Hey! I spend most of my time in smaller places in Europe. Some favorites:
Slovenia’s Soca Valley and/or Lake Bled. Super affordable, really green, perfect for getting away into nature. I stayed in Kobarid for a month and it was lovely. It’s accessible by train and bus, but buses don’t run super often, so expect to be building your life a bit around bus schedules and/or hitchhiking, cycling, or walking.
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland - far from an airport, but fully accessible by train and very close to Interlaken if you need some city amenities. It’s not cheap, but it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Plus, lots of interesting people pass through since the region is a big tourism stop for outdoorsy folks and sports folks.
Freiburg, Germany - it’s a bit bigger than the other options I’ve mentioned, but it’s a great European university town right up against the famed Black Forest. Great hiking. Good food. And a great town.
Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France - For some quiet beach contemplation, this is a good option. Basque country. Interesting places to walk, swim, cycle… Great beach scenery. Good food.