Landmarks often become synonymous with a city. It is difficult to think of Paris without imaging the Eiffel Tower, London without seeing Big Ben. Seeing some of the famous landmarks in Europe for the first time can be quite an awesome moment.
I remember being blown away when I visited Vatican City for the first time. I spent every Sunday of my first 18 years going to a catholic church and I couldn’t quite grasp the fact that I was actually at the Vatican!
.Gaining a photo of oneself at a famous landmark is almost a rite of passage – the ultimate proof that you visited that city and had that moment. As someone who loves photography I am always trying to think of a unique way to capture famous landmarks – fooling myself that somehow I will find something many more skilled experts have not before me!
Visiting a famous monument can often be an item for the bucket list – and quite a good one at that! So here are 60 Famous Landmarks in Europe that I believe have all earned the right to make it onto that list.
60 Famous Landmarks in Europe
Table of Contents
- 1 60 Famous Landmarks in Europe
- 1.1 1. The Colosseum, Italy
- 1.2 2. The Eiffel Tower, France
- 1.3 3. Big Ben, England
- 1.4 4. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
- 1.5 5. La Sagrada Familia, Spain
- 1.6 6. Arc de Triomphe, France
- 1.7 7. Brandenburg Gate, Germany
- 1.8 8. The Acropolis, Greece
- 1.9 9. Palace of Westminster, England
- 1.10 10. The Louvre Museum, France
- 1.11 11. Stonehenge, England
- 1.12 12. The Alhambra, Spain
- 1.13 13. Buckingham Palace, England
- 1.14 14. The Sistine Chapel, Italy
- 1.15 15. The Trevi Fountain, Italy
- 1.16 16. Notre Dame, France
- 1.17 17. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Italy
- 1.18 18. The Pantheon, Italy
- 1.19 19. Pompeii, Italy
- 1.20 20. Mount Lycabettus, Greece
- 1.21 21. Le Centre de Pompidou, France
- 1.22 22. Saint Mark’s Basilica, Italy
- 1.23 23. Cinque Terre, Italy
- 1.24 24. Place de La Concorde, France
- 1.25 25. Casa Batlló, Spain
- 1.26 26. The Parthenon, Greece
- 1.27 27. The Amalfi Coast, Italy
- 1.28 28. Palazzo Ducale (the Doge’s Palace), Italy
- 1.29 29. Sacré-Cœur Basilica, France
- 1.30 30. Tower Bridge, England
- 1.31 31. Catedral de Sevilla, Spain
- 1.32 32. St Paul’s Cathedral, London
- 1.33 33. Arena di Verona, Italy
- 1.34 34. Pitti Palace, Italy
- 1.35 35. The Palace of Versailles, France
- 1.36 36. Blenheim Palace, England
- 1.37 37. Tower of London, England
- 1.38 38. Château de Chenonceau, France
- 1.39 34. Mt Etna, Italy
- 1.40 35. 30 St Mary Axe or The Gherkin, England
- 1.41 36. Mont Saint-Michel, France
- 1.42 37. Windsor Castle, England
- 1.43 38. White Cliffs of Dover, England
- 1.44 39. Monasteries of Meteora, Greece
- 1.45 40. Royal Alcázar of Seville, Spain
- 1.46 41. St. Michael’s Mount, England
- 1.47 42. British Museum, England
- 1.48 43. The London Eye, England
- 1.49 44. The Republic of San Marino
- 1.50 45. Mont Blanc, France
- 1.51 46. Westminster Abbey, England
- 1.52 47. Viaduc de Garabit, France
- 1.53 48. Alcázar de Toledo, Spain
- 1.54 49. York Minster, England
- 1.55 50. Palace of the Popes, France
- 1.56 51. Nelson’s Column, England
- 1.57 52. Winchester Cathedral, England
- 1.58 53. Picadilly Circus, England
- 1.59 54. Cathedral Santiago de Compostela, Spain
- 1.60 55. Chateau de Chambord, France
- 1.61 56. Hadrian’s Wall, England
- 1.62 57. Carcassone Castle, France
- 1.63 58. Abbey of Fontenay, France
- 1.64 59. Omaha Beach, France
- 1.65 60. Strasbourg Cathedral, France
1. The Colosseum, Italy
Could over 7 million people be wrong – and that’s just in the last 12 months! That is how many people visit Italy‘s most popular tourist attraction the Colosseum in Rome each year. This ancient amphitheater was the site of Rome’s famous public spectacles like those seen in the movie Gladiator.
The Colosseum was the biggest amphitheater in the world during its time, seating over 70,000 people. The structure was constructed in 70 AD – yes it’s that old. It is 157 feet tall and remarkably well preserved considering its age.
Every ticket to the Colosseum also includes access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. The Roman Forum is located next door to the Colosseum and Palatine Hill is also part of the area.
When you purchase this ticket online you will be given options for different times on the day you want to visit. Of course, the further ahead you book the more options will be available.
⇒ Read my Skip the Line Colosseum Complete Guide
2. The Eiffel Tower, France
Built between 1887 and 1889 by French engineer Gustav Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower is made of iron rather than steel. It was built to be one of the main attractions at the Paris World’s Fair in 1889.
Parisians quickly fell in love with The Eiffel Tower and more than 2 million visited in the first year that it was open. The tower symbolised French know-how and industrial genius.
Today nearly seven million people visit The Eiffel Tower every year. The top of the Eiffel Tower which can be visited is at 276 metres. The other key view point is on what is called the second floor which is at 116 metres.
Ticket prices vary depending on how high you want to go and how you want to get there – stairs or lift. It is possible to take a lift all the way to the top (with the option to stop at the second floor) or to walk up to the second floor and then get a lift to the top.
July and August are the busiest times of year to visit The Eiffel Tower but it is usually quite busy all year round. It is possible to book tickets two months in advance of your visit. I would highly recommend booking a skip the queue ticket for the Eiffel Tower ahead of your visit to Paris.
3. Big Ben, England
As the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, Big Ben is to London. Big Ben is actually a nickname that stuck. The name refers to both the clock and the clock tower that sits at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London.
The tower was completed in 1859. At that time it was the largest and most accurate clock in the world. Big Ben became a UNESCO listed site in 1987.
In August of 2017 Big Ben was silenced. This market the beginning of a four year project to fully repair and restore bot the clock and the clocktower. They also plan to install a lift which should make life much easier for those charged with keeping Big Ben in good condition ongoing.
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The exceptions to the silencing are New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Day. There are no public tours available during the restoration period. However, one clock face can still be seen through the scaffolding.
4. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
This freestanding bell tower is not just a famous monument but possibly one of the most famous buildings in the world. The “lean” is nearly four degrees and is because the foundation of the building is unstable.
The tower began to lean during its construction in the 12th century and unfortunately got worse up to its official completion in the 14th century. By 1990 the lean was 5.5 degrees. Repairs work took place during 1993 and 2001 that corrected the lean-to just under 4 degrees.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is not particularly tall at just over 55 metres – I remember being quite surprised at how small it was when I visited. The tower is located in Pisa’s Cathedral Square and also includes Pisa Cathedral and Pisa Baptistry.
If you’d like to go inside the tower and climb up to the top paid entry is required. It is possible to book a skip the line ticket for the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Otherwise there is no charge to see the building from the exterior and to take the famous photo where it looks as if you are holding up the tower!
5. La Sagrada Familia, Spain
The Sagrada Familia is perhaps the world’s most famous unfinished landmark. Construction began on this Catholic Church in Barcelona Spain in 1882. La Sagrada Familia was designed by famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi.
Construction of the church began under the supervision of another architect, Francisco de Paula del Villar. However, Gaudi took over in 1883.
Progress on the construction of Sagrada Familia was slow as funding was private and it was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War. When Gaudi died in 1926 the church was only one quarter finished. He is buried in the crypt of Sagrada Familia.
Revolutionaries broke into the construction site in 1936, partially destroying Gaudi’s original model and setting the timeline back even further.
The latest estimate for the completion of Sagrada Familia is 2026.
Sagrada Familia receives approximately 4.5 million visitors every year. The number of tickets for sale as well as the entry times is limited. This is definitely a European landmark you want to book a skip the line ticket ahead of your visit.
Tickets can be purchased up to 2 months in advance and are available in 15 minute slots. Once you have entered Sagrada Familia you may stay for as long as you like. Entrance to the towers costs extra.
6. Arc de Triomphe, France
The Arc de Triomphe sits at the western end of the Champs-Elysee in Place Charles de Gaulle and in the middle of one of the scariest roundabouts in the world.
This famous European landmark is a tribute to those who died fighting for France in the Napoleonic and Revolutionary Wars. The names of all French victories as well as the generals are inscribed on the arc. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War 1 lies underneath the Arc de Triomphe.
The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon. However, it was not completed until 1836. By this time Napoleon had been banished to Elba. He was never able to see the Arc de Triomphe but his remains passed through it on the way to Les Invalides.
Every year the Bastille Day parade on July 14 starts at the Arc de Triomphe and the Tour de France also finishes here.
It is possible to visit the Arc de Triomphe. Whatever you do don’t try to cross the road to get there – remember this is the world’s scariest roundabout. Instead take the underground passage from the Champs Elysee or one of the other roads leading into Place Charles de Gaulle.
It is free to visit the base of the Arc de Triomphe. However, there is a charge to climb the 280 stairs to the top of the Arce de Triomphe and some lovely views of Paris. And you won’t be surprised to hear that I highly recommend you book a skip the line ticket for the Arc de Triomph.
7. Brandenburg Gate, Germany
The Brandenburg Gate was commissioned as an entrance to Berlin’s most famous road, Unter den Linden, by Frederick William II. Construction of the gate finished in 1791.
The Brandenburg Gate has had a starring role in many of Berlin’s most well known moments. Napoleon paraded from Brandenburg Gate in 1806 after the Prussian defeat. Between 1814 and 1919 only the Royal Family was able to pass through the central archway.
The Nazis often used Brandenburg Gate as a party symbol. The gate managed to survive World War II albeit with some major damage. After the war, Brandenburg Gate was located in the Soviet zone. The Berlin Wall passed directly by the western side of the gate which meant passage was again closed.
After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Brandenburg Gate came to symbolise freedom and the re-unifacation of Germany.
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Today, the Brandenburg Gate is closed to traffic but it is easy to walk under its arches. Visiting the Brandenburg Gate is free.
8. The Acropolis, Greece
The Acropolis is a fortress that sits on a flat rock overlooking Athens and contains the remains of several buildings of architectural significance such as the Parthenon.
The earliest origins of The Acropolis can be traced back to the fourth millenium BC. The composition of The Acropolis has of course changed over time. Various temples and buildings were built and destroyed over the course of the years. A major restoration project of The Acropolis began in 1975 to reverse the decay and damage of the centuries.
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When visiting the Acropolis there are two ticket options. One ticket covers entry only to the Acropolis. The second ticket combines The Acropolis with six other archeological sites. Book a skip the line ticket to visit The Acropolis.
9. Palace of Westminster, England
The Palace of Westminster is located in London, England and is where the two United Kingdom Houses of Parliament meet: the House of Lords and the House of Commons. It was named after nearby Westminster Abbey.
Westminster Palace is 900 years old. From 1087 to 1100 the Palace of Westminster was the home of the monarch and the Palace of Westminster is still owned by the Crown.
Much of the palace was destroyed in a fire in 1834. The palace was rebuilt after the fire and this is the London landmark that we now know so well.
Today the palace is known as the Houses of Parliament or often just Westminster. It is the centre of UK parliamentary life and its most well known tower is of course Big Ben, another European landmark.
There are several ways to visit the Palace of Westminster. If you are a UK resident you are able to take a free tour called the Democratic Access Tour. If you’re not a UK resident guided paid tours are held on weekdays when Parliament isn’t in session and on Saturdays.
Book a skip the line ticket to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.
10. The Louvre Museum, France
The Louvre Museum is located in Paris, France and is the world’s largest art museum. In 2019 the Louvre was the most visited museum in the world, receiving over 9.6 million guests.
This iconic French museum opened in 1793 with just 537 paintings (there are over 38,000 objects on display these days). IM Pei’s iconic glass pyramid was completed in 1989, adding another element to this Parisian landmark.
Perhaps the most well known item in The Louvre Museum is the Mona Lisa. The original of this famous painting hangs in the Louvre today and has been since 1804.
Online tours are available but of course they don’t touch visiting the real thing. Tickets purchased on line are slightly more expensive than those purchased at the museum but they do offer the opportunity to skip the line with a timed ticket for The Louvre.
11. Stonehenge, England
Built over 5,000 years ago, the stone circle for which Stonehenge is best known was erected around 2,500 BC. Each stone is about 4 metres high, just over 2 metres wide and weighs about 25 tons.
