Looking for the most iconic Europe landmarks to visit? Here is a compilation of 45 of the most famous Europe landmarks that should be added to every travellers bucket list.
There are 44 countries in Europe today, each with its own unique culture and history. This is why Europe as a travel destinations is so popular with travellers from all around the world.
From the impressive Acropolis in Athens, the Colosseum in Rome, the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the mystical Stonehenge in England, a visit to some of these famous European landmarks will result in an unforgettable experience.
So, without further ado, here are 45 of the most famous Europe landmarks that deserve to be on any Europe bucket list.
“I think that Europeans in general have a more global view of the world because they are in such proximity to other countries that it enables them to travel and see other parts of the world.”– Valerie Cruz –
45 Must Visit Europe Landmarks
N.B. The famous landmarks in Europe below have been listed alphabetical by country.
Famous Landmarks in Belgium
Grand Place, Brussels
Recommended by Caroline at ‘Veggie Wayfarer’
The Grand Place of Brussels is arguably one of the most ornate main squares in all of Europe. What started off as a little harbour, quickly turned into the most exquisite square of Brussels. The square is surrounded by 17th Century guild houses – each one more ornate than the other – depicting the wealth of the merchants back in the day.
The inquisitive onlooker might notice that all the little streets surrounding the main square are named after food, a remnant of their past when the main square and the surroundings were used to hold the weekly food market for all of the city. These days, the square is host to the Christmas Market, Beer festival and every second year in August it is covered with millions of flowers weaving a beautiful tapestry.
Top Tip: The best time to spend a weekend in Brussels is during the summer, when the locals are out of town and your chances of sun are the highest. Though make sure to bring a rain jacket, just in case!
Famous Landmarks in Czech Republic
Prague Castle, Prague
Recommended by Samantha at ‘The Wandering Wanderluster’
Almost every European city has at least one recognisable landmark. For such a small city, Prague, in the Czech Republic has a number of famous landmarks, but perhaps it’s biggest and most famous is Prague Castle. Sat high up on the hill looking over the old town of Prague and the Vltava River that flows between its two halves, Prague Castle is one of the top tourist sights in the city, receiving over 8 million visitors a year.
Standing out in Prague’s skyline of spires, Prague Castle is easily reached either on foot up through the fairy-tale streets and lanes of Mala Strana (the Little Quarter) or on public transport by tram #22 which takes you around the back of the castle for a more direct entrance. This is the best option for those with children in strollers and wheelchair users.
With a number of interesting sights, you could easily find yourself spending a couple of hours exploring the castle, which is open all year around. Step inside the mighty St Vitus Cathedral that took over 600 years to complete, walk down Golden Lane and admire its colourful little houses that were built as small dwellings for castle guards. Or, you can wander through its colourful Italian style gardens that offers striking views of Mala Strana, the Old Town and nearby Petřín Hill.
Top Tip: Speaking of views, Prague Castle has a number of great viewpoints where you can enjoy breath-taking panoramas over the city but if you want to beat the crowds, head to the Saint Wenceslas Vineyard, part of Villa Richter where you can enjoy a glass of wine or a delicious lunch and enjoy the view in peace!
Famous Landmarks in Croatia
Dubrovnik City Walls
Recommended by Olivia at ‘Inspired by Croatia’
In recent years, the historic walls of Dubrovnik have become one of the most easily recognizable sights in Europe. Ever since Game of Thrones, visitors have been flocking to witness the magnificent fortification many refer to as the Pearl of the Adriatic.
Located at the southern tip of Croatia, Dubrovnik can be easily reached by plane (via the Dubrovnik airport) or by car if you plan to road trip through Croatia. Due to its popularity, Dubrovnik can be quite crowded during the summer, so if you want to experience the city in all its glory, plan your visit for fall or spring.
Top Tip: If you do plan a trip to Dubrovnik in the summer, try to visit the walls as soon as they open at 8:00am, or go for sunset at around 5:00pm. During these times, the walls are much less crowded and the temperature is much more enjoyable for sightseeing.
Famous Landmarks in Denmark
Øresund Bridge, Copenhagen
Recommended by Helen at ‘Helen on her Holidays’
The Øresund Bridge (or Öresund Bridge in Swedish) is Europe’s longest combined road and rail bridge and connects the eastern coast of Denmark, near Copenhagen, with Sweden’s southern tip, near Malmö. The bridge itself clocks up at five miles (8 kilometres) long from the Swedish coast to a manmade island, where it plunges underground into a 2.5 mile (4 kilometres) long tunnel to reach Denmark. The bridge opened in 2000.
The bridge is a TV star as well as being a Scandinavian icon. Between 2013 and 2018 the popular Scandi Noir TV series ‘The Bridge’ was filmed in Copenhagen and Malmö, with the Øresund Bridge appearing in virtually every episode. In Episode 1 of the first series, the murder victim is found on the bridge at the border between Sweden and Denmark.
It’s easy to take a trip over the Øresund Bridge from Copenhagen. The obvious way to get there is by train as it’s quicker and more frequent, but that’d be a big mistake as the rail line runs underneath the road, so you can’t see anything. Instead, take the bus at least one way for great views over the Øresund Strait and to see the bridge’s huge towers. Alternatively, if you’re flying into Copenhagen, keep an eye out on approach – the bridge is clearly visible from the flightpath to Copenhagen Airport. On a clear day, you can also see it from high points in Copenhagen city centre including the Rundetårn.
Little Mermaid Monument, Copenhagen
Recommended by Ann at ‘The Platinum Line’
The little mermaid statue has become the symbol of Copenhagen. Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and Scandinavia’s largest city with over a million inhabitants. It is a modern metropolis, but most tourists want to visit the Langerline Promenade on the waterfront to find the little mermaid, who gazes sadly to the shore hoping to spot her prince.
Hans Christian Anderson (1805-1875) is probably Denmark’s best-known writer and his fairy tale of the little mermaid, who wanted to become human, is known all over the world thanks to the Disney films.
The statue was unveiled on 23rd August 1913 and was a gift from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of the Carlsberg Brewery to the city. It is made of bronze on a granite plinth and is 1.25 metres tall and weighs 175 kilograms. Jacobsen commissioned the sculptor Edvard Erikson to create the sculpture after watching a performance of the little mermaid ballet at the Royal Theatre. The ballerina who danced the lead role refused to pose nude so Erikson modelled the figure on his wife Eline.
Caption for the photo I scrambled over the rocks to take this shot.
