European countries consistently dominate the ‘Most Visited Countries in the World’ rankings each year, with France, Spain, the UK, Germany and Italy often featuring towards the top of the list and it’s easy to see why. European cities offer world class sights combined with wonderful hotels. European history stretches back millenia, the food is amongst the most delicious cuisines to be found anywhere on the planet and let’s not forget the wine!
But deciding where to visit in Europe is a wonderful dilemma to have. Summer in Europe means gorgeous weather, amazing events, great music which you can read about on this article on Great European Festivals. Winter brings its own beauty too with Christmas markets, snow capped mountains and great skiiing.
Anyway, with so much choice, narrowing down the options is a difficult task to undertake but fear not, that’s what we’re here for. We’ve put together a list of the top five sights Europe has to offer, so feel free to work through this list if you’re struggling to make a decision:
A) The Leaning Tower of Pisa; Pisa, Italy
Home to the most wonderful cliched photo of all time, you know the one when you have to pretend to be holiding the Leaning Tower up, the Tower of Pisa is one of the world’s most loved buildings. It’s now the best part of a thousand years old, and believe it or not it’s actually still possible to climb. For around eighten euro, you reserve a time and up you go. The view from the top is quite impressive, and actually you’ll see that the famous leaning tower isn’t the only building to be suffering from the lop sided angle, due to the marshy grounds in the area, a few other buildings are leaning in dubious directions too.
B) The Eiffel Tower; Paris, France
The city of Romance offers the perfect spot for lovers to declare their undying love for each other. The Eiffel tower holds the unofficial title of the home to the most proposals anywhere in the world, and if you keep your eyes peeled when you’re around the tower, you’ll soon believe it. Not an hour goes by without some wannabe Romeo dropping to one knee. All very impressive, if a little cheesy.
The tower is undoubtedly beautiful, as our the surrounding gardens. Bringing a picnic along, and sitting near the base of the tower is a great way to spend an afternoon. And if you can face the queues to climb the tower, you’re rearded generously with some of Paris’ best views.
C) Buckingham Palace; London, the United Kingdom
Home to the world’s best known Monarch, Buckingham Palace is Queen Elizabeth of England’s official residence, and England’s most valuable building. During the summer you can actually enter the Palace and visit many of the state rooms, but be aware that you have to organise that online, and in advance. If you can’t manage that though, you can certainly witness the changing of the guards every Summer morning at 11:30am, and every other day for the rest of the year. There are huge crowds every morning though, so try to arrive an hour or so early to grab a great spot, or you’ll be forced to watch the back of hundreds of people’s head instead.
D) Sagrada Familia; Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona’s iconic landmark. the Sagrada Familia is a breathtakingly beautiful church. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, the church attracts huge numbers of tourists every day so try to come early and avoid the crowds. Furthermore, rather than join the heavy queues for tickets, it’s possible to book your ticket online, choose your time and skip past the less-preapred travelers.
Designed by Antoni Gaudi, the architecture has never failed to amaze the tourists. Although it’s technically not finished, the imposing height is hugely impressive however Gaudi planned to make it equal in height to the nearby hills, believing that a man-made structure shouldn’t exceed the height of God’s natural beauty. Humble indeed.
E) Neuschwanstein Castle; Hohenschwangau, Germany
The inspiration behind the iconic Disney castle says a lot about this beauty. The most beautiful castle in the world, with a spectacular back-drop, the Neuschwanstein Castle is an absolute must see for any trip to Europe. It’s about a two hour drive from Munich to Fussen, a couple of km from the castle so a day trip from Munich is very manageable.
It’s best to visit the castle during the summer, due to the alitutude if the weather takes a turn for the worse, which is common in European winters, the visibility drops dramatically. For the true beauty, ideally you’ll have a blue sky so factor that into your planning.