Looking for beautiful places to visit in Europe? Here are the most famous landmarks in Europe that you should add to your bucket list.
Europe is bustling with beauty and landmarks everywhere you look that it’s hard to come up with a conclusive list of European landmarks.
But according to the number of visitors they receive and the historic significance they hold, there is no doubt that these are the 25 most famous landmarks in Europe that every traveler should visit at least once in their lifetime.
Whether it is natural landmarks that display impressive landscapes or human-made landmarks that showcase culture, history, and architecture, there are so many famous landmarks of Europe that are worth adding to your European bucket list.
From the impressive Eiffel Tower in France, Colosseum in Italy to Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany, here are some of the most famous European landmarks you shouldn’t miss out on.
Most Famous Landmarks in Europe
1. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Constructed in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel tower was originally meant to be temporary in Paris and no one could have ever imagined that decades later, it would literally be the most famous landmark in Europe.
Standing at a height of 324 meters (1,063 ft) tall, the Eiffel Tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the second in France after Millau Viaduct – the tower can be seen from many parts of the city.
This iconic Parisian monument is the international symbol of France and one of the most visited sites in the world receiving over 7 million people annually and over 300 million lucky individuals have been to this incredible European landmark since it’s opening.
Visitors of the Eiffel tower can enjoy the three levels it posses by either having a great meal at the many restaurants on levels one and two or enjoy the breathtaking views of the Paris from the third floor.
Since the Eiffel tower is on everyone’s European bucket list, it always has long lines with tourists waiting to experience this incredible monument.
So to skip the long lines at the entrance, buy yourself this online skip the line entry ticket to the Eiffel tower beforehand.
To make your experience even better while visiting the city of lights, wait for the night Eiffel tower light show that happens every 5 minutes at the top of the hour.
With the shimmering lights from the tower, you’re bound to fall in love with Paris even more that you’ll keep coming back to enjoy this beautiful city of love.
2. La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
One of the most visited Landmarks in Barcelona and Spain as a whole is La Sagrada Familia, a large Basilica whose construction started in 1883 by Antoni Gaudi.
Though the construction is still not yet done even after 137 years, La Sagrada Familia is one of the famous landmarks of Europe.
Due to the slow construction process of The Balisica, since all the funds come from donations, it is still unclear when the construction will be completed but there is some information that it’s likely to be finished by 2026 – a year that marks 100 years since Gaudi’s death.
Even in its current unfinished state, La Sagrada has a number of impressive features that make millions of people flock to it every year.
From the towers – currently, 8 have been completed out of the 18 that Gaudi had planned with 12 representing the disciples, 4 representing the evangelist, 1 in memory of Mary, and the other one dedicated to Jesus Christ to the pillars, there is so much to see at La Sagrada.
Other than the impressive towers which give incredible views of the city if climbed, La Sagrada Familia has 3 symbolic facades, each representing a time in Jesus’ life and the beautifully designed interior pillars that look like a concrete forest thanks to Gaudi’s love for nature.
Being the symbol of Barcelona and receiving thousands of visitors every day, long queues are expected and the best way to beat them is by buying this online ticket before you go or this priority access guided tour.
3. Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Known as the Icon of Rome, The Colosseum was the largest amphitheater built during the roman empire in 72 AD right in the center of Rome.
Divided into 5 levels with a capacity of over 50, 000 people, the Colosseum was built to host violent gladiatorial shows ( the fight to death games) and many others as a way of entertaining the spectators.
Though the major exterior of Flavian Amphitheatre seems to be in ruins due to earthquakes and stone robbers, it’s still one of the top landmarks in Europe receiving over 6 million visitors annually.
It was also the most popular tourist attraction in the world in 2018 when it received 7.4 million visitors.
With its history, charming ruins, and popularity, it was recently listed as one of the New 7 wonders of the world. And in present-day life, there is no trip to Rome that is complete without visiting the Colosseum.
