Famous Landmarks in Europe to Keep on Your Bucket List
When someone dreams of a European vacation, a wide vista of Swiss valleys, whitewashed towns of Greece, and the northern lights of Norway begins to float around. Just keep the natural beauty of Europe aside; there is an entire world of European landmarks that can astound every kind of traveler.
With an iconic architecture, turbulent history, and fascinating tales, these famous attractions in Europe must be included on your European travel bucket list. From ancient ruins to the marvels of engineering, the famous landmarks below are the most stunning that Europe has to offer.
1. The Eiffel Tower, France
The Eiffel Tower is undoubtedly the most-searched-for, most celebrated, and one of the most famous landmarks in Europe. Named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower in France witnesses around 7 million visitors every year.
It took exactly two years, two months, and five days to build the Eiffel Tower (which is one of the interesting facts about it), and finally, this tower with a height of 324 meters (1,063 ft) was inaugurated in 1889. One of the tallest man-made structures in the world, the Eiffel Tower stands in Paris as the cultural icon of France.
Do you know? A decade after it was opened, the Eiffel Tower was painted yellow. Now, it is painted every 7 years in chestnut brown (with 60 tons of paint) to keep it young and beautiful.
2. The Acropolis, Greece
The Acropolis is one of the architectural landmarks in Europe that marks the glorious history and great civilization of ancient Greece. The word “Acropolis” means citadel- a fortified complex in Greece. One of the oldest landmarks in the world, this ancient citadel is said to have been built in the 5th century BC.
The most famous part of the Acropolis is the Parthenon- a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. It’s quite fascinating to imagine how the Athenians under the guidance of the sculptor Phidias transformed the entire rocky terrain into a building complex. To explore more, you can visit the Acropolis Museum located on the premises.
Do you know? During the 13th century, a great wall was built around the Acropolis where the royals resided and ruled the region.
3. St. Peter’s Basilica, Italy
St. Peter’s Basilica in Italy is one of the top landmarks in Europe that has been the center of Europe’s spiritual beliefs. This Italian Renaissance cathedral has a long history. It took 100 years to build this wonderful landmark. The site where this church was built in Vatican City, earlier, used to be the Circus of Nero and a cemetery.
As a work of architecture, St. Peter’s Basilica has outstanding features like its magnificent towers, main facade, and a beautiful dome. The Bernini's colonnade and Maderno's fountain that are located in front of the Basilica add another charm to the complex.
Do you know? St. Peter’s Basilica has a capacity of over 60,000 people within its complex of 22,300 square meters and is regarded as the largest church in the world.
4. La Sagrada Familia, Spain
La Sagrada Familia stands out to be the most picturesque one amongst all the landmarks found in Europe. A masterpiece built by the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, La Sagrada Familia reflects different architectural styles such as Modernisme, Spanish Gothic, Art Nouveau, Noucentisme, etc.
Nestled in the heart of Barcelona, this Roman Catholic church is best known for its Passion Towers and the Nativity Towers standing against the backdrop of the Catalan Mountain Range.
Do you know? The central tower of this UNESCO World Heritage site is 170 meters tall.
5. Big Ben, England
Look at any list of the famous places in Europe and you will find the Big Ben of England there. Big Ben is a nickname for the Great Bell of the Clock Tower at the Palace of Westminster in London. Big Ben can be seen from anywhere on the streets of London and is regarded as one of the important landmarks in Europe.
Big Ben was built in 1859. The Clock Tower it adorns was renamed as the Elizabeth Tower to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. With a height of 315 feet (96 meters), the Big Ben is regarded as the cultural icon of England.
Do you know? Big Ben is the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world.
6. Colosseum, Italy
This Flavian Amphitheatre with its unique oval shape is one of the most beautiful and most visited landmarks in Europe. Located in the heart of Rome, Italy, the Colosseum or Coliseum was built between the years 70 A.D. and 72 A.D.
The popularity of the Colosseum can be understood by the fact that it is depicted on the five-euro coin of the Italian version. The main complex of this ancient amphitheater could accommodate 50,000 to 80,000 spectators and various plays of the classical mythology used to be organized here.
Do you know? Around 60,000 Jewish slaves were brought to Rome to build the Colosseum. You will find it in a broken form since it was affected by the earthquake and also because many people would take its pieces as a souvenir.
7. Brandenburg Gate, Germany
Standing as the national symbol of unity and peace in Germany, the Brandenburg Gate is one of the well-known European landmarks that date back to the 18th century. Located in Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate has a neoclassical structure.
Many war-time landmarks are located around Brandenburg Gate as this German monument has witnessed a large number of historical events happened in the country, one of these being the unification of East and West Germany.