Stonehenge is owned by the Crown but managed by English Heritage and became a UNESCO site in 1986. Today nearly 1 million visitors head to Stonehenge each year and crowds flock to see the Winter and Summer solstices set in each year.
It is possible to visit Stonehenge for free but alas you will struggle to capture a good photo from that distance. The standard tour of Stonehenge involves a 2.6 mile one way circular path with a handset filling you in on the history of Stonehenge.
The tour does bring visitors quite close to Stonehenge so it is possible to get some great photos. As always queues at Stonehenge can be lengthy so you may want to book a skip the line ticket for Stonehenge.
12. The Alhambra, Spain
Located in Granada, Spain, the Alhambra is a palace and a fortress. It began as a small fortress which was built in 889 and was turned into a palace in the 13th century.
The name Alhambra comes from the arabic for “red or crimson castle“. But it is not just a castle. It is also a royal palace, a fortrees, gardens, a town and a summer retreat. It became a UNESCO site in 1984 and receives about 2.7 million visitors every year.
Tickets to the Alhambra can be purchased up to one year in advance and there are 6 different ticket options depending on what you want to see and experience in your tour. None of these options come with a guide and you can book skip the line ticket for the Alhambra.
13. Buckingham Palace, England
Buckingham Palace began life as a house. The core of today’s palace was built as a home for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703. It was acquired by King George II in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte.
The building was enlarged in the 19th century and became the London home of the monarch under Queen Victoria in 1837. Today it is still the home to the monarch Queen Elizabeth.
Unlike some of the landmarks in this article, Buckingham Palace is still very much a working palace. It regularly plays a large role in major events in the United Kingdom with the Queen and her family appearing on the balcony for key events.
Buckingham Palace is only open to the public between July and October. Visitors can see the State Rooms and the gardens. If you are visiting at other times of the year the closest you can get is outside the gates (which still allows for some good photos), seeing the free changing of the guard, or visiting the Royal Mews.
14. The Sistine Chapel, Italy
The Sistine Chapel is is a chapel in Vatican City. The chapel was restored between 1473 and 1481. However, it was between 1508 and 1512 that Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the chapel in what is regarded as one of the most significant artistic accomplishments of all time.
Today the Sistine Chapel is where the papal enclave is held. This is the process by which a new pope is selected.
It is not possible to visit The Sistine Chapel on its own – you must have a ticket for the Vatican Museums. The Sistine Chapel is actually free to visit once you have a ticket for the Vatican.
⇒ Book your skip the line ticket for the Vatican.
15. The Trevi Fountain, Italy
The Trevi Fountain is located at a junction of three roads and was one of the original sources of water in Ancient Rome. A competition was held in the 1700s by Pope Clement XII for a new design for the fountain. Nicola Salvi was awarded the prize.
The Trevi Fountain was finished in 1762, 11 years after Salvi died. Work on the fountain was completed by four other sculptors. More recently restorations have been conducted in 1988, 1998 and 2013.
Legend has it that if you throw one coin into the Trevi Fountain you will return to Rome. Two coins mean that you will return to Rome and you will fall in love. Three coins mean you will return to Rome, find love and marry.
The coin is supposed to be thrown by the right hand over the left shoulder for maximum results. In 2016 about USD$1.5 million was thrown into the Trevi Fountain. The money goes to the needy of Rome.
The Trevi Fountain is free to visit and gets very busy. The hours between midday and 7 pm tend to be the busiest so do try to avoid them. The fountain lights up once the sun goes down which can make for some lovely photos.
16. Notre Dame, France
Notre Dame’s full name is Notre Dame de Paris. This means Our Lady of Paris. Construction of the cathedral began in 1160 and was mostly completed by 1260.
Notre Dame was damaged during the French Revolution in the 1790s. But it was Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame that really drove interest in the cathedral.
In April of 2019 Notre Dame caught fire whilst it was being restored. Serious damage was done but restoration plans began quickly. The aim is for Notre Dame to be restored to all of its glory for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Unfortunately it is not possible to visit the inside of the Cathedral during this restoration work. However, it is of course possible to come and see this stunning building.
17. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Italy
This Renaissance-inspired church in Florence is the third-largest in Italy, standing 90 meters wide and 152 meters long. Arnolfo di Cambio was responsible for designing it in 1296, but it was the architect Filippo Brunelleschi who added the cathedral’s prominent dome during the 15th century.
The exterior of the Duomo di Firenze has been done with stunning, colourful marble work. Inside, you’ll find spectacular artworks adorning the ceilings.
The cathedral is located in the square Piazza del Duomo, and entrance is free. However, you’ll need to purchase tickets to see the other monuments in the square, such as Giotto’s Campanile.
18. The Pantheon, Italy
This famous landmark in Italy is another must-see sight to put on your list. The Pantheon in Rome was first constructed in 27 BC as a temple for the pagan Roman gods. It was later destroyed by a fire and rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in 120 AD.
This monument is open to the public, and free of charge every day of the week except during mass and on some national holidays. To get to the Pantheon, you’ll have to go on foot as there are no train stations nearby and the streets are far too narrow for buses to pass through. But you’re sure to enjoy meandering through the Italian streets, particularly if you stop for gelato.
19. Pompeii, Italy
This ancient town near Naples is one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions, with around 2.5 million visitors annually. Pompeii was once a lively city until Mount Versuvius erupted – covering everything in larvae and turning the city into an archaeological site.
Top attractions to see in Pompeii include the Thermal Baths, Great Theater of Pompeii and Temples. You’ll also get to see preserved artworks and mosaics.
Taking a guided tour here is highly recommended, as you’ll not only learn about Pompeii’s history but also get to skip most of the queues. If you’d like to discover the ruins on your own, you can easily catch a train from Naples or Rome.
20. Mount Lycabettus, Greece
Mount Lycabettus stands proudly as the tallest of seven hills in Athens. It’s a prominent feature of the Athens skyline and the views from the top include the entire city, the sea and the mountains of the Peloponnese.
Climbing Mount Lycabettus in Greece is a perfect activity for nature-lovers who enjoy breaking a sweat while touring a new country. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views and the tiny Agios Georgios (Chapel of St. George).
There are several routes to choose from and the walk along the steep path to Mount Lycabettus can take between 30 to 90 minutes (depending on fitness).
21. Le Centre de Pompidou, France
Opened in 1977, Le Centre de Pompidou is a modern art museum with over 100,000 works of art. When it opened, its high-tech architecture was very cutting edge. The centre is located in the 4th arrondissement of Paris near Les Halles and it is the largest museum for modern art in Europe.