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4. The Acropolis of Athens, Athens, Greece
Constructed between 447 and 438 BCE, The Acropolis of Athens (also known as “The Acropolis”) is an ancient Citadel built on a hill overlooking the city of Athens – an ideal spot to take in all the views of Athens.
The Acropolis contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great historic and architectural importance with the most significant being the Parthenon which was constructed in honor of the Goddess Athena.
Although Athens has a number of landmarks, The Acropolis is the most famous receiving hundreds of thousands of people who want to stroll through what used to be an architectural marvel in the four hundred’s.
The Acropolis is not only listed as a Unesco world heritage site but also features as one of the Europe famous landmarks that is worth the trip from anywhere around the world.
Read more: Where to see the Northern lights in Europe
5. Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy
There is no doubt Rome has a number of famous landmarks but one could argue that Trevi Fountain or Fontana di Trevi as the locals call it, is the most beautiful of all.
Whether it is the most famous in Rome or not, it is still indubitably one of the European famous landmarks that every tourist should add to their Italy bucket list.
The Tevi fountain which is located in the Quirinale district of Rome is not only the most beautiful in the country but also one of the most beautiful fountains in the world and also the most famous.
Even though the Trevi fountain is one of the oldest sources of water in Rome, it is more than just the splashing water you see.
The art pieces and statues tell an interesting story worth knowing.
The statue of Oceanus in the center of the fountain standing under a triumphal arch with his chariot being pulled by two horses, one calm and the other wild represent the opposing moods of the sea.
The statue of Abundance to the left of the Arch and the statute of Health at the right of the arch all represent something significant.
And while you’re visiting, don’t forget to carry some coins to throw in the fountain as a tradition of this incredible landmark.
It is believed that when you throw in one coin, you will return to Rome at one point, throw in 2 coins and you will find romance in Rome, throw in 3 coins and you’ll get married there.
So you might wanna carry three coins to see this legend come true in your life.
Related post: Most romantic places in Europe
6. Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey
We cannot talk about famous landmarks in Europe, and not mention the Sultan Ahmed Mosque or the Blue Mosque as it’s commonly known because of its blue-colored interior tiles.
Located in the heart of Istanbul, near the Sultanahmet park, the Blue mosque is an icon of Istanbul not only because of its magnificent beauty and architecture which can’t be overlooked but also the history it possesses.
Constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the reign of Ahmed I, the mosque has five main domes, six minarets that adorn Istanbul’s skyline, and eight secondary domes.
With a combination of Christian architectural elements from Hagia Sophia (another popular tourist attraction nearby) with traditional Islamic architecture, the Blue Mosque is considered to be the last great mosque of the Classical period and the proof is quite visible.
The blue mosque is still an active house of worship for Moslems with its interior as impressive as the exterior.
And if you wait for nightfall, you’ll be amazed by the beauty of the shimmering mosque with blue lights complemented by the dancing water fountain show at the nearby Sultanahmet park. This is actually one of the best things to do in Istanbul at night.
7. Big Ben, London, Uk
Big Ben which is the nickname of the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London is one of the famous places in Europe and the UK’s most popular tourist attraction.
The clock inside Big Ben is the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and the largest of the tower’s five bells weighing 13.5 tonnes.
To get the most out of your visit to Big Ben, stay for nightfall to enjoy a spectacular sight when the four clock faces are illuminated.
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8. Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest, Hungary
One of the most impressive buildings in Budapest and Hungary as a whole is the Hungarian Parliament building.
Located next to the Danube river on the Pest side of Budapest, this architectural wonder constructed in a neo-Gothic style is one of the most famous buildings in Europe.
Officially opened in 1902, the Hungarian Parliament Building is considered the largest parliament building in the world with 10 courtyards, 13 passenger and freight elevators, 27 gates, 29 staircases, and 691 rooms.
Whether admired from near or afar, the parliament building will remain impressive but the shimmering golden light illuminated from the building at night cannot be compared to – you’ll be in total awe of this incredible European landmark.
Do not worry about missing walking through the passages of the building when the parliament is in session because the interior is symmetrical with two identical parliament halls of which one is used for political reasons and the other for guided tours for tourists.
