How do you define an old town? For purposes of this post, I define an old town as a separate, distinct part of a modern city that is historical, beautiful, protected from further development, and often holding UNESCO World Heritage designation.
London and Paris don’t have old towns, for instance, while Venice and Valletta are nothing but old town. Many old towns in Europe were destroyed during the World Wars (and some, like Warsaw, were painstakingly reconstructed); other old towns, like Vilnius and Belgrade, have their old and new towns overlap so much that it’s hard to tell which part starts and ends where.
I’ve visited dozens upon dozens of old towns across every country in Europe except Cyprus. (Man, I really need to get to Cyprus next year so my statements land with more punch!) Nearly every country has a special old town.