When a non-European thinks of a vacation in Europe, he views the cafes of Paris or the Roman ruins. In reality, our continent can offer much more: there are attractions that go far beyond what man has been able to build. Although Europe is inhabited by 700 million people, it also offers wide natural spaces, very high mountains, open-air panoramas that can leave even the most snobbish citizen breathless.
Beauty is in the eyes of those who can identify and observe it, that's why we have selected 20 truly breathtaking natural landscapes that are located right on our continent.
20 - Red poppies from Flanders, Belgium
The red poppy fields of Flanders offer a very beautiful and suggestive sight, but they are also wonderful for their symbolic meaning. After the First World War the vermilion-colored flowers they flourished on what had been the battlefields, as if to symbolize the blood shed on that very ground. Today the poppy fields are in fact visited as cemeteries and war memorials.
19 - Dwejra Bay, Malta
The word dwejra in Maltese means "a small house", a metaphor that refers to the enormous rocks, often parallel and vertical, which form a primitive form of dwelling, present here for millennia. The area is also known as "the blue window" and that's all the result of geological forces that have shaped the island over time.
Experienced swimmers can also dive to discover a hidden lake with pebbles, everyone else will surely appreciate the rocky coast and its unique geology by walking through many suggestive paths.
18 - Lake Bled, Slovenia
It is one of the most famous holiday resorts in Slovenia and is located between the highest peaks of the Julian Alps and the Karawanken. Lake Bled offers some clear blue waters, in the area there is also the Vintgar Gorge, which can be crossed via a wooden walkway: an experience for the bravest that offers, however, a truly unforgettable view.
17 - The Fjords, Norway
The Fjords can be seen as the "scars" left on the ground by the action of the retreating glacier. From the Nærøyfjord to the Magdalenefjord, from the Lysefjord to the Hardangerfjord, the Fjords of Norway are magnificent granite chasms which end in contact with almost frozen water. Being in this place means appreciating not only the landscape but also the evocative silence.
16 - Faroe Islands, Denmark
An archipelago of eighteen islands in the North Atlantic constitutes one of the most remarkable natural landscapes in Europe. The Faroe Islands are home to around 50.000 inhabitants who live alongside flocks of puffins, starlings and other seabirds. The cliffs that fall sheer to the sea are as enchanting as they are desolate.
15 - Keukenhof Botanical Park, The Netherlands
This psychedelic flowery field it is only open every year from March to May, and is truly an unmissable show of bloom. Keukenhof is one of the largest gardens in the world, with over seven million tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and so on, all contained within just 80 acres of space.
14 - Curonian Spit, Lithuania - Russia
Wild forests, sand dunes and ocean come together to create a hypnotic and fascinating landscape. The town, disputed between Russia and Lithuania, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts a lagoon with highest sand dunes in Europe.
13 - Eisriesenwelt, Austria
In German, Eisriesenwelt means "the world of ice giants", a name that fits perfectly with these caves that seem to be from another world, discovered in north-central Austria. It is about the largest ice caves in the world, extend up to 400 meters below the earth's surface and measure 42 kilometers in all. Visitors can, from May to October, explore parts of this frozen ground, which was once thought to be one of the frozen gates of hell.
12 - Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
In Plitvice Lakes National Park, waterfalls and streams unite 16 lakes as if they were jewels in a necklace. This series of lakes and waterfalls, located in the Karst mountains of Croatia, are the ideal place for pleasant excursions: every curve will offer you a new shade of blue or green.
11 - Lakes Region (Järvi-Suomi), Finland
Thousands of years ago the continental glaciers moved and created one of the most evocative natural masterpieces in Europe. Järvi-Suomi, or the Finnish Lakeland it is the largest lake area on the continent, a labyrinth of hundreds of ponds, rivers, islands, and streams.
