Saint-Ursanne and Morcote named world's best tourism villages by UNWTO
Saint-Ursanne and Morcote in Switzerland have been named as two of the world's best villages for tourists by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Both villages and their local councils were given high praise for their commitment to conservation and cultural heritage.
Best tourism villages by UNWTO
At the special event in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the UNWTO gave 53 locations around the world the title of “best tourist villages”. Of the Swiss villages taking part - including Bregaglia (Graubünden), Romoos (Lucerne) and Saint Martin (Valais) - the towns of Saint-Ursanne in Jura and Morcote in Ticino were given the top prize.
According to the Swiss Tourism Association, the two stunning villages were given high praise for their “strong focus on sustainable development, their picturesque village centres and various initiatives to preserve, promote and exploit cultural heritage for tourism.” They join the Swiss ski resorts and towns of Andermatt, Gruyères, Murten, Saas-Fee and Val Poschiavo in being given the UN-backed award.
Medieval village of Saint Ursanne wins big
Nestled between a wood and the banks of the River Doubs, the medieval village of Saint-Ursanne is famous for its stunning old town. Its three gates, narrow streets and rows of charming houses are impeccably preserved - perhaps why the village is part of the Grand Tour of Switzerland.
Its name derives from the Irish monk Ursicinus, who settled in the area as a hermit. The large chapel built in his name and the cave where the monk lived can both be visited today.
Video: Djemo Graphic / YouTube
Morcote: The Pearl of the Cersio
From north to south; the village of Morcote on the banks of Lake Lugano is also well worth a visit. The “Pearl of Cersio” is famous for its small alleyways, old patrician homes - the Paleari House is a highlight, with its 17th-century frescos - and its amazing gardens.
Another must-see is the collection of churches that adorn the whole village. The complex of the church of Santa Maria del Sasso on the top of the hill is truly a sight to behold. To see what other villages made it into the list, check out the UNWTO website.