Guide to best historic old towns

Old towns

Storico Italy!

Lake Garda, Italy's most popular and largest lake, is just drenched in history with its most notable towns dotted along its western and south western shores.  There's Desenzano with its lovely historic centre featuring the 16th century Cathedral of Mary Magdalena and narrow streets leading up to a medieval castle. For relaxed people-watching,  head to our new hotel the splendid Mayer hotel which has a great little cafe opposite the marina. Above the lakefront at Gardone you will find the village's charming historic centre, including the magnificent Vittoriale gardens. Further along the lake is Salo a historic lakeside town whose history dates back to Roman and Venetian times. After some serious sightseeing, head to the Conca d'Oro beach to relax and take in the views.

To the north east of the lake in the South Tyrolean Dolomites, Italian and Austrian cultures compliment each other beautifully in the wonderful town of Merano, which offers great shopping in its historical centre. Walk the Marling water course, an easy low level walk that takes you through apple orchards to a rustic farm house serving locally produced wine, cheese and more about Italy

Swiss Bliss

Surrounded by some of Europe's highest mountains, Zermatt offers a traffic-free village, ancient stone and wood huts and the 19th century Anglican church. Lugano has a fascinating old town with colourful Mediterranean-style traffic-free square. And only 30 minutes away by train, Locarno and our new resort of Ascona continue the Mediterranean flair on the swiss tip of Lake Maggiore with their piazza squares and quaint old towns. All guests staying more than 7 nights receive a free excursion.

Lucerne is perhaps the most classic 'Old Town' in Switzerland with an easy traffic-free centre. Enjoy it's cobbled streets, plazas, fountains and cafes, half-timber buildings, and the oldest covered bridge in Europe, Chapel Bridge. What's more, all Inghams guests staying here for a week or more in any of our Lake Lucerne resorts benefit from a free city tour and boat ride.

In the Bernese Oberland, Thun has perhaps the most notable Old Town thanks partly to its 12th century castle and 16th century town hall, Our pre-bookable ‘Day on the Lake Thun’ tickets allows you to hop on and off the boat as you wish.  At the other end of Lake Thun you'll find the splendidly appointed town of Interlaken. All these sights are easily reachable by boat from our Interlaken hotels or lakeside location Merligen on Lake more about Switzerland.

To Austria with love

Kitzbühel is a world renowned year-round resort in the Austrian Tirol. A medieval walled town, it has lovely cobbled streets,  churches up to seven centuries old and brightly painted gabled houses, in many the style of Lower Inn valley. To south east, Zell am See has a beautiful lakeside setting on Lake Zell. It's medieval centre is largely pedestrianised with lots of shops, bars, restaurants and pavement cafes.

Another beautiful lakeside town, St Wolfgang, has lovely painted houses and shops lined up along its narrow cobbled streets. We offer holidays to all three of these super towns, plus many othes nearby.

The cobbled Baroque centre of Salzburg was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. A former city state influenced by both Italian and German cultures, this beautiful city with its many domes and spires has been used as a backdrop for countless films and TV series including Julie Andrews in Sound of Music,

Art nouveau is added to the mix in the wonderful Austrian capital of Vienna. There are many, many cultural and architectural sights to see in this romantic city including medieval lanes and cobblestones near St Stephen's cathedral.

Our resort staff's favourite place to visit is The Naschmarkt, a real market for food in Vienna for locals and visitors alike.  Located in the 6th Viennese district called Mariahilf, it's the largest urban market in Vienna and over half a kilometer long with over 100 permanent stalls. It is well regarded by all as a true Viennese landmark.  The market has been operating for hundreds of years and is now a variety of dining restaurants and food stalls... read more about Austria

Fabulous France

In Haute Savoie, on the banks of Lake Annecy and just 9km from the lakeside resort of Talloires you will find Annecy, one of the prettiest Old Towns in France. The town boasts churches, museums and several market days, To the east, Chamonix has an attractive Old Town with narrow cobbled streets. In its centre, there is a statue of Horace Benedict de Saussure, gazing upon Mont Blanc. It is easily reached by Les Houches and Inghams guests in both resorts benefit from a free resort card which offers free bus and train travel throughout the Chamonix valley. For lunch our resort staff's top tip is L'Atmosphere in centre of Chamonix sitting on River l'Avre, a stunning setting... read more about  France

Slovenian Splendour

The jewel in the crown on Slovenia's short coastline is Piran. Founded in pre-roman times, its preserved Old Town blends Gothic, Baroque, and Medieval styles.A circular city wall surrounds a maze of narrow, winding streets, the church of St George (inspired by St Mark's in Venice) and the elegant Tartini Square.

A short distance away lies Portoroz, a more cosmopolitan and contemporary resort which originally rose to fame in the 19th century as a spa and health town. Nestling between the Adriatic and the Alps is colourful Ljubljana the country's capital with its medieval Old Town which you can explore on foot or by bike.. read more about Slovenia

Inghams Italy

Tuscany and Umbria featured in our new Italy programme are regions famous for their ancient towns which are filled with masterpieces of the Renaissance. Medieval San Gimignano "the town of 100 towers"  can be seen from miles around and is surrounded by some of the loveliest countryside of Tuscany with vineyards and olive groves. The region of Chianti famed for its wonderful red wines, is nearby and most of the wine producers offer tastings and tours read more about Inghams Italy

Finding your best holiday options...