Top 30 Landmarks in Europe to Visit


20 min read
The Vatican City, home to many of Europes famous landmarks

Europe is a continent comprising 44 countries. Each country in Europe has a unique culture and history. Europe is the perfect place for a vacation, whether you live there or are coming from a different continent.

Millions of tourists visit Europe every year because of the stunning landmarks it has to offer. Taking your time to explore a European country and their famous landmarks will result in an unforgettable experience.

If you live in a European country, you probably know a few tourist sites yourself. But for people living outside the continent, with so many landmarks in Europe, trying to find a place to take your family can be a challenge.

Most tourist landmarks have a rich history, and tourist landmarks in Europe are no different. Every European landmark has a story to share with its visitors, so when you are exploring these places, you can also learn something new.

Below is a list of the top must-see landmarks in Europe!

  • 30 landmarks
Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
A view of the Notre Dame Cathedral from across the river in Paris France
Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom
The gardens of Buckingham Palace with the palace in the background
Acropolis, Athens, Greece
A panoramic shot of Athens with the Acropolis at the top of the hill
St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Italy
A panoramic view of St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Italy
Royal Palace of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
The impressive front facade of the Royal Palace of Madrid
Louvre Museum, Paris, France
The glass pyramids at the entrance to the Louvre Museum
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
A panoramic shot of the Colosseum
The Palace of Westminister and Big Ben from Westminister Bridge
The Palace of Westminister and Big Ben from Westminister Bridge
Chateau de Chillon, Switzerland
Chateau de Chillon on a beautiful clear sunny day
Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic
An impressive view of Charles Bridge with Prague Castle in the background
Big Ben, London, United Kingdom
The view of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster
The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
The State Hermitage Museum in winter with snow on the ground
The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
A panoramic shot of the Eiffel Tower
Palace of Versailles, France
The impressive gardens leading up to the Palace of Versailles
Apostolic Palace, Vatican City, Rome
St Peter's Square in the Vatican with the Papal Palace on the right
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
The Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Pisa Cathedral
Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle perched at the top of the hill
Alhambra Palace, Granada, Spain
Genaralife in Alhambra Palace, Spain
Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary
From across the river, a panoramic shot of Buda Castle in Budapest Hungary
The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, Italy
The frescoes in the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Rome, Italy
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany
The impressive Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Andalusia, Spain
Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Andalusia, Spain
Florence Cathedral, Florence, Italy
A low angle shot of the Florence Cathedral in Florence, Italy
Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia
Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia
Belém Tower, Lisbon, Portugal
Belém Tower located on the water in Lisbon, Portugal
Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France
A shot of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris from the outside of the famous roundabout
St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia
The very colourful St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
The impressive architecture of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey, France
The Mont-Saint-Michel Village and Abbey from the beach
Pantheon, Rome, Italy
The impressive front entrance to the Pantheon in Rome, Italy

Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris, France

Paris, usually referred to as the city of love, is one of the most visited cities in Europe. There are so many famous European landmarks in Paris you can easily fill a 4-day itinerary. One of the prominent landmarks in Paris is the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The cathedral has been identified as one of the largest catholic churches in the world. The construction of the cathedral was completed in 1345, and it took over 180 years. The exterior of the cathedral is quite impressive as it has an amazing French Gothic architecture.

One pleasant thing about Notre-Dam is there is free entry. If for some reason you need an audio guide, you have to pay a reasonable fee at the entrance.

There are many reasons for you to visit the cathedral, one being to explore the remarkable ancient architectural style. Another reason is Notre-Dam has many sculptures and ancient relics to show you. You can also climb about 387 steps to see the bells and gargoyles on top of the cathedral.

Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom

Buckingham Palace is located in London, in the United Kingdom.

The Palace has served as the residence for many sovereigns, dating back from 1837 to now. The first sovereign to occupy Buckingham Palace was Queen Victoria.

There are many reasons why you should visit Buckingham Palace when you are in London. One sight to look out for at Buckingham Palace is the "Changing of the Guard" ceremony that occurs once a day. You also have the opportunity to explore the royal garden, which covers 39 acres.

Acropolis, Athens, Greece

Greece is a country with many landmarks that attract many visitors. Athens is a city in Greece filled with a rich history, amazing landscapes, and ancient buildings.

The Acropolis located in Athens is one of the most popular landmarks in Greece and in the world. The monuments found at the Acropolis symbolize the ancient Greek civilization. It was built in the fifth century by Greek rulers to show how powerful they were in their time.

One of the main reasons why you should visit the Acropolis when you find yourself in Greece is the Parthenon. The Parthenon has an interesting history; it was dedicated to the goddess Athena, the patron of the Greek empire and was constructed in 2,466 BC. The Parthenon is the place to visit when you find yourself in Athens, Greece, and you want to escape back in time.

St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Italy

Vatican City is a country tied closely and exists purely for the Catholic religion. Officially known as The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter, St. Peter's Basilica was built by the Catholics as a symbol to God and a place of worship. Construction for the church started in 1506 under Pope Julius II but was completed by Pope Nicolas in 1615.

St. Peter's Basilica is by far the largest Christian church worldwide. Even though St. Peter's Basilica is mostly visited by Catholics, you can also visit if you are unreligious. If you happen to be in Vatican City and you love art and architecture, St. Peter's Basilica is an excellent landmark in Europe to visit!

Royal Palace of Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Similar to the UK royal family residing in Buckingham Palace in the UK, the Spanish royal family resides in The Royal Palace of Madrid. Today the palace is used mainly for state ceremonies and is one of the biggest palaces in Europe. Containing 3,418 rooms, it covers an area of 135,000 square meters. The Royal Palace of Madrid is one of the most visited attraction sites in Europe.

The Royal Palace of Madrid was built in the 16th Century, but unfortunately, it was burned in 1734. King Philip V, the king at the time, ordered the rebuilding of the palace at the same site. The palace has paintings and frescoes from artists like Caravaggio, Juan de Flandes, and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo if you love art.

If you are planning to visit the Royal Palace of Madrid, Madrid is a city that is packed with famous European landmarks and I recommend spending at least 3 days in Madrid to see them all.

Louvre Museum, Paris, France

Naturally, tourists are enticed to museums. Located in Paris, France is the largest art museum in the world named The Louvre.

Many tourists are lured to The Louvre because of its contemporary glass nature, and pyramid design. The Louvre Museum remains to be the home of the world-famous painting, the Mona Lisa. Aside from the Mona Lisa painting, the museum holds and exhibits containing over 30,000 paintings and sculptures from the 7th century to the 19th century.

Why should you visit the Louvre, you may ask? To begin, the pyramid of the Louvre is just the entrance, therefore imagine what the whole museum has to offer. I recommend visiting the museum in the afternoons because crowds usually flood the place during the day. Hence, as a tourist, if you want to enjoy your experience, visiting in the afternoon is the best option. You also get the opportunity to view the Mona Lisa painting up close.

Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Today, stadiums and theatres are used to hosting sporting events, and drama shows respectfully, but this was not so in the past.

Amphitheatres were the buildings used to host both sporting events and drama shows, and the Colosseum is an example of how amphitheatres looked like in the past.

The Colosseum is the biggest amphitheatre in the world, located at the centre of Rome, in Italy. When you are in Rome, the Colosseum remains to be one of the most iconic landmarks that cannot be missed when visiting Europe.

The Colosseum is a tourist site today, but it was used as a theatre and sports arena in the past by the Roman Empire. The Colosseum is big to the extent that it can accommodate 50,000 to 80,000 spectators. We all grew up hearing stories about great gladiator battles that occurred at the Colosseum. When you are in Rome, going to the Colosseum is a way of justifying your belief, whether what you perceived was true or not.

Palace of Westminster, London, United Kingdom

The Palace of Westminster is the official name of the Houses of Parliament in London, United Kingdom. Yes, the Houses of Parliament because there are two houses of Parliament. The two houses are the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and their meeting place is the Palace of Westminster. It was built in 1847 with 1,200 rooms and 11 courtrooms in total.

The original building was constructed in 1834 but was destroyed by fire, with the Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft surviving. One important thing to note is the palace is open to visitors on Saturdays only, or during July and August.

If you are in the UK and you love politics or debates, the Palace of Westminster is the must-see landmark when you are in London. One important thing to note is to make sure you are visiting at the right time because you will not be allowed to pass through security if it is not open to visitors.

London has a lot more to offer visitors. If you are visiting this famous European city, make sure to visit the Tower Bridge, the British Museum, and Covent Garden.

Chateau de Chillon, Switzerland

You might be planning to travel to Switzerland, but you are wondering which landmarks you want to visit once you are there. Geneva is the second most populated city in Switzerland, with amazing tourist sites for you to visit. Chateau de Chillon is a castle on Lake Geneva, near Montreux that is one of the most famous landmarks in Europe to visit.

The Duke of Savoy called this place home, and it was used to control the movement of ships on Lake Geneva for nearly four centuries.

Chateau de Chillon is the place to take your family when you happen to be in Geneva. You can explore the castle with your family through the bedrooms, chambers, and courtyards.

Make it a point to include Chateau de Chillon when you are travelling to Geneva with your family on vacation!

Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

The Charles Bridge was constructed under the supervision of King Charles IV. Construction started in 1357 and was completed in 1402, taking almost 50 years.

The Charles Bridge is a historic bridge that covers the Vltava river in the city of Prague, Czech Republic. The bridge connects two Prague districts and is 516 meters long and 10 meters wide. When you are in the capital of the Czech Republic, you cannot overlook it.

The Charles Bridge represents the ideal place to go for a walk with your family when you end up travelling to Prague. It is also a popular landmark to visit as a Romantic thing to do in Prague for couples.

If you want to enjoy the calm nature of the bridge, visiting during the weekdays is the best option. This is because many tourists prefer visiting during the weekends, crowding the bridge.

Big Ben, London, United Kingdom

Big Ben formerly known as the Great Bell, can be found at the north end part of the Palace of Westminster. It is the third-largest free-standing tower clock in the world, and it also rings at the top of every hour. Construction of Big Ben started on September 28, 1843, and was completed in 1856. As Big Ben is an iconic monument for London, it is easily one of the most famous places in Europe.

When you travel to London, visiting Big Ben allows you to learn the history of the City. The tower became a symbol of hope during the second world war. Although visiting this landmark during the day can be impressive, visiting at night or during the holidays leaves a better impression.

The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

The State Hermitage Museum represents an art and culture museum located in St. Petersburg, Russia. After The Louvre Museum, The State Hermitage Museum is the largest art museum worldwide.

The museum was built in 1764, after Catherine the Great, the empress at that time. She purchased a collection of paintings from Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky starting the museum.

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

The Eiffel Tower is undoubtedly one of the most prominent landmarks in the world making in one of the top landmarks in Europe. It is located in Paris, France and it is 4km, away from the centre of the city.

The design of the tower is by Gustave Eiffel, a civil engineer, and architect by profession. This landmark attracts more than 5 million people every year. Construction of the Eiffel Tower was completed in March 1889 making it the tallest building at that time.

After 41 years of being the tallest human-made building in the world, the tallest human-made building title was handed to the Chrysler Building located in New York. The Eiffel Tower is a popular romantic spot for couples. Visiting the Eiffel Tower at night sparks a certain romantic mood between couples that makes the moment and trip to Paris memorable.

Palace of Versailles, France

Another landmark in France is the Palace of Versailles. The Palace of Versailles located in the region of Île-de-France served as the residence of the royal family from 1682 under Louis XIV. This is about 20 kilometres away from the centre of Paris. The place was a hunting lodge before it was transformed into a palace starting from 1631 and was completed in 1634.

With over 600 rooms, the Palace of Versailles has a lot to offer visitors. As a visitor, you are provided with the option to either use an audio guide or a self-tour.

There is no admission fee usually between November to March, which can be helpful when you are visiting at that time. If you want to enjoy your experience at the Palace, it is advisable to secure a guide to accompany you through the experience.

Apostolic Palace, Vatican City, Italy

Have you ever wondered where the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church lives? The Pope being the head of the Catholic Church is a big responsibility that comes with some perks. The Apostolic Palace is where the Pope resides officially, and it is located in the Vatican City. Another name given to the Apostolic Palace is the Papal Palace, and it is the home of the Vatican Museums and the Vatican Library.

Visiting the Papal Palace allows you to explore where the Pope lives officially. The Vatican Museums also has over 50 galleries from famous artists like Da Vinci and Raphael. The incredible landmark also has the Papal Gardens, which extends over an area of 55 hectares.

There is a lot to see in Vatican City if you are visiting, you should make the most of Rome and stay for 3 days.

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

Pisa is a popular city in Italy, mainly because of its Leaning Tower. The Leaning Tower is located in Piazza dei Miracoli, and it is a campanile (bell tower).

The bell tower is mainly popular because of its lean of about 4 degrees towards the ground. The lean of the tower was caused because of engineering mistakes. Over the years the tower has undergone many corrections to make it more stable and safe for tourists.

There is no need to be scared because strict protocols have been taken by the managers of the landmark to ensure the visitor's safety. The tower has about a 300 step staircase that leads you to the top of the tower. Once you reach the top, you get the opportunity to relax and enjoy the breath-taking view of Pisa.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany

In Bavaria, Germany is the Neuschwanstein Castle, the 19th Century palace that serves as an inspiration to Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Neuschwanstein Castle is a landmark that cannot be overlooked when you talk about the imperial past of Germany. The Castle was commissioned by Ludwig II is just a short drive away from Munich.

If you happen to be in Munich, taking a short day trip to the Neuschwanstein Castle will make your day even better. On your way to the landmark, you will get the opportunity to view the country-side of Germany. Exploring the Neuschwanstein Castle will enlighten you on the history of this famous landmark.

Alhambra Palace, Granada, Spain

The Alhambra Palace is the most visited monument in Spain. It was erected by the Arabs on a hilltop in Granada, with construction starting in 1238. The palace was constructed as a military base for the Nasrid Dynasty. Today Alhambra Palace is used as a museum, allowing tourists to visit this magnificent European Landmark every year.

The Palace maintains impressive cultural and architectural legacies to show its visitors. Aside from the architectural style, the palace has the Generalife Garden. The gardens are awe-inspiring! I recommend taking the time to enjoy them through a leisurely walk at a slow pace.

Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

Buda Castle, formerly referred to as the Royal Castle is an ancient citadel of the Hungarian kings in Budapest.

It was completed in 1265, but what we are witnessing today was built between 1749 and 1769. Aside from the exterior, the castle is a gigantic monument with exceptional complexes and points of interest inside.

If you are in Hungary, and you want to discover the history of the Hungarians, the galleries and museums provided by the castle are very informative. As a normal visitor, you will be impressed by how beautiful that part of the city can be. It is a pleasant place to go on vacation with your family.

The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, Italy

The Sistine Chapel is well-known as the home of Michelangelo’s frescoes.

The chapel is found in the Apostolic Palace located in the Vatican City. It was named after Pope Sixtus after he restored it between 1473 and 1481. The Sistine Chapel is the place to find the best frescoes in the world.

When visiting the Chapel, I recommend pausing and finding a seat around the edge of the chapel. Once seated, you can enjoy gazing up at the frescoes as you absorb the serenity of the place.

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

When you are in Berlin, Germany, the Brandenburg Gate is a place you must include in your list of places to visit. The monument was built based on orders from Frederick William II the Prussian King during the 18th Century. It has witnessed many historical events in Berlin and also symbolizes the Cold War in Berlin.

This European monument is always open, but if you want to experience an incredible moment with your family, the best time is during New Year's Eve. You can also take a stroll around the gate, and enjoy the calm environment around the city. Add this to your list of places to visit in Europe!

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Andalusia, Spain

Another UNESCO World Heritage site is the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba.

Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption is the official name of the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is located in Andalusia, Spain, and serves as both a church and a mosque. The catholic side functions effectively with services held daily, unlike the mosque, whereby prayers are not allowed.

When you visit this landmark, you will notice the different architectural styles because of the two religions. This shows how there is unity between both religions. Art from the Muslims does not include any animal or human figure, with most of the Christian art in the middle of the building.

Florence Cathedral, Florence, Italy

With construction beginning in 1296, the Florence Cathedral found in Florence, Italy is one of the most famous landmarks in the world. Engineer Filippo Brunelleschi was in charge of the construction till completion in 1436. The cathedral was built in a Gothic architectural style.

The exterior portions of the cathedral are decorated with colours ranging from white, pink, and green. However, the interior is plain, but this becomes a benefit during the summer, making the place cooler. No entrance fee is required, making it easy for visitors to explore the cathedral for amazing art and frescoes.

Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

Built to be an orthodox church in St. Petersburg, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is now a secular museum in Russia. It was constructed between 1883 and 1907, and it is one of the major tourist attractions in Russia. The church was commissioned by Alexander III as a way of remembering the murder of his father.

One main reason the church attracts many visitors is because of its neoclassical architectural style. Touring the whole church should not take you more than 2 hours, because it is not as big as other tourist sites. After visiting this European landmark, you can make your way to the State Hermitage Museum your next stop since they are close to each other.

Belém Tower, Lisbon, Portugal

There are many landmarks for one to see in Lisbon, and you can see everything within a week. If you are planning to travel to Lisbon for vacation, make sure it is for more than 12 days.

One of the most impressive landmarks in Lisbon is Belém Tower, formally known as the Tower of Saint Vincent. Belém Tower served as a factor of embarkation and disembarkation for Portuguese explorers, and also a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon.

One good thing about visiting the Belém Tower is that you are not limited to one location. As a visitor or tourist, travelling to a country for one tourist site is not logical. Lisbon, the location of the tower is close to other attractions, making it easier for you to explore the entire city.

Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

Another must-visit landmark in Europe is the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. The construction of the landmark started in August 1806 and ended in July 1836, making it 30 years in total. Arc de Triomphe is used to honour the brave soldiers who died for France in the French revolutionary. The names of these people are inscribed on the walls of the monument to commemorate their sacrifice.

You can climb to the highest point of the Arc de Triomphe to enjoy the view, and also visit the museum of the Arc de Triomphe. There, you are capable of seeing the whole city quickly. The only problem is you have to climb a staircase of 234 steps to enjoy this view, but this should not be a reason to let this moment pass you by!

St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia

The most beautiful cathedral in Russia and probably the whole world is the St. Basil's Cathedral, which makes it a top landmark in Europe!

Construction of the cathedral was between 1550 and 1560. It is one of the most iconic monuments in Russia. The official name of the cathedral is Church of the Intercession, and it was commissioned by "Ivan the Terrible." St. Basil's Cathedral can be found in Moscow, and it is the cultural symbol of Russia.

Why should you add this landmark to your itinerary? Firstly, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This means it is a cultural and historic landmark protected by the United Nations. The interior part of the landmark is equally beautiful as the exterior.

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is one of the notable museums in Spain, located specifically in the city of Bilbao.

The museum was designed by Frank Gehry, a Canadian-American architect to serve as a museum for modern and contemporary art, in 1993. After construction was complete King Juan Carlos I of Spain took the honour to inaugurate the museum in October 1997. The museum opened with the exhibition of over 200 contemporary artworks.

Comparing the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to other landmarks in Europe, it makes this museum more current. This proves the architects are still trying their best to produce the best buildings. This is the place to be when you want to enjoy contemporary art in an amazing destination.

Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey, France

Another landmark popular in Europe, especially in France, is the Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey. As the name suggests, it is an abbey located within the island of Mont-Saint-Michel, in the department of Manche. The construction of the abbey was completed in 1523 with a Gothic architectural style.

When you are in France, and you get the opportunity to explore the abbey, take it because it will not disappoint. First of all, the abbey is located on an island, and islands constantly have something beautiful to offer their guests. The view from the abbey is incredible from every point.

Pantheon, Rome, Italy

The Pantheon is a Catholic Church in Rome, Italy. It was a Roman temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa before it was transformed to be a Church. The transformation or rebuilding of the landmark was under the supervision of the emperor Hadrian around 120 AD. This rich history and it's impressive architecture makes the Pantheon a top landmark in Europe.

The Patheon is a must-visit landmark when you travel to Italy because it is one of the oldest and prominent monuments in Italy. When you visit, you will realize that the only source of light provided at the Pantheon is the oculus. This is a round opening at the top, allowing for sun rays and rainwater to pass through.

Conclusion

Europe is a big continent with amazing landmarks for tourists to visit. The list provided above is just to guide you when you are ready to travel to Europe. I would advise you to include at least one in your itinerary depending on where you want to travel to, and you will not be disappointed. You can go the extra mile by trying to visit all the landmarks listed when you get the chance. I hope this guides you in your travel to Europe.

This article was edited by Loredana Elena.


Written by Samuel Caesar

Caesar I am Samuel Caesar from Accra, Ghana. I am a computer engineer and freelance writer. Writing is how I escape from the real world and into my imaginations. Join me as I share my skills with the world.


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