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The tranquil wilderness of Iceland, the pristine French Riviera, the rolling hills of Tuscany, the scenic fjords of Norway, the flavoursome French cuisine or the picturesque villages and terraced hillsides of the Amalfi Coast paint a perfect picture of European getaways. But, Europe has more to offer than the conventional favourites on every travellers list. We list twenty of the most unique tourist attractions in Europe that you can explore on your next vacation:
- 1 1.GIANT’S CAUSEWAY – IRELAND
- 2 2.PERAST – MONTENEGRO
- 3 3.POPEYE VILLAGE – MALTA
- 4 4.THE AZORES – PORTUGAL
- 5 5.FISHERMAN’S BASTION – BUDAPEST
- 6 6.ARTHUR’S SEAT – EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
- 7 7.RIALTO BRIDGE – VENICE, ITALY
- 8 8.LOUVRE – PARIS, FRANCE
- 9 9.SCHONBRUNN PALACE – VIENNA
- 10 10.PALACE OF VERSAILLES – FRANCE
- 11 11.STONEHENGE – WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND
- 12 12.NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS – FRANCE
- 13 13.TREVI FOUNTAIN – ROME, ITALY
- 14 14.GRAND BAZAAR – ISTANBUL, TURKEY
- 15 15.AMALFI COAST – ITALY
- 16 16.SISTINE CHAPEL – VATICAN CITY
- 17 17.THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA – ITALY
- 18 18.SAGRADA FAMILIA – BARCELONA, SPAIN
- 19 19.GRAND CANAL- VENICE, ITALY
- 20 20.THE ALPS
- 21 21.ANNE FRANK HOUSE – AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
- 22 22.SAINT MARK’S BASILICA – VENICE, ITALY
- 23 23.ACROPOLIS OF ATHENS – GREECE
- 24 24.COLOSSEUM – ROME, ITALY
- 25 25.BUCKINGHAM PALACE – LONDON, ENGLAND
1.GIANT’S CAUSEWAY – IRELAND
These are a collection of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns about 60 million years old jutting out into the sea along the famed Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland and are one of the most visited tourist attractions in Europe. A UNESCO world heritage site, the Giant’s Causeway has been attracting travellers for over 300 years. Explore the surrounding hills or just sit back and admire the landform. Here, the natural light changes through the day, with remarkable beauty from sharp greens and greys to warm tobacco brown.
A walk of just under a kilometer will bring you down to the Causeway itself and there you can hop over the stones, explore the hills in the surroundings or just sit contemplating the unique geological phenomenon. You will notice that the light changes through the day here from sharp green hues to greys and warm browns.
2.PERAST – MONTENEGRO
Located 15 minutes from the Kotor Old Town is the magical, medieval village of Perast, Montenegro. The idyllic village is known for its iconic silhouette of towering Venetian Gothic buildings. Across the town, explore two of its pristine islands with ancient churches.
Perast’s history and local culture are unique and combining it with its breathtaking location make it one of the most charming destinations for Indian tourists in Montenegro.
The promenade faces directly out of the Verige Strait, the narrowest part of the bay and beautiful views of the waterfront and sublime sunsets are guaranteed.
There are several day tour options available from Kotor, Budva, Tivat and Dubrovnik. Some of these are more focused on water activities with a boat trip to Our Lady of the Rocks that also give you ample time to walk around Perast Old Town.
3.POPEYE VILLAGE – MALTA
A great place to take your kids to enjoy the world famous cartoon characters, Popeye village is situated just off Mellieha Bay. Enjoy its beaches while relaxing at the nearby Anchor Bay equipped with sunbeds, umbrellas, showers, bathing areas, splash pools and a kids’ zone.
The Popeye village in Malta has emerged from its former days of being a Film set back in the 1980 musical production of ‘Popeye’ to one of the most popular tourist attractions on the Maltese islands. It is filled with several colourful activities for young people that can also be enjoyed by the people young at heart.
4.THE AZORES – PORTUGAL
A remote nine-island archipelago off the coast of Portugal, the Azores is simply enchanting. Its volcanic landscape and natural geothermal hot springs make the islands a natural pick for a wellness vacation. Taste a platter of cracas, an edible barnacle shellfish unique to the Azores while you explore the land’s scenic beauty.
This is a world of fumaroles, mudpots and scalding springs; of caverns, columns and grottoes formed from the molten rock; of blue lakes surrounded by forests of laurel and cedar and green pastures patterning the slopes of calderas.
Three of the islands, Graciosa, Flores and Corvo are designated by UNESCO as biospheres and the archipelago also contains 13 Ramsar sites (important wetlands) and more than 30 Blue Flag beaches. The Azores are best known as an ideal destination for whale and dolphin watching. Sperm whales, common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins are year-round residents here.
5.FISHERMAN’S BASTION – BUDAPEST
With its spectacular panoramic views of the Danube, the Fisherman’s Bastion offers a unique experience to travellers. Atop the structure, you can get a glimpse of St Stephen’s Basilica, Gresham Palace, the Inner City Parish Church, Margaret Bridge and the famous Chain Bridge.
The present-day lookout towers and decorative fortification of Fisherman’s Bastion were built in the 19th century for the best panoramic views in Budapest and Hungary. To appreciate the full range of the views along the river Danube, take a Danube river cruise in Budapest.
6.ARTHUR’S SEAT – EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
Located at the highest point in Holyrood Park, Arthur’s Seat is a dormant volcano offering an incredible view of the capital city and is a must-visit spot for travellers to Edinburgh. Even if you’re not much of a hiker or an outdoors explorer, a hike up to the top of Arthur’s Seat is worth experiencing.
7.RIALTO BRIDGE – VENICE, ITALY
A romantic location for couples, the Rialto Bridge was built on some 12,000 wooden pilings that still support it more than 400 years later. The bridge’s central walkway leads between two rows of small shops that sell jewelry, linens, Murano glass, and other souvenirs for travellers.
The arched bridge is also known as Ponte di Rialto is central to the history of Venice and of the most famous bridges in Venice. Dividing the San Marco and San polo districts, the elegant stone bridge is made of three sets of stairs divided by arcades.
The bridge is a gateway to the Rialto Market; the city’s principal food market since as early as the 11th century, it hosts a warren of sellers hawking produce, spices, fish, and more.
A seven-minute walk southeast of the bridge is Saint Mark’s Square. The city’s largest square is home to a list of some of Venice’s most popular attractions including the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), Saint Mark’s Basilica (Basilica San Marco), and the National Library of Saint Mark’s (Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana).
8.LOUVRE – PARIS, FRANCE
The Louvre is the largest museum in the world, with collections that span across the world, and includes ancient Egypt, Greece, and Roman antiquities, French paintings and sculptures up to the 19th century, European paintings and decorative arts. The Louvre is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Europe along with the Eiffel tower which needs no introduction in being the most popular destination for tourist in France.
The pyramid used as an entrance in the Louvre’s courtyard is built in the same proportions as the Great Pyramid of Giza. This figure also serves as a reminder of the important Egyptian antique collection in the Louvre, as does the Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde not far from there, on the other side of the Jardin des Tuileries. At its base, the pyramid measures 116 feet wide and 70 feet high. 95 tons of steel and 105 tons of aluminum support the structure.
9.SCHONBRUNN PALACE – VIENNA
Deep-rooted in Vienna’s imperial past, Schonbrunn Palace is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Vienna. Opt for the grand tour of Schonbrunn Palace to learn about the Viennese dynasty and get a glimpse into the old imperial world. The palace is home to Vienna’s zoo, which also holds the title of the oldest zoo in the world. Explore the zoo, and walk along its spectacular parks and gardens.
Together with the zoological garden the Schonbrunn Palace and the bordering park area belong to the most popular tourist destinations in Vienna. About 4 million visitors have counted annually.
If you are interested in history, splendor and the imperial lifestyle of the past you should definitely visit the Schonbrunn Palace. The Walnut Room impresses with its walnut panels and the gold-plated wall decorations in rococo style, which still remain in the original form. In this room, the emperor held up to hundred audiences per day. The Marie Antoinette Room was the dining room for the imperial family. The official and the private banquets were held there. At the presented laid-out dinner table, you can discover porcelain and silver from the imperial household. The Great Parterre is located directly in front of the palace. It is a vast space with designed flower beds that are set up in the iconic baroque style. This area is the center of the palace gardens where large parts can be accessed without charge.
10.PALACE OF VERSAILLES – FRANCE
The palace of Versailles is located in the Ile-de-France region and is sometimes referred to as simply ‘Versailles’. This royal chateau was the seat of political power for the Kingdom of France from 1682 and has been part of many significant historical events throughout French history. The architectural grandeur of this opulent complex is absolutely magnificent to behold. It is now been converted into a museum and has turned into one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe.
A series of gardens, created in a formal style, stood to the west of the palace and contains sculptures as well as the pressurized fountains capable of launching water high into the air. The formality and grandeur of the gardens symbolized the king, Louis XIV’s absolute power, even over nature.
It reflects both the beauty and culture of France and its tumultuous history. The construction of the palace was a representation of his great wealth and power. Versailles resisted until the French Revolution (1789 – 1799), being not only famous for its strategic place but also as a symbol of the absolute Monarchy system.
11.STONEHENGE – WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND
Stonehenge is located between Salisbury and Amesbury in Wiltshire in England and is one of the most unique tourist attractions in Europe. It is a prehistoric monument comprising a ring of large erect stones, each weighing approximately 25 tons and towering to a height of up to 13 feet. It is believed that the unusual structure was constructed between 3000 BC and 2000 BC and its purpose is an intriguing subject still in debate.
The way Stonehenge is arranged has been seen as evidence that it was designed to mark the summer solstice, the mid-point of summer. People flock every year to Stonehenge to witness the sunrise. The sunset at the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, occurs on the exact opposite side of the horizon from the midsummer sunrise. One theory is that Stonehenge was built to mark, not the longest day, but the shortest, which marked the return of lighter days after a period of darkness and fear in prehistoric times.
12.NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS – FRANCE
The Notre-Dame de Paris is also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral and its structure is widely considered one of the greatest icons of French Gothic architecture. One of the largest churches in France, it is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris and its treasury is home to many of the most important relics of catholic history. The many attractions here include one of the Holy Nails, a fragment of the True Cross, and the Crown of Thorns. It has two 226 feet high towers that had to bear a lot of damage during the French revolution and were then restored after 1845.
Located under the Parvis (medieval square) de Notre-Dame de Paris, is a crypt that contains historical ruins discovered during construction work in 1965. It was opened in 1980 and visitors can access the crypt from 1 place du Parvis Notre-Dame.
13.TREVI FOUNTAIN – ROME, ITALY
The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous fountains in the world and the largest baroque fountain in Rome. It was originally designed by Nicola Salvi and the construction was later completed by Pietro Bracci. It is known as the fountain that fulfills the wishes of the ones dropping a coin in the water. Interestingly, there are laws in Rome against the removal of coins from the Trevi fountain.
14.GRAND BAZAAR – ISTANBUL, TURKEY
Shopping is an important part of a perfect holiday for most tourists and if you are in Turkey, a visit to the Grand Bazaar is a must-have experience for all. It is one of the largest as well as oldest markets in the world. It is often described as one of the first shopping malls in the world. Located in the Faith district of Istanbul, the main structure of the market was built between 1455 and 1456. You can find an eclectic mix of items in the bazaar, from fresh produce to handicrafts and spices.
15.AMALFI COAST – ITALY
The Amalfi Coast tops the list of the most picturesque locations in Europe. It is characterized by quaint cottages painted in pastel hues lining the hillside with amazing views of the sea in the background. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997 and attracts a large number of tourists every year.
16.SISTINE CHAPEL – VATICAN CITY
The Sistine Chapel lies within the Apostolic Palace which is the official residence of the Pope. The amazing structure of the chapel was constructed in the 15th century and designed by Baccio Pontelli and Giovanni Dolci. Apart from the historical and religious importance of the place, the other reason why people visit the chapel in the Vatican city is to admire the spectacular frescoes on the ceiling of the chapel, the most popular of these being the “The Last Judgement” by Michelangelo.
17.THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA – ITALY
The leaning tower of Pisa is one of the most iconic structures in the world, infamous for its lean caused by the miscalculations of its architects and engineers. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Europe and it is customary for visitors to pose with the wonky structure of the tower. It was built throughout the 12th century and is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Pisa consisting of seven bells and standing over a height of 183 feet.
