Looking for beautiful places to visit in Europe? Here are the most famous landmarks in Europe that you should consider.
Europe is bustling with beauty and landmarks everywhere you look that it’s hard to come up with a conclusive list of European landmarks.
Though some could argue that there are some other European monuments that deserve to be on this list (I agree with you).
But according to the number of visitors and the historic significance they hold, there is no doubt that these are the 10 most famous landmarks in Europe that every traveler should visit at least once in their lifetime.
Most famous landmarks in Europe
1. Eiffel tower, Paris – France
Constructed is 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 will be literally 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 level one and two or enjoy the breathtaking views of the city from the third floor.
Since the Eiffel tower is on everyone’s Europe 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 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 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 the evangelist, 1 in memory of Mary, and the other one dedicated to Jesus Christ.
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 seeing a number of people visit the ruins 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 famous European 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 famous European 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 Arch, The statute of Health at the right of the arch – all these statues 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, 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 one of the 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 landmark.
Worry not that you might miss 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 top landmarks in Europe 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.
Related post: Romantic things to do in Europe
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 European monuments.
Erected between 1788 and 1791, the design of the Brandenburg gate was inspired by the Acropolis in Greece – 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, the winged goddess of Victory.
The sculpture is one of the most iconic in Europe and a trip to Berlin is not complete without visiting this historic landmark.
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, it’s 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, 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, 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 aside 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, and 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.
13. Leaning Tower of 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 for 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 is truly a unique monument in Europe.
14. Hagia Sophia, 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 monument in Europe that every traveler should not miss while visiting Istanbul.
15. Notre- Dame Cathedral, 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.
This list of the famous landmarks in Europe is not exhaustive at all but if you were looking for historical places in Europe to add to your bucket list, I hope this post inspired you. Don’t forget to share it to inspire others too.
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 for 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.
More posts about Europe to inspire your wanderlust
- Budget-friendly ski resorts to visit in winter
- Packing list for a ski trip
- Amazing reasons why you should travel to Europe in winter
- The complete packing list for Europe in winter
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