The building was named after ex-French President Georges Pompidou. The building covers 5 acres and has 7 floors. The design is based on the “open approach” to architecture. Nearly 15,000 tons of steel lattices went into this modern art museum as well as glass facades and metal frames.
The result is a building that almost looks like it is inside out. The pipes, cables, plumbing and all the other “internals” are external and colourful.
In addition to art exhibits, the Centre Pompidou also has a public library, a research centre for acoustics and music and more. And don’t miss the fantastic views of Paris from top of the Pompidou Centre.
The Pompidou Plaza in front of the museum is also known for its street performers and home to other cultural activities.
22. Saint Mark’s Basilica, Italy
Venice is an incredible city, filled with impressive churches and beautiful Venetian palaces, but this basilica is definitely the top attraction to see. It was first built in the early 9th century but was rebuilt in 1063 after a fire destroyed it.
Outside, you’ll see gorgeous Byzantine architecture. Inside, you can admire intricate mosaics and other relics. For an unforgettable experience, you should definitely consider a guided tour that takes you to both Saint Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace.
To get to these popular tourist attractions, you can step onto a Vaporetto for a trip (they’re quite affordable) through the Venetian canals. Alternatively, you can reach the basilica on foot, but keep in mind that it’s on the southern end of Venice. The closest bridge is the Ponte dell’Accademia.
23. Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre translates to ‘five towns’ and this name was given to the five magnificent villages (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore) located along the Italian Riviera.
Once you arrive here, you’ll quickly appreciate the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. While visiting Cinque Terre, you can enjoy hearty Italian meals and gelato, take a dip at Manarola beach or go snorkelling near Riomaggiore.
To reach this destination, you can drive along the twisting coastal roads yourself or catch a train from Genoa to La Spezia. If you’re planning on travelling here from Florence, then a guided tour is highly recommended.
24. Place de La Concorde, France
Located between the Champs Elysee and the Tuileries Gardens, Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris. During the French Revolution, the square was renamed for a time as the Place de la Revolution. This was where King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed.
Between 1836 and 1840 an Egyptian obelisk that was already 3,300 years old was placed in Place de La Concorde. Around this time, two beautiful fountains were added to the square.
Today, Place de La Concorde is the finish line for the Tour de France and also home to the beautiful Hotel Crillon.
25. Casa Batlló, Spain
Casa Batlló is a big and beautiful building in the heart of Barcelona. Designed in 1904 by famed Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, it’s considered one of his most famous works of art.
The unique layout of the building is truly mesmerising. It showcases Modern architecture, Expressionist architecture, and Modernisme.
It features unusual tracery, mismatched oval and rectangle windows, protruding balconies, and colourful ceramic tiles. The arched roof has a scaly appearance and has been compared to that of a dragon or a dinosaur. It’s one of the most bizarre and wonderful landmarks of Spain.
The interior is just as fascinating. It’s worth booking a tour to explore the full package.
26. The Parthenon, Greece
Anyone who visits the Acropolis will also have access to the adjacent Parthenon in Athens with a combination ticket. The archaeological site was originally at the heart of religion while Greece was a powerful empire.
Although the Parthenon is in ruins, it was a large and lavish building that told of Greek wealth.
The temple was built between 447 and 432 B.C when the Greek Empire was at its height of influence. Over the years, the bold structure stood against earthquakes, wars, looting and fire.
While it no longer stands complete, the Parthenon is a powerful symbol of ancient Greek culture.
⇒ Book your private Athens full-day sightseeing tour.
27. The Amalfi Coast, Italy
The idyllic weather, charming streets and natural beauty have been drawing people from all parts of the globe to the Amalfi Coast. The mountainous coast is dotted with magical vacation homes, hotels and restaurants.
Travelling to the coast between May and October provides you with vibey streets, fantastic weather, cultural events and warm waters. Naturally, the streets and beaches are buzzing with tourists, which means that booking accommodation and transportation is absolutely essential.
The coast is the perfect place for spending an extended trip. The area is made up of 13 different municipalities, each deemed a UNESCO heritage site. Exploring each area reveals new towns with different traditions and aesthetics.
28. Palazzo Ducale (the Doge’s Palace), Italy
The Doge’s Palace or Palazzo Ducale was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme leader of what was then a republic. It was also home to the Great Council and the Council of Ten. There were law courts, stairways, courtyards, and even prison cells – this is a big palace!
Built in 1340 Palazzo Ducale became a museum in 1923 and the palace is located on St Mark’s Square. When it comes to purchasing tickets, Doge’s Palace is included in Saint Mark’s Square museum pass which represents good value if you intend to visit all of those museums.
Another fantastic option is to book the Secret Itineraries Tour. This tour includes the less well-known elements of the Palazzo Ducale such as secret passageways, prisons, and the gorgeous yet infamous Bridge of Sighs (as the view was the last thing that prisoners saw before being escorted down to their cells).
29. Sacré-Cœur Basilica, France
France is home to some of the most exquisite palaces, cathedrals and monuments and the Sacré-Cœur is no exception. Situated on the highest natural point in Paris, giving you sweeping aerial views of the city as it wakes and turns golden.
Climb the stairs up the hill going towards the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Once you are at the top facing the Basilica, turn to the city. This is one of the best places to watch the sunrise in Paris.
From here you will be able to see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe in the distance. But the most impressive view is that of the horizon turning pink as the sun rises.
Take this opportunity to explore the Montmartre neighbourhood where you will find quaint cafes serving delicious coffee and fresh pastries.
30. Tower Bridge, England
London is known for its grand structures and bridges and Tower Bridge has got to be one of the most picturesque of them all. With its fairytale look, the bridge is equally as beautiful at night when it is lit up, reflecting its beauty onto the River Thames.
Completed in 1894, Tower Bridge is perhaps the most iconic of all of London’s bridges. Let’s start with the fact that it is often confused with London Bridge, best known from children’s nursery rhymes.
Tower Bridge is quite beautiful whereas London Bridge is a bit more of a plain Jane. So London Bridge has the brand name fame but Tower Bridge is the supermodel in real life.
The bridge was originally painted in chocolate brown but in 1977 it was repainted in blue, white, and red for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. It looked so fantastic that those colours have remained.
Tower Bridge is also famous for the fact that it is both a suspension and a drawbridge – and that it continues to lift every day. The bridge is 244 metres long and is 42 metres above the Thames. It is both a road and a footbridge and 40,000 people cross it every day.