Famous Landmarks in England
Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire
Recommended by Rachel at ‘Mum With Wanderlust’
Stonehenge is possibly the most famous prehistoric monument in Europe. The stone circle is in the county of Wiltshire in England, just over an hour from the outskirts of London. You need to drive to Stonehenge as it’s not easily accessible by public transport. If you don’t have a car, there are organised tours from London, Windsor and Bath that you can join. Once parked at the visitors centre car park the walk to the stones is over a mile long or there is a bus transfer available. You can read more about planning your trip to Stonehenge here.
The stones have been in place since 2500BC. We don’t know exactly why Neolithic Man built this monument but it’s likely it was the venue of many rituals and spiritual ceremonies. Before you visit, download the Stonehenge Audio guide app for free to learn more. There are many points of archaeological interest at the site and the app talks you through the secrets hidden underground.
The most famous time to visit Stonehenge is for sunrise at Summer Solstice, but you can visit Stonehenge year round. There is no shelter from the elements though so dress appropriately for the weather.
Top Tip: For a really special experience you can upgrade your ticket to a VIP ticket. This will allow you to access the stone circle before or after it is open to the public. With this ticket you can and go inside the circle of stones, an experience very few of the site’s one million visitors per year will be able to have.
Buckingham Palace, London
Recommended by Anisa at ‘Two Traveling Texans’
Buckingham Palace is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II in London. It was built in 1703 and was originally known as Buckingham House because it was previously the home of the Duke of Buckingham. British Monarchs have been living at Buckingham Palace since Queen Victoria.
Inside Buckingham Palace there are 775 rooms, including 19 State Rooms, 52 royal / guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms. It covers a floor area of 77,000 square feet / 7,150 square metres. Each year, the Queen entertains 50,000 people at the Palace, including 30,000 guests at the annual Garden Parties.
During the summer when Queen Elizabeth is vacationing in Scotland, Buckingham Palace opens to the public. You are able to tour some of the state rooms and enjoy the gardens. World class artwork and priceless furniture, like the Table of the Great Commanders commissioned by Napoleon, are on display.
Top Tip: It’s a popular experience and tickets are limited so you need to book in advance.
Tintagel Castle, Cornwall
Recommended by Claire at ‘Go South West England’
Tintagel Castle is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Cornwall, UK. The English Heritage-owned ruins sit on a rocky outcrop linked to the mainland by a bridge, and it is a fascinating site where Arthur was alleged to be born. The castle also has a fascinating medieval history, as it was owned by Richard, Duke of Cornwall, in the 13th Century.
A walk around will teach you about this history, and you will be able to see some of the historic areas of the castle. You can also take in some epic views of the coast – both around the island and back towards the coastline.
You can get to Tintagel Castle by driving to Tintagel village and parking there (you will need to walk the last bit, and sadly the castle isn’t very accessible for wheelchair users as there are lots of steps and uneven ground). There are also bus services that connect Tintagel to Bude, Port Isaac and Wadebridge.
Top Tip: Before getting your tickets I would recommend joining the Cornwall Heritage Trust – for just £15 per person, or £25 for up to two adults and two children, you can see multiple historical sites in Cornwall. It’s actually cheaper to become a Cornwall Heritage Trust member than pay the onetime fee for Tintagel! You can also visit Tintagel for free if you are an English Heritage member.
Famous Landmarks in France
Eiffel Tower, Paris
Recommended by Sharon at ‘Baby Journey’
Often topping lists for the most recognisable sight in the world, it’s hard to beat the Eiffel Tower when it comes to iconic sights. No matter how many times you have seen it, however, there is nothing like the first time you see it in real life.
The Eiffel Tower is located in Paris and it’s easy to get here. One of the most visited cities in the world, you won’t have problems finding flights. Once there, you can catch the Paris Metro to Bir-Hakeim on Metro Line 6 or Champ-de-Mars Tour-Eiffel on RER Line C. From there, it’s just a short walk.
When you visit the Eiffel Tower, you have several options. You can visit the base area where there are big grounds perfect for a picnic including a playground for families. You can also choose to go inside with options available to visit either the first, second or top floors – with these coinciding with the horizontal levels you can see in the building. Buy tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. There are great views over Paris from inside but note that it does feel like it’s swaying so people who struggle with heights may not enjoy going to the higher levels.
The Eiffel Tower is good to visit at any time of year although you’ll likely find fewer tourists to share the experience with if you visit outside summer.
Top Tip: For a great viewpoint for pictures, head to the Pont Alexandre III (bridge) near the Invalides metro station. It’s the perfect place to take some timeless holiday snaps.
Champs Elysee, Paris
Recommended by Astrid at ‘The Wandering Daughter’
Champs Elysee is an avenue located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, France. It stretches between the Place de la Concord to the Arc de Triumph. Translated to mean Elysian Fields, the wide avenue of Champs Elysee is lined with beautiful shops, cafes, and theatres. It’s a must-see stop for any Paris itinerary.
Originally part of the Tuileries Gardens, Champs Elysee officially received its name in 1709. Since then, Champs Elysee has survived the French Revolution and two world wars. And it has seen various iterations of Paris as a city.
Any time of year is a good time of year to visit Champs Elysee. However, if you can plan for a visit to Paris during a religious holiday, you’ll be treated to a beautiful display of lights along the avenue. Bastille Day is also a good time to visit Champs Elysee.
Champs Elysee is accessible by Paris Metro, with several stops along the avenue. You can also walk or drive along Champs Elysee to see the sights. Alternatively, take an open top hop on hop off bus tour to get a chance to take pictures of the famous avenue.
Arc de Triomphe, Paris
Recommended by Cosette at ‘KarsTravels’
The Arc de Triomphe is in Paris, the city of love. It’s on the Place Charles de Gaulle in the 8th arrondissement, at the end of the Champs-Elysées. The square with the most traffic in the whole of Paris has twelve Avenues that come together at the Arc. The closest metro / RER station is Charles de Gaulle-Étoile, which is near the Arc de Triomphe. This is the easiest way to reach the landmark. You can drive around the Arc, but doing this and trying to park nearby will be a nightmare.
The Arc de Triomphe can be visited all year long as Paris is beautiful year-round. Napoleon ordered the building of the Arc, to celebrate his victory at Austerlitz. The building of the Arc was completed in 1836. In 1920 an unknown soldier from the First World War was buried under it and since then it’s been a monument to remember the First World War. Next to the tomb of the soldier burns an eternal flame to remember the fallen soldiers from both World Wars.
You can visit the Arc de Triomphe and go up to the observation platform which gives a perfect view of Paris. It will cost €13.00 to visit for adults.
Top Tip: Close to the Arc de Triomphe is the famous Ladurée shop on the Champs-Elysées, where you can buy the most delicious macarons. This is also the end of the Paris macaron walking tour.
