Want to visit some of the most beautiful landmarks in Europe? Here’s a list of 15 European attractions with spectacular architecture and history.
Although there are many impressive landmarks in Europe, these stand out from the crowd and give that grand feeling when visiting. They are not ranked in any particular order, and they have all earned a well-deserved mention.
La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada in Barcelona is the architectural masterpiece by Antoni Gaudi, which is actually not yet completed. Despite that, it has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is visited by several hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.
It’s not only the grand exterior that impresses with its majestic architecture, but the interior is just as stunning and features the classic Gaudi vibes.
Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest
The Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the most popular attractions in Budapest, and it looks like something from a fairytale. It features a Neo-Romanesque architecture and a stunning panorama view over the Donau River and the Hungarian Parliament.
I always get the feeling of being part of the Lord of the Rings in some old castle when I visit the Fisherman’s Bastion. Perhaps this is because of the old statues, resembling old Hungarians kings, or just the architecture that reminds me of fairytale-like castles.
Speaking of fairytales, Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria is one of the most beautiful castles in the world and a place that every castle enthusiast should visit.
It was built by King Ludwig II, also known as the Mad King, and it’s equally stunning on the outside as well as on the inside, fit for a true king. Neuschwanstein even inspired Walt Disney and his creation of the famous Sleeping Beauty castle.
Wieliczka Salt Mine
Salt used to be an expensive product and played a major role in the world trade a few centuries ago. The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the oldest-surviving salt mines and it has been in use since the 13th century.
The Salt Mine is located in Poland, just outside Krakow. What makes this mine so special is the fact that an entire society has been carved out by the workers. They have even created several rooms with altars and statues that visitors can see today.
It’s often said that Ancient Greece is the cradle of our modern society and democracy. Parthenon and Acropolis in Athens have stood here since the dawn of those times and were built already 400 years BC.
Despite crowds with several thousand visitors per day during the summer, I still think that this place is worth visiting. The history that has taken place here is too important to ignore, and if you arrive at opening, you can avoid most tourists.
Hagia Sophia is located in Istanbul, Turkey, on the European side of the city. It was originally built as a church in the 6th century by Justianus I and has long been an inspiration for other buildings.
It’s considered a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, although it was transformed into a mosque in the 15th century when Konstantinopel fell. Nowadays, it’s a museum and only a few European landmarks hold such an incredible history and importance like Hagia Sophia.
Alhambra is a legacy of the Moorish Nasrid dynasty which erected the palace area in the 1250s. It’s a well-preserved example of Islamic architecture in the West and has been a national monument in Spain since 1870.
Mont Saint Michel
Mont Saint Michel is often mislabeled as a fortress, but it’s actually a monastery. One unique feature is that it was built so that you can only reach it by land when the tide is low.
Since the end of the 10th century, there has been a church on the small island after Benedictine monks settled here in 966. Only a small chapel was built before that in 708, after the archangel, Michael told Aubert I that he should build a monastery there.
The Hungarian Parliament
Budapest is home to many grand buildings that were built during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and one of the most prominent buildings from that era is the Hungarian Parliament.
According to me, this is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world with incomparable details and epic architecture. It also features a stunning location next to the Donau River.
Meteora belongs to the category of unique attractions in Europe and what makes it so special is the fact that the monasteries were built on top of cliffs, high above the ground.
Today, there are seven monasteries that have been preserved, whereof six are still in active use. Since 1988, Meteora is listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Tourists can visit these monasteries in Greece and get an incredible experience that is nowhere to be found elsewhere in Europe.
St Peter’s Basilica
St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican is one of the largest churches in the world and perhaps the single most important church within the catholic faith. It was completed in 1626 and replaced an oratorio that had stood there since the 4th century.
The church is named after the apostle Petrus, who is said to been buried where St Peter’s Basilica is built. No matter if you’re religious or not, this is certainly one of the greatest landmarks in Europe and one that everyone should visit when in Rome.
Leaning Tower in Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most famous buildings in the world, mainly because of how much it leans due to miscalculations when the tower was built.
Today, the Tower of Pisa is visited by millions of people every year, and it’s a fun and interesting attraction to visit. The architecture is also quite spectacular with an incredible view from the top of the tower.
Saint Basils Cathedral
Moscow is the largest city in Europe and at the famous Red Square, you can visit one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world, namely Saint Basil, also known as the Vasilij Cathedral.
It was built in the 16th century and remains as one of the most famous landmarks in Russia. The architecture is a unique mix of northern and southern Russian style.
Few landmarks in Europe has such a dark history as Auschwitz in Poland. However, it’s very important that we never forget what happened here during World War II where millions of people were gassed to death at Auschwitz and Birkenau.
Last but not least of the must-visit landmarks in Europe, Colosseum, the grand amphitheater in Rome that was built during the Roman Empire to give room for bloody gladiator games.
It was built as a gift to the people of Rome and was also the largest arena for entertainment with a maximum capacity of 87 000 spectators. In 2007, Colosseum was named as one of the new seven wonders in the world and is also ranked as one of the most popular attractions worldwide.
The most popular landmarks in Europe
The most-visited landmarks in Europe see millions of visitors every year. Previously, Notre Dame was the most-visited attraction in Europe with more than 13 million annual visitors.
However, after it burnt down in April 2019, the number one most visited attraction was overtaken by Sacre Coeur, which sees about 10 million visitors per year.
- Sacre Coeur (Paris)
- Louvre (Paris)
- Versailles (France)
- Parthenon (Aten)
- Eiffel Tower (Paris)
- British Museum in London
- Peterhof Palace (St. Petersburg)
- Sistine Chapel (Vatican City)
- Colosseum (Rom)
- Hagia Sophia (Istanbul)
Other European landmarks that are worth visiting
There’s no shortage of beautiful landmarks in Europe, and there’s almost an endless number of places that would’ve deserved a place on this list. Despite the relatively small size of the continent, there are many impressive buildings, churches, castles, and historical sites.
|Château de Chaumont||Versailles|
|Winter Palace||Duomo di Milano|
|Duomo di Firenze||Burg Eltz|
|Pula Amphitheater||Tower Bridge|
|Buckingham Palace||Turning Torso|
|Big Ben||Belem tower|
|House of Parliament in Bucharest||Pompeii|
|Pantheon||Arc de Triomphe|
How many of these landmarks in Europe have you visited? Leave a comment below!