Unsurprisingly, the bridge takes its name its neighbour the Tower of London.
Take a look behind the scenes at the famous bridge and discover areas such as the machinery room, which houses the hydraulic system that allows the bridge to rise for river traffic.
Plan Your Visit to Tower Bridge to see if you can watch the bridge lift – check the website to find out the dates and times for scheduled bridge lifts.
Entry to Tower Bridge gets you into the engine room, up to some amazing views, and best of all access to the glass floor if you don’t suffer from vertigo. I highly recommend visiting the bridge for the views and that glass floor.
31. Catedral de Sevilla, Spain
Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. Construction began in 1401, but it wasn’t completed until 1528, more than one hundred years later. It was built to impress, or more specifically, demonstrate Seville’s wealth and power.
The structure contains 80 chapels, and 15 doors are spread out over the building’s four facades. The interior holds the record as having the longest nave of any cathedral in Spain. It also houses the tomb of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus and his son, Diego Columbus.
To receive a more detailed look at the cathedral, book a skip the line ticket and enjoy a tour with an official guide.
32. St Paul’s Cathedral, London
This gorgeous Cathedral is a must-see in London, even if you are only there for a few days. Situated on Ludgate Hill, the highest part of the city, this English landmark is a gorgeous addition to London’s skyline.
For over 1400 years St Paul’s Cathedral has stood at the highest point of the City of London on Ludgate Hill. Do remember the actual City of London is a very small part – more like a suburb – of what the rest of the world thinks of as London so this still holds true.
St Paul’s has dominated the London skyline for over 300 years with its famous dome. It is 111 metres high and was the highest building in London until 1963. It is still the highest dome in the world.
St Paul’s has been home to some of the most historic religious events in English history from the funeral of Winston Churchill to the wedding of Price Charles and Lady Diana.
The highlight of a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral London is climbing the 560 steps to the top of the Dome and the Whispering Gallery. This circular enclosure provides fantastic views of the inside of the Cathedral. The outdoor viewing platform offers fantastic views of London.
If you’re visiting on a weekday try to time your trip for 5pm when a choral evensong takes place. The church bell’s at St Pauls are rung on Sundays.
Book your ticket for St Paul’s Cathedral online before you go to save time spent in the queue and for a small discount.
A great way to experience the Cathedral is with a guided walking tour of St Paul’s which also covers the Westminster area.
33. Arena di Verona, Italy
Home of Opera and Romeo and Juliet lovely Verona also has bags of Italian charm. It is a very walkable city and easy to get around.
The Arena di Verona is a highlight of any trip to this beautiful city in Italy. Visit during the day to get some great photos. I highly encourage you to book opera tickets before you head to Verona.
I am not the biggest opera fan but attending the opera in Verona in this beautiful amphitheater was a very memorable experience.
Climb to the top of Torre dei Lamberti for some fantastic views over Verona and enjoy the square where it is located, Piazza Delle Erbe.
Casa di Giulietta is Juliet’s house. The courtyard area is free to visit but you’ll need to pay if you want to step onto the balcony. Sure it’s a bit cheesy but seeing Juliet’s balcony is a must do in Verona.
34. Pitti Palace, Italy
Originally the home of an ambitious banker, this palace was purchased by Florence’s famous Medici family in 1549. The Grand Duchy of Tuscany then used Palazzo Pitti as its main residence and as a place to store its many growing treasures.
In the late 18th century Napoleon used Palazzo Pitti for a while and the palace was then donated to the people of Italy in 1919.
Today Palazzo Pitti consists of several different galleries and it is now the largest museum complex in Florence. The best known of the galleries is the Palatine Gallery which contains over 500 Renaissance paintings.
The palace also has a modern art museum, a costume gallery and even a carriages museum. One ticket covers entry to all of the galleries and museums within Pitti Palace.
35. The Palace of Versailles, France
What once was the official residence of France’s royals – before the French Revolution – is now a jewel of French Baroque architecture and is by far one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe. The Palace of Versailles contains 2,300 rooms of many kinds and is spread over 63,154 m2.
Feast your eyes on dazzling chandeliers and the painted ceiling in the Hall of Mirrors; it’s truly remarkable. The palace is surrounded by stunning French gardens designed by the famous landscape designer, André Le Notre. You’ll find sculptures, fountains, and water features dotted throughout the area.
With nearly 10 million visitors every year, I highly recommend you book a tour to discover Versailles Palace and Gardens to learn more about this incredible French landmark.
36. Blenheim Palace, England
Blenheim Palace is the only non-Royal, non-Episcopal house in England to be called a palace. It is the principal residence of the Duke of Marlborough. However, I think the most notable thing about Blenheim Palaces is that it was the birthplace and the ancestral home of Winston Churchill.
There is an excellent exhibition of Winston Churchill in the suite of rooms in which he was born.
Today, Blenheim Palace is a UNESCO site, has been used as a location for many films and it serves a Champagne afternoon tea! Plus there are beautiful gardens as well as a park to visit. Book your Blenheim Palace tickets online before you go.
37. Tower of London, England
The Tower of London was built 1000 years ago by William the Conqueror. At the time, England had seen nothing like it before. His intention was to create a building that would both defend and proclaim his royal power.
The stones which built the Tower of London came from Caen in France and it took 20 years to construct. Over the centuries, Kings and Queens have used the Tower to protect both themselves and their possessions.
The Tower of London also used to control the supply of money in England. All coins were made at the Tower until 1810. It has always been tradition for the valuables of the Royal Family to be kept at the Tower, which is still the case today with the Crown Jewels.
Almost as recognisable as the Tower of London are the Yeoman Warders who were originally part of the Monarch’s team of bodyguards. Henry VIII decreed that some of these bodyguards should base themselves at the Tower.
Today, the Yeomans or Beef Eaters continue to guard the Tower and carry out ceremonial duties. They also carry out some very entertaining tours of the Tower of London.
The darker side of the Tower of London is that it was a prison for over 800 years. Being “sent to the Tower” was a terrifying fate. Perhaps most famously, Anne Boelyn was held her before her death which took place on Tower Green.
The best way to visit the Tower of London is to pre-book your ticket and arrival time online. Tickets cover entry to all areas including the Crown Jewels.
38. Château de Chenonceau, France
There are more than 300 castles in the Loire Valley, with Château de Chenonceau being one of the most beautiful, nestled on the Cher River. It was initially built in the 15th century and later rebuilt in the 16th century.
