Europe is one of the most popular continents for travelling. The continent has varied landscapes, cultures, and climates that attract tourists from all corners of the planet. Europe also has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites. But the main reason why Europe is a top travel destination in the world is its astonishing man-made monuments, and that is the purpose of our post today. We are going to take you through the most famous European Landmarks, most of which we have had the pleasure of visiting.
Famous Landmarks in Great Britain
Though Britain is a relatively small country, it has a lot of natural and historical monuments to visit. But we are going to name just three.
Big Ben and Palace of Westminster – London
Officially known as the Great Bell, Big Ben is the striking clock on the façade of Elizabeth Tower, north of the Houses of parliament. The tower was completed in 1859 and stands 96 meters tall, and is served by 334 stars to its spire.
The tower is an important cultural symbol of the British and recognized all over the world. It was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.
The Palace of Westminster, or the Houses of Parliament, is the meeting place for both British parliamentary houses – the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The palace is strategically located on the northern banks of the Thames River in the City of Westminster borough. It is believed that this site may have been a royal residence during the reign of Canute the Great from 10sle16 and 1035.
Buckingham Palace is the official London residence and administrative seat of the monarchy of the United Kingdom. It is located in the London borough of the City of Westminster and is usually the main stage for many of the state functions and royal hospitality. The palace is easily reached via a number of underground tubes, bus routes as well as other means. The Green Park, Victoria, and Hyde Park are the closest tube stations to the palace, while buses 11, 221, C1, and C10 also make stops on the Buckingham Palace Road.
Landmarks in France
France always associated with a lot of things – fashions, romance, cuisine, beauty, and many more – but this Western European country also has some of the most recognizable monuments in the world that you don’t want to miss the next time you are there.
Eiffel Tower – Paris
The Iron Lady is one of the most popular landmarks on earth and the main structure on the postcards of Paris. This tower is awesome in many ways, which is why it attracts around 7 million annual visitors, more than any paid monument on the planet.
The Eiffel Tower was officially completed on March 31, 1889, and was the tallest man-made structure in the world for 41 years until the Chrysler Building was built. The tower was designed and built by engineer Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World’s Fair.
The 20,000 light bulbs usually transform the tower at night into a sparkling spectacle and in my opinion, the Eiffel Tower is the most important European Landmar
The Louvre – Paris
Louvre is the most visited and the largest museum in the world. The stately building is home to an incredible collection of art ranging from Egyptian antiquities to French sculptures and Islamic arts as well as some of the most iconic murals in the world like the Mona Lisa.
A trip to the Louvre requires a great deal of preparation; otherwise, you may spend a whole day without doing anything important.
Arc de Triomphe – Paris
Located right at the centre of Palace de I’Etoile, Arc de Triomphe symbolizes victory as it was built to honour the triumph of Napoleon in Austerlitz. After the end of World War I, the French army marched under the arc. The monument has since been transformed from celebrating the victory of Napoleon to honouring World War I.
There is a grave of unknown World War soldiers under the arc.
Notre Dame de Paris
The impressive Notre Dame de Paris is set in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. It is a gothic cathedral completed in the 14th century and is today the most famous religious landmark on the planet.
Visitors can attend mass or just tour the building when church services are not ongoing. The cathedral is known for its breathtaking design as well as the wide collection of art.
The location of the church was selected because it was the location of a former Roman temple.
Palace of Versailles
Various French Kings were drawn to Versailles because of the plenty of hunting opportunities in the ear. King Louis XIII was the first one to by land in Versailles and built a chateau as his hunting lodge.
Palace of Versailles was built extravagantly to impress Currently – you can tour the palace and admire the striking Hall of Mirrors, the extravagant bedroom, and the stunning gardens.
The palace is located 30 miles off Paris.
Mont Saint-Michel Abbey – Normandy
Off the landmarks in France, Mont Saint-Michel probably has the most inspiring location. Perched on a rock that is also an island depending on the tides. The original abbey, which was built by the Romans in the 11th century burned down, but was reconstructed in the 13th century in the Gothic style that maintained to this day.
