A World in Reach contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a commission at no cost to you! Read my full disclosure here.
Planning a trip to Europe? This post has a list of all the most famous landmarks in Europe to add to your bucket list!
It’s no wonder that Europe is at the top of many travelers’ bucket lists. The continent is not only famous for its culture, history and diversity. It’s also the home of a number of landmarks that have become iconic symbols in European culture.
From the Eiffel Tower to Big Ben and the Colosseum to Stonehenge, Europe has no shortage of attractions for travelers looking to explore new cultures and check things off their bucket lists. Millions of tourists visit the continent each year with the goal of seeing a handful of these incredible sights.
Need a little Europe travel inspiration? Keep reading for a list of the most incredible landmarks in Europe to add to your itinerary!
A World in Reach contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a commission at no cost to you! Read my full disclosure here.
Big Ben – London, England, United Kingdom
Built in 1859, Big Ben is one of the most recognizable symbols of London. With its iconic clock tower and four-faced bell, it’s easily one of the most famous landmarks you’ll find in Europe.
Big Ben stands at 96 meters high and has served as an icon for England since Elizabethan times. It’s located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster, the meeting place of the Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom.
There are loads of incredible historical sites within walking distance of Big Ben, and it’s well worth adding the landmark to your London bucket list.
Tower of London – London, England, United Kingdom
by Cath from Wales with Kids
One of the most iconic landmarks in Europe is located in London. The Tower of London is a Royal Historic Castle that has been used as a prison, castle, mint, and even a menagerie.
With buildings spanning nearly 1000 years, the Tower of London is visited by many each year who come to hear tales of past inhabitants on Yeoman Warder tours (also called Beefeaters).
Sitting on the banks of the Thames, visitors can see the Crown Jewels, visit the White Tower, and check on the resident ravens.
If you are looking for amazing landmarks in Europe to visit, none are more iconic than the Tower of London.
Stonehenge – Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
Stonehenge is one of the most famous landmarks in the United Kingdom. The questions surrounding the Stone Circle’s creation and function have captivated visitors for ages.
The mysterious structure was believed to have been built between 3000 to 2000 BC and was possibly used as a burial ground, a religious site, or an astronomical observatory.
Stonehenge is located in Wiltshire, England and is easily visited on a day trip from London. When you arrive at the historic site, pay a visit to the Visitor Center before going to see the Stone Circle. The Visitor Center is home to an exhibition detailing the history and origins of Stonehenge.
Once you’re done exploring the Visitor Center, head over to the Stone Circle itself where you can admire the archeological marvel.
BOOK NOW: Stonehenge Admission Ticket
Eilean Donan Castle – Scotland, United Kingdom
by Pamela Drager from The Directionally Challenged Traveler
One of the most famous landmarks in Europe is the Eilean Donan Castle located at the entrance of the Scottish Highlands. It has an incredible history dating back to the 12th century and the Jacobite revolution.
The castle is nestled on the island of Donan surrounded by the mountains, making it a beautiful sight to see.
Visiting Eilean Donan Castle is like traveling through time and a must-do when in Scotland. The Castle is not handicapped accessible though, but you can go to the visitor center for a computer-based virtual tour.
Old Man of Storr – Isle of Skye, Scotland, United Kingdom
by Jiayi from The Diary of a Nomad
The iconic Old Man of Storr is located on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, UK. It is a 160-foot pinnacle rock formation with an interesting legend behind it. In ancient times, it is said that an old giant used to reside in the area and when he died, his thumb was still seen above the ground. This thumb is the rock formation itself.
Visiting this beautiful landmark is one of the most popular things to do in Skye for a good reason: these rock formations look completely surreal and incredibly beautiful. You can do a 2-hour long hike there and enjoy the gorgeous vistas.
Insider tip: If you want the best photos, get there during sunrise!
Glenfinnan Viaduct – Scotland, United Kingdom
by Samantha from Continuous Roamer
You may know the Glenfinnan Viaduct as the Harry Potter Bridge. It was made famous from the Harry Potter films, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. You will find the Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Scottish Highlands, near Fort William.
If you time your visit correctly, you will be able to see the Jacobite Steam Train chugging around the corner of the viaduct for an iconic view. You only have two opportunities to see the train each day, so arrive early to find a parking spot.
Palace of Versailles – Versailles, France
by Erica Forrest from Trip Scholars
The Palace of Versailles has played a pivotal role in history and is an extraordinary place to visit. Only about 20 kilometers from the center of Paris, it is an easy day trip when visiting the City of Light.
Visitors can learn about the importance of the Palace of Versailles and the role it played in centralizing power in modern France under Louis XIV, the French Revolution, and the ending of World War I with the Treaty of Versailles.
Eiffel Tower – Paris, France
by Gabby from the Office Escape Artist
The Eiffel Tower, located in Paris, France, is one of the most easily recognizable landmarks in the world. Although it symbolizes Paris now (and it’s impossible to imagine Paris without this icon!), the Eiffel Tower was originally meant to be a temporary structure.
The tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair. Standing over 1,000 feet tall, the Eiffel Tower was an absolute engineering marvel for the time. It was only supposed to stand for 20 years and was nearly torn down in 1909. However, it remained – and eventually served as a radio communication tower. Now, it is a popular tourist attraction that you absolutely must see if you’re visiting Paris.
The best way to see the Eiffel Tower is by purchasing a skip-the-line summit tour. Since it’s so tall, it’s worth riding the elevators to the top, too!
Arc de Triomphe – Paris, France
by Sharon Odegaard from Exploring Our World
The Arc de Triomphe, a symbol of freedom, stands tall in the middle of Paris and honors those brave French who fought for their country.
Napoleon ordered the building of the 160-tall arch, though it wasn’t finished until after his death. An “unknown soldier” from the Verdun battlefield rests today beneath an eternal flame that’s burned since 1923.
Climb up the stairs inside the Arc de Triomphe to emerge atop the arch for a spectacular view that includes the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.
The Louvre – Paris, France
by Gabby from the Office Escape Artist
The Louvre, located in Paris, is one of the best museums in the world. Occupying over 650,000 square feet, it takes up the space of nearly 14 football fields!
So many different kinds of art live in the Louvre – from ancient Greek statues to Italian tapestries to the French Crown Jewels to the world-famous Mona Lisa, there is truly something for everyone here.
The Louvre is wildly popular and wait times to enter can take well over an hour. If you want to beat the crowds, pre-book your ticket and entry time. Another tip? The Galerie d’Apollon is a stunning hall of French jewels, including the Crown Jewels. It’s down the hall from the Mona Lisa and may get missed, but this exhibit should not be skipped.
BOOK NOW: Louvre Museum Timed Entry Ticket
Pont du Gard – Vers-Pont-du-Gard, France
by Catherine from Postcard Narrative
One of the most monumental and well preserved remnants of Roman occupation in Southern France is the Pont Du Gard near Avignon.
The wealthy city of Nimes was in need of reliable water supply for its lavish baths, sanitation, and, of course, drinking. In 19 AD, construction of the 50-kilometer aqueduct and Pont Du Gard began, taking 1,000 men five years to complete.
On your visit, explore the well-curated hall of Roman engineering technology. Can you believe no mortar was used in the construction of the arches? Precisely cut stones were locked into place by the keystone at the apex of each arch.
Next, step outside and you’ll be awestruck by this marvel of ancient engineering. Stretch your visit with a swim or a hike. Hiking the cliffside trail will reward you with a fabulous vantage point.
Mont-Saint-Michel – Normandy, France
by Victoria from Guide your Travel
Mont-Saint-Michel is located in northern France, around 70 kilometers north of Rennes. The former monastery, which dates back to the year 1017, is visited by 3.5 million tourists every year.
At low tide, you can walk around the island and admire the huge walls from the outside.
To get the best experience, you should come early in the morning to avoid large crowds. Bring some snacks and drinks with you because food and beverages are very overpriced on the island.
Blarney Castle – County Cork, Ireland
by Cath from Travel Around Ireland
In Cork, Ireland you will find Blarney Castle, one of the most famous landmarks in Europe. Blarney Castle is a popular place to visit in County Cork for one main reason: to kiss the Blarney Stone. It is said that those who kiss it are bestowed with the gift of the gab and never be lost for words.
Arrive early and climb the 99+ steps to kiss the stone before spending the rest of your visit exploring the extensive gardens at the castle, which include a poison garden and two waterfalls. If you are visiting Cork, you have to visit Blarney Castle.
Dún Aonghasa – Aran Islands, Ireland
by Jade Laurenza from The Migrant Yogi
Inis Mor, one of the three Aran Islands off the coast of Ireland, is home to Dún Aonghasa, one of the island’s most notable attractions. A stone fort built in the shape of a semicircle, Dún Aonghasa (pronounced done-angus) dates all the way back to the Iron Age around 700 BC.
It’s worth the effort to reach Dún Aonghasa to see the sweeping views that overlook the Atlantic Ocean. A 300-foot drop awaits you at the top of the cliff.
Dun Aonghasa and the gorgeous Aran Islands are an easy day trip from Galway.
Colosseum – Rome, Italy
by Roxanne from Faraway Worlds
The Colosseum is one of Rome’s most recognizable landmarks and probably the most famous of all the Roman ruins.
Built almost 2,000 years ago, the Colosseum is the largest and best-preserved amphetamine in the world. With a maximum capacity of over 80,000, it was the home of theater, performances, and of course, the infamous Gladiatorial Games.
Visiting the Colosseum is a fascinating experience and exploring the interior lets you fully appreciate the scale of the building. Book the full tour to hear more about the history and explore the lower levels of the Colosseum.
Trevi Fountain – Rome, Italy
by Sam Opp from Find Love and Travel
You can’t visit Rome without visiting the famous Trevi Fountain to throw your coin! This historic landmark is a must-see on any Rome itinerary!
Notably one of the most famous fountains in the world, you have likely seen the Trevi Fountain and all its glory in the backdrop of many movies.
The Trevi Fountain started construction in 1732 and was completed in 1762.
When planning a visit to the Trevi Fountain, it is best to visit early in the morning to avoid crowds. Or, if you visit the Trevi Fountain at night, you will be able to see the fountain all lit up!
Additionally, make sure to come with a few coins in your pocket to toss into the fountain. Legend says to toss your coin with your right hand over your left shoulder. One toss will bring you back to Rome, 2 coins will bring you love, and 3 tossed coins will bring marriage.
Altar of the Fatherland – Rome, Italy
by Claudia Tavani from Strictly Rome
Located in Piazza Venezia, on the way to the Colosseum and close to the Roman Forum, the Altar of the Fatherland is also known as the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II or Vittoriano, in Italian. This is one of the most impressive landmarks in Rome.
This imposing building dates to 1911, and was built to commemorate the first king of unified Italy. You can actually access the terrace – it’s free if you take the stairs, and €7 for the elevator. The views from there are impressive!
Doge’s Palace – Venice, Italy
by Claudia Tavani from My Adventures Across the World
Known locally as Palazzo Ducale, Doge’s Palace was the center of power in Venice until 1798, when the city fell to Napoleon. This is where the Duke (Doge, in Italian) lived and administered his power.
A museum since 1923, the building houses paintings by Titian, Tintoretto, Tiepolo, and more. The most famous place in the palace is the Bridge of Sight – a beautiful place to admire on the outside, as well as from the inside when you get to walk through it. This was where prisoners walked through on their way to prison.
You can book your Doge’s Palace entry tickets in advance on GetYourGuide.
Florence Duomo – Florence, Italy
by Jacqueline Rezk from Jou Jou Travels
The Duomo Cathedral of Florence is a spectacular sight to see in Florence – it’s even more stunning in person than photos.
The Cathedral has a gothic style design by Arnolfo di Cambio and was finished being built in 1436. For a panoramic view of the city, be sure to climb to the top and go to the observation deck.
Milan Cathedral – Milan, Italy
by Nina from Lemons and Luggage
One of the most famous landmarks in Europe is the Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano). It is located in Italy’s second-largest city, Milan, and is the largest church in Italy, second-largest in Europe, and third-largest in the world. Due to the long construction period, it combines Gothic and Renaissance architectural elements.
Make sure you get the Duomo Pass (either stairs or lift) to visit the rooftop. You’ll be able to see the details of the roof up-close and enjoy a wonderful view of the center of Milan. Vegan in Milan? There’s a vegan food truck right next to the cathedral!
Leaning Tower of Pisa – Pisa, Italy
by Debbie Fettback from WorldAdventurists
Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa has an obvious lean from being built on a surface of clay, fine sand, and shells that cannot withstand the weight of the tower.
The structure took 199 years to finish building, after having to halt construction several times during periods of conflict. To stabilize the tower, the land was siphoned out from underneath the structure. It took from 1990 to 2001 to decrease the lean to 13.1 feet.
The tower is a popular bucket-list-worthy location to snap a photo that looks like you are holding up the tower from falling over.
You will want to pre-book your tickets if you want to climb the tower, as there are only a limited number of tickets available daily.
Porticoes of Bologna – Bologna, Italy
by Lori Sorrentino from Italy Foodies
Bologna is well-known for having some of the best food in Italy, but the city also has one of the most famous landmarks in Europe — a network of stunning covered porticoes that blanket the city.
Within the city, there are over 24 miles of continuous medieval porticoes that have been in existence for over 1,000 years. Stroll the porticoes by day to experience the rhythm of the city; but at night the porticoes are especially magical and softly lit.
Because of their cultural and historical significance, Bologna’s porticoes were awarded designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2021.
Sassi di Matera – Matera, Italy
by Claudia Tavani from My Adventures Across the World
The Sassi of Matera – which pretty much are the Matera historic center – was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993. Once known as the “shame of Italy” for the terrible living conditions of the locals, local and national efforts between the late 1950s and the 1960s turned the area to one of the most impressive in the country. While exploring the Sassi, you will feel like you are stepping back in time.
When exploring the Sassi, wander around the Sasso Caveoso and the Sasso Barisano, which are divided by Civita Hill. For the best views over the Sassi, head to the Parco della Murgia for sunset. This experience is truly magical!
Su Nuraxi di Barumini – Barumini, Sardinia, Italy
by Claudia Tavani from Strictly Sardinia
Sardinia’s only UNESCO World Heritage site, Su Nuraxi, is found in Barumini, about a 45-minute drive from Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital.
Su Nuraxi is one of around 7000 nuraghe – mysterious ancient megalithic constructions which date from a period between 1900 and 730 BC – found in Sardinia. All of them are worth visiting, but Su Nuraxi is the best organized one as it’s been the subject of a lot of research and it’s easy to visit on day trips from Cagliari.
Admission to the site includes a guided tour that can last between one and two hours. Tours are run in a variety of languages and depart every 30 minutes from the ticket office.
Brandenburg Gate – Berlin, Germany
by Bernadette Young from Explorer Chick
The Brandenburg Gate is the last of the city gates built in 1730. Today it is Berlin’s most famous landmark and symbolizes peace and unity.
The Brandenburg Gate is a great starting point for a tour of Berlin as it has witnessed much of Berlin’s history. Within stone’s throw distance is the Reichstag Building, the home of the German Parliament. Numerous Holocaust monuments dot the area, including the Bebelplatz, a square where a massive book burning occurred in 1933.
In front of it is Unter den Linden, a historic boulevard that leads to Museum Island. It is lined with Linden trees and during the spring and summer, the fragrance of the Linden tree’s flowers wafts through the air.
Checkpoint Charlie – Berlin, Germany
Erected in 1961, Checkpoint Charlie was a military checkpoint between East and West Berlin. It became the best-known border point of the Cold War.
When the checkpoint was first established, it had two sections; one for Allied-controlled traffic and another section controlled by Soviet troops. There were three checkpoints between East and West Berlin in total: Checkpoint Alpha at Helmstedt, Checkpoint Bravo at Dreilinden, and Checkpoint Charlie, the most famous of the three.
Today, Checkpoint Charlie is an important tourist destination in Berlin. Visitors can walk across the checkpoint and visit the Checkpoint Charlie museum to learn more about German division and reunification.
Neuschwanstein Castle – Schwangau, Germany
by Daniel and Ilona from Top Travel Sights
Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany is one of the most iconic European landmarks. King Ludwig II of Bavaria started its construction in 1869 but never lived to see its completion. He lived in the half-finished castle for only 172 days until he died under mysterious circumstances.
When visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, make sure to book your tickets well in advance. Joining a guided tour is the only way to see the inside, but the tours can sell out weeks in advance. Also, don’t miss Hohenschwangau Castle, where Ludwig II grew up. It’s only a few hundred meters away from Neuschwanstein.
Cologne Cathedral – Cologne, Germany
by Kerry Hanson from VeggTravel
Cologne Cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks in Europe. Located in Cologne Old Town in Germany, this iconic world heritage site even achieved UNESCO status in 1966.
Known as Kölner Dom, the construction of the gothic cathedral dates to 1248, the medieval period. Having survived several bombs during World War II, it is remarkable that this intricate structure is still standing, let alone so immaculately preserved.
If you would like to see the inside of the cathedral and all its gothic splendor, you will need to book a tour. Spots are limited, so make sure to book your tour online in advance of your visit.
Porta Nigra – Trier, Germany
by Cynthia & Alexander from Travel your Memories
Trier is the oldest city in Germany and is a beautiful city to discover. This is because it has many ancient ruins from the time of the Romans. The most special building is Porta Nigra, which is a city gate from Roman times. This is the largest Roman building you can find in Germany.
Porta Nigra was built between 160-200 AD and had a military function. On the top floor, you can see holes that could be used to protect from attackers.
The city gate can be visited daily between 10 am and 6 pm. If the sun sets early, it is recommended to visit Porta Nigra at the end of the day because then you have a beautiful view from the top. Besides Porta Nigra, there are many more things to do in Trier to discover.
Anne Frank House – Amsterdam, Netherlands
When visiting Amsterdam, don’t skip a visit to the Anne Frank House. The Anne Frank House is a museum located in the actual canal house where Anne and her family hid from Nazi persecution during World War II.
At the Anne Frank House, you’ll be able to see the hinged bookshelf that hid the entrance to the Secret Annex, the rear part of the canal house that hid the Frank family as well as four others who were in hiding with the Franks. You’ll also be able to see Anne’s room, including height marks on the wall where Anne’s parents marked her growth during their time in hiding, as well as Anne’s original diary.
The Anne Frank House is one of the most popular sights in Amsterdam and tickets sell out quickly. Pre-booked timed entry tickets are required. You can purchase your tickets online in advance of your visit – tickets are released for sale two months in advance.
Acropolis of Athens – Athens, Greece
by Sam Opp from Find Love & Travel
The Acropolis, located in Athens, Greece, is easily one of the most historic landmarks in Europe. The Acropolis dates back to the Mycenaeans and the Bronze Age.
Acropolis, meaning “high city” in Greek, has stood the test of time housing some of the most iconic architectural structures. From housing kings, religious temples, enduring earthquakes and wars, the Acropolis is miraculously still standing.
Presently, the Acropolis is one of the top tourist attractions to add to your Athens itinerary. Atop the Acropolis, take in the beautiful views of Athens and marvel at the ruins of Parthenon, Athena Nike, and Erecthion.
If you are staying in Athens for at least 3 days, I’d recommend getting the 3 day pass which will offer entrance to many ruins around Athens. When visiting the Acropolis, make sure to get there early. Even during the off season, this famous landmark gets extremely crowded. Additionally, make sure to wear comfortable shoes. The limestone is very slippery so choose footwear that has grip.
Parthenon – Athens, Greece
by Roxanne from Faraway Worlds
One of the most beautiful buildings of ancient Greece, the Parthenon takes the place of pride on the Acropolis, the large hill in central Athens.
The Parthenon was built over 2,500 years ago, in honor of Athena, the patron goddess of the city. The temple housed the huge statue of Athena and was the central point for her rituals and festivals in Athens. The detailing and size of the temple is remarkable to see in person (many of the original features are on display in the nearby Acropolis Museum), and there are many other ancient Greek ruins to explore on the Acropolis.
Visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the heat and crowds.
Stadium at Olympia – Olympia, Greece
by Monique from Trip Anthropologist
The Ancient Stadium at Olympia is part of the enormous archaeological zone of Olympia at Archaia Olympia on the Peloponnese Peninsula in Greece. It is the birthplace of the Olympic Games and it dates back to the 8th Century B.C.
The Zone includes the Sanctuaries of Zeus and as well as standing on the original starting line of the Olympics, you can visit the remains of the athletes’ training areas.
The Olympia archaeological zone is spectacular to visit in the Fall and Spring when the colors are vivid and the days are still warm.
Park Güell – Barcelona, Spain
by Carley from Home to Havana
Located on a hill overlooking Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea, Park Güell is one of Antoni Gaudí’s most incredible masterpieces of art, design, and architecture, and a must-see attraction on any Barcelona itinerary. Filled with Gaudí’s whimsical statues, walking bridges, and covered paths you could easily spend hours admiring everything there is to see here.
Try to plan your visit so as to arrive as soon as the park opens, or closer to sunset and closing time – not only will you have the best views over the city and ocean, but you’ll be able to enjoy the park with far less tourists, and get even better photos.
BOOK NOW: Park Güell Skip-the-Line Entry Ticket
La Sagrada Familia – Barcelona, Spain
La Sagrada Familia was designed by Antoni Gaudi in 1883 and it is still under construction today. The unique cathedral was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, along with Gaudi’s other works in Barcelona. Today, La Sagrada Familia is one of Spain’s most celebrated landmarks.
When planning your visit to La Sagrada Familia, make sure to book your entrance ticket in advance. You can also opt for either the audio guide or a guided tour of the basilica – this will allow you to get a more in-depth overview of the basilica’s history and ongoing construction.
El Torcal de Antequera – Antequera, Spain
by Linn Haglund from Brainy Backpackers
El Torcal de Antequera is one of the most unique karst landscapes you find in Europe. Even so, it’s often overlooked by travelers doing a southern Spain road trip.
Other landmarks in the region might have a bigger name as they’re easier to get to. El Torcal can only be reached by car and it takes about 45 minutes from Málaga in the direction of Seville. 150 million years ago, this site was under water, but got pushed up to 1300 meters of altitude.
Guided tours from Málaga to El Torcal de Antequera are available for visitors without cars.
El Caminito del Rey – Ardales, Spain
by Linn Haglund from Andalucia Hiking
Once the most dangerous hike in the world, El Caminito del Rey is now reopened for tourists. The jaw-dropping path is pinned 100 meters high on the vertical wall of the Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes Gorge in Ardales, Malaga.
Security is a high priority and visitors are only let in at allotted times after a security brief and after the mandatory helmet is secured. Make sure you book your tickets in good time, as these get booked out pretty quickly.
Schönbrunn Palace – Vienna, Austria
by Or from My Path in the World
Dating back to the 17th century, the 1,441-room Rococo-style Schönbrunn Palace is one of the most impressive and important landmarks in Austria. Not only was it the summer residence of the Habsburg monarchy, but it also witnessed events like a concert of 6-years-old Mozart and conferences held by Napoleon.
It’s important to make enough time to visit this UNESCO-listed landmark because apart from touring the palace itself, you can also stroll through its vast gardens, visit the Imperial Carriage Museum, visit the Palm House, and enjoy one of the most iconic cafes in Vienna – Cafe Gloriette.
Sun Voyager – Reykjavík, Iceland
by Suzanne from Meandering Wild
On the waterfront in the center of Reykjavík is steel sculpture that looks like a Viking longship and is known as Sólfar, or the Sun Voyager.
The Sun Voyager was designed by Jon Gunnar for a competition run in Reykjavík for an outdoor sculpture and was moved to its current position in 1990. He saw the sculpture as a dream boat symbolizing light and hope.
It is a fantastic location for sunset photography in Iceland with the sculpture looking out over the sea with Mount Esja in the background.
Black Sand Beaches – Iceland
by Annie from Into the Bold
Along the southern part of the Ring Road in Iceland, the beaches are black as night. The black sand is created by crashing waves breaking down the volcanic rock along the southern coast.
Jökulsárlón, the Glacier Lagoon, is an outlet for chunks of the glacier to find their way out to the Atlantic Ocean. Some of the pieces wash up on the beach making it feel like you’ve landed on another planet!
Jökulsárlón is a nearly five-hour drive from Reykjavik, but well worth it. You’ll see other iconic sights along the way. Stay in the nearby town of Höfn for a change of scenery from the city.
Dubrovnik City Walls – Dubrovnik, Croatia
by Martina from PlacesofJuma
The Dubrovnik City Walls in Croatia are one of the most impressive landmarks in Europe! They were built between the 12th century and the 17th century, and today, together with the historic Old Town, they are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
In the past, the wall served as security and protection for the city’s inhabitants, but today you can walk on it and enjoy what is probably the most beautiful view of the Croatian port city. The best time to visit the city walls is in the morning, as it is the least busy and the atmosphere is at its best.
Although the entrance fee to the wall is not cheap (around €30), you can save some money by buying a Dubrovnik Card. You can also take a guided tour of the city walls and Dubrovnik’s Old Town.
Plitvice Lakes National Park – Croatia
by Anne from Packing Light Travel
Located in the heart of Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park is considered one of the most beautiful natural phenomena in Europe.
The stunning collection of sixteen upper and lower lakes are separated by a constantly changing landscape of natural dams, waterfalls, streams, and cascades. Trails and boardwalks crisscross the park, and panoramic trains and electric boats help ferry visitors from one stunning vista to another.
An insider tip is to skip a short day tour and pick up a two-day pass to leisurely explore as many corners as possible of this spectacular UNESCO-listed natural heritage site.
Charles Bridge – Prague, Czech Republic
by Jenn from Sickgirltravels.com
The Charles Bridge crosses the Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic. Dating back to the 15th century, it connects the Old Town area with Malá Strana and Prague Castle. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the bridge is decorated with two rows of 30 baroque statues.
The statue of John of Nepomuk is a favorite with tourists. Legend has it that if you rub the bronze plaque, you will one day return to Prague.
The bridge is one of Prague’s most popular attractions. Unfortunately, it’s also frequented by pick pockets. To beat the crowds and avoid thieves, it’s best to visit at dawn or in the evening.
Prague Castle – Prague, Czech Republic
by Charu from Travel with CG
Prague Castle is arguably the most beautiful landmark to visit in Prague. Consisting of incredible palaces, museums, viewpoints, and the striking Golden Lane, it is the largest ancient castle in the world. It is also the official office of the President of the Czech Republic.
When visiting Prague Castle, make sure to head straight to St. Vitus Cathedral first and continue onto the rest of the castle afterward. It is the most remarkable sight to see in the castle complex and gets crowded quickly. You can also buy an additional photo license to be able to capture it from inside.
BOOK NOW: Prague Castle Entry Ticket
Grand Place – Brussels, Belgium
by Cecilie from Worldwide Walkers
Grand Place is located in the heart of Brussels in Belgium’s bustling capital. It’s an absolute must to have on any Brussels itinerary since it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most famous landmarks in Europe.
It’s a typical European cobblestone square surrounded by some of Belgium’s most beautiful, historical, and important buildings from the late 17th century.
You can visit the Grand Place any time of the year, but it’s extra special during December with all the mesmerizing lights, the big Christmas tree, and the popular Christmas market.
Gamla Stan – Stockholm, Sweden
by Sunetra Biswas from Globetrotting Su
Gamla Stan, the Old Town of Stockholm, is one of the most well preserved and largest medieval city centers of Europe. It dates back to the 13th century with a beautiful labyrinth of cobbled streets, colorful facades, and charming alleys full of history and culture.
Stortorget is the main square and the entire Gamla Stan feels like a living museum full of beautiful attractions, cafes, restaurants, and places to shop.
Gamla Stan has several sights to visit like the Royal Palace, one of the largest palaces in the world with several museums. The Stockholm Cathedral and Nobel Prize Museum are other notable attractions. The entire vibe of the old town is very lively and is a quintessential place to visit in the Swedish capital.
Belém Tower – Lisbon, Portugal
by Miriam from Miry Giramondo
One of the famous landmarks in Europe is Belém Tower, located in Lisbon, Portugal.
The tower was built between 1515 and 1519 and is a work of Francisco de Arruda. It is located on the estuary of the Tago. Initially, it served as a defensive tower to protect Lisbon, although its mission was later destined to become one of the city’s lighthouses and customs center. In 1983, Belém Tower was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Near the tower, you can taste the pastéis de belem, a pastry cake with cream filling, at the Confeteria de Belém.
Pena Palace – Sintra, Portugal
by Christine Wheeler from Live Love Run Travel
Sintra is home to some of the most famous landmarks in Europe, including Pena Palace. This colorful castle in Portugal is not far from Lisbon, making it easy to take a Sintra day trip to explore the area.
Built in the 1850s, Pena Palace is one of the Instagrammable landmarks in Europe due to the views, colors, textures, and architecture. There is also a garden path leading up to it that you should not miss as it offers a place to cool off and a beautiful walk.
Make sure to get there early to or come near closing for the best chances of it not being crowded and to visit other nearby castles and palaces including Quinta de Regaleira.
Lake Bled – Slovenia
by Elina from Empnefsys & Travel
Lake Bled is one of the most beautiful places in Europe. It is located in the eastern part of Slovenia, on the edge of Julian Alps and the Triglav National Park. The beauty of the lake comes from the tiny island with the small church that lies within the lake and the mountains as a backdrop.
Lake Bled is beautiful during all seasons, but if you want to experience more tranquility, visit during winter when the area is less busy with tourists.
Bran Castle – Bran, Romania
by Sean Lau from LivingOutLau
Located deep inside the mysterious region of Transylvania in Romania is Bran Castle, one of the most spectacular castles in Europe.
Situated on the border of Transylvania and Wallachia, Bran Castle served as a fortress in medieval times. However, that isn’t how Bran Castle became such an iconic landmark in Europe. Bran Castle is known as the birthplace of the legend of Dracula, a fictional character from the novel “Dracula” by Bram Stoker.
Bran Castle is located near Brasov, so it is best to take a day trip from Brasov to see it. Avoid going during the weekends if you want a pleasant experience!
Fortified Churches of Transylvania – Transylvania, Romania
by Jade Laurenza from Traveling Transylvania
Visiting the fortified churches of Transylvania is definitely one of the best things to do in this breathtaking region of Romania.
Saxon villages in Transylvania developed in the 12th century, which is when the fortified churches of Transylvania began to appear. Within the villages, German-Saxon artisans, farmers, and merchants established strong networks and enjoyed special status but were under constant threat from the Ottoman Empire, leading to the necessity of fortification.
Originally, Transylvania had nearly 300 fortified churches! There are still over 150 standing today. UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites is made up of only seven of those that remain.
St. Basil’s Cathedral – Moscow, Russia
by Lerato Bambo from Lerato B Travel
The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, commonly known as St. Basil’s Cathedral, is a Russian Orthodox church and one of the most photographed landmarks in Europe. The church was built between 1555 and 1561 in the middle of Moscow’s Red Square.
This historic cathedral is made up of nine chapels. The main church stands in the center of the structure, while the smaller ones surround it like compass points. Eight churches commemorate Tsar Ivan the Terrible’s victories, and one is dedicated to Saint Basil – a Turkish-born Saint known for giving to the poor.
The best time to visit the cathedral is early in the morning or right before it closes. When visiting, purchase tickets online in advance to avoid waiting in long lines.
State Hermitage Museum – St. Petersburg, Russia
by Carrie Ann from Should Be Cruising
For anyone planning a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, the Hermitage is a must-see attraction and one of the most famous landmarks in Europe. Founded in 1764, the Hermitage is the second-largest art museum in the world.
The Hermitage is huge—it’s home to over three million pieces of art! But you can see the highlights of this world-class museum in just a day if you take a tour with a knowledgeable local guide.
Originally founded by Russian empress Catherine the Great, the Hermitage has been open to the public as a museum since 1852. Artistic highlights within the museum include Rembrandt’s masterpiece The Return of the Prodigal Son and the possible da Vinci painting The Madonna Litta.
Have your camera ready to document the wealth of neoclassical architecture and luxurious gilt detailing that only serves as a backdrop to the artistic treasures contained within.
Hagia Sophia – Istanbul, Turkey
by Jenifer from The Evolista
Hagia Sophia, a sixth-century Byzantine cathedral turned mosque in Istanbul, is a must-see on your Turkey itinerary.
This stunning architectural gem stood for 900 years as the center of the Eastern Christian world. Now, as an important Muslim mosque that holds daily prayer times, the Christian mosaics have been covered with plaster and large black Islamic calligraphic medallions.
Entrance to Hagia Sophia is free, although there are paid tours available to understand the history and see the most important areas. Women must wear a head covering and shoes must be removed when entering carpeted prayer spaces.
BOOK NOW: Hagia Sophia Entry with Guided Tour
Pyramid of Tirana – Tirana, Albania
by JJ from Travel Across the Borderline
Originally built to honor former dictator Enver Hoxha, the enormous concrete Pyramid of Tirana is one of the most unique travel destinations in Europe.
These days, local kids use the pyramid as their personal playground by scaling the harrowing 70-foot structure and sliding down. I’ve attempted the climb myself and although it’s super fun, it’s not for the fainthearted! Luckily it will soon be a lot safer to reach the top as it is currently undergoing a regeneration project, which will add steps to a viewing platform.
I suggest grabbing a beer and heading up there at sunset to truly appreciate the incredible panoramic views of Albania’s capital city.
Europe is a continent with an abundance of important landmarks. From historic buildings to archaeological marvels, there are so many incredible things to see all across Europe.
Have you been to any of these incredible landmarks? If so, which was your favorite? Or, if you’re just now starting to create your European bucket list, which one are you planning on seeing first?
Let me know in the comments below!
Planning a trip to Europe? Pin this to Pinterest for later travel planning and inspiration!