Chenonceau is not only incredible for its beautiful castle but also for its manicured gardens and canals. There are currently 42 castles listed as UNESCO world heritage sites dotted throughout the Loire Valley; take a full-day tour and explore these fairytale spaces.
Chateau de Chenonceau is located in the Loire Valley in France on the River Cher. Whilst the first mention of the estate was in the 11th century, the current version was built between 1514 and 1522.
The stunning bridge over the River Cher was built between 1556 and 1559. Catherine de Medici took control of this French castle in 1559 and it became her favourite residence. The first-ever display of fireworks in France took place here in 1560.
Chenonceau Castle was taken over by the Germans during World War 2 and bombed by both sides of the war. Its restoration began in 1951.
Today this European castle is open every day of the year – opening and closing times vary with the seasons.
34. Mt Etna, Italy
Mt Etna is stunning and definitely, a Sicily must-see. I originally planned to climb Mt Etna Sicily – however, the August weather put me off. Having said that I had of course forgotten that you start the climb quite a bit above sea level where it was much cooler and this would have been fine.
Indeed I saw many people climbing from the cable car. However, Mt Etna very steep and the scenery quite same same so not sure how interesting a trek it would have been.
Anyway, whether you climb Mt Etna or not it is still one of the top sights in Sicily and one of the major Sicily tourist attractions. The bus took me up to the base of Mt Etna with a stop for Sicilian food products on the way.
Once there you take a cable car and then a small bus up to the summit. From here you can wander the summit on your own.
Mt Etna is quite stunning. The summit itself is an unusual and very photogenic landscape. There are also some fantastic views over Sicily.
The Mt Etna hike from the top is very light physically – just wear fairly sensible shoes. After checking out the summit you then head back down the same way. I was back at the main bus station in Taormina by mid-afternoon.
35. 30 St Mary Axe or The Gherkin, England
The Gherkin is the nickname given to the building that is at 30 St Mary Axe in the City of London. It is a commercial skyscraper with a modern design that opened in 2004. Personally, I am a big fan of its modern style.
Elevators heading up the Gherkin move at a speed of 6 metres per second. The buiding is covered by 24,000 square metres of glass which is the equivalent of five football pitches.
The Gherkin has 41 floors. On the 40th floor is the Iris Bar and the Helix Restaurant. Friday and Saturday nights at the Iris Bar are Apertivo time. Cocktails and snacks are served with awesome sunset views.
36. Mont Saint-Michel, France
Mont Saint Michel is found nestled on a small island beside Normandy’s coast. This impressive landmark was first erected in 708 and was one of the first monuments first inscribed as a Unesco World Heritage site in 1979.
From afar, together with the Abbey, it looks like one magnificent medieval structure. However, as you get closer, you’ll find an entire town whose medieval features are still intact.
Although it’s nestled on a rock, this incredible place turns into an island when the tide comes in, making it an even more incredible sight.
A great way to experience this impressive medieval architecture is to climb to the Abbey. You can also walk around the ramparts and explore its only street, Grand-Rue. If you’re coming from Paris, there are some incredible day trips to explore Mont Saint-Michael.
37. Windsor Castle, England
You can’t travel to the UK without a visit to Windsor Castle. Not only is this the Queen’s official residence but it’s the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.
Known for its spectacular architecture and association with the royal family, you will be left captivated by the beauty of this castle. And if castles are your thing check out the best castles in Cornwall.
Lovely Windsor Castle is not only The Queen’s home away from home in the United Kingdom and it is also where Harry and Meghan were married.
Windsor is just over 25 miles west of London and easily reached by train on a 35-minute journey.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The chapel is open to visitors Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
⇒ As Windsor Castle is a working palace it is subject to last-minute closures. It is generally open most days between 10 am and 4 pm and closes at 3 pm in the Winter. Buy your Windsor Castle tickets ahead online to skip the queues.
38. White Cliffs of Dover, England
Chalky white cliffs hugging the shoreline of Kent have got to be one of the most incredible natural views in England. The cliffs became a signal of hope for troops returning from World Wars across the English Channel. These days, they’re a symbol of the beauty of England.
There are also other great things to see along the cliffs, including the Victorian South Foreland Lighthouse. If you are heading to the White Cliffs of Dover, stay and explore Kent for a few days, and stay in one of the gorgeous boutique hotels in Kent.
39. Monasteries of Meteora, Greece
There are six operating monasteries in Meteora, a place where time and culture seem frozen in time. Made up of a striking rock formation, Meteora is located in central Greece and is home to a beautifully located group of monasteries.
The sight of clustered religious homes on top of the steep rocks is spellbinding. Although the Monasteries of Meteora Greece look tricky to get to, it is surprisingly accessible. It requires visitors to drive to a parking lot and then hike the trail to the monastery that they wish to visit.
Take the time to soak up the incredible panoramic views from the top and bask in the ambient energy of the spiritual sites.
To enjoy this Greek tourist attraction at your own pace, try to plan your route in advance to avoid the crowds and reduce the amount of energy you expend.
40. Royal Alcázar of Seville, Spain
The Royal Alcázar of Seville is one of the most famous Spanish landmarks and a beautiful piece of history. The origin of the complex dates back to 712, but the primary construction process started in the 14th century.
It continued for hundreds of years with many different architectural styles added, including Gothic, Renaissance, and Romanesque.
A fun fact about the palace is that the Spanish royal family still use it as their residence when they visit Seville. You can tour the Alcázar and discover all of its wonders. The lavish tile decorations, richly decorated rooms and scenic gardens will enchant you.
41. St. Michael’s Mount, England
This iconic Cornwall castle is easily recognized for its grand and dramatic appearance. Situated on an island in Mount’s Bay, you can’t miss a visit to this architectural masterpiece.
It is estimated that the first structure was built on the site in the 12th Century. The impressive structure has since been built up over time to be the size that it is today.
The castle is open to the public and you’ll be in awe as you learn about its history. It has endured and survived military action in a number of wars, including two sieges.
The castle isn’t the only thing you’ll enjoy about visiting the tidal island. It is also home to charming winding streets, quaint shops and wonderful restaurants. A trip to St Michael’s Mount makes for a magical day of sightseeing.
42. British Museum, England
Founded in 1753, the British Museum was the first public museum in the world. The museum covers all fields of human knowledge and entry remains free of charge.
When it opened in 1759 it was intended by Parliament that it would open its doors for “all studious and curious persons”. Today, the British Museum receives over 6 million visitors a year.
The museum is located in the heart of Bloomsbury in London. It has four wings and 43 columns inspired by Greek temples. It was intended to emulate Greek architecture.
Highlights of any visit to the British Museum include visiting the Reading Room which was completed in 1857 and the considerably newer Great Court, which opened in 2000.
The Great Court is certainly my favourite area of the British Museum. It is a two acre space enclosed by a beautiful glass room and the Reading Room sits at the middle.
The magnificent glass roof is made up of 3,312 individual panels, and no two panels are the same shape. The roof is just over 26 metres above floor level at its highest point, giving a fantastic feeling of space to the area.
The museum is divided into different galleries which are organised by periods of time or locations. As you would expect, the British Museum gets very busy.
Tickets must be booked online whether they are for the general free admission or for paid exhibitions.
43. The London Eye, England
What better way to see a London than from the London Eye – nestled in the heart of the city. Choose from one of the 32 capsules to soar above the city, drinking in a 360-degree view of London and the ever-changing skies.
Rising before the South Bank, the iconic Ferris wheel allows its visitors to catch views of the River Thames, glimpse Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben. And on a clear day, you’ll be able to see as far as Windsor Castle in the distance.
Sunset rides on the London Eye are especially popular, so don’t forget to book your seat in advance if you want a guaranteed ride during sunset.
If you don’t get a spot on the wheel, why not take a London Eye River Cruise on the River Thames to catch the stunning sunsets.
44. The Republic of San Marino
San Marino is the oldest republic in the world and it has never been taken over by anyone. This small country of just 61 square kilometres sits on top of a hill and overlooks the Italian countryside.
San Marino is home to just 30,000 people but has its own police, its own schools and it doesn’t belong to the European Union.
Taxes are lower in San Marino but it is not a tax haven as it is literally impossible to buy your way into the republic. Only citizens of San Marino can rent a house let alone buy one.
Everyone in San Marino has a job and they have 2 presidents at any given time. And the people in these roles change every 6 months.
In addition to all of these interesting facts, it is also rather beautiful and there are loads of things to do in San Marino that are very Instagram friendly.
A hilltop town in Italy is always going to be at least a base level of photogenic. San Marino then has multiple sculptures, is mostly pedestrianized with lovely paved streets, excellent use of flowers throughout the country and amazing views everywhere.
The highlight of San Marino is walking to the very top of the country and its famous three towers which date back to the 11th century.
Two of the towers were still used as prisons up to the 1960s. It is possible to visit 2 of the 3 SanMarino towers and climb high inside (don’t if you don’t like heights as one involves a ladder) and get some amazing views of both San Marino and the surrounding Italian countryside.
Another way to get some fantastic views of the Italian countryside is to take the compact San Marino funicular. The funicular will bring you up into the main square of San Marino.
45. Mont Blanc, France
Mont Blanc, also known as White Mountain, is the highest peak in the Alps, reaching a lofty 4,804 meters (15,774 ft) above sea level. The Massif is located between France and Italy and is a must-see for outdoor lovers and nature enthusiasts.
For a gobsmacking scenery, take a cable car up to the top of Mont Blanc, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Alpine range. As well as some popular ski resorts like Chamonix in France and Courmayeur in Italy.
There are also different excursions to uncover spectacular viewpoints of alpine lakes, glaciers, and ice falls. Such as taking the Tramway or embark on a Tour du Mont Blanc hiking trip, one of the world’s most luxurious trails.
46. Westminster Abbey, England
Westminster Abbey is perhaps best known for the weddings it has held. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip and Prince William and Kate Middleton were married at Westminster Abbey in London.
The Abbey dates back to 1050 when Benedictine monks first travelled to the site to set up a coronation church. The version of Westminster Abbey which we see today was constructed between 1245 and 1272.
Westminster Abbey is still a working church today. It is also open to the public. The Royal Tombs and the Poet’s Corner are the most popular sections. They are home to the resting places of well known names such as Mary Queen of Scots, Charles Dickens, John Keats and many others.
⇒ Westminster Abbey is usually open to visitors Mon-Sat from 930am to 330pm. Tickets for Westminster Abbey can be purchased online. The Westminster Abbey website also offers free online virtual tours.
47. Viaduc de Garabit, France
Viaduc de Garabit is a railway arch bridge that crosses over the River Truyère, near Ruynes-en-Margeride, France. It was designed by famed French civil engineer Gustave Eiffel, the same man who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The bridge was constructed from 1882 to 1884. It opened in 1885 and was, at the time of its completion, the world’s highest arch bridge. The brilliant red iron bridge is a masterpiece of civil engineering.
It’s so large, it can easily be seen from afar, especially in the evenings during the summer months when it is beautifully illuminated.
48. Alcázar de Toledo, Spain
Alcázar de Toledo is a large stone fortification that resides on the highest point in the city. The original construct of the palace began in 1531.
However, much of the building had to be rebuilt. This was following the destruction caused to it following the Spanish Civil War that took place from 1936 to 1939.
The fortress’ ideal positioning allows you to effortlessly capture beautiful pictures of Toledo and the surrounding area. The interior has been wonderfully restored and houses a Spanish army museum.
If you want an easy option for sightseeing Toledo and visiting the Alcázar de Toledo, book a Silver Ticket for the city’s hop-on-hop-off bus tour.
49. York Minster, England
Since the 7th century, York Minster has been the centre of Christianity in the north of England and is one of the most magnificent cathedrals in the world.
It is still an extremely active working church and it is a fascinating place to visit.
Free guided tours of York Minster are run daily. Each weekday at 130pm a special free tour is run which focuses on the stained glass windows of the Cathedral.
I highly recommend taking this tour. The stories that the stained glass windows tell are utterly fascinating.
The Hidden Minster Tours are also well worth taking. It is possible to go inside the Cathedral roof and see how the church was built – and to understand how difficult it would be to restore.
50. Palace of the Popes, France
The Palace of the Popes is the world’s largest medieval gothic palace. In 1305, Pope Clement V decided to move the Papacy from Rome to Avignon to avoid political issues.
This 15,000 square metre palace ended up housing a library and was a meeting point for philosophers, musicians and all sorts of artists. Alas, these days were not to last that long as the papacy returned to Rome in 1403.
Today this rather large palace is a UNESCO site and it is open to the public daily. A ticket covers the frescoes, bedrooms, chapels and more.
51. Nelson’s Column, England
Nelson’s Column is the name of the statue which sits in London’s Trafalgar Square. This London monument was built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson who died in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Nelson’s Column was completed in 1843 and refurbished in 2006. This monument in London is just under 52 metres tall and is decorated with four bronze panels.
