The world's top 10 best small towns
This article initially appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald
Words: Ben Groundwater
It's always the big cities that get the gongs. Every time one of those lists comes out – the world's most livable cities, or the world's most popular destinations – it's always the major metropolises that we're talking about.
But what about the small towns? Just because they don't have underground trains or famous galleries or houses of parliament, doesn't mean they're not worth visiting. Or even staying in for the rest of your life.
Admittedly, I'm more of a city guy when I travel, but here are my favourite smaller destinations from around the world.
San Sebastian, Spain
I should be on the tourism board for San Seb, I write about it that often. But it is a truly great little place, a town where there's not a lot to do but surf by day and gorge yourself on some of the world's best food and drink at night. The pintxos bars here are legendary, as are the galaxy of Michelin-starred restaurants. If you can't have fun in San Seb, you're doing something wrong.
Queenstown, New Zealand
It's got all of the adrenalin-charged clichés you can think of, the bungy-jumping, the skiing, the sky-diving, the whitewater rafting, the jet-boating and the river-boarding. But what you forget about Queenstown is the sheer beauty of the place, with snow-capped peaks rising from all sides of Lake Wakatipu. Oh, and it's got Fergburger, which should be all you need to know.
Like Queenstown, Interlaken is a beautiful little mountain town set amid lakes and rolling green hills. It's also the gateway to plenty of action, from skiing and snowboarding to hiking and sailing. Best thing about this Swiss village, however, is its laidback feel. It's tourist-friendly without being touristy, which is no mean feat.