It is not just the buttresses, towers, and big domes on the exterior that makes this Hungarian parliament building one of the famous European monuments but also the main staircase, the dome hall, parliament session hall, and the crown of Stephen are equally impressive when you make your way into this magnificent building.
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9. Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany
What used to be a symbol of division between Berlin and Germany during the Cold war is now a symbol of peace and Unity.
Located on the western edge of the city, Brandenburg Gate is not just one of the most important landmarks in Germany but also one of the top Europe monuments.
Erected between 1788 and 1791, the design of the Brandenburg gate was inspired by the Acropolis in Greece which is also one of the historical sites in Europe that we looked at earlier.
The Brandenburg gate is made up of 12 Doric columns with 6 on each side creating five passageways.
At the top of the monument, there is a sculpture of the Quadriga, a four-horsed chariot driven by Victoria, and the winged goddess of Victory.
The structure is one of the most famous landmarks in Europe and a trip to Berlin is not complete without visiting this historic site.
10. St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia
The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed which is commonly known as St Basil’s Cathedral is a church located in Red Square in Moscow facing the Ivory gate chapel.
With it’s exciting and incredible architecture, you might think that it’s one big cathedral but it is actually a collection of 9 different chapels with an altar to each and one mausoleum.
To connect from one altar to another, there is a narrow pathway passing through a wooden spiral staircase which is well hidden. In fact, its existence was only discovered during the restoration of the cathedral in 1970.
Over the years, St Basil’s cathedral has become the face of Russia in that you can’t say you traveled to Moscow without seeing this cathedral making it one of Europe’s famous landmarks.
11. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany
Nestled in the Bavarian alps in Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most famous and beautiful Castles in Europe that looks like it came straight out of a fairytale book.
Receiving over 1.4 million visitors every year, the Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the Europe famous landmarks that sees all those people come to stroll through the previous residence of King Ludwig II who constructed it in 1869 to be his private “corner” away from the public as he celebrated his love and admiration for operas of Richard Wagner.
With the strategic location of the Castle on top of the hill, a visit to the Castle not only treats its visitors to the impressive medieval look architecture but also the amazing views of the Hohenschwangau valley.
The Castle’s exterior is as impressive as the interior. From admiring the large ceremonial rooms like the Hall of singers, Throne Hall, and Drawing room that drip in gold and have the King’s personal touch in design and decoration to wandering around the beautiful garden as you see the towers of the Castle disappear in the sky, the Neuschwanstein Castle is truly one of the famous landmarks of Europe that is worth a visit.
12. Mont Saint Michel, Normandy, France
Tucked away on an island in Normandy just a few hours from Paris, Mont Saint Michel is not only one of the popular French landmarks but also one of the European famous landmarks that receives over 2 million visitors every year.
Many people mistake Mont Saint Michel for a fortified castle but it’s a whole city with a church on a rock and other smaller structures whose medieval features are still in place.
But what sets the Mont Saint Michel even further apart from other famous monuments in Europe is that this incredible structure turns into an island when the tides come creating an even more magical wonder.
The focal point of Mont Saint Michel might be the Abbey but there is more to it than just that.
From enjoying the impressive medieval architecture, pilgrimaging across the Bay of Saint-Michel, wandering around the ramparts, exploring the island’s only street of Grand Rue to visiting the 4 museums it houses, it’s not hard to see why Mont Saint Michel is one of the famous places of Europe.
Related post: Most famous Museums in Europe
13. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Located next to the Cathedral of Pisa in Piazza Dei Miracoli (Square of miracles) in the city of Pisa, Italy, the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Belly tower of Pisa is one of the interesting structures in Europe that is famous for its lean.
You’ve probably seen a number of photos all over the internet with so many people trying to “imaginary adjust” the Leaning tower to a more vertical position from its current state. But it’s that exact leaning factor that makes the Leaning Tower of Pisa one of the famous Europe landmarks.
