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Western Europe

Exploring The Land Of Great Destinations & So Much More!

Europe is endlessly attractive to all types of travelers. The continent is a concentration of a huge number of cultural monuments, history, picturesque landscapes. Spread out over 10.5 million square kilometers; it is home to 43 nations with a total of 830 million people, nearly one-eighth of the world’s population.

Europe is synonymous with civilization, enlightenment, culture, science, and art. With such “a rich background,” the continent is literally bursting with various cultural treasures: architectural and historical monuments, valuable samples of painting and sculpture, religious relics, and everything that the restless humanity has created during the long centuries of its existence on European soil.

The continent is a colorful, fragrant bouquet of countries, cities, and resorts. If we are to talk about types of attractions, well, there is hardly an activity that could not be found in this region.

If you want to lie on the beach, go to Italy, Spain, Bulgaria; if you like luxury excursions; go to France, Germany, Great Britain; in search of one-of-a-kind food experience; welcome to Greece, Italy; and if you dream “to party hard”; go to the French Riviera, Ibiza, or Monte Carlo…… See, Europe has it all!

Europe is usually divided into Northern and Southern, Western and Eastern, and Central. When it comes to planning a vacation in Europe, it can get quite hard to decide where to go. To help you choose which one (or ones) you want to go to, here is our list of the best European destinations.

Italy

The Colosseum, Italy
The Colosseum, Italy

Italy needs no introduction. The country has beaches, ski resorts, and medical springs. Not to forget, the ancient cities like Venice, Florence, Verona, Pisa, Palermo, and dozens of others! While there, you can almost literally breathe history, medieval cathedrals, castles, bridges, buildings from the Roman Empire.

Also, the splendor of the Vatican, which, although it is a separate state, is still in Rome. In addition, in most of the cities of Italy, there is a variety of festivals and celebrations held, which are often themselves a sight, such as the legendary Carnival in Venice, for example.

Some love Italy’s gorgeous cities – Venice, Rome, and Florence, to name a few. Others are drawn to the dreamy hills of Tuscany or the glamorous Amalfi Coast. From the Dolomites to the volcanic landscapes of Sicily, there are always peaks to climb and perfect panoramic views to enjoy.

But even a quiet meditative holiday in a pastoral area or on Lake Garda will make the most wonderful impression; the views alone, combined with delicious food, are worth the time spent on obtaining a Schengen visa and a flight.

The well-visited tourist attractions in Italy include the Roman Colosseum, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius, and the Renaissance treasures of Florence like the Florence Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore. Also, don’t forget to at least spend an evening on the romantic canals of Venice once in your life.

Italy should be visited at least once in a lifetime. It combines a rich culture, rich history, art, architecture, cuisine, and natural scenery…. What more could we ask for?

Top Attractions to Visit in Italy

  • The Colosseum 

It is the landmark of Rome, if not of all Italy: The Colosseum! The Colosseum is one of the most significant attractions, not only in Europe, but also in the world. It is the oldest amphitheater where gladiatorial fights took place. The history of the Colosseum is almost 2000 years old. It is located in the “eternal city” – Rome. Visiting the Colosseum and touching the centuries-old history is a must for every traveler.

Along with the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum measures 188 meters long, 156 meters wide, and 57 meters high, making it the largest Roman amphitheater and one of the best-preserved ones. The theater remained active for more than 500 years until the sixth century when the last games were held.

The Colosseum reflects the violent nature of the inhabitants of that time, who took pleasure in gladiatorial fights. Bearing in mind that the Colosseum in Rome is considered one of the seven new wonders of the world, it deservedly takes first place in our list of the best sights in Europe. It would be a shame to make it to Italy and not touch these ancient stones with a two-thousand-year history of heroism and human tragedies.

  • Peter’s Cathedral

Even those who are far from art know about the great architect Michelangelo; and to really appreciate all the power and beauty of his work, you have to visit St. Peter’s Cathedral. The impressive St. Peter’s Cathedra is the main architectural dominant feature of the Vatican, the smallest state in the world, located within the city limits of Rome.

The sight of the cathedral takes everyone’s breath away. It was worked on by almost two dozen architects of different generations, including Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, and many others.