Pyramid at the Louvre Museum, Paris
Recommended by Leyla at ‘Off Beat France’
The pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris is almost as famous as the Eiffel Tower – it simply hasn’t been up as long.
As is often the case when something is new or unusual, the pyramid sparked huge controversy from the moment its architect, I.M. Pei, unveiled the initial plans.
Newspapers went wild! At first, no one could believe what they were seeing, and once their eyes had accepted what some called “sacrilegious”, they began expressing their horror and disgust. Many said it was anti-French, or even anti-history.
Digging back into time, when the Eiffel Tower was first built, it was vilified, but eventually came to be accepted, and finally loved. Today, no one could imagine Paris without its tower. The same thing happened here: after the initial outrage, tempers cooled and once it was built people became accustomed to it. Today, walking into the courtyard of the Louvre, it’s difficult to imagine what it looked like in the days before the pyramid (and its three smaller facsimiles). Not everyone loves it and yes, it does still have distractors. Just give it time.
Top Tip: To see the pyramid is free: walk around the courtyard and look at it from every angle. You only have to pay if you’re actually going into the museum.
Palace of Versailles, Versailles
Recommended by Elisa at ‘World in Paris’
The Palace of Versailles is one of the most beautiful châteaux’s in France. It is located in the city of Versailles, easy to reach by train, and it’s one of the most popular day trips from Paris.
Versailles was built in the 17th Century in baroque style by King Louis XIV and it was home to three French kings and their families. It is surrounded by beautiful French style gardens on three sides decorated with elaborated fountains and sculptures.
The interiors are lavishly decorated and show the opulence of the French court during the 17th and 18th Centuries. Amongst all the magnificent rooms and halls outstands the Hall of Mirrors for its size and rich decoration. It is very impressive! In addition to the main building, there is the big and small Trianons and a small hamlet.
It is possible to visit the Palace of Versailles alone or with a combo ticket that also includes the other buildings.
Top Tip: From October to March the gardens are free to visit while in the summer they host different shows and there’s an entrance fee.
Recommended by Victoria at ‘Guide Your Travel’
Mont-Saint-Michel is one of France’s and Europe’s most well-known tourist locations and is an absolute must-see. This spectacular fortress, located on an island in the harbour of Mont-Saint-Michel, is the ideal day-trip destination from Normandy.
Mont-Saint-Michel is free to visit, and there are even free shuttle buses that will take you there. The walk is also quite lovely, with spectacular views of the water. From the mainland, it takes around 45 minutes to get there, with plenty of time to pause for photos. However, it may get hot during the summer months, so bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
There is enough to see and do in Mont-Saint-Michel itself. Admire the medieval architecture of the eponymous abbey. There is a small admission price, but it is well worth it. Although Mont-Saint-Michel is not particularly large, there are numerous peaceful side alleys and hidden corners where you may have a picnic or simply take in the scenery.
You could go down the adjacent beach to get the best photos of Mont-Saint-Michel. This is especially recommended in the early mornings when the light illuminates the island brilliantly. During low tide, you can also stroll out into the bay, but be aware of rising tides and always put your own safety first.
Famous Landmarks in Germany
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
Recommended by Vicki at ‘Vicki Viaja’
When you think of a landmark in Germany, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin is undoubtedly the first thing that comes to mind. Therefore, anyone visiting Berlin probably can’t help but make this important attraction a must-see stop on their Berlin Itinerary.
Its fame is mainly due to the history of Berlin because for many years, the present German capital was divided into two parts by a wall. The Brandenburg Gate was located directly in the middle of the two parts of Germany at the border. That is precisely why today, the gate is, for many, a symbol of freedom.
Ironically, at the time of its opening in the 18th Century, the gate was only one of many gates located in Berlin.
If you start your tour of Berlin at Brandenburg Gate, you can find many volunteers to guide you on a free walking tour to the city’s main sights. This is highly recommended and the best way to explore the sights of Berlin, especially if it’s your first visit to the German capital.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavarian Alps
Recommended by Gabby at ‘The Office Escape Artist’
Cinderella’s castle – the opening symbol of every Disney movie – is a fairy tale icon. As a kid, you probably dreamed of seeing this castle in real life but realized when you were older that it’s just a cartoon.
But it’s not just a cartoon! Cinderella’s Castle was inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle. It was constructed in the late 19th Century in the Bavarian Alps of southern Germany by a slightly mad King Ludwig II. Nowadays, Neuschwanstein is a must-visit if you’re near visiting near Munich.
After Bavaria was defeated by the Prussians, King Ludwig II – a very young king at the time! – gradually become more and more reclusive. Eventually, he ended up spending nearly all his time away from Munich and in the mountains where Neuschwanstein was built. He became increasingly immersed in his fantasies and was eventually declared insane by the government. Neuschwanstein was a way to satisfy Ludwig II’s fantasies, so we have a madman to thank for this stunning castle!
Munich is the closest major city to Schwangau, the region where Neuschwanstein is located. However, getting to Scwangau is a bit of a trek: it’s going to take about 2.5 hours each way, making this a very long day trip. However, it’s totally worth it!
Start your journey at the Hauptbanhof and catch a train to Füssen. This journey takes just over two hours, but it’s a beautiful train ride through small Bavarian towns that you wouldn’t see otherwise. Once in Füssen, you’ll grab a bus to Schwangau, where you can actually see two castles – the grand Neuschwanstein and the original Hohenschwangau!
The castles cannot be toured without a ticket, so you absolutely want to pre-purchase your tour times to guarantee a spot. If you’re travelling in the low season, you can probably buy one at the ticket office day of, but that’s a gamble.
Hohenschwangau is very walkable so it’s an easy tour to check out. However, Neuschwanstein is located up a very steep hill. Walking is possible, but it takes over 30 minutes. The best way to get there is on the shuttle bus. Be sure to grab the shuttle well before your tour time – there may be a line!
It’s important to note that the shuttle will not run when the roads are icy, so the best time to visit Neuschwanstein is late spring, summer, and early fall.
Famous Landmarks in Greece
The Acropolis, Athens
Recommended by Chrysoula at ‘Athens and Beyond’
The Acropolis is Greece’s most famous landmark and one of the most famous sights to visit in Europe. Visiting the Acropolis is on top of the list on any Athens itinerary.
Situated on top of a hill overlooking the city, the Acropolis is home to many famous buildings including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Propylea, and the Temple of Athena Nike all mainly constructed in the 5th Century BC by the architects Ictinus and Callicrates.
The best time to visit the Acropolis is in Spring and Fall when the crowds are fewer and the temperature milder. If you happen to visit during the high season (summer months) it is advised to visit the monument as soon as it opens to avoid the heat. It is also recommended to buy your tickets online or book a guided tour in order to skip the queue. One of my favourite tours in Athens that include the Acropolis is the Mythological tour that combines history with Mythology.