What started as an unstable foundation at the construction of the Tower of Pisa in the 12th century resulted in a lean of 5.5 degrees as of 1990. But with more remedial work on it in the late 1900s and early 2000s, the lean was reduced to 3,97 degrees.
Though at the time, this construction error was seen as a “fail”, it has turned out to be a “blessing in disguise” by boosting Pisa’s tourism and Italy in general as there is no visit to Italy that is complete without visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s truly a unique monument in Europe.
14. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
Constructed in the 6th century in the heart of the old historic quarter of Istanbul in Sultanahmet Square, Hagia Sophia is one of the famous landmarks in Europe and one of the most visited places in Turkey.
Even though it was initially a Christian Orthodox cathedral, Hagia Sophia has changed “titles” over the years. From being converted into a mosque in 1453, later into a museum in 1935, and then back into a mosque in mid-2020.
But even with all those changes, one thing is still clear that this grand place depicts beauty and history like no other. No wonder it receives over 3 million visitors every year.
From the impressive dome, minarets, and buttresses on the exterior to the mesmerizing beauty and untouched interior art that depicts biblical figures and scenes, the Hagia Sophia is truly a European monument that every traveler should not miss while visiting Istanbul.
15. Notre- Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
Constructed in 1163 in honor of the Virgin Mary, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris or Notre- Dame as commonly know by many is a French Gothic cathedral that sits in the heart of historic Paris on Île de la Cité island in the middle of the Seine.
Receiving over 13 million people every year, Notre- Dame Cathedral is not only one of the most visited places in Paris but also one of the most famous landmarks of Europe.
Besides the historical value, the architecture of the Notre- Dame Cathedral is quite impressive. The exterior facade at the front is as beautiful as the interior.
From the large colorful windows, splendid sculptures, impressive church bells to one of the largest music organs in the world, Notre Dame set its self apart from other cathedrals making it one of the famous landmarks of France.
However, due to the fire that destroyed the roof of the Cathedral on 15 April 2019, it is still under reconstruction and currently closed off to visitors. But regardless, it’s still one of the European landmarks that you should add to your Europe bucket list.
16. Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France
Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous landmarks of Europe located on the western end of the Champs-Élysées in Place Charles de Gaulle (historically known as the Place de l’Étoile) in the middle of one of the scariest roundabouts in the world and the busiest place in Paris.
Built for 30 years from 1806-1836, Napoleon commissioned the monument to honor soldiers who died during the French revolution and Napoleonic wars. Their names are inscribed on the walls of the monument to honor them.
Standing 50m tall and 45m wide, Arc de Triomphe is the largest triumphal arch in the world and was once the biggest monument in the world until North Korea built a bigger one in 1922.
And beneath the Arc, you’ll be able to find a tomb of an unknown soldier with an eternal burning flame in memory of the soldiers who fought and died but were unidentied.
Receiving an average of 1.5 million visitors annually, this is one of the most visited historical places in Europe.
And besides learning about its history and appreciating its architecture, you’ll be able to enjoy stunning views of the Eiffel Tower and other Paris attractions and roofs when you climb the 284 steps to reach its observation deck.
17. Sistine Chapel, Vatican City
Located at the heart of Vatican City, Sistine Chapel is one of the most famous landmarks in Europe.
With an average of 20,000 tourists a day, especially during the summer, it is one of the most popular Italian landmarks.
It was named after Pope Sixtus IV who built it between1473 and1481 with a blend of culture, religion, and art.
Though there is a lot to see in the chapel, the key attraction is the renaissance frescoes by Michelangelo in the chapel’s ceiling painted between1508 and1512! It is actually believed to be one of the most significant artistic accomplishments of all time!
Staring at the frescoes and admiring the serene beauty of the place is an experience worth a lifetime.
Today, Sistine Chapel is where the process of selecting a new pope (known as papal Conclave) is conducted.
To visit the chapel, you’ll have to buy a ticket to the Vatican museum, and you’ll be able to visit the chapel for free.
