Everyone has personal preferences when it comes to choosing where they would prefer to live. For some people, the mountains are the ideal type of location due to their beauty and the opportunities to enjoy various outdoor activities that the landscape can offer. Across Europe, there are many stunning mountain towns to consider. Although each of the locations in the following list is in a beautiful mountain setting, each area has additional appealing features to consider. If you are considering moving to a mountain location, here are the 20 best places to live in the mountains in Europe.
20. Sondrio, Italy
Originally, Sondrio was a military base for the Ancient Romans, so the mountain town has a long and interesting history. The town became an official settlement between the 6th and 8th centuries when Italy was under the rule of the Germanic tribe, the Lombards. Now, it is a pretty mountain town that is home to approximately 21,500 people. The surrounding area has many vineyards, so it is famous for its wines. According to Wikipedia, Sondrio won the Alpine Town of the Year Award.
19. Rougon, France
Rougon is a commune in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in southeastern France, and it is home to only fewer than 200 people. Therefore, it is ideally suited to those who want a quiet lifestyle in beautiful surroundings. Despite its remote location, there is a mountaintop chapel and a post office nearby. Furthermore, La Terrace and Le Mur d’Abeilles restaurants are nearby.
18. Bolzano, Italy
Bolzano has been labeled as the city that offers the best quality of life in Italy, so this mountain location deserves its spot on the list. It is the capital city and largest city in South Tyrol, and it has a population of 108,245 people. Bolzano is often referred to as the gateway to the Dolomites mountain range in the Italian Alps. The city is surrounded by vineyards, so it is known for wine production. Bolzano is also known for the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, which is home to the mummy known as Otzi the Iceman. The city has a medieval center, and the most significant landmark is the 13th-century Mareccio Castle.
17. Annecy, France
Lake Annecy is the third-largest lake in France, and it has also been declared as Europe's cleanest lake. The alpine town of Annecy sits alongside the lake, and it is home to more than 125,000 people. It is a pretty town with pastel-colored houses, cobbled streets, and winding canals. The town is overlooked by the medieval Chateau d'Annecy, and there is a regional museum in the town. Annecy is sometimes referred to as the Pearl of the French Alps. It is less than an hour's drive from this town to Geneva, Switzerland. Therefore, residents of Annecy can access the amenities of major cities.
16. Lecco, Italy
The Russian Abroad lists Lecco in northern Italy as one of the best places to live in the mountains in Europe. The city is settled against a backdrop of mountains, including Monte Resegone, and sits at the tip of Lake Como. Lecco's surroundings mean that residents of this city can enjoy hundreds of miles of hiking trails and many more outdoor activities in their leisure time. It is also a beautiful place to live for nature lovers as the city attracts birdwatching enthusiasts. Lecco won the Alpine Town of the Year Award in 2013.
15. Sintra, Portugal
Portugal is not necessarily the first country that springs to mind when thinking of mountainous locations, but the mountains in Portugal offer a different style of mountain life. Unlike the Alpine-style of many of the locations on this list, the town of Sintra in Portugal combines mountain life with a Mediterranean lifestyle. It is a municipality in the Lisbon District that is home to just under 30,000 people. Although it is set in the mountains, the town has all the amenities you need for a comfortable lifestyle. Also, good transport links mean that other towns and cities are accessible from this location.
14. Olden, Norway
Norway is another country to consider for those who want to live in the mountains, and one of Norway's best mountain towns is Olden. It is a small village that sits at the foot of the mountains and at the mouth of the Oldeelva River. Olden is in the Oldedalen valley on the northern shore of the Nordfjorden, The village is home to fewer than 500 people, so it is best suited to those who enjoy a quiet lifestyle.
13. Interlaken, Switzerland
Those who want to enjoy an active lifestyle and live in a place with a lively vibe should consider Interlaken in Switzerland. It is a busy town as it is a popular tourist destination, and people flock to this town to enjoy hiking, skiing, climbing, and paragliding. Interlaken also has vibrant nightlife, as the town has many bars and restaurants. The town is built on a narrow valley that stretches between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
12. Bled, Slovenia
Bled is a tiny town in Slovenia that sits on the shores of Lake Bled. The town is famous for Bled Castle, which sits on a cliff-top overlooking the lake. Another interesting feature of the town is the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria, which sits on an island in the lake, and is only accessible by boat. Bled sits in the foothills of the Julian Alps in the Upper Carniola region, and it is home to a community of just over 8,000 people.
11. Salzburg, Austria
The name Salzburg translates as 'Salt Castle,' and the city is famous for being one of the locations in the Sound of Music and as the birthplace of Mozart. The fairytale-like medieval and Baroque architecture in the city means it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although there is a historic feel to the city, it has all the modern amenities you would expect to find in a city. Salzburg is close to the German border and sits at the foot of the stunning Eastern Alps.