18.SAGRADA FAMILIA – BARCELONA, SPAIN
The Sagrada Familia is a large church that remains unfinished and pervades the skyline of Barcelona. It was designed by Antoni Gaudi, a Catalan architect and the world began in 1882. The charge was later shifted to Paula de Villar who resigned after a year and Gaudi took over again. This time he changed the original plan and created a novel design that was a fusion of curvilinear Art Nouveau and Gothic styles. Gaudi died in 1923 and only one-quarter of the project was complete by then. The Spanish Civil War posed an obstruction to the completion. Progress in its construction has been resumed and the aim is to complete it by 2026 the centennial of Gaudi’s death. If you are in Barcelona, a visit to this unique site is a must.
19.GRAND CANAL- VENICE, ITALY
Although there are several canals in the floating city of Venice, the Grand Canal is the main waterway stretching 3.8 kilometers between the San Marco basin and the lagoon by the Santa Lucia railway station. It is used as a waterway for public transport and breezy gondola rides for tourists. The canal is lined by houses, shops, restaurants and many historic structures.
The most spectacular natural landmarks in Europe are the Alps Mountains attracting millions of visitors every year and are one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Europe. The range spans as many as eight countries including Frane, Itay, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Germany, Monaco, and Austria. The Alps are perfect for those looking to indulge in winter sports, hiking and admiring the beauty of nature.
21.ANNE FRANK HOUSE – AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
Anne Frank is one of the most famous figures in European history for some truly tragic reasons and this museum is dedicated to this writer. It is a biographical museum located next to a canal called the Prinsengracht in central Amsterdam.
Although Anne Frank did not survive the brutalities of the war, her diary was published in 1957 and holds testament to all the sufferings borne by her and thousands of other people.
The hiding place of Frank’s family has been preserved and it has two main exhibitions; one that is devoted to the life and times of Anne Frank and another which is about all forms of discrimination and persecution.
22.SAINT MARK’S BASILICA – VENICE, ITALY
This stunning cathedral is one of the many architectural gems of Venice. It is not only one of the most poignant focal points of the city; the historical significance of the site is also amazing. The silhouette of the stunning cathedral is one of the most prominent and recognizable structures in the whole of Italy. The most ancient parts of the building were built way back in 828 AD it was originally the chapel of the Doge and was connected with the Doge’s Palace. The structure is clearly influenced by the Byzantine architectural style with many gold decorative features on the Façade.
23.ACROPOLIS OF ATHENS – GREECE
The ancient citadel is located just outside the city of Athens on a rocky outcrop overlooking the skyline dotted with the ruins of several significant ancient structures. It is believed that the site was inhabited from as early as the fourth millennium BC. Important remains on this site include the Parthenon, the Erechtheioun, the Propylaia, and the Temple of Athena Nike.
24.COLOSSEUM – ROME, ITALY
The Colosseum is a famous landmark in Italy and comes to mind immediately as you think of the country. The structure is also known as the Flavian Amphitheater. Located in the center of Rome, this oval amphitheater was constructed under the reign of three emperors during the Flavian dynasty. Construction of this humungous structure began in 72 AD and was completed around 96 AD and could hold as many as 80,000 spectators. Originally built for gladiator contests, it was also used for many other purposes such as public executions, battle re-enactments, and animal hunts. Presently it is used only as a tourist spot where thousands of tourists visit to see the ruins of the once-great amphitheater. The structure also houses a museum dedicated to Eros.
25.BUCKINGHAM PALACE – LONDON, ENGLAND
Buckingham Palace is one attraction in London that everyone invariably has to visit on a city tour. The core of the palace was called Buckingham House as it was built in 1703 as a townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham. It is now the main London residence and the administrative headquarters for the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. During World War II, a German bomb destroyed the Palace’s Chapel. This was replaced by the Queen’s Gallery which houses works of art from the Royal Collection. This was opened to the public in 1962. Another reason tourists like to visit the palace is to watch ‘Changing the Guard’. The soldiers who stand on guard outside the palace in their formal attire conduct a formal ceremony every time one set of guards finishes their shift and the new guards start their duty. It is quite a spectacular display.
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