So if you were looking for famous monuments in Europe to visit, then Sistine Chapel in the Vatican city is one of them.
18. Buckingham Palace, London, Uk
With millions of searches on google and photos making rounds on Instagram, Buckingham palace is one of the most famous European buildings.
Built in 1703, the building was acquired by King George III in 1761 after he purchased it as their private residence with his wife, Queen Charlotte.
In 1837, Queen Victoria moved here as her official residence and oversaw significant construction work for expanding the place. Today it is the home of Monarch Queen Elizabeth II and plays a significant role in major events in the UK.
The palace has 775 rooms and is open to the public between July and October for visitors to explore the staterooms and the royal gardens which cover 39 acres.
Another popular spot in the palace is the balcony where Queen Victoria made her first public appearance in 1851 and has now become the “public face” of the palace from which the royal family makes appearances to the public on monumental and royal occasions.
But even if you happen to be in London when the palace is not open to the public, you can still get to the gate and take pictures or even witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony that occurs once a day for 45 minutes.
19. Pantheon, Rome, Italy
If you’re looking for a European landmark to visit while in Rome, then look no further than the Pantheon.
Dating back to 27 BC, the Pantheon was initially constructed as a temple for pagan Roman gods. It was later consumed by fire, and the Roman Emperor Hadrian rebuilt it in 120 AD. Today, it is a Christian church.
This piece of architecture has a rich history and it is not only one of the oldest European monuments but also the best-preserved ancient roman famous building in Europe.
The building has no windows and has one of the largest concrete domes in the world. At the center of the dome is a big hole (9 m in diameter) known as the oculus, which happens to be the main source of natural light.
Because rain gets into the building through the hole, it has a slant floor and 22 well-hidden holes that help to drain the water, thus no flooding occurs.
To get to the Pantheon, you will have to go on foot as there are no trains or buses that can pass through the narrow streets but a walk through the snaking Italian streets will be fun.
So if you’re a history lover who wants to learn more about Roman history, the Pantheon is one of the historical places in Europe not to miss out on.
20. Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium
Among the many European landmarks, the Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, is one of the most beautiful.
It is a standardized body of private and public buildings dating back from the 17th century and has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1988.
Being the most populated square in Brussels, the Grand Place is a great site for tourists, and a number of annual festivals are held there. If you are lucky to be in the country during festivals, you will have a chance to see the colorful flower carpet.
Common attractions include architectural edifices like the Townhall, Breadhouse, which hosts the museum, and Guild house with rich gold decoration and ornately carved stonework.
It has both decorative and aesthetic wealth and it is an ideal place to start your trip while exploring Brussels.
The Grand Place is not only the most important tourist attraction in Brussels but also one of the famous European places.
21. Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary
Located on top of Castle Hill in Budapest is the Buda Castle which is also known as the Royal Palace of the Hungarian kings.
It is one of the Europe famous places that attracts thousands of history buffs, culture enthusiasts, and architecture lovers.
Initially built in 1265, the first castle was to protect against the enemies. However, it was later expanded by King Sigismund, who wanted an enormous fortified palace and it became the most prominent Gothic palace in his reign.
Unfortunately, it was badly damaged in the 1500s and entirely destroyed in 1686.
The colossal Baroque palace you see today was built from 1749 to 1769 and has been a world heritage since 1987.
Today, it houses the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum, the Pharmacy museum, the Music history museum, and a Military museum which all put together create a Europe landmark that is worth visiting while in Hungary.
22. Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK
Located 3km west of Amesbury, Wiltshire in England, Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument surrounded by mystery. Its questioning history attracts millions of visitors every year making it a famous monument in Europe.
Stonehenge is a ring of vertical standing large stones standing 4m tall and 2m wide, weighing about 25 tons and believed to have been erected from 3000 BC-2000 BC.
It serves as a British cultural icon and has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1896.
It is also one of the most architecturally stylish ancient stone circles globally, and its incredible design is mind-blowing.
There are many stories, myths, and mysteries about these stones telling how and why they were created.