Trafalgar Square, the home of Nelson’s Column, was established in the early 19th century. The area had been one of significance since the 1200s.
Today it is the home of the National Gallery, St Martins in the Field Church, Canada House, South Africa House and its beautiful fountain.
52. Winchester Cathedral, England
Construction of this world-famous cathedral was begun in 1079 by William the Conqueror. Indeed, Winchester was the first city which he visited after 1066 as it was the location of the treasury at the time.
William was keen to show the Saxons how amazingly advanced the Normans were and the construction of Winchester Cathedral was one of the ways – something we can still appreciate today.
Winchester Cathedral is still a working cathedral and a critical part of the Winchester community. The exterior of the building is stunning.
I found late afternoon was the best time to photograph the front of the cathedral. The interior is also very photogenic – particularly the stained glass windows.
Free guided tours of Winchester Cathedral run on the hour between 10 and 3. I took one of these and it is the best way to find out more about the Cathedral and to find some good photo opportunities.
It is easy to miss the lovely relatively newly restored stained glass windows in the east of the building.
Winchester Cathedral is literally in the heart of historic Winchester and almost impossible to miss. The Cathedral is open every day of the year.
There is no fee for those who are only coming to worship but there is a fee for those of us wishing to come and take photos.
Although the Cathedral is open every day, there are events on etc so do check which parts of Winchester Cathedral are and aren’t open on the day that you plan to visit.
The website for Winchester Cathedral is excellent and will tell you everything you need to know for a great visit. And once you buy your ticket it is valid for a year so you can visit the Cathedral at different times of the day and in different lights for photos.
And Winchester Cathedral now appears on the British £10 note – next to Jane Austen appropriately.
53. Picadilly Circus, England
Picadilly Circus is located in the heart of London and perhaps best known for its bright neon advertising display. The circus is also home to the Eros fountain. It is very easy to find as exiting Picadilly Circus tube station will bring visitors into the heart of Picadilly Circus.
Picadilly Circus is located very close to several well known parts of London. On one side is Regent Street, filled with some of the most prestigious shopping in London and famed for its beautiful architecture. Shaftesbury Avenue takes visitors into the heart of Soho and Chinatown. And Leicester Square is only a five minute walk away.
54. Cathedral Santiago de Compostela, Spain
The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is a massive church of great historical and religious importance. Construction started in 1075 during the reign of Alfonso VI and slowly continued throughout the 12th and 13th centuries.
Over the years, many extensions were added on in various architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, Spanish Gothic, and Baroque. It’s a marvel of beauty, with an intricate facade depicting countless religious figures.
It’s one of the three known churches built over the tomb of one of Jesus’ apostles, Saint James. The other two churches are St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City and Thomas Cathedral Basilica in India.
Santiago de Compostela is very much a living city, with other attractions for travellers, pilgrim or not: countless restaurants and bars where you can enjoy the delicious seafood of Galicia, a UNESCO World Heritage old town centre, daring contemporary art… There’s plenty to do in this city which combines history with a younger modern side.
55. Chateau de Chambord, France
This stunning palace is the largest of the palaces and castles in France’s Loire Valley. It was commissioned by King Francis I and created by Leonardo da Vinci.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, Chambord is definitely a palace as the key reason that King Francis I commissioned the building was to demonstrate his power. Indeed, he only spent 50 days at Chateau de Chambord.
One of the most famous elements of Chambord is the double helix staircase which was designed by Leonardo da Vinci. It allowed guests to descend on one side without making eye contact with those guests ascending.
On top of that there are 60 rooms to visit, Salamanders on the ceilings, French gardens and a park as big as Paris! Yes, the park at Chambord is the same size as inner Paris and is the largest enclosed park in Europe.
Chateau de Chambord is open every day all year round apart from December 25 and January 1. Opening hours are slightly longer in the summer.
56. Hadrian’s Wall, England
Hadrian’s Wall was built in AD122 and the ruins of this UNESCO World Heritage Site are still standing today. The wall stretches for 73 miles from Wallsend to Bowness. Hadrian’s Wall is very popular with walkers as there is much to explore from old Roman forts to stunning landscapes to traditional English pubs.
57. Carcassone Castle, France
When I was in my early 20s backpacking (ugh) around Europe I visited Carcassone Castle and was absolutely blown away by its size and scale.
Carcassone is a fully fortified city in France – it is a walled city – in the South of France 80 kilometres east of Toulouse. It is one of the oldest surviving medieval walled cities in Europe. Only just as it was nearly destroyed in 1849 when fortifications went out of fashion.
This caste in France joined the UNESCO list in 1997. It is possible to visit the walled city at no charge but there is an entry fee for Carcassone Castle.
58. Abbey of Fontenay, France
Situated on a canal in Burgundy, Abbey de Fontenay is the oldest Cistercian Abbey in Europe. The abbey was founded in 1118 and sits over 1,200 hectares. The Abbey had a mostly peaceful history until it was confiscated during the French Revolution.
Following this the Abbey was converted into a paper mill and then paper factory. In 1906 the industrial activity ceased and the process of returning the Abbey of Fontenay began to be restored to its former glory.
The site was declared to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 and several movies have been filmed here including Cyrano de Bergerac. Today the Abbey has a small museum and guided tours run each day between mid April and mid November.
59. Omaha Beach, France
This beach in Normandy is best known for being where some of the most critical battles were fort during the famous Normandy Landings in 1944. The beach was in the American sector and sadly the number of Allied casualites was very high.
Today Omaha Beach has a war memorial monument and museum. Behind the beach is the American cemetery of Colleville Sur Mer. The nearest town is Bayeux which has further information on the battle including a war museum.
Buses run infrequently to Omaha Beach. It is best to visit via a tour or to have your own car. I can highly recommend visiting Normandy and Omaha Beach as well as the other sites in the region related to the famous Normandy Landings.
60. Strasbourg Cathedral, France
This magnificent Catholic Cathedral is considered to be one of the best examples of Rayonnant Gothic architecture. It is over 1000 years old and sits on what was the site of a Roman temple.
The building of Strasbourg Cathedral took the entire 13th century – something to keep in mind if you are building or renovating yourself! Today it is the sixth tallest church in the world. This is quite incredible considering that the highest structure of the church was built in the Middle Ages.
One of this gothic church’s most famous elements is its astronomical clock. The mechanics of the clock date back to 1842. At half-past 12 every day the movements of the clock’s characters attract the crowds.
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