Mont Saint-Michel Abby has two annexes, though the architects wanted 3. One is the church, while the other is monks’ residency.
Iconic Monuments in Italy
Italy is considered to be the most beautiful country in the world, thanks to the superb combination of architecture, scenery, and history. It has more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other country in the world – facts about Italy, some of which we will discuss below.
Do you want to learn more about Italy – Read Interesting facts about Italy
Trevi Fountain – Rome
A local legend has it that if you toss one coin into the Trevi Fountain over your left shoulder, you will return to the city; if you toss two coins, you will return to the city and fall in love; if you toss three coins, you will return to the city, fall in love, and marry. Either way, the coins you throw always go to a good course.
The fountain is located where three roads meet, marking the endpoint of Aqua Virgo, one of the earliest Rome’s aqueducts. Its name actually came from its location; Fontana de Trevi translates to Three Street Fountain.
Do you want to learn more about ROME? Read Interesting Facts about Rome
Colosseum – Rome
The Colosseum was the largest amphitheatre built during the Roman reins in 72 AD right in the center of Rome. The Colosseum used to host fights and games, including gladiator games, mock sea battles, and animal hunts.
The amphitheatre could accommodate 50,000 people, and measuring 50 meters tall, 156 meters wide, and 189 meters long, the Colosseum is still the largest amphitheatre on the planet. We explored Colosseum during our family holiday in Rome
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Tower of Pisa, campanile, or freestanding bell tower is the cathedral tower of the city of Rome. It was completed in 1173, but the site was too soft, and so the tower began to tilt immediately after it was finished.
It is believed that the famous scientist Galileo Galilei performed various experiments on the tower, dropping objects from the top.
The Leaning Tower was built as a display of prosperity and strength of the city as well as to accommodate the seven bells of the Duomo di Pisa Cathedral.
The Sistine Chapel – Vatican City
The glorious Sistine Chapel in Vatican City is one of the most decorated landmarks in Rome. The legendary Michelangelo took four years to paint the meticulous al-frescoes that that is widely noticeable around the world.
Sistine Chapel is also one of the largest museums in the world.
Landmarks in Greece
Known for being the birthplace of Western civilization, Greece has offered the world a lot of treasures over the years – philosophy, alphabet, classical architecture, democracy, as well as the Olympic Games – have all originated in Ancient Greece.
Acropolis of Athens
The Parthenon is perhaps the most famous landmark in Greece. It was initially built in 438 BCE in Acropolis.
The Acropolis has been around for more than 2,460 years and is one of the many UNESCO world heritage sites in Greece.
Most buildings in the Acropolis were built in the 5th century BCE, but there were others erected earlier than that but were destroyed by Persians in 480 BCE.
The Theater of Dionysus is located at the bottom of the Acropolis. It is believed to be the oldest theatre in the world, having been built in the 6th century and hosted the Greek tragedy plays.
Throughout its life, the Parthenon has functioned as a temple, a church, and a mosque.
The archaeological site of Olympia is located in the town of the same name in west Peloponnese. It is among the most important sites in Greece as it is the birthplace of the Olympic Games. However, the games were suspended by Theodosius, a Byzantine emperor, citing that they were pagan rituals, in 394 AD. They started again in 1896 following entreat by French baron Pierre de Coubertin.
The main attractions of the Olympia are the temples of Zeus, the Ancient Stadium, and Hera.
Landmarks in Germany
Germany really knows how to faultlessly combine historic architecture, Middle Age streets, and modern, advanced society. But when it comes to famous monuments, the country also holds its own.
Germany is known for its gothic castles, but very few evoke the fairytale feeling like Neuschwanstein Castle. Located in Bavaria, the castle is one of the most beautiful in the world and a place that every castle enthusiast should visit. It was built by King Ludwig II, also known as the Mad King, and it’s equally stunning on the outside as well as on the inside, fit for a true king.
Neuschwanstein even inspired Walt Disney and his creation of the famous Sleeping Beauty castle.
Brandenburg Gate – Berlin
Brandenburg Gate used to a city gate in the 18th century and was built under the instructions of King Frederick William II during the Batavian Revolution. During the Cold War between 1961 and 1989, the Brandenburg Gate assumed the role of the symbolism of divided Germany, as the famous Berlin Wall block access to the gate for both West and East Germans.