The nearest metro station to the main entrance is Monastiraki. From there you need to walk through the Plaka neighbourhood. There is a side entrance as well near the Acropolis metro station (where the Acropolis museum is located). I always recommend getting in from the main entrance and getting out from the side entrance.
MORE GREECE TRAVEL INSPIRATION:
Famous Landmarks in Hungary
Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest
Recommended by Or at ‘My Path in the World’
Fisherman’s Bastion is an iconic European sight situated in the UNESCO-listed Buda Castle District (on the Buda side of the city). Its fairy tale-like architecture, history, and scenic location overlooking the Danube are the biggest reasons why it is one of the top attractions in the city, and you won’t regret adding it to your Budapest itinerary.
Although it looks like a fortification, the structure standing today never functioned as one. In fact, it was built in the late 19th Century to serve as a lookout point over the river and the Pest side of the city and to celebrate the 1000th birthday of the Hungarian state. That’s why it has seven towers – to symbolize the seven Magyar tribes that founded Hungary.
Visiting the lower terraces is completely free of charge while accessing the upper towers is only free between 8pm – 9am. During the day, it will cost you 1000 HUF (about 2.8 EUR). You can easily get to the Buda Castle District by bus number 16 or using the Castle Hill Funicular.
Top Tip: Fisherman’s Bastion also houses a gourmet Hungarian restaurant, Halászbástya Étterem, but be sure to make a reservation in advance.
Famous Landmarks in Ireland
Blarney Castle, Cork
Recommended by Cath at ‘Travel Around Ireland’
One of the most famous landmarks in Ireland is Blarney Castle. Located in the southern county of Cork, this castle draws tens of thousands of visitors to it every year. To reach Blarney Castle, you are best driving there or joining a tour. Blarney lies 15 minutes from Cork, or it is less than 3 hours from Dublin and is one of the best day’s trips from Dublin.
Blarney Castle can be visited any time of year, but outside of the peak summer season is best. Top tip: arrive at opening time and climb immediately to the top of the castle before exploring the grounds.
Why? To kiss the Blarney Stone of course. This is the main reason visitors flock here and bestowing yourself with the gift of the gab is best done as soon as you arrive to leave you free to explore the gardens at your leisure afterward. Make sure to collect your photo of the moment at the bottom of the castle as they are not available in the gift shop.
And the gardens should not be missed. With fern gardens, two waterfalls, and a poison garden in the grounds, these are a wonderful part of the castle to enjoy after the climb up to the top.
Blarney Castle and kissing the famous Blarney Stone is a must-do in Ireland, and it is this reason why this castle in Cork is such a popular landmark.
The Cliffs of Moher, Galway
Recommended by V Kay at ‘Travel Addicted Unicorn’
The Cliffs of Moher are located close to the city of Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. The cliffs are absolutely stunning and definitely worth the trip from Dublin. It takes about three hours to make the journey from the capital of Ireland, Dublin, to the Cliffs of Moher.
The cliffs span about 14 kilometres, so you can either spend the whole day exploring them or just walk to the main area. You’ll need at least a few hours to see the main area as you’ll need to walk left and then right from the Visitor Centre. Don’t forget to check out O’Brien’s Tower! You can climb to the top of the tower for a small entry fee and see the cliffs from a higher vantage point.
Lots of movies have been filmed at the Cliffs of Moher such as “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and “Leap Year”. There are two options to see the Cliffs of Moher, either from the top of the cliffs or do a boat tour where you see the landmark from the water. However, if it’s your first time, I would suggest just doing the top of the cliffs (best viewpoint).
The best time to visit is in the summer months when the weather is warmer. However, make sure you bring warm clothes (layers are best), as it can be windy and chilly even in the summer. Keep in mind that there’s some mild climbing and stairs involved, so wear comfortable shoes.
Famous Landmarks in Italy
The Colosseum, Rome
Recommended by Jiayi at ‘The Diary of a Nomad’
The UNESCO site of the Colosseum is a must-see on any visit to Rome, the beautiful Eternal City. This landmark is the perfect place to gain insight into life in Ancient Rome, as it was the largest amphitheatre in the Ancient Roman Empire and used to hold up to 50,000 spectators a day.
The Colosseum was the sight of countless gladiator games, where gladiators fought each other as well as wild exotic animals, such as tigers and rhinos. The games lasted for around 500 years before the Colosseum was destroyed by earthquakes and bombings.
To get to the Colosseum, take the Metro Line B and get off at the Colosseum stop. Visit during the shoulder seasons of spring or fall to avoid the crowds of the summer. If you want the least amount of crowds (and don’t mind the cold), then head over there during winter.
Top Tip: Book an organised tour to skip the long lines and to get an exclusive entry to the underground area, where the gladiators used to live!
Trevi Fountain, Rome
Recommended by Lisa at ‘Travel Connect Experiences’
The Trevi Fountain is the most popular fountain in Rome and perhaps the world. It was made famous by the film “La Dolce Vita” by Italian director Federico Fellini in the 1960s, where the gorgeous actors Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni kiss each other in the water in the middle of the night.
Such a thing would be impossible today: the Trevi Fountain, in the heart of Rome’s historic centre, is frequented and photographed by thousands of visitors every day. The police always keep an eye on the monument to prevent anyone from getting the idea to take a bath.
To get your picture taken with the sublime group of statues behind you, an artwork of Master Pietro Bracci dating back to the second half of the 18th Century, you’ll have to pass dozens of other travellers. Almost all of them toss a coin with their backs to the fountain, having heard that this magical gesture will make them return to Rome at least one more time.
The Trevi Fountain consists of a large basin that serves as a stage for a group of statues decorating one entire wall of the Poli Palace in the Trevi Square. The monumental sculpture represents the god Ocean advancing with two horses on either side representing the two aspects of the sea: agitated and calm. In the lateral niches, two feminine sculptures represent the goddess Abundance and the maiden who showed the Roman soldiers the exact location of the spring.
The water that fills the fountain springs 20 kilometres east of the centre of Rome and has been channelled since 19 BC by the impressive aqueduct “Aqua Virgo”, the work of the commander Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, collaborator of Emperor Augustus.
To reach the fountain from Termini central station, take metro A to Piazza di Spagna and then walk for about 10 minutes to the Trevi Fountain.
Top Tip: To avoid the crowds, visit the fountain between 6 and 8 am.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa
Recommended by Jürgen and Martina at ‘Places of Juma’
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is definitely one of the most famous sights in Europe and is definitely an attraction that can be visited all year around! You can reach this unique landmark relatively easily by plane, as it is located in the city of the same name, Pisa in Italy, where there is also an international airport.