Some will say that the stones have healing powers and others say that giants brought them. The mystery surrounding this place raises some curiosity which will have you want to visit the place.
But regardless of which story is true, the fact remains that Stonehenge is one of the historic places in Europe.
23. Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal
Sitting on top of a hill above Sintra town in Portugal is one of the most famous European landmarks.
Pena Palace is the world’s most magnificent palace built between1842 to1854, exemplifying the 19th-century Romanticism style.
Built as a summer home for Portuguese Royalty, the stunning bright yellow castle sitting on a hilltop beckons you from afar.
This UNESCO world heritage site attracts millions of visitors every year. Some of the key attractions include mystical ornaments, decorative battlements, painted terraces, and stunning vistas.
A 50-minutes uphill hike from the train station will get you to this stunning picturesque destination.
24. Prague Castle, Prague, Czech Republic
Sitting on 70, 000 square meters, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle complex in the world making it one of the famous landmarks in Europe.
Located in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, the castle was built in the 9th century. It has gone under significant changes and renovation with the last one being in 1920, thus combining architectural styles like the gothic, baroque, and Romanesque.
This UNESCO world heritage site has been the official residence of the president of Czech since 1918.
The complex is a composition of palaces, ecclesiastical buildings, including 3 churches.
And since it’s grand measuring 570 meters, be prepared to walk a lot because there is so much to see in the 3 courtyards and magnificent buildings.
25. Windsor Castle, Windsor, England
Windsor Castle is the oldest and the largest inhabited castle globally and has been a family home for British kings and queens for over 1000 years.
Today, this European landmark is a working palace, and rumor has it that it’s the Queen’s favorite residence.
Its construction started in 1070 and was completed 16 years later. It is famous for its spectacular architecture and its association with the royal family. It was also the wedding venue of Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Harry and Meghan) in 2018.
The captivating beauty of this palace attracts 1.5million people every year. Visitors enjoy the castle’s history, exploring China Museum, St George’s Chapel, state apartments, and semi-state rooms used for entertaining the Queen.
So if you want to learn more about the royal family, then you should add Windsor Castle to your list of landmarks of Europe to visit.
Final Thoughts on the Famous Landmarks in Europe
There you have it, friends, I hope that this list of the famous landmarks of Europe gave you more ideas to add to your long travel bucket list.
Have you been to any of these famous European monuments and landmarks? Which one did you love the most? And if you’ve not been to any yet, which one are you most excited to visit? Let me know in the comments below.
And if you’ve been to some European landmarks that are not on this list, drop them in the comment section to inspire others!
AS YOU VISIT SOME OF THESE FAMOUS LANDMARKS IN EUROPE, BELOW ARE SOME TRAVEL ESSENTIALS YOU SHOULDN’T LEAVE BEHIND
– A universal travel adapter: Since different countries use different adapters, I’d advise you to buy one universal travel adapter to cater to all regions. You can buy one from here if you don’t have it yet.
– A power Bank: One of the things you should never leave behind while traveling is the Powerbank! Phones have now become a great deal of our lives that we need to use them for so many important things. So take a power bank with you so that you don’t run out of battery. This power bank is small, light, and has the capability to charge your phone and other devices multiple times.
– Microfibre travel towel – I always opt for this microfibre travel towel because it is super lightweight, easy to wash, and dries easily.
– First Aid kit: Regardless of where you’re traveling to, you’ll need to pack a First Aid kit for emergencies that might arise while traveling. Remember it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Just make sure that the one you pack has all the essentials and that it is small and light enough to fit in any kind of suitcase/ backpack. This first aid kit actually fits all the qualities mentioned above plus it is really cheap for what it offers.
– Collapsible water bottle: I always prefer carrying a water bottle while traveling so that I can just refill it when I run out of water. It also helps be a responsible traveler since you won’t have to use tones of disposable plastic bottles which are not great for our environment. Any water bottle can work but I prefer this collapsible one as it doesn’t take a lot of space in my bag.
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