St. Peter’s Cathedral is the largest historic Christian church in the world, and the most important Catholic church, and one of the most beautiful ones in Europe. There are many turning points in the history of humanity that took place within this cathedral’s walls since the 17th century. Today, you can freely meet the Pope and celebrate the mass with him.

While there are many spectacular highlights at the cathedral, the Pietà of marble by Michelangelo still manages to steal the spotlight with fantastic realism of stone forms making St. Peter’s Cathedral one of the most exceptional places to visit.

Also, in the square in front of St. Peter’s cathedral, there is an obelisk left from the ancient circus of Nero, where Peter was martyred.

  • Leaning Tower of Pisa 

Of course, this list simply must include the famous “falling” tower, AKA the Tower of Pisa in the Italian city of Pisa. Part of the architectural complex of the famous Piazza Della Wonderland, the tower was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

The Tower of Pisa is one of the most important and most visited sights in Europe. Due to its attractiveness, it was even featured in the movie “Superman.” If you visit this Italian landmark, you should definitely take a typical photo against its backdrop.

It is worth mentioning that for several years now, contrary to its name, the tower has not fallen anymore. This is the result of years of work to strengthen its foundations. If this work had not been done, in a few decades, the tower would have finally completely collapsed, and the world-famous landmark would have disappeared from the face of the earth forever.

  • Venice

Venice is a must-see, not only because of the city’s famous romantic atmosphere, but also because of the picturesque narrow streets and Italian food. Besides, it has been announced that the city will completely disappear from the scene within 100 years, so you really have to go there for a few days.

A visit to St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace is a must of any trip to Venice. But Venice also has other things to offer. If you take the time to explore the city on foot, you will discover real treasures, for example, the island of Cannaregio. Venice is a unique city that you must visit at least once in your life.

  • Florence Cathedral

Another world-famous Italian building can be found in Florence. The city is considered the cradle of the Renaissance, and its world-famous cathedral is a reflection of that era. Especially impressive is the dome of the cathedral, which was built between 1418 and 1434.

The architect and sculptor Filippo Brunelleschi was the master-builder behind this magnificent work. It is a whopping 107 meters high and has a diameter of 45 meters. Even if you can hardly see the details because of the distance, the painting of the dome is absolutely worth seeing.

With its 4000 square meters, Florence Cathedral is considered the most extensive fresco cycle on a Christian theme in terms of area!

  • Pompeii

The city of Pompeii is certainly worth a visit. It is located at the foot of the active volcano and was buried by lava masses in 79 A.D. The two volcanic eruptions had tragic consequences as hardly any human life was left behind. Those who escaped were lucky; those who stayed were buried by lava and ash.

The once prosperous city of Pompeii was destroyed entirely. Only the archaeological excavations of the buildings are witnesses of the past. But these are very well preserved by the ash and tell you the history of the city.

The sculptures that were created from the human remains found under the lava masses in there are awe-inspiring. They show you the unsuccessful struggle for survival during the volcanic eruption.

France

Eiffel Tower, France
Eiffel Tower, France

The rich history and beautiful nature make France a magnet to tourists. An important role played by the fact that the country’s capital Paris has been proclaimed as one of the most romantic cities, where couples and newlyweds from around the world tend to fall in love. But not only the capital with its magnificent architecture and unique atmosphere attracts travelers to France.

France really has something to offer for everyone, history, and romance in Paris, sun, and a touch of glamour on the Côte d’Azur, picturesque villages in Provence, and the peaks of the French Alps with their top ski destinations. France is not only famous for its cuisine, but it also boasts impressive architecture and nature.

Tourists also love palaces and castles of the Loire Valley, the monastery of Mont Saint-Michel, the whole historical region of the Ile de France, the wineries and vineyards of Burgundy, the picturesque bays of Normandy and Brittany, to name a few!

Off the beaten track, Toulouse is one of France’s most beautiful and underrated cities with a unique history. Toulouse’s architecture, fabulous museums, historic churches, and great value for money make the city a perfect option for travelers looking for an alternative to Paris and Nice.

As for history lovers, there are a lot of remarkable places waiting for them in France. Gothic cathedrals, Romanesque churches, Renaissance castles, and neoclassical buildings from the 19th century are all there to be explored. The landscapes away from the cities are varied and picturesque; along the rivers Rhone, Loire, and Dordogne, you can discover the sometimes idyllic, sometimes imposing nature and dreamy villages.

If you think of sun and beaches, you will certainly think of Portugal, Spain, or Greece. However, France also has a very sunny region that is ideal for relaxing in summer. Further south, in the hinterland of Cannes, you will spend a stay in the region where the sun is the most present of all France. Near Cannes, you will find many sandy beaches, but also possibilities for family walks and kayaking. Under the Mediterranean sun, the Parc Naturel Régional des Préalpes d’Azur offers nice walking opportunities.

Top Attractions to Visit in France

  • The Eiffel Tower 

What is Paris without the Eiffel Tower? According to many tourists, the Eiffel Tower is the main attraction in Europe. Indeed, who has not heard about it or does not know what it looks like? An interesting fact about the tower: Eiffel Tower is the most visited and most photographed landmark in the world! Since its opening in 1889, the tower has been visited by around 300 million people!

It was built from 1887 to 1889 as the entrance gate to the World’s Fair and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The famous steel structure is named after its builder Gustave Eiffel.

The Eiffel Tower was designed by Emile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin, and it was built by French engineer Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris. The Eiffel Tower for 41 years, with its 330 meters, was also the tallest on the planet. It is a symbol not only of Paris, but of all of France.

At first, Parisians were not at all enthusiastic about the structure. Today, it attracts up to 6 million visitors from all over the world to the French capital every year. Actually, the plan was to dismantle the tower after 20 years.

Before getting its now-familiar gray paint job, the Eiffel Tower was painted red. During your visit, you can go up to the top observation deck; from there, you have the perfect panoramic view of Paris. Up to the second floor at 116 meters, you can either take an elevator or climb 704 steps.

  • The Louvre 

The Louvre is one of the largest and most popular museums in the world and it houses collections from all over the world. The Louvre Museum is the most visited museum in the world and one of the most famous sights in France.

A total of 35,000 works of art are exhibited in the former royal palace with the striking glass pyramid. The origins of today’s art collection date back to the 14th century, and you can still admire some of these pieces in the Louvre today.

The museum is divided into eight exhibition areas. One of the most famous works you will find in the Louvre is the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Paintings, sculptures, drawings, ceramics, archaeological finds, and other art objects are exhibited there as well.

Another notable works at the museum are to be found in the Oriental collection that includes exhibits of the advanced civilizations of the Near East from the Mediterranean to India; in the Egyptian collection, you can admire art from the origins to Cleopatra and many other exciting exhibits. The history of the Louvre itself is also covered in one part of the museum.

  • Côte d’Azur

This famous stretch of coastline on the French Mediterranean, Côte d’Azur, is considered a mecca for the rich. The Côte d’Azur stretches from Cassis near Marseille to the Italian border.

Particularly well known and popular with vacationers are the towns of Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Monaco, and Menton. However, don’t be put off by the elitist reputation of the Côte d’Azur and be sure to visit this region of France. You can make beautiful trips to the cities, go hiking in the unique nature of the Maritime Alps or spend a few days at the beach.

Make sure to visit the perfumery museum in Grasse. There, you will not only experience the exciting history of perfume production in France, but you can also buy unique fragrances on site.

  • Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe on the Place Charles-de-Gaulle belongs to Paris like the Eiffel Tower. It was built between 1806 and 1836 as a monument to the glory of the imperial armies. It was commissioned by Emperor Napoleon I. The Arc de Triomphe is part of the historical axis, and twelve avenues star from this square.

The building is also particularly worth seeing because of its many sculptures, which were commissioned in 1833. The east facade is decorated with the “Exodus of the Volunteers,” and you will also find impressive sculptures on the west facade, such as “Peace” by Antoine Etex.

From the terrace on the Arc de Triomphe, you have a magnificent view of the Champs-Elysées. Under the floor of the Arc de Triomphe is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the First World War. With its eternal flame, it commemorates the many dead who were never identified.

On New Year’s Eve, the Arc de Triomphe is also one of the most popular places to toast the new year. Here, locals and tourists alike gather to marvel at the spectacular light show on the facade every year.

  • Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris

Who doesn’t know Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris? Stories like “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” have made the medieval cathedral on the Seine Island Île de la Cité in Paris one of the most famous churches in the world.

Notre Dame de Paris is unique in its architecture and historical value. Its current appearance, as well as many other objects, has to do with Napoleon. At first, the cathedral was a temple to Jupiter; then, Napoleon specifically hired the architect Viollet-le-Duc to restore the temple and transform it into a Romanesque church.

In 2019, a fire broke out at the cathedral; the pictures of the fire of Notre Dame have additionally carried the name of the cathedral around the world. Surprisingly, Notre Dame Cathedral has been even more famous since the fire. At the very least, a visit to the entrance of the cathedral is a must part of a city break to Paris.

  • Champs-Elysées

Champs-Elysées is mentioned in almost all French works of literature. It was laid by the decree of Maria de Medici, and today it is a concentration of important places in France: the residence of the President, the Alley of Ambassadors, the Small and Great Palaces, and many other interesting objects. Among them are the Place Charles de Gaulle and the Arc de Triomphe.

Germany

Germany
Germany

Located in the heart of Europe, Germany is not only the industrial engine of the continent, but also the country that never ceases to amaze with its natural wonders and architectural sights. Beautiful in its diversity Germany offers travelers almost everything they could want.

In Germany, Berlin has a buzzing nightlife, Dusseldorf has historic districts, Baden-Baden is the place to relax and improve your health, Munich offers all kinds of beer at Oktoberfest, and Frankfurt has a Christmas market like no other! Of course, tourists who are looking to experience the German cuisine will find traditional dishes- especially the famous meat sausages – with interesting regional variations.

As for museums and historical architecture, well, Germany has plenty of those! It is impossible not to visit the fairy tale castle Neuschwanstein (the prototype of the castle of Sleeping Beauty, the logo of Disney), Cologne Cathedral, the Brandenburg Gate, and the remains of the Berlin Wall, the Old Pinakothek (one of the most famous art galleries in the world) and Pinakothek of the present in Munich.

In the south, you will find spectacular mountain landscapes in the Black Forest and romantic views, such as those offered by the fairy-tale castles of Bavarian King Ludwig II, which make southern Germany a popular travel destination, while the north on the North Sea and Baltic Sea beckons with beaches and islands. Germany has plenty to offer!

Top Attractions to Visit in Germany

  • Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle is internationally one of the most famous sights of Germany and one of the most popular sights in Bavaria. Over 1.5 million tourists from all over the world come to see the fairytale castle every year. Its location in the foothills of the Alps also makes it a popular tourist destination in Germany.

It was built from 1869 onwards by order of the Bavarian King Ludwig II. For him, Neuschwanstein represented the perfect ideal of a medieval knight’s castle. Today, the castle includes a bedroom in the neo-Gothic style, a living room with original preserved furniture, and the richly decorated throne room.

Neuschwanstein Castle is suitable for a trip with the family as well as for a vacation as a couple. Up to 6000 people visit the castle every day, so you should definitely book your ticket online in advance, as the number of visitors is limited.

  • Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate is the top sight in Berlin. There is hardly a postcard of the capital without a picture of the photogenic gate. The Brandenburg Gate was built from 1789 to 1793 as the end of the boulevard of the Dorotheenstadt.

Today, the classicist building also attracts so many visitors. The gate is inextricably linked with German history as during the division of Berlin, it stood directly on the border between East and West Berlin. Crossing it a few decades ago seemed like a dream that could never be fulfilled.

  • Speyer Imperial Cathedral

Speyer Cathedral is the largest preserved Romanesque church in the world and is one of the most beautiful sights in the country. In 1981, UNESCO declared the cathedral as a World Heritage Site. When walking through the old town of Speyer, the sight cannot be missed.

From the viewing platform at the height of about 60 meters, you will have a great view over Speyer and the region. On the way to the church tower, it is worth taking a look at the Kaisersaal. It is located above the entrance portal of the cathedral.

In the hall, there are nine monumental frescoes by the painter Johann Baptist Schraud



This post first appeared on Connolly Cove Ireland Travel, please read the originial post: here

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