Wonders of Europe

Territory

Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa
Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa / Makalu, Pixabay / CC0

Map with the described wonders

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WorldYellow Highlights of Europe

Europe is part of the Eurasian continent. This part of the world is very diverse and very diverse is also natural and man-made heritage. Highlights of Europe are:

Venice
Venice / G.Pavils, CC-BY-SA-3.0
  • Historical architecture – Europe is unsurpassed in terms of historical architecture and art. People are spending their whole lives, traveling and researching this heritage but we can be confident – no one is able to comprehend all these values. Many buildings in Europe represent a peak of artistic and structural skills of people – such as Florence Cathedral, Rouen Cathedral, Palace of Versailles, Palace of Westminster, and numerous other buildings. Venice, Chester, Prague, and many other European cities belong to the most beautiful historical cities in the world.
  • Heritage of ancient civilizations – Europe was the birthplace of several major civilizations, notably – civilizations of Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. We are still inspired by ancient Greek and Roman art, their buildings, and cities. Among the best-known monuments is the Acropolis of Athens, Colosseum, Pompeii.
  • Prehistoric heritagecave art and megaliths. Tens of thousands of years ago Europeans created magnificent art – making us understand that people back then in those distant times were not less skilled than us. Among the best examples are paintings in Lascaux (France), Chauvet (France), Altamira (Spain) caves. European megaliths are the best known in the world – especially the grand megalithic structures in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and France. These structures are many thousand years old and – what irritates and fascinates modern people a lot – their purpose often remains unknown. Some of the best-known megaliths are Stonehenge (United Kingdom) and Carnac stones (France).

WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Europe

Archaeological wonders

Stonehenge

United Kingdom

One of the most popular archaeological monuments in the world, consisting of a group of large standing stones in a circular setting, erected sometime around 2500 BC (?). Located in the middle of a dense complex of archaeological monuments.

Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Pompeii

Italy

The best-preserved ancient Roman town eliminated by volcanic pyroclastic flows in 79 AD. The town has been excavated and now represents an amazing display of Roman life.

Architecture wonders

Venice

Italy

One of the most unusual and most beautiful cities on Earth, containing an unbelievable amount of art and architecture values. Venice has been built on 117 small, closely located islands and has been the capital of a powerful state in the 7th – 18th century.

Santa Maria della Salute in the skyline of Venice
Sagrada Familia

Spain

Largest and by far the most impressive Art Nouveau church in the world, designed by Antoni Gaudi; started in 1882 and due to be completed in 2026.

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Hagia Sophia

Turkey

A former Orthodox basilica built between 532 – 537 AD, it is now a mosque. Possibly the highest achievement of Byzantine architecture, it has been the largest cathedral in the world for nearly 1000 years. Constructed in 532 – 537.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral)

Italy

One of the most impressive churches in the world, the largest building in medieval Europe. Constructed in 1296 – 1469. Designed mostly in Gothic style, but considered to be one of the first Renaissance buildings.

Florence Cathedral in the night, Italy
Saint Mark’s Basilica

Italy

A building of unusual beauty and splendor, it is one of the most important Byzantine architectural monuments in the world, constructed in 1094.

Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice
Sistine Chapel

Vatican

In this chapel, the new pope is selected. Constructed in 1473 – 1481 and world-famous due to the frescoes made by such Renaissance artists as Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo. These frescoes are among the world’s highest achievements in art.

Paintings on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel, Vatican
St. Peter’s Basilica

Vatican

The most important church in Christian history, with the largest interior of any church. The present basilica was built in 1506 – 1626 and represents one of the most important pieces of Renaissance architecture. Contains the purported grave of Saint Peter.

St.Peter's Basilica, Vatican
Notre Dame de Paris

France

Constructed in 1163 – the late 14th century. One of the most significant Gothic cathedrals and one of the world’s best-known monuments of architecture. One of the first buildings where flying buttresses were used.

Notre Dame de Paris
Palace of Versailles

France

The best known and possibly the most magnificent palace in the world with 700 rooms. Constructed starting from 1661 and served as a royal palace until 1789. This palace brought a new style in many areas of life – architecture, planning, arts, governance, etiquette – thus the palace represents one of the most important monuments of culture in Europe.