Famous Landmarks in Spain
Spain has the third-highest number of world heritage sites in the world after Italy and China. Most of those sites are known worldwide by travellers and historians.
La Sagrada Familia – Antoni Gaudi
La Sagrada Familia is perhaps the most distinguishable building in the city of Barcelona. It is the most famous works of Antoni Gaudi, which he started building in 18843, and up to now, it is not yet completed. The authorities in Barcelona believed that it will finally be finished in 2026, which will be 100 years after Gaudi’s death. The architect of La Sagrada Familia transformed Barcelona forever, becoming one of the most well-known landmarks in Spain.
Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba – Cordoba
Originally built as a mosque in 785 by Emir Abdurrahman I, the Great Mosque is one of the many representations of Muslim art in Spain. Inside the building, you will find a maze of columns with double pergolas and crescent arches.
In 1523, the city of Cordoba was conquered by the Christians who built a church within the mosque and added their own unique decoration.
Alhambra – Granada
This charming complex includes buildings and courtyards with pathways lined with lush trees and flowing streams. The Alhambra used to be an important political centre for the Muslims as it can be told by the many Nasrid houses, which used to be residences of Muslim rulers.
The palace is within a fortress that was built in 889 AD. The Christians captured the palace in 1492.
Guggenheim Museum – Bilbao
Shifting away from the medieval and gothic construction style, Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is truly an architectural masterpiece. It is built from glass, titanium, and limestone, and its futuristic design makes it one of the most awe-inspiring structures in the world today. The titanium arches and soaring glass gives the museum a timeless look that will dazzle for many centuries to come.
Landmarks in Hungary
From the capital Budapest to its stunning landscapes and many picturesque villages, Hungary exudes a robust sense of history and culture that leans towards Middle Europe. Most of the country’s landmarks have a blend of Slavic, Ottoman, Germanic, and Roman influences.
Hungarian Parliament – Budapest
While there are plenty of landmarks in Hungary, none is as iconic as the Hungarian Parliament Building. Designed in the in Gothic Revival style and reminiscing the Westminster Palace in Britain, the building is flanked on either side by the Museum of Ethnography and the Ministry of Agriculture building.
There is a guided tour for visitors provided the parliament is not in the session. The tour can take less than an hour and will take you around some of the 690 rooms. Alternatively, you can explore the building from outside with a boat ride in the Danube River or from the Castle Hill across the river.
Landmarks in Portugal
Portugal shares the Iberian Peninsula with Spain, and despite its tiny size, the country boasts some of the most impressive landmarks in Europe.
Belem Tower – Lisbon
Belem Tower, or Torre de Belem, is one of the many striking monuments in Portugal. It is located on the banks of the Tagus River and was completed in the 16th century. The tower blends antiquity and modernity to perfection. The medieval part is the tower, which has a Gothic style, while the modern bulwark is where Portuguese military used to shot cannons.
The interior of the tower is decorated with sculptural vaulted arches as well as some religious statues and chapels.
Tours are offered to visitors several times every day.
Pena Palace – Sintra
The Pena Palace is located in a few minutes off the capital Lisbon in Sintra. The palace evokes the 19th-century idealistic architecture with a little traces of Moorish influence.
This romantic palace is encircled by lush green hills, and along with its dark sculptures and yellow and red towers, it makes for spectacular views.
Landmarks in Turkey
Turkey and Greece have some of the oldest monuments in the world thanks to their storied history.
Of all the iconic monuments in Europe, Hagia Sophia has had quite an eventful life journey. The basilica was built in 537 AD by a Roman Emperor Justinian and became the largest religious building in the world, a title it held for a thousand years.
The building’s dome stands some 200 feet tall while its circumference is over 100 feet. The miscellanies on the wall are one of the most impressive Byzantine works of art to this day. The dome has collapsed and rebuilt several times throughout the history of the building.
In the 15th century, the Ottomans converted Hagia Sophia to a mosque after capturing the city. Today, the building is a museum.
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