10 - Santorini Red Beach, Greece
It is impossible not to fall in love with Santorini, just look at it! As if the island's natural beauty, its multicolored cliffs and dark blue waters weren't unreal enough, the typical Cycladic architecture is truly mesmerizing. All this makes Santorini one of the most romantic destinations not only in Europe but also in the world. Being an island of volcanic origin, in general the beaches are made up of very dark sand. The so-called Red Beach is an exception, consisting of volcanic sand with a typical red color and black.
This enchanting place is enclosed and almost protected by cliffs, of the same color as the sand, is also equipped to welcome tourists and is also a few steps from an interesting archaeological site.
9 - Melissani Cave, Greece
Tucked away at the Greek island of Celafonia in the Ionian Sea, the Melissani Cave delivers waters so clear in color that boats seem to float in the air. This cave was once sacred to the god Pan, even if it is the name of a nymph who was rejected by the pagan god. Devastated by pain, the nymph killed herself in the waters of this cave. The most characteristic point of this place is a wide opening towards the sky, just where the overhanging rock roof collapsed several thousand years ago.
8 - Cabo de Gata Natural Park - Nìjar, Spain
Home to flamingos, purple herons, eagles, and more than a thousand other bird species, Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park is one of the most important nature reserves in Western Europe. Away from the city bustle of Madrid, this picturesque coastline holds the beauty of sand dunes, volcanic formations and hidden beaches. It is the ideal refuge for those who want to feel as far away from city life as possible.
7 - Douro Valley, Portugal
For at least two thousand years, humans have used the fertile soil of the Valley where the Douro River flows to grow vines from which excellent wine is made. This lush valley, in fact, offers a fertile ground for vineyards and olive groves. In these rolling hills, human cultivation continues in complete harmony with natural beauty.
6 - The Dolomites, Italy
The mountain range of the Dolomites almost seems to represent the stone crown of Italy. The landscape is both characteristic and majestic, and it is precisely this combination that gives the Dolomites their powerful charm.
5 - Monte Cervino - Matterhorn, Switzerland - Italy border
Mount Cervino (in German Matterhorn) juts out into the sky like a pyramid 15.000 feet high (about 4.572 meters). The "mountain of the mountains", as some call it, straddles the Swiss-Italian border, although its highest peak is in Switzerland. It is one of the highest mountains in the Alps as well among the deadliest mountains in the world. About 500 climbers died trying to conquer it.
4 - Chamonix, France
Located near the borders with Switzerland and Italy, the villages of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc are located right in the middle of the impressive peaks of the French Alps. A cable car takes visitors to the crag of the Aiguille du Midi which rises in the middle of the glacial landscape like a defiant fist. At the top, visitors can look straight down the sheer cliff face for 1.000 meters before reuniting with the glacial landscape below.
3 - The Verdon Gorges, France
The turquoise waters that run through the Verdon Gorges create a dream atmosphere along the Provence region in the south of France.
The "Grand Canyon of France" runs for 25 kilometers along rocky walls up to 700 meters high, the spectacular panorama attracts many climbers, climbers, hikers and kayakers but also the less sporty can enjoy the landscape through the paths and roads that run along the edges of the gorge.
2 - Cairngorms National Park, Scotland
Here is the largest playground for the most adventurous! The Cairngorms National Park is home to mountains, forests, trails, rivers, lakes and suggestive natural areas, characteristic and unmissable. This is the most suitable place for those who really want to get away from everything, immerse themselves in nature so large and powerful that it makes them forget all worries. Where there are mountains there is usually also water, in fact there are at the park many overhanging waterfalls, long streams and places like Loch an Eilein, a lake with an island where there is also a 1964th century castle. If you are looking for inspiration, this place is ideal for a walk: here at physicist Peter Higgs, just as he walked the Cairngorms in , the inspiration for the famous Higgs boson came.
1 - Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
The western edge of Ireland appears to fall into the Atlantic Ocean like a heavy curtain - these are the Cliffs of Moher. They took their name from that of an 300th century fortