Multicultural and rooted in history, Europe is a very fascinating continent. Its beautiful monuments, wonders of nature, and countless museums make it one of the most popular tourist destinations. Attractions in Europe are so numerous, it may be difficult to choose the ones to do and see. That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of top ten tourist attractions in Europe. Check it out before your next journey to the old continent!
The Eiffel Tower, France
The Eiffel Tower is a symbol of France and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe. Constructed in the 1880s, the wrought-iron tower is visited by several million people every year. Locals refer to it as ‘the Iron Lady’. The now iconic landmark sparked a lot of controversies when it was being constructed. Some called the idea ‘impossible’ and even ‘monstruous’. Today, however, the Eiffel Tower enraptures with its grandiosity and beauty. The tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world. People go there to climb to the top and admire spectacular views of Paris or to dine in one of two exquisite restaurants that offer amazing food and unforgettable scenery. Though queues are often long and trip to the very top may be considered expensive, climbing the Eiffel Tower truly is one of those things you cannot miss while in Europe.
Colosseum, or rather Rome’s Flavian Amphitheater, is one of the most iconic symbols of Imperial Rome. Construction on the magnificent amphitheater began in 72 AD, under the reign of emperor Vespasian. To this day it is the grandest amphitheater that has ever been built in the entire world. It’s a free-standing structure of limestone that amazes with its size and intricate design. Though built as a place for gladiators’ fights, the Colosseum was also home to many other shows and spectacles. It served as a fortress, theater, and a shrine. Today it is one of the most visited sites in Italy. Tourists don’t mind that previously imposing Colosseum is now almost ruined. It’s remains still astound and impress, taking visitors onto a journey through the past. It’s a place like no other to dive into the ancient world and soak up its culture.
The Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland
The Wawel Royal Castle is one of the most historically and culturally significant sites in Poland. Situated in the center of Krakow, the castle is a mixture of architectural styles. It combines elements of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and early Baroque. Its history goes back to the Middle Ages when it was home to the royals and emperors of Poland. Today the castle is visited by more than 1 million people each year. The castle construction consists of Silver Bell Tower, Wawel Cathedral, secular buildings, treasury, armoury, chambers, and Sigmund’s Chapel. All of that creates a beautiful architectural complex located on a hill overlooking the Vistula River. A tour around this stunning building is an amazing experience. Visit the Wawel Castle and walk among the chambers once inhabited by the greatest!
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. Archeologists claim it was built around 3000 BC. It is one of the most iconic landmarks of the United Kingdom. It was added to the UNESCO heritage list in 1986. Stonehenge consist of vertical standing stones that weigh around 25 tons. Considering that its creators didn’t have any tools other than wood and stone, it is a true masterpiece of engineering. The purpose of Stonehenge remains a mystery. It sits in an area of many burial mounds, but no one really knows why it was built in the first place. It doesn’t make it any less impressive, though. In fact, that aura of secrecy may be what makes Stonehenge so popular among tourists. It’s one of the most visited sites in both England and Europe itself. It could be argued that no trip to the old continent is complete without seeing Stonehenge.
Venice Canals, Italy
There are few cities as iconic as Venice. Spread throughout water, Venice is famous for its incredible construction and numerous canals. The town literally flows on the water. It is built on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. Stunning architecture, grand piazzas, romantic gondolas, and colorful townhouses – Venice is filled with beautiful places that create its scenic landscape. It was repeatedly voted the most stunning city in the whole world. Though today Venice struggles with many issues – such as pollution and flooding – it still remains a major cultural center and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Walking through its quaint alleys or coursing in gondolas make for a truly unforgettable experience. Although some consider the city pricey, Venice and its canals are the definitely one of the best tourist attractions in Europe.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
The Salt Mine in Wieliczka is one of the most interesting attractions in Lesser Poland. Hidden from the eye, the salt mine invites visitors to the mysterious underground world of treasures. Wieliczka Salt Mine covers an area of 970 ha and reaches a depth of 327 meters. Its passages and chambers go on for over 287 km. Its history can be dated back to the 13th century. The Salt Mine was very important to king Casimir III the Great, who contributed majorly to its development. In 1978 the object was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. Today it is widely popular among tourists who come here from all over the world. The Salt Mine is visited by roughly 1.2 million people each year. Its long corridors and beautiful passages create a stunning labyrinth of salt sculptures. It’s a great place to admire the wonders of human and nature, as well as learn about the history of mining. Though less obvious than other sites on our list, the Wieliczka Salt Mine is a very interesting and worthy attraction in Europe.
The Acropolis of Athens, Greece
The Acropolis of Athens is a major complex of columns, temples, and other buildings that remained from Greek civilization. The Acropolis lies on a hill above the city of Athens, the capital city of Greece. The complex has a great historical and architectural significance. The buildings, including Parthenon, are universal symbols of Greece’s past power and position in the ancient world. It is generally believed that it was Pericles who coordinated the construction of the temples known as the Acropolis we know today. Some of the remains can be dated back as far as to fifth century BC. It’s a spectacular architectural complex with incredible cultural meaning. In the past, the Acropolis was home to many of the ancient processions and celebrations. Today it is the most visited site in Greece and one of the most important monuments in Europe. It’s really difficult to find a place more important to the European culture and heritage than the Acropolis of Athens.
Prague Old Town, Czech Republic
The Old Town of Prague is a medieval settlement filled with buildings, temples, museums, cafes, and important monuments. It is one of the most beautiful old towns in Europe. Around the 9th century, Stare Mesto, as the locals call it, used to be a marketplace concentrated around the Vltava river. Today it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Eastern Europe. And it’s easy to see why. With its cobblestone streets, amazing architecture, and monumental castle, the Old Town of Prague looks like a scenery straight from a fairytale. It has undeniable charm that makes tourists want to stay there forever. Whether you’re looking for incredible picturesque buildings or search for nightlife and fun, the center of Prague will give you all that and more. Leading up to the famous Charles Bridge, walk through the Old Town of this charming Czech city will truly make you feel like you’re playing a scene in a movie!
Seeing the fjords of Norway may seem less obvious than most of the activities mentioned in our list. While other attractions we recommend are focused on buildings and monuments, this one is dedicated to the incredible wonder of nature. Norway, the city in the North of Europe, is home to more than 1000 fjords spread all over the country. A cruise ship around one or many of them is a surefire way to soak up the Norwegian charm and peculiar beauty of its landscape. Some of the most famous fjords in Norway are Romsdalsfjord, Lyngenfjord, Sognefjord, and Aurlandsfjord. These are all amazing places to hike, bike, walk and cruise. Public transportation is very fjords-oriented, so getting to them shouldn’t pose a problem. Fjords are the soul of Norway and seeing them will definitely make for an unforgettable experience.
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Poland
The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum is one of those places that everybody should visit at least once in their lifetime. Built on the grounds on the former concentration camp, the museum holds remains of one of the most tragic places in the human history. Auschwitz-Birkenau is situated in Oswiecim, in the south of Poland near Krakow. The camp was transformed into museum in 1946 by Tadeusz Wąsowicz and other former prisoners. The site consists of 20 hectares in Auschwitz I and 171 hectares in Auschwitz II, which lies about three kilometres from the main camp. It is advised to take part in organized tours with educators who are equipped to talk about the tragic events and inhumanities that happened in the camp. Though mentally and emotionally challenging, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum is a must see for all adults who want to honor the tragically dead and learn about one of the darkest periods of modern history.
Europe is a beautiful and lively continent with many hidden treasures. If you’re not sure which ones to discover, stick to our list. Even though there’s a lot more to do and see here, our top ten tourist attractions in Europe will be a good start!