Eiffel Tower

France

One of the best-known landmarks in the world, a symbol of Paris and to some extent – the whole of France. This 324 m tall iron lattice tower was built in 1889 and was the tallest man-made structure on Earth until 1930.

Eiffel Tower, sunset
Saint Basil’s Cathedral

Russia

This group of nine churches was constructed in 1555 – 1561 to commemorate the victories of Ivan the Terrible. This building has left much influence on Russian and world architecture.

St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow in the night
Milan Cathedral

Italy

One of the most impressive Gothic buildings in the world, constructed in 1386 – 1965.

Milan Cathedral, Italy
Westminster Abbey

United Kingdom

Royal Church of the United Kingdom with numerous art values. Constructed in 1245 – roughly 1745, mainly in the Gothic style. One of the earliest representatives of Gothic architecture in England.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Italy

An impressive monument of European medieval Romanesque architecture, construction started in 1173-1372. Due to weak ground, it started to tilt and the significant tilting has made this structure famous worldwide.

Musée du Louvre

France

One of the largest museums in the world with more than 35,000 objects exhibited. Many works are among the most important artworks in the world. Located in a palace that was started as a castle in the late 12th century. Gradually extended and now it is one of the largest palaces in the world.

Colosseum

Italy

The largest Roman amphitheater ever built, 70 – 80 AD.

Colosseum, interior
Centre of Florence

Italy

One of the most important centers in history for the development of art with numerous unique and beautiful monuments. This birthplace of the Renaissance contains such monuments of world importance as Florence Cathedral, Campanile and Baptistery, Ponte Vecchio, and many others.

Mont Saint-Michel

France

Unique monument of urban planning – a fortified monastery with surrounding small town, built on a rocky tidal island. This monastery was established here in the early 8th century. Its buildings were constructed in a Romanesque style, mainly in the 10th – 11th century AD. Island is topped with the massive, Romanesque Mont-Saint-Michel church (11th century).

Mont Saint Michel, France
Córdoba

Spain

One of the major centers of ancient and medieval Europe, the intellectual center of Europe in the 10th – 12th centuries. The second-largest historic city in Europe, with a huge amount of very valuable buildings. Some of the most impressive ones are the Great Mosque of Córdoba, Roman bridge, Roman Temple, and many others. The old city is surrounded by Roman walls.

Windsor Castle

United Kingdom

One of the major castles and palaces of the world. This castle was built by William the Conqueror and since then used as a royal palace. Longest occupied palace in Europe, the largest inhabited palace in the world. Throughout the centuries the castle was largely extended, always trying to imitate early medieval designs. Beautiful interiors. Site of many important historical events.

Alhambra

Spain

Huge palace and fortress with major cultural importance. The fortress was first constructed here in 889 AD, the royal palace for the Sultan of Granada was built in 1333. A major achievement of Muslim architecture and art. Palace and its gardens were supposed to represent Paradise.

Alhambra, Court of Myrtles in the night
Château de Chambord

France

One of the most iconic Renaissance buildings in the world, melting in its design the French medieval architecture and Italian classical architecture. Constructed in 1519 – 1547. This castle still has fortifications, including a keep and a moat, but it primarily functions as a luxuriant residence. Palace has 440 rooms.

Château de Chambord, France
Aachen Cathedral

Germany

The oldest cathedral in Northern Europe. Historically very important church, the residence of Charlemagne, place of coronation of 42 kings and queens. Constructed in 792 – 805, rebuilt numerous times adding new values.

WorldYellow Recommended books

Europe’s Greatest Places: The Most Amazing Travel Destinations in Europe


An inspirational journey through the ‘old continent’, Europe’s Greatest Places captures the magic and magnificence of every location worth visiting. It roams from must-see blockbusters such as Venice and Paris to exquisite tucked-away gems that relatively few people visit, like the impressive waterfalls of The Plitvice Lakes, the magnificent monasteries of Moldavia, and the romantic Douro Valley in Portugal.

Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door 2017


You can count on Rick Steves to tell you what you really need to know when planning a Grand Tour of Europe. In this guide, Rick covers the best of Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland.


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