10. Varenna, Italy
The location of Varenna is what makes it one of the best places to live in the mountains in Europe. It is nestled against the Italian Alps and sits alongside Lake Como. Despite its picture-perfect setting, it is not far from Milan, which allows residents to take advantage of the convenient amenities in the city while enjoying life in a beautiful place. Residents enjoy hiking, biking, and fishing, and the town also has an excellent food scene.
9. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is famous for its stunning castles, and the second-largest castle in the country is the central point of Cesky Krumlov. The town is built around the castle, and many of the houses are painted in pastel colors. Therefore, it is a picturesque town in which to live, and the mountain backdrop only adds to the beauty of the area. Although this is a small and little-known town, it has a lively vibe and is known for its craft beers.
8. Hallstatt, Austria
One of the top options in the mountains of Austria is Hallstatt, which is in the autonomous Upper Austria region. Other than the spectacular setting of the town, another appealing feature is the unique architecture. In 1997, the town was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of the 16th-century alpine houses. Hallstatt is ideally suited to those who want to enjoy a relaxed pace of life.
7. Torla, Spain
If your preferred country is Spain, then the best mountain location in which you can live is Torla. It is a charming town in northern Spain that is officially called Torla-Ordesa. This small town sits at the foot of the Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park, so there is plenty to explore and enjoy in the surrounding area. There is also an outstanding food scene in this part of Spain, so it is a good option for foodies.
6. Reine, Norway
Those who dream of living in a small community in a peaceful location should consider Reine in Norway. It is a small fishing village in northern Norway, and it is home to approximately 300 people. Many people consider Reine one of the most beautiful mountain destinations in the world, as the views are stunning whichever way you turn. Not only will this location please those who want to live in the mountains, but it is also a great option for people who dream of living by the coast or want to enjoy an island lifestyle, as the village is on the island of Moskenesoya in the Lofoten archipelago. It is also worth noting that it is one of the best places to enjoy the Northern Lights.
5. Grenoble, France
Grenoble is considered one of the most innovative places in France. Not only is this beautiful city in an idyllic setting, but it also attracts many businesses. Therefore, residents benefit from a thriving economy, good employment opportunities, multiple activities to enjoy, and excellent quality of life. Grenoble is the largest city in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alps region of Southeastern France, and it is home to 158,454 people.
4. Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich is the largest and most populated location on this list. It is the largest city in Switzerland, and it is home to more than 415,000 people. Zurich is a good option for those who want to live in the mountains in Europe but prefer living in an urban area to a rural location. Residents benefit from all the advantages that city locations offer, such as amenities, transport links, shops, bars, restaurants, and cultural activities. Despite the urban vibe of Zurich, it gives residents convenient access to the Alps. The only downside to choosing Zurich is the high cost of living, as it is one of the most expensive cities in the world.
3. Chamonix, France
Chamonix is an alpine town in France that is surrounded by the French Alps. Its most notable natural landmark is Mont Blanc, which is the highest summit in the Alps. Not only is Chamonix one of France's most beautiful towns, but it is also one of the most popular skiing destinations. According to Amy's Adventures, it is a fantastic place to live because of the vast array of activities to enjoy. Not only are there lots of outdoor activities to try, but the town has many bars and restaurants. Another reason to live in this town is that it is in an excellent location close to Switzerland and Italy's borders, so it is a good option for those who enjoy travel.
2. Zermatt, Switzerland
Regardless of the season, the residents of Zermatt in Switzerland have many options for ways to spend their leisure time, so they can enjoy a good quality of life. In the winter months, Zermatt is a hive of activity as it is a popular winter sports destination, with both locals and tourists alike hitting the slopes. In the summer, the mountains and hills surrounding the town are the perfect places to hike, and there are hundreds of miles of trails to explore. The properties in Zermatt are against the backdrop of the Matterhorn.
1. Innsbruck, Austria
According to Modern Trekker, the best place to live in the mountains in Europe is Innsbruck in Austria. The town is famous for its Imperial architecture, and it is also known as the winter sports capital of Europe. It is the ideal place to live for those who plan to spend their free time hitting the slopes and enjoying the outdoors. Even when the Alpine town's residents are not on the slopes, they find plenty to keep them entertained in the town. Another reason to consider this location is the spectacular year-round views of the Alps.
You can also read:
- A Traveler’s Guide to Hiking in Ottawa
- A Traveler’s Guide to Hiking in Cape Cod
- A Traveler’s Guide to Hiking in Park City, UT
- The 20 Best Things to Do in Guadalajara for First Timers
- The 20 Cheapest Places to Live on the East Coast
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn