along with you and pay extra fees for overweight baggage?

Pro Packing Tips for Your Upcoming Euro Trip

The further up north you go in December, the more severe the temperatures are going to be, so take this into account when you’re packing for your upcoming trip.

Here are a few tips that will ensure your luggage is as light as it can possibly be throughout your euro trip.

  • Start with a Smaller Suitcase

If you have smaller luggage available to you, start with that. When you have more space, you automatically want to start filling it with more clothing and items you think you’ll need. By starting smaller, you’re forced to be more picky about your clothing and accessory choices.

  • Pack for the Best-Case Scenario

Instead of packing for the worst possible scenario, rather pack as if everything will run smoothly on your trip. You can always purchase additional items if you really need them. In most cases, just packing the basics is more than enough to see you through your entire trip.

  • Get a Few Packing Cubes

These handy little cubes really make a difference to the space in your bag. Along with helping you save space, packing cubes make it that much easier to stay organised. Use them to divide your clothing into days to make it easier to pack the right number of outfits. They will also prevent you from packing additional items you might not need because your outfits are all pre-planned.

  • Merino Wool is an All-Round Winner

If you want to pack light and stay warm during your winter Euro trip, find clothing that’s made from Merino wool. As an added bonus, you can wear jerseys made from Merino for several days and it won’t smell.

  • Make Versatile Choices

Choose clothing, shoes and accessories that are versatile and can be worn with multiple outfits. For example, instead of packing two different types of boots, rather choose one pair of boots that will go with everything else you’re packing.

  • Wear Your Bulky Items on the Plane

To save some extra space in your luggage, wear your bulkiest jacket and shoes on the day of your flight. You can always take it off on the plane and you won’t need to worry about it taking up too much space in your checked luggage.

Following these few basic guidelines should be enough to save you space and money before and during your upcoming trip to Europe.

Travel Anxiety: 5 Tips to Help You Cope

Tips for Dealing with Travel Anxiety from Air Doctor

If the thought of visiting a new place makes you break out into a cold sweat, here are a few tips to help you enjoy your next vacation or business trip a little more.

Travel anxiety is an issue that countless people deal with and one that can prevent you from having new and exciting experiences. It may not be an officially diagnosed condition, but it’s still worth discussing.

Common Symptoms of Travel Anxiety

Anxiety-related symptoms are different for everyone but here are some of the most common symptoms that are experienced before or during a trip:

  • Nausea
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Agitation

Most of these symptoms can easily be dealt with; it’s when they become overwhelming that the likelihood of a panic attack increases.

Why People Experience Travel Anxiety

There are a number of reasons why people develop travel anxiety but it mostly comes down to having a particularly traumatic experience while travelling. Those who already struggle with anxiety will often develop fears after reading about plane crashes, illnesses or general dangers, causing them to overthink a trip that they should be excited about. Anxiety is linked to a specific part of the brain and research shows that genetics does play a role too.

Related Read: How to Reset Your Internal Sleep Clock While Travelling

Tips to Help You Better Deal with Travel Anxiety

1.Focus on the positive aspects of anxiety

Yes, there is actually a positive side to anxiety. When you spend time preparing for potential problems such as lost luggage, illness or flight delays, you will leave for your trip feeling more relaxed and in control. With this being said, it’s important to remember that you can’t plan for every eventuality and some things really are out of your control, so rather focus on what you can control and prepare accordingly.

2. Do as much reading as you can beforehand

If this is your first time in a new city or country, read up! Along with preparing for your trip and looking at aspects such as visas, do some additional research and reading in order to make your trip more comfortable. Look at things such as:

  • Common phrases
  • Electrical outlets
  • Safety of the tap water
  • Tipping norms
  • Local scams
  • Taking and making calls
  • Local emergency numbers

3. Look for logical conclusions

If there’s one thing that people with anxiety know well, it’s thinking about worst-case scenarios. One way that you can combat this just before or while you’re travelling is to force yourself to think about the most logical conclusion. What are the chances that what you’re thinking about will actually happen? For example, if you’re terrified of getting food poisoning but you really want to try the local cuisine, go through the steps you would take should it happen. Once you break a scenario down into logical steps, it doesn’t seem as scary as it once did.

4. Focus on past travel wins

What are some of the good things that happened during your last trip? Write down the useful tips and amazing experiences that you had so that you can read through them any time you feel yourself getting slightly anxious. Having evidence of positive experiences will help flip the switch in your brain and help you have a more enjoyable time.

5. Speak to someone you trust

If you know that anxiety is a big issue for you, make time to sit down with a trusted friend, family member or your therapist so that you can talk through your concerns. Sometimes, you just need someone to bring you back down to earth to feel better about your upcoming trip.

If you still feel that travel anxiety might disrupt your vacation or business trip, speak to your physician about anti-anxiety medication or even a natural remedy.

5 Ways to Avoid the Dreaded Post-Flight Flu

Post-Flight Flu_Air Doctor

Planes and airports are filled with germs but you can reduce the chances of being affected while you travel.

If you always seem to get sick after a vacation or work trip, know that stress and eating poorly are not the only reasons why this happens.

According to a study by the Wall Street Journal, airports and planes carry and spread the common cold like wildfire. In fact, travellers have a 20% higher risk of getting sick after flying.

According to the Journal of Environmental Health and Research, low cabin humidity is the most likely cause of illnesses post-flight. When humidity is low, mucus levels in the nose and throat drop, which makes the body more prone to cold and flu germs. The mucociliary clearance system is what wards off these germs, so when it shuts down, your body is much more defenceless.

How to Reduce Your Chances of Getting the Flu Post-Flight

  1. Keep Your Hands as Clean as Possible

Your hands come into contact with so many different surfaces, so keeping them clean will help reduce your chances of picking up cold and flu germs at the airport or during your flight. If you actually had to pay attention to how often you touch your face during the day, you would realise how easy it is to bring germs into contact with your nose and throat. Cold and flu germs can survive for hours on most surfaces, so rather assume that a surface is dirty and wash your hands after touching it. Understandably, it’s not possible to wash your hands every single time you touch a surface, so at least aim to wash your hands after using the bathroom or before you eat a meal or snack. Carrying a hand sanitiser around with you will also help keep your hands clean on the go.

  • Give Your System a Boost

Several days before you travel, try increasing the amount of nutrient-rich foods you eat and speak to your physician about a vitamin supplement. Even a simple vitamin C supplement is known to make a difference before travelling. Building up your immune system several days before your trip will give your body a fighting chance against the germs that await you at the airport.

  • Stay as Hydrated as Possible

Flying can be dehydrating on its own but staying hydrated in the hours leading up to your flight and during your flight will benefit your immune system and prevent other side effects such as fatigue, cramps and headaches. Your nose and throat are generally the first to suffer once your body starts to dehydrate, which is why increasing your water intake can prevent germs from making you sick after your trip. You can also speak to your physician about a nasal mist that you can use during and after your trip.

  • Your Mouth Carries Germs Too

Not many people realise how important dental hygiene is for warding off colds and flu. Not only will a good mouth wash keep your throat moist but an anti-bacterial mouth wash can also provide you with some added protection during your flight. Most pharmacies stock travel-sized mouth wash that you can keep in your carryon luggage.

  • Use the Overhead Vent to Your Advantage

By keeping your seat’s overhead vent on, you can keep germs away from your face. To get the vent at the right angle for this, place your hands in your lap and make sure the air is hitting your hands. Unfortunately, it might not be realistic to keep this on throughout your flight, so you could also go the route of a face mask if you’re serious about not getting sick during or after your business trip or vacation.

Getting sick while you’re travelling is no fun but it does happen. Luckily, the Air Doctor app is available should you find yourself experiencing cold and flu symptoms during your trip.