Europe, the Old Continent, presents a heritage of inestimable value, between natural parks, cities of art, palaces and museums. In every country, in every city, there are artifacts from past eras, wonderful monuments that must be seen at least once in a lifetime. From the treasures left by the ancient Greeks and Romans, to the palaces that combine different architectural styles to demonstrate the multiculturalism of certain areas, passing through world-renowned museums.
In short, a lifetime would not be enough to discover the whole of the Old Continent, but we can prepare a to do list with its essential monuments. here are the 20 most famous and visited monuments in Europe.
20 - Alcazar, Seville (Spain)
The Real Alcazar is one of the oldest buildings in the world and it is still used today by the King of Spain! Moreover, it is the symbol of multiculturalism of Andalusia, a land that has seen various peoples pass by, which have left an important imprint of their culture. This will be visible in the architecture of the Palace, a mix of western and eastern.
Built around the fourteenth century, over the centuries it has been continuously modified and expanded by the various owners who have followed one another, making it unique in the world. To enter you will cross the imposing Patio del Leon and then continue on to the Salon del Almirante, where all expeditions to the New World were scheduled. Do not forget the apartments of Peter I and the Patio de las Doncellas, an example of Arab-Andalusian art.
19 - Great Mosque of Cordoba, Cordoba (Spain)
A wonderful monument that shows, in all its beauty, the fusion of different cultures that have taken place in this region: we are talking about the Great Mosque of Cordoba, one of the most famous monuments in the world! Today it is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Holy Mary, and still today it is at the center of the spiritual life of the locals.
This cathedral is truly unique in the world, starting from the architecture: Here you can admire Islamic, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Christian influences, all in one building. Really very large, the things to see are different: the Main Chapel, the Mihrab, the Parish of Sagrario, the archaeological site of San Vincenzo and the Patio degli Aranci. Don't forget to visit the Bell tower, a real symbol of the city.
18 - Topkapi Palace, Istanbul (Turkey)
In Istanbul, Turkey is this beautiful complex of buildings that was once there home of the sultan and administrative power during the Ottoman Empire. It was in fact the residence of 24 sultans out of 36 total. In Italian the name of the building is "Porta del Cannone" and was built in 1400 and was completed in 1478.
Nowadays only a small part of this extensive complex can be visited. Among the things that can be seen are the Court of the Janissaries (in which fountain the swords were cleaned after the executions), the Court of Ceremonies (place where matters of state were discussed), the Harem (where they were admitted only the women of the building) and the kitchens (thousands of people worked here). Definitely a must visit to understand how life went on in this real citadel.
17 - Auschwitz and Birkenau, Oswiecim (Poland)
Let us now reach Poland, to discover what is one of the blackest pages in European history. In the small village of Oswiecim, about 70 kilometers from Krakow, Poland, is the Auschwitz and Birkenau Memorial. What today it is a memorial and a museum, during the Second World War it was a terrible concentration and labor camp, the largest Nazi extermination center. Visiting it is essential not only to know, but above all to not forget!
The memorial is divided into two different parts: Auschiwtz I and Auschiwtz II (Birkenau). Auschiwtz I was the nucleus from which the whole field later developed. This is where Polish political prisoners were initially brought after the invasion of Germany. Over time it expanded, creating a real satellite complex, where Auschwizt I remained the basic nucleus. Today here you can pass under the famous sign "Arbeit macht frei" and visit some blocks that have been converted into museum rooms. Auschwitz II (Birkenau) was built later and today left as it once was, with the long central track and the remains of the barracks and crematorium ovens.
16 - Lazienki Palace, Warsaw (Poland)
In Poland, in Warsaw, there is the famous Lazienki Palace, also called the Palace on the Water. The complex consists of several buildings and an immense garden, which together constitute one of the most beautiful planned areas in Europemaking it one of Poland's most popular attractions. It was built at the behest of the Polish king Stanislao Augusto Poniatowski in the th century.
The building is located in the wonderful Lazienki Park complex, which covers 76 hectares and includes other points of interest. After visiting the palace, we recommend that you enjoy a walk in the park and also admire the Theater on the Island, the White House, the Old Orangery, the Myślewicki Palace, the Temple of Diana and much more.
15 - Edinburgh Castle (Scotland)
In Scotland, to be precise in Edinburgh, you cannot miss a visit to the castle, one of the most famous places in the city and the most visited attraction in Scotland. It is located on the top of the Castle Hill, from where you can admire a beautiful panorama. It seems that the castle has very ancient origins, the first settlements here date back to 900 BC
It is really very extensive, if you want to visit it all we recommend you take you at least half a day, we can show you the main areas and attractions. Make sure you are near the castle at one o'clock when the most famous cannon, the One O'Clock Gun, fires a shot. Must see the Chapel of San Margherita, the Scottish National War Museum, the Crown Jewels and the Prisons of War.
14 - Kremlin, Moscow (Russia)
It is located in Russia, it is one of the most visited attractions, this one fortified citadel in the heart of Moscow and its most important monument. Built in the Middle Ages (the first dates date back to 1147), from 1264 it became the residence of the Russian princes. Today, however, it is a part, the Grand Palace, is the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation (therefore not open to visitors).
Over the centuries, what was the original Kremlin has been expanded to include more and more buildings. For visiting the whole complex also takes a whole day. Here you can in fact visit the Armory Palace and the Patriarch Palace, three Cathedrals (Cathedral of the Dormition, Cathedral of the Archangel Michael and Cathedral of the Annunciation), the Church of the Deposition of the Robe and the Church of the Twelve Apostles, the Bell Tower by Ivan the Great. It is better to plan your visit in advance, as the different attractions observe different times and different entrance costs.
13 - City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia (Spain)
In Valencia you can visit the very famous City of Arts and Sciences, a a real technological and architectural masterpiece. It was opened in 1998 and built on the basis of the project of the Valencian architect Calatrava and extends for about two kilometers on the old riverbed of the Turia river.
We recommend that you take a full day to explore it far and wide! This real city within the city is composed of 5 different structures, divided into 3 thematic areas which are nature, science and art. Each building has its own task and holds a certain collection: El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía was built for the performing arts, the Hemisferic for the planetarium, El Museo de les Ciencies Principe Felipe is the museum of applied science. Finally there are the Oceanografic and the Agora, the latter hosting various events and demonstrations.
12 - Alhambra, Granada (Spain)
It's a Andalusian palace complex UNESCO World Heritage. Considered by many to be one of the most magical places in the country, this complex was first mentioned in documents from the th century, when it was still a military fortress. Over the centuries and the dynasties it became the Royal Residence.
The visit lasts almost a full day, there are many things to see and visit. The complex is divided into three parts: Generalife, Alcazaba and Palacio Nazaries. We advise you to organize your visit based on the entrance to the Palacio Nazaries, here you can only enter at the time indicated on the ticket, if you arrive late you will be denied access. The Generalife was the summer residence and is full of beautiful gairdini that will take you back to the temple. Finally, the Alcazaba is the defensive stronghold.
11 - Tower of London, London (England)
We now reach England, more precisely its capital London. Here one of the most loved and visited monuments is this medieval fortress in the heart of the city, on the north bank of the Thames. It is the most beautiful in all of England and is about 1.000 years old: it was built at the behest of William the Conqueror between 1066 and 1087, but was only completed in 1307 with Edward I.
But this is not a single building, it is a complex that includes several buildings, with towers, prisons, houses, chapels and even museums. But it is famous above all for one reason: here I am in fact guarded the crown jewels, a priceless treasure. Guarded 24 hours a day by the Major of the Town, there are also unlikely overseers: a community of ravens, who have lived in the tower for not sure when. There is a legend about them: it is said that if they were all to go, the Monarchy and the United Kingdom would disappear.
10 - Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna (Austria)
In the heart of the ancient Austro-Hungarian Empire, in Vienna, this is located famous imperial palace which was the summer residence of the Habsburgs.
To admire both the palace and the gardens we advise you to take at least half a day. Inside the palace you can follow the path that indicates the audio guide in Italian (included in the admission price) and visit the Rococo-style halls and the private rooms of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Isabella. You will also see the Grand Gallery of Imperial Banquets, the Circular Chinese Hall and the Blue Chinese Hall. Then enjoy a stroll in the beautiful gardens, where the Tiergarten or lo is also located Vienna Zoo, the oldest in the world, and the Imperial Carriage Museum.
9 - Wilanov Palace, Warsaw (Poland)
It is one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Poland, protected by the state by ad hoc laws. Because of its beauty it is also called the Little Versailles. It was built during the th century at the behest of King Jan III Sobieski and was later renovated and enlarged by subsequent owners.
Absolutely to admire its interiors, which are unique for the mix of different cultures, with a Chinese, Polish, Italian and English design. The Palace is also surrounded by immense gardens, where there is also a botanical garden and the royal garden of light. Here numerous events are held in summer and becomes a real meeting point for locals and tourists.
8 - Musée d'Orsay, Paris (France)
This Paris museum already strikes from the location: it is indeed housed in a former railway station, characterized by the eclectic style of the late nineteenth century. After various uses, it has housed the museum since 1 December 1986, the day it was opened to the public.
It is known for its immense collection of works of impressionism and post impressionism. Among the authors you will find personalities of the caliber of Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne or Renoir. The collection is so large that you will have to devote at least a few hours to the museum, a morning would be perfect.
7 - Pompeii excavations (Italy)
It is of the remains of the ancient city of Pompeii, brought to light thanks to long recovery works, which began as early as 1748 at the behest of Carlo Borbone. The city is one of the best preserved in the world, thanks also to the tragic event that struck it: in 79 AD Vesuvius erupted, completely covering the city. The dust and ashes have preserved in an almost impeccable way the remains that we can admire today.
To visit the excavations of Pompeii we recommend you take you a whole day, the site is in fact very vast and there are so many things to see. In addition, we also recommend that you buy tickets with priority entrance online, to avoid long queues. Here you can admire the ancient Amphitheater, the Forum, the Temple of Jupiter and the Temple of Apollo, the Great Theater and the Villa of the Mysteries.
6 - Tsarskoe Selo, Saint Petersburg (Russia)
In St. Petersburg, a wonderful city overlooking the Baltic Sea, there is the wonderful Catherine Palace, the imperial residence of the tsars built at the behest of the Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great. The works began in 1717 and in 1722 also those for the wonderful park began. Palace and park are part of the Tsarskoe Selo reserve, one of the most beautiful monuments of world landscape art.
This complex was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and represents a mandatory stop during a trip to St. Petersburg. One of the strengths of the palace, a must see, is the Amber Room, an incredible room of the Tsar where the walls are covered with panels created with thousands of shards of amber. What you can see today is unfortunately a copy, as the real room was dismantled by the Nazis during the Nazis during the Second World War.
5 - Peterhof Palace, Saint Petersburg (Russia)
In St. Petersburg it is a must! Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this one immense palace it is also called the Russian Versailles and until 1917 it was the residence of the tsars. If the Tsarskoe Selo was created at the behest of Catherine I, the Peterhof was built on the orders of Peter the Great, her husband. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the palace was converted into a museum but was destroyed by the Nazis during the Second World War and the renovations and recoveries still continue today.
But what to see in this immense complex of palaces and gardens? The the heart of the complex is the Grand Palace, which was the real summer residence of the tsars. All around are a number of smaller palaces, churches and museums, such as the Marly Palace, the Cottage Palace, Church Wing and many others. The wonderful gardens are absolutely worth a visit, divided into Upper Park and Lower Park. In the latter one finds the largest fountain complex in the world!
4 - Eiffel Tower, Paris (France)
It is, without a doubt, themonument
most famous and the symbol of France. This tower, 300 meters high, was built in just two years and completed in 1887 on the occasion of the Universal Exposition. The intention was then to destroy it, in fact at the beginning it was not welcomed by Parisians and the aristocratic elite. But over the years it began to become a real symbol and today it is an essential point of a trip to Paris.
You need to know that there are several tickets to access to the Eiffel Tower, depending on which observatory you want to reach and whether or not you want to use the elevator. It is in fact divided into 3 different floors: a first floor 57 meters high; the second floor at 115 meters from which you can enjoy a wonderful view; the third floor, the top of the tower, 276 meters high.
3 - Parthenon, Athens (Greece)
We enter the top 3 and move to Greece, in its capital Athens, the heart of Ancient Greece. Here you can visit unique monuments of their kind. One is this ancient greek temple, symbol of Athens and the most important building of the Acropolis. Its reconstruction dates back to 447 BC and is mainly in the Doric style. During the following centuries and under the different cultures, the temple became a Christian church, a Muslim mosque during the Ottoman Empire and also a warehouse for ammunition and weapons.
Heart ofAcropolis, or the ancient upper city of Athens, where the main places of worship were concentrated, the Parthenon is a must visit. Although it is always under restoration to try to contain the numerous damages suffered over time, you will be speechless in front of its greatness.
2 - Colosseum, Rome (Italy)
And the most visited Italian monument and now a symbol in the world! Its construction began during the Vespasian Empire, in 69 AD, and took about 10 years to complete. It was purposely built over the remains of Nero's residence, with the aim of returning to the Roman people and the Empire what Nero had taken and stolen. It was inaugurated in 80 AD with several days of celebration.
This is the largest amphitheater in the world and is located right in the heart of Rome. This was the place where the Romans entertained themselves, from the people, to the senators, up to the emperor. The richest sat lower down, near the arena, and as you went up the commoners sat down. According to a reconstruction, the amphitheater could contain from 50.000 to 80.000 people. Unfortunately today the interior has largely collapsed, but it is absolutely worth a visit! It is one of those monuments to see at least once in a lifetime.
1 - Palace of Versailles, Versailles (France)
It is time to discover the European monument that has taken the first position, the most visited in Europe: we are talking about the Palace of Versailles, about 20 km from Paris. It is about an ancient and majestic royal residence of the Bourbons of France, built at the behest of Louis XIV (known as the Sun King), who wanted to get away from Paris and the people. Thus it remained the official residence of three emperors: after Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI also moved their residence and power here to Versailles.
Today the palace is one of those monuments that you absolutely must see, at least once. Her beauty and majesty are indisputable, so much so that several palaces in the rest of the world have been built inspired by her. To visit it you must dedicate at least a whole day to it (already in half a day you will have to leave out some things). Absolutely to see the palace, with the famous Gallery of Mirrors, where the Treaty of Versailles was also signed at the end of the First World War in June 1919 and the wonderful park, where we recommend you to stroll far and wide.