The special thing about this attraction is that when the Pisa Tower was built in 1173 to 1372, it already was leaning. Many year later, between 1990-2001, it had to be closed and restored for safety reasons. It was straightened by a full 4 degrees but is still noticeably leaning today! Thanks to its’ rich cultural and historical heritage, it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List along with the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Cemetery – all located on the Piazza dei Miracoli.
Top Tip: Entrance to the square Piazza dei Miracoli and visiting from the outside to take photos are free. A unique experience, however, is the climb to the top of the tower. This costs around 20 euros, and from the top you can enjoy a spectacular view of the entire square. Due to its popularity, don`t forget to book your tickets in advanced!
The Duomo, Florence
Recommended by Jess at ‘Tourist to Travellers’
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore is a magnificent masterpiece highlighting Florence’s renaissance period. This gothic structure built in the 13th Century is the most visited cathedral of Florence. The cathedral is a masterpiece of the renowned artist Filippo Brunelleschi. The gates of The Duomo are fondly known as the “Gates pf Paradise”. The stained glassed, the frescoes and the statues are a sight to behold.
If one wants to visit the other attractions in Florence such as Giotto’s bell tower, the baptistery, Crypt etc. then buying a multiple pass will be a better option.
How to reach The Duomo? The Duomo is located right in the centre of Florence. The walk from Florence train station to The Duomo is barely 10 minutes.
Top Tip: The view of The Duomo and the city of Florence is Surreal from Giotto’s bell tower
Ponte Vecchio, Florence
Recommended by Ingrid at ‘Ingrid Zen Moments’
Once the only bridge over the Arno River, Ponte Vecchio in Florence might be one of the most beautiful bridges in Italy, and the world. As its name says, this is the oldest bridge in Tuscany’s capital, dating from the 996 in different shapes and forms.
If you would have lived in Florence in the 13th Century and even later, here is where you would have come for your daily shopping. On the bridge over the Arno River is where you could find the butchers and farmers selling their local produce. Nowadays, also because of its perfect location close to the old centre of Florence, the shops in the Ponte Vecchio are run by jewellers, art dealers, or souvenir shops where any tourist should come for an authentic memory.
Any visit to Florence should take you along every angle and corner from where you can admire the famous bridge. Walk on the banks of the Arno River at sunset, take a boat ride and cross beneath it, walk on the bridge and shop for souvenirs, book a hotel room with a view and see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Cinque Terre, Liguria
Recommended by Anne at ‘Packing Light Travel’
Hugging the cliffs bordering the Ligurian Coast of Italy is the picturesque region of Cinque Terre. Pronounced ‘Chin-kweh Terra,’ meaning ‘five lands,’ Cinque Terre is recognized by UNESCO as a place of worldwide importance to cultural and natural heritage.
Closed to vehicles, the best way to reach the five quaint villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare is by train. Train travel takes a few minutes from one village to the next. A myriad of hiking paths connects the villages, offering a choice of coastal paths or hillside trails through vineyards. Another option is to enjoy views of each village from the sea by taking the ferry service that stops in four of the five villages that have direct access to the sea.
Cinque Terre is a popular destination for Italian families and travellers. Most visitors are day trippers, so staying in one of the five villages offers the advantage of enjoying crowd-free views in the morning or the soft pastel colours of Cinque Terre’s famous sunsets late in the day. Of all the tips on visiting Cinque Terre, staying in one of the five villages for several days might be the most important. Doing so offers the opportunity to explore each village at a leisurely pace, enjoy a few hikes, and appreciate the rich variety of regional culinary delights.
The best time to visit is outside the busy summer season. The advantage of September is that the sea remains warm enough to swim and the grapevines on hillside slopes are covered with leaves and fruit.
Cliff Houses in Positano
Recommended by Charu at ‘Travel with CG’
Another famous landmark to see in Europe is the cliff houses in Positano. Overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, these pastel-coloured houses built on a rock are on the much renowned Amalfi Coast in Italy. The landscape of Positano with these uniquely built houses is one of the most recognizable sights in Europe. This entire region is also a protected UNESCO site.
Positano is easily reachable via Naples. Naples is well-connected to major cities around the world by flight, train, and bus. Once there, you can hop on a scenic ferry, take a regional train, hire a car, or get on a bus to reach Positano. Regardless of which option you choose, you will get beautiful glimpses of the cliff houses as you arrive into the town.
The best time to visit Positano is during the summer months. Not only can you enjoy the postcard-perfect view of the cliffs from the Spiaggia Grande in summer, but you can also go on a boat ride and admire the houses from the sea. With a private boat excursion at sunset, you can have an unobstructed harbor view as the lights turn on.
The Francos Bar at Le Sirenuse is also a good spot for a different perspective. Many other accommodations in Positano also come with the view of the houses.
Famous Landmarks in Netherlands
The Windmills of Kinderdijk, Rotterdam
Recommended by Frans at ‘Ask The Dutch Guy’
One of the most majestic sights anywhere in the world is the Windmills of Kinderdijk.
On the River Noord stand 19 magnificent windmills in the charming little village of Kinderdijk. The perfectly preserved gigantic windmills were built in medieval times along the canals and are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Impressive, magical and definitely a must-see attraction, they were built between 1722 and 1761 and together comprise the largest surviving concentration of windmills in the Netherlands.
The name Kinderdijk literally means “children’s dike”, pertaining to a well-known legend that describes a baby’s cradle being stranded here during the St. Elizabeth’s Day flood of 1421. The village is one of the most visited places in the country, particularly for the windmills.
To get to Kinderdijk, take the train from Amsterdam Centraal Station going to Rotterdam or Utrecht. The village is about 20 kilometres east of Rotterdam. From Rotterdam Centraal Station, take the metro to Rotterdam Zuidplein, and then bus 154 to Kinderdijk. When travelling to Utrecht, hop on bus 154 at Utrecht Centraal Station to reach the windmills.
Top Tip: From here, you may also explore the museums in the Blookwer and Nederwaard mills, as well as the Wisdom pumping station to make the most of your visit.
Canals in Amsterdam
Recommended by Cynthia and Alexander at ‘Travel your Memories’
In Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, you can visit one of the most famous sights in Europe, the canals of Amsterdam. The canals of Amsterdam are also known as the Venice of the North. In the historic centre of Amsterdam, you will find beautiful old buildings that are worth a visit, such as the Palace on Dam Square. However, just around the historic centre of Amsterdam are the canals, these are iconic for Amsterdam. You can easily walk from the centre to the canals. A great place to visit is, for example, the 9 Streets.
