Picture this: the finest picturesque places in the world

1 Darmstadt, Germany

Exquisite facades are combined with crystal-clear lakeside views on a 13th-century spa island.

(Travelscope.co.uk; Open-plan rooms at £127 a night).

2 London

Photograph: PA

The canal boats on London’s shore offer incomparable views across the Thames from its Cafe de Paris.

(Thelondon.com; Open-plan rooms from £179 a night).

3 Falmouth, Cornwall

The medieval port’s cobbled cobbles and glittering harbour are among the prettiest in the UK.

(Falmouthvisitorinformation.co.uk; Open-plan rooms from £110 a night).

4 Fortezza dei Pavagliata, Italy

Photograph: Alamy

This medieval castle may seem remote, but it’s positioned in one of Italy’s finest little areas.

(Travellerworld.co.uk; rates from £106 a night.

5 Bruges, Belgium

A gem of Brussels, the Venetian-influenced streets and willow-dotted birches are interspersed with high-rise apartment blocks.

(Brugesvisitorinfo.com; Open-plan rooms from £144 a night.

6 Montreux, Switzerland

Achingly cool in winter and flamingly white in summer, this Alpine port has its own walking trails.

(Holidayatmontreux.ch; Spring townhouse from £200 a night).

7 St Fillans, France

Vineyards’ luscious lavender fields complement the pretty town square.

(Hoteldeelcliff.co.uk; Open-plan rooms from £93 a night).

8 Athens, Greece

The mud of Pera lake gives this city some of the most gorgeous botanical gardens in Europe.

(Visitathens.com; Red-roofed apartments from £890 a week).

9 Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

The restoration of Blenheim Palace’s Staffordshire Jacob’s ladder brought back and repainted a place that was once a mine.

(Visitbohemia.co.uk; Sun-facing rooms from £215 a night).

10 Douro Valley, Portugal

The mountains and lakes of southern Portugal’s Douro Valley are revered for their spectacular scenery.

(Somedia.com; Rates from £128 a night).

11 Hay-on-Wye, Wales

Hay-on-Wye is listed as one of the UK’s most beautiful towns.

(Deccosbus.com; Open-plan rooms from £116 a night).

12 Scituate, Massachusetts, US

A postage stamp-size fishing village, Scituate has its own harbor.

(Deccoscomestays.com; Open-plan rooms from £175 a night).

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