Do you know? The gate was modeled on the Acropolis in Greece.
8. Charles Bridge, Czech Republic
Built across Vltava River in Prague, the Charles Bridge is one of the famous historic sites in Europe. The construction of this pedestrian-only bridge began in 1357 and finished in the 15th century.
The bridge has other names as well such as the Prague Bridge and Stone Bridge. Charles Bridge has a total length of 516 meters with 16 arches and is adorned with 30 statues on both sides.
Do you know? The Statue of the Czech saint St. John of Nepomuk is one of the most interesting statues located by the Charles Bridge.
9. Hungarian Parliament Building, Hungary
Nestled on the banks of the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary, the Hungarian Parliament building is definitely one of the must-see places in Europe. The Hungarian Parliament is the largest building in Budapest and also the tallest one in Hungary.
The building is built in Gothic Revival style and its main features include the Assembly Hall of the House of Magnates, the main hall, ornamental stairs, and beautiful facades. A guided tour of the Budapest Parliament is also available.
Do you know? The Hungarian Parliament Building is considered the largest parliament building in the world.
10. Chateau de Chillon, Switzerland
Although Switzerland is famous for its lush valleys, peaks of Alps, ski resorts, and of course, the delicious cheese, there is no dearth of man-made landmarks in the country. Château de Chillon or the Chillon Castle is one of the famous buildings in Europe that is located inside the Swiss borders and attracts a large number of tourists every year.
Chillion has also received the status of being “the most visited historic monument in Switzerland”. This picture-perfect castle is located on Lake Geneva. The castle that was built in the 12th century has been affected by the Burmese period, Savoy period, and Vaudois period.
Do you know? The castle has been featured in many of Byron’s poems, who also carved his signature on the pillar of the castle’s dungeon.
11. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
While exploring the most amazing landmarks in Europe, you will surely come across the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. One of the wonders in the world, this leaning tower is located right beside the Pisa Cathedral and is famous for its unintended tilt. This tilt in the tower started in the late 12th century when its construction began and completed by the 14th century.
The tower has a height of 55.86 meters (183.27 feet). Who actually built this wonderful tower is quite controversial, however, most people give credit to the architect Bonanno Pisano.
Do you know? The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a significant landmark in Europe associated to the World War II as the Germans used it as an observation deck.
12. Walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia
The Eastern European country of Croatia, surrounded by the Adriatic waters, is home to many landmarks dating from the medieval period in Europe. Especially Croatia’s coastal city, Dubrovnik, offers a plethora of historical buildings and ruins. The 16th-century Walls of Dubrovnik are considered to be one of the best European landmarks.
These massive stone walls were built to protect the Old Town of Dubrovnik from the foreign attack. The Walls of Dubrovnik are encircling the city for 1,940 meters. The average thickness of these walls is about 1.5 meters.
Do you know? The Walls of Dubrovnik have gained popularity with the popular show “Game of Thrones” as it has been featured as the mythical King’s Landing.
13. Stonehenge, England
No list of the most popular attractions in Europe will be complete without mentioning the prehistoric monument in England called Stonehenge. The massive stone structures of Stonehenge that have endured many centuries are still a part of a mystery.
The archaeologists believe that the circular placement of Stonehenge was used for the ancient people as a talisman or protective purposes. The Stonehenge is supposed to belong to 3100 B.C.
Do you know? There are many theories associated with Stonehenge. While one says that it was a celestial observatory, the other believes that it was built to mimic a sound illusion.
14. Mont-Saint-Michel, France
If you are an avid photographer and want to click the best pictures of famous landmarks in Europe, you should never miss visiting Mont-Saint-Michel. The fortifications of Mont-Saint-Michel belong to the ancient times and clearly depict the culture of the feudal society in France.
Sprawling over an area of 52 square meters, this fortified island features an abbey, monastery, castle, cathedral, and cloisters. The tides have played an important role to change Mont-Saint-Michel’s association to the mainland.
Do you know? Mont-Saint-Michel sees over 3 million visitors every year being one of the most popular landmarks in France.
15. Alhambra, Spain
Nestled in the historical city of Granada in Spain, Alhambra is one of the best Islamic landmarks in Europe. The original construction of Alhambra dates back to AD 889. Built on the ancient Roman ruins found in Granada, this castle complex was renovated in the 13th century during the Nasrid dynasty.
Rightly being one of the most popular destinations in Spain, Alhambra is visited by around 6,000 people every day. The main highlights of the complex are the Court of the Lions, huge courtyard, fountains, gardens, intricate windows, and pools.
Do you know? The word Alhambra means “red castle” and the place has acquired this name after its red walls.
Is there anything that you wish to see on your Europe vacation? Please let us know in the comments below!