We all have that European fantasy- of someday travelling to that enigmatic part of the world and be taken aback by its glory. There’s so much to fancy in this continent of charms that is replete with some of the world’s most famous monuments. From the most romantic of architecture to the most formidable of forts, Europe is a wonderland when it comes to being the traveller’s dream. Here’s listing out such 18 exquisite monuments of Europe that you must definitely visit while on your dream voyage-
St. Peter’s Basilica
A church built in the Renaissance style, the St. Peter’s Basilica is the most visited monument in Europe both for its architectural majesty as well as its importance as a place of pilgrimage. A very prominent landmark dominating the skyline of Rome, the basilica is also historically important having been the place where St. Peter was buried after his death. Also the largest church in the world and one of the holiest Catholic shrines, the St. Peter’s Basilica has its interiors lavishly done up in decorations of marble, reliefs, architectural sculpture and gilding. A sight to savor for the eyes and the soul, this world famous monument also inspires awe in being one of the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture.
Palace of Versailles
The principal royal residence of France for just sometime more than a century, the Palace of Versailles one of the historical monuments often visited in Europe. Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the palace houses numerous other attractions and is as iconic a monument in the country famous for its iconic Eiffel Tower. A site of historical importance even beyond its royal legacy with the Treat of Versailles that ended the First World War having been signed here, the palace has continued to enjoy its esteem well into the modern day with a number of films and other media having been shot here. Needless to say, this site of enduring royalty and regal beauty enchants still with its exquisite presence.
One of the seven wonders of the world, it is no surprise that the Colosseum of Rome is one of the most visited monuments in entire Europe. The largest ancient amphitheater ever built, the Colosseum has been in existence since 80 AD although what remains now is just a fraction of its original expanse. Popular for being the seat from where gladiatorial contests and public spectacles got the views, this is an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome and persists in its legacy to emerge also as immensely popular a tourist attraction. In fact the Colosseum has been so popular in its huge premise that it is also one of the most replicated tourist attractions in the world.
Another of the monuments in Europe that continues to draw the tourists even when being just a shadow of its former glorious self is the temple of Parthenon in Greece. Dedicated to the Goddess Athena, this is also an ancient monument still surviving, having been in existence since 438 BC. Although the Parthenon was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of the 1460s, it is currently being largely restored while continuing to hold all and sundry in awe with what is perhaps the finest manifestation of Greek architecture.
One of the most prominent tourist attraction of the world ever since it came into being, the Eiffel Tower is a very famous landmark that stands in the French city of Paris. An exquisite specimen of architecture, the Eiffel Tower also finds adulation in popular culture as being the symbol of love. Going down on one knee with the iconic monument at the background is the ultimate way to profess love for many die hard romantics. The most visited paid monument of the world and also one of the most recognisable structures, this global cultural icon of France has to be among the most visited monuments of the European continent.
A World Heritage Site since 1996 and one of Germany’s most visited landmarks, the Cologne Cathedral boasts also the largest facade of any church in the world. In its medieval beginnings that however saw completion only in the 19th century, this is one of the rather modern monuments that characterise Europe. Modelled closely around the Amiens Cathedral in Rome, the building is characterised by its tall spires and house also the celebrated Shrine of the Three Kings inside its premises.
A series of palaces and gardens located in Russia, the Peterhof Palace is also another World Heritage Site that which commands maximum footfall in Europe. A number of historic royal buildings dot Peterhof that which sits on a bluff and is notable in having been commissioned by Peter the Great as a direct response to France’s exquisite Palace of Versailles.
Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site that makes for among the most visited monuments of Europe is the Sagrada familia in Spain. A large unfinished Roman Catholic minor basilica, the building is slated to be completed only by 2026, the centenary of the death of its architect Antoni Gaudi.
An Italian landmark that is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country with its listing on the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, Pompeii in fact was an ancient city. Best known presently for its Roman remains that dates back sometime to ad 79, Pompeii has been a popular tourist destination for more than 250 years now that which also has featured in films and music videos even though it is somewhat limited in its access to the public today.
There is no beating France when it comes to being home to monuments that get the most extensive visits not just in Europe but in the world. And Louvre being the most visited museum globally sure elevates the country on a pedestal as far as exploration of the arts is concerned. Housed in the Louvre Palace that was originally built as the Louvre Castle, Louvre is also the world’s largest art museum and one that boasts of some of the most exquisite pieces of art in history. With more than 380,000 objects and 35,000 works of art in eight curatorial departments making up the treasure of this iconic museum, the Louvre indeed has fetched all the footfalls ever since it opened in 1793.
A royal palace in Poland and a member of the international association of European Royal Residences since 2006, the Wilanow Palace is a much frequented landmark of the continent. Historically significant in having survived Poland’s partition and each of the two World Wars, the palace is a fine specimen of European art merging with distinctively Polish building traditions. Housing also a museum since 1805, the Wilanow Palace serves therefore as a rich exploration of the nation’s erstwhile history and culture.
A major tourist attraction since the mid 1950s, Austria’s Schonbrunn Palace is also a World Heritage Site that the UNESCO recognises. A massive 1441 roomed palace, this architecturally, culturally and historically important monument spans a legacy of some 300 years and is remarkable in its remarkable Baroque ensemble and synthesis of the arts that which makes it one of the most aesthetic monuments across Europe.
The chief historic citadel of Russia named after Kazan, the city where it stands, the Kazan Kremlin is a conglomerate of many ancient buildings. A World Heritage Site since 2000 that was built on the ruins of the former castle of Kazan khans, the Kazan Kremlin is also a buzzing modern day attraction that plays host to numerous glittering events.
Tower of London
Protected as a World Heritage Site in its immense importance, the Tower of London is a historic castle in England notable for being used as prison during the World Wars. In also its prominent role in English history, having found use as a royal residence, the tower has been an important tourist attraction since at least the Elizabethan period and continues to enjoy relevance ever since.
In it being lauded as ‘a pearl set in emeralds’, the beauty of Spain’s Alhambra becomes immediately apparent. A palace and fortress complex that is once again a World Heritage Site, the Red Palace, as it translates to, exhibits the country’s most significant and well-known Islamic architecture and is therefore a prominent tourist attraction. In also its extensive appearance in popular culture and also holding special significance in the field of mathematics, the Alhambra really is an intriguing piece of art in existence in Europe.
An integral part of the Scottish national heritage, the Edinburgh castle sits upon the Castle Rock as a historic fortress that spells out the very existence of its nativity. Housing the Scottish regalia or the Honours of Scotland and being the site of the Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum of Scotland, the castle is one of the most historic monuments in this part of Europe.
Arc de Triomphe
One among the many famous monuments that France is known for is the Arc de Triomphe that stands in the style capital of Paris. An iconic symbol of French national identity, it is also one of the best known commemorative monuments in the world. Commenced on the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte, the figure that is very symbolic of the city of its standing, continues to be an ode to the many valiant victories of the revolutionary statesman and military leader whose might is celebrated all across the globe.
No trip to Europe can ever be complete without an up, close and personal view of the castle that conjures up images of fairyland existence in its sheer majesty. A prominent 19th century structure, the Neuschwanstein castle in Germany evokes not just the grandeur of royalty but also is steeped in Medieval myth and fantasy. Intended as a home for the king until his death in 1886 and a tourist attraction ever since, this castle that which is a definite built on the ideas of romanticism has long been cherished for its dreamy promenade and striking presence that which also inspire the famous Disney castle. With almost 1.5 million visitors per year, this is easily one of the most visited monuments in Europe and also a common influence in popular culture.