The reason that many travellers find the canal belt of Amsterdam so beautiful is because of its cultural and historical value. During the VOC era, this was one of the most important places in the world. Nowadays you can still see the old canal houses, which makes it a unique place to be.
You can discover the canal belt all year round on foot or a boat tour. The best way to discover it is with a boat tour because then you learn all the history of the canal belt and Amsterdam. The perspective from the water also provides a unique experience. Blue Boat Company is recommended because they sail from north to south, which is the most beautiful route. The price is USD$18 per person. Do you want to know more about Amsterdam? Read the best things to do in Amsterdam here.
Famous Landmarks in Northern Ireland
Giants Causeway, County Antrim
Recommended by Roxanna at ‘Travel Around Ireland’
The Giants Causeway is certainly one of the most famous sights in Europe. Located on the coast of Northern Ireland, the best way to get to Giants Causeway is to drive from Belfast. It takes just an hour and 10 minutes on the expressway, but take the more scenic coastal road. This doubles the driving time, but the views are worth it.
Giants Causeway has been intriguing visitors for centuries with its 40,000 basalt columns towering as they emerge from the surrounding cliffs, then flowing outward, descending like a stairway into the sea. Where did these strange uniform stones come from? This question has inspired both storytellers and scientists, spurring the myth of the giant Finn McCool with his road to Scotland, and the theory of ancient volcanoes churning the earth. However it was created, it is a work of beauty. When the sun is bright the water shines blue, as it crashes over the hexagonal stones.
There are no summer crowds, but plenty of sunshine. To take your Giants Causeway experience over the top, reserve an Away a ‘Wee’ Walk in advance. Walkers are taken to Dunseverick Castle to hike the cliff top back to the causeway. It is a five mile guided walk through utterly gorgeous coastal scenery, filled with legends and tales. It also provides views of formations, and vantages of the causeway that most visitors never see.
Top Tip: Giants Causeway is stunning any time, but May and September may be best.
Famous Landmarks in Norway
Trolltunga, Vestland County
Recommended by Una at ‘Wandernity’
Trolltunga is a spectacular cliff in Norway, getting its iconic look because it is hovering around 700 meters above the lake Ringedalsvatnet.
To get to Trolltunga cliff, you’ll have to walk one of the most scenic hikes in the world. It’s around 23 kilometres long, as you have to go to the cliff and back. Most hikers do it in one day, but it’s also possible to pitch a tent near the cliff and experience the magic of waking up to the amazing mountain views and the fresh crisp air.
The recommended time for hiking is from 1 June to 31 August. At any other time of the year, you should get an accompanying guide, as there might be snow, unstable rocks, and some other obstacles on the path.
If you want to experience hiking in Norway, this is one of the best hikes to choose, as you’ll be constantly rewarded by the mighty views of the mountains.
Storseisundet Bridge, Eide Municipality
Recommended by Suzanne at ‘Meandering Wild’
On the exposed west coast of Norway is one of the world’s most scenic drives. While it is only a few kilometres in length, the road connects a series of small islands with 8 stunning bridges.
The largest of these is Storseisundet Bridge which is 26 metres above the Atlantic Ocean. Driving it has a roller coaster feel and during winter storms and high winds it is not the best road to be driving. Behind the bridge are high mountains that plunge down into the coastal area surrounding the islands making this an amazing place to explore.
The bridge is part of Norwegian National Road 64 (Rv64) and can be approached 30 kilometres southwest of Kristiansund or 47 kilometres north of Molde. It is possible to complete a circular drive from Trondheim in a weekend to visit the bridge and the surrounding islands.
The area can be visited year round but in the winter months storms may make conditions dangerous. To make the most of the landscapes surrounding the bridge and the drive, then a summer visit is ideal.
Top Tip: Stop at the parking places either side of the bridge and follow the trails to get great views of the bridge and the Atlantic Ocean. Do not stop on the road or the bridge.
Famous Landmarks in Poland
Recommended by Bec at ‘Wyld Family Travel’
Auschwitz is a name not many people would forget, and it is a name burned into your memory once you visit. A place filled with so much heartache, sadness, death and pure evil, leaves a telling mark on your heart as you walk through the gates that so many did but never got to walk free from.
Visiting Auschwitz is an easy day trip from Krakow that many people decide to go on when they visit Poland. Many find it easier to go on a guided tour of the concentration camp rather than go alone. You can tour the camp by yourself but it is recommended that you go with a guide once you are at the camp. Many of the tour guides can help you by answering questions and help you navigate the emotions you will feel while walking the camp.
Most people start their tour of Auschwitz at the Auschwitz 1 camp. Once a Polish Army Barracks, the buildings there are now entwined with walkways of barbed wire and a plethora of horrific stories that now accompany most of the red brick buildings.
Once you have toured Auschwitz, most companies also take you to the Birkenau Camp which is a short bus ride from Auschwitz. This is where the prisoners were sorted into people who could be of use and people who would be murdered in the gas chambers. The sheer size of this camp is overwhelming.
A visit to Auschwitz is one not to be missed, a tour that will have you asking why and one that, at times, will leave you absolutely speechless.
Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw
Recommended by Zoe at ‘Together In Transit’
If you are looking for a famous, but easily recognisable site in Europe, you can find one in Warsaw, Poland. The Palace of Culture and Science is one of the most well-known and recognisable buildings in the city centre, surrounded by the city and park area.
You can visit and get there with a flight to Warsaw Chopin Airport with a quick short drive to the city centre. It’s the capital city of Poland, so many international flights stop here. From any other Polish city, it’s very easy to drive to Warsaw and you will likely spot the Palace of Culture and Science as one of the first high rise buildings you see.
The building is considered as highly controversial for some, as it is a reminder of Soviet influence that was once in place in Poland. However, these days it’s open to the public to enjoy up to eight cinema screens, two museums and four theatres. All visitable depending on what is showing during your visit.
Top Tip: The top highlight for tourists with the Palace of Culture and Science is the panoramic view of the city from the 30th floor. Visit on a clear day to see the views best of this lovely Polish city!
Famous Landmarks in Russia
St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow
Recommended by De Wet and Jin at ‘Museum of Wander’
Mention Russia, and you’ll probably see an image of colourful onion domes in your mind. If you pictured domes covered in blue and white swirls, green and red spikes or simply covered in gold, you were thinking of St. Basil’s cathedral in Moscow.
Officially known as the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, this Russian Orthodox Church is simply known as St Basil’s, and it’s perhaps the most iconic and easily recognizable landmark in all of Russia. The interior of the church is covered with stunning frescoes and icons.
Ivan the Terrible ordered the construction of the church in 1555 to celebrate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. The unique design is said to represent a bonfire rising to the sky.
St Basil’s is a UNESCO recognized landmark, together with the adjacent Red Square and Kremlin. St Basil’s can be visited throughout the year. It’s free to look at the church from the outside, but there is a 700 ruble (AUD$13 / USD$9.50) fee to enter the church. It’s closed the first Wednesday of each month.
Top Tip: Make sure to come and look at St Basil’s during the day, and after dark. The atmosphere and scenery is very different between day and night – you can decide for yourself which one you prefer.
Red Square, Moscow
Recommended by Krystee at ‘Vacation Geeks’
When you think of a Moscow landmark, the landmark that usually comes to mind is the Red Square. It sits in the middle of Moscow downtown and is packed with attractions to see: Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, GUM shopping centre, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Lenin’s Tomb surround the square.
If you are not staying in one of the hotels around it, the easiest way to get there is by metro. It is straightforward to navigate, and you will need to get off on the Ploshchad Revolyutsii (Revolution Square) metro stop. You can spend about an hour walking around and looking at the beautiful bronze statues in the metro station.
You will pay for entrance fees to go inside the Kremlin (I would recommend getting one with a tour to get everything out of it) and St. Basil’s Cathedral (this is inexpensive and worth going inside), but the rest of the area you can see for free. The GUM shopping centre is worth walking around. We were there for the winter holidays, and the whole centre is decorated beautifully. We didn’t go into Lenin’s tomb since you can see the body of Lenin laying on a bed, and it wasn’t something we were interested in seeing.
Top Tip: To get the best weather, it is best to travel in the summer, but we were there at the beginning of December and while it was cold, the whole city decorates for Christmas, and it is so beautiful to see the lights and the snow.
Famous Landmarks in Scotland
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
Recommended by Cristina at ‘My Little World of Travelling’
When visiting Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle is a must-see attraction for those who love learning about history. The castle is one of the oldest fortified places in the United Kingdom and Europe, and it has been a key location for royal residency and military troops.
Although some parts of the castle are still used for military purposes, it’s Edinburgh’s most famous tourist attraction and it’s widely recognised as a World Heritage Site. The castle is located in Castlehill Street, and the best way to get there is walking as there are no parking spaces or bike locks. However, you can find some car parks nearby.
The best time to visit Edinburgh Castle is during summer as days are longer and drier than in winter, and the castle is at the top of the hill which isn’t ideal to visit on a windy day.
A two-minute walk from Edinburgh Castle, you may also want to visit Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, a tower museum with optical illusions where you can have fun with friends and family, and also get a unique view of the castle and the city.
Famous Landmarks in Slovakia
Bratislava Castle, Bratislava
Recommended by Slavka at ‘On2Continents’
Bratislava Castle is the most recognizable landmark of not only the capital city, but of Slovakia. The castle’s special form, size, and dominant position on the rocky hill above the Danube River is visible from far away. It’s a must-visit site when you visit Bratislava.
The castle hill has been inhabited since the late Stone Age and thanks to its strategic position in the centre of Europe at an important river crossing between the Alps and the Carpathians, it has been a vital crossroad and trade route for centuries. Celts built a fortress here and the northern border of the Roman Empire was in the area. Some form of a fortress or a castle has always been built on the castle hill. Every era brought its own style, and the castle was rebuilt many times. The present-day form is in the Baroque Style of the Empress Maria Theresa’s era. The castle was used to house the art collection of Albert, governor of Saxony and Tessen, the son-in-law of Maria Theresa. Later, the collection moved to Vienna where it became the Albertina Gallery.
Today, the castle is home to the Slovak National Museum of History, a Treasury, a concert hall, and representative rooms of the Slovak government. Visitors can only see the museum part, the Treasury, the inner courtyard, and the outer castle grounds with gardens. A large part of the castle is only used for very official state affairs, such as presidential visits, constitution signing etc.
The castle is easily accessible on foot from the historical downtown below. In 15 minutes, the winding narrow streets will lead you to the castle from which you can get excellent views of the city, as well as Austria and Hungary. While you are there, walk around the Baroque gardens and fortification walls. There are bistros, souvenir shops and restaurants as well.
Famous Landmarks in Slovenia
Lake Bled, Bled
Recommended by Tom and Zi at ‘Craving Adventure’
You’ve almost certainly seen pictures of it already; a tiny island in the middle of a green-blue lake surrounded by mountains, and a shiny white church on top of this island. This landmark is called Lake Bled, and it is located in between Slovenia’s mountains.
The easiest way to get there is by car, as it is only a 40-minute drive from Slovenia’s capital city Ljubljana. Alternatively you can take a direct bus from Ljubljana as well, or take the train.
The best time of the year to visit is in fall, as by then most of the flocks of holiday tourists have left, and the colourful mixture of autumn yellow, red and orange make Lake Bled all the more scenic to see. The temperature has also dropped to a pleasant 15°C to 20°C, instead of 30°C in summer, and the prices for hotels drop significantly.
If you’re looking to stay overnight (which you really should!) then have a look at Villa Bled. This extravagant villa is located on the shore of the lake and it is pure luxury. It used to be former president Tito’s summer residence and it is easy to see why. Or if the villa is a bit out of budget, then have a look at the best hotels in Lake Bled.
Top Tip: What makes Lake Bled so special is its unique and jaw-dropping beauty. It is truly a sight you’ll never forget. When you visit, make sure to head up to the castle on the cliffs overlooking the lake. The castle has a great restaurant with the absolute best view over Lake Bled.
Caption: Lake Bled – Photo by Craving Adventure
Famous Landmarks in Spain
La Sagrada Família, Barcelona
Recommended by Hannah at ‘Get Lost Travel Blog’
The Barcelona skyline is defined by the work of architect Antoni Gaudí. The capital city of Catalonia, Spain is renowned for Gaudi’s whimsical Art Nouveau architecture. And none are more famous than his crowning glory, La Sagrada Família.
Building work began on Gaudí’s basilica La Sagrada Família in 1882 and it remains incomplete today. Gaudí’s vision for the building was so huge, it has taken almost two centuries to build. This determination, attention to detail and dedication to fulfil Gaudí’s grand plan is what makes La Sagrada Família so special. So much so that UNESCO has recognised it as a World Heritage Site.
You can visit La Sagrada Família year-round, you simply need to book tickets in advance. You should be considerate that this is a practicing place of worship where services regularly take place. You are required to dress modestly including covering your shoulders when entering. The central location of La Sagrada Família in Barcelona makes it easily accessible on foot from many of the other major sights and hotels in the city.
Top Tip: When you visit, ensure that you book the first entry slot of the day and arrive early. Thousands of people visit daily, so there is a constant stream of tourists passing through. Being one of the first few the door gives you the unique opportunity to experience the beauty of the building fully, with only a handful of other people inside.
Park Güell, Barcelona
Recommended by Carley at ‘Home to Havana’
One of famed architect Antoni Gaudí’s most enigmatic design masterpieces, Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain is a must-visit destination on any Barcelona itinerary and one of Europe’s most iconic destinations.
This whimsical park is filled with sculptures, statues, walking paths, bridges, and much more, all carved into the landscape and designed to highlight the natural beauty of the destination while highlighting the designer’s larger-than-life aesthetic. While the incredible staircase at the entrance to the park, and the ubiquitous curved mosaic benches may be one of the most photogenic parts of the park, there is so much more to see here. Not to mention that the park, situated on a hill, offers an incredible view over the entire city and all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
Top Tip: Make sure to take your time and explore the entire park, including the viaducts and covered porticos. There are tons of areas throughout the park with incredible sculptures and formations to discover that are part of what make the park so special.
Famous Landmarks in Switzerland
Lake Lucerne, Lucerne
Recommended by Pamela at ‘The Directionally Challenged Traveler’
One of the most beautiful lakes in Europe is Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. It is the largest lake on the continent with a surface area of about 1,300 square kilometres and an average depth of only 6 meters (18 feet). The city of Lucerne lies comfortably on its shores.
Most people visit Lucerne from Zurich or Berne. Both airports are connected to Lucerne by road and rail. From Zurich, it’s a 45-minute train ride or an hour drive. From Bern, it’s a 1 hour 15 min train ride or 90-minute drive.
There are plenty of things to do in Lucerne, from hiking up the Swiss Alps to taking a boat ride around the islands in the middle of the lake. There are several islands in the middle of the lake which can be reached by boat or ferry. One of them is called Reichenau Island, which is home to the famous Chapel Bridge with its unique architecture. Another island is Rütli Island whose history goes back as far as 1430. Today, it houses the Museum of Art and History.
Top Tip: To get an incredible view of the lake, you can hike or take a gondola to the top of Mount Rigi or Mount Pilatus. Lake Lucerne is a breathtaking place to visit in the heart of Europe!
Famous Landmarks in Turkey
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
Recommended by Sasha at ‘Mog and Dog Travels’
Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to iconic sights in Istanbul, but if you only have time to visit one place whilst in this magnificent city, make sure that it is the Hagia Sophia.
Located in the historical district of Sultanahmet, the Hagia Sophia began life as a church in AD360. During the Roman-Byzantine period, it was razed to the ground twice and was finally rebuilt for a third time by Emperor Justinian in the 6th Century. This is the building that actually still stands today. Once completed, the Hagia Sophia was the world’s largest cathedral for almost a thousand years!
Since then, the building has had multiple identities: it was converted into a mosque under the Ottomans and became one of the most important sites in Islam. In the mid-1930s, it became a museum, and in 2020 it was (somewhat controversially) converted back into a mosque.
This rich history is reflected in the building itself – you can actually see the blend of Christian and Islamic architecture everywhere. This is one of the things that makes this landmark so special and unusual. Even though it now functions as a mosque, the walls of the building still have beautiful mosaics depicting Mary, Jesus, angels and Christian soldiers.
Hagia Sophia is easily accessible by tram. It is one of Istanbul’s most popular tourist sights in the summer so to avoid huge queues, arrive as soon as it opens or alternatively, consider a winter trip to Istanbul.
Top Tip: Don’t miss the first floor which gives you a fantastic view of the stunning interior and a chance to see the mosaics and interior decorations up close.
MORE TURKEY TRAVEL INSPIRATION:
Famous Landmarks in Vatican City
Recommended by Haley at ‘HaleyBlackall.com’
The Vatican Museums, located across the meandering Tiber River from ancient Rome, is a feature of the sovereign state of Vatican City. Once the seat of the Catholic Church, it is well known for its pinnacle attraction, the Sistine Chapel by Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo. But, the Vatican Museums have so much to offer, holding over 20,000 pieces of ancient artwork.
You can reach the Vatican Museums by heading across the Victorio Emanuele II Bridge towards Castel Sant’Angelo. Make your way up the wide-spanning boulevard to St. Peter’s Basilica. Follow the ancient Vatican wall to the right to find the entrance to the museums.
It will take you a few hours to fully appreciate the gravity and beauty of the Vatican Museums, so make sure to set enough time aside. Highlights include the marble statue of Laocoon and His Sons, The Gallery of Maps, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, amongst many more.
Top Tip: Arrive early. Since this is one of the top attractions for any Rome itinerary, you will find it swarmed with tourists at most times of the day. Either arrive when the doors open at 8:30am (just before is even better!) or purchase your ticket online beforehand.
Famous Landmarks in Wales
Recommended by Cath at ‘Wales with Kids’
One of the most famous landmarks in Wales is Caerphilly Castle. Located in the town of the same name, this medieval castle is the second largest castle in the United Kingdom after Windsor. Built in the 13th Century, Caerphilly Castle introduced concentric castle defences to Britain. But these are not what it is famous for.
The south-east tower leans outwards at an angle of 10 degrees and is often referred to as the Leaning Tower of Caerphilly as it leans to a greater degree than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It is due to both damage and subsidence and there is a knight at the base helping to ‘hold’ it up.
Caerphilly Castle is easily reached from Cardiff, either by car or train. It can be visited at any time of the year but just be aware that the Great Hall is often used for weddings so may not be open during your visit. But this does not mean you shouldn’t go.
If you choose to visit you will see a great sight – two Welsh dragons and their babies in their ‘lair’. The dragons began arriving in 2016 and they are an amazing sight to see. At the rear of the castle is a wooden maze to try your hand at too.
In Summary – Europe Landmarks to Add to Your Bucket List
Europe is a very large continent with many iconic landmarks for tourists to visit. We hope our list of the 45 most iconic Europe landmarks has inspired you to add some of these to your Europe travel bucket list for when you are ready to plan your travel to Europe. A visit to any of these iconic Europe landmarks is guaranteed not to disappoint!
Are you planning a holiday to Europe? Have you been to any of the famous Europe landmarks or monuments listed above, or have we missed a landmark in Europe we should add to this list? Post your tips, comments and questions below.
TRIP PLANNERS FOR EUROPE: RELATED BLOG POSTS
Want more info to help you plan your Europe holiday? Check out all the articles we’ve written on travel in Europe below and continue planning your trip.
Our Most Popular European Posts
Other Famous Landmarks in Europe
Want to discover more famous landmarks in Europe and other European Countries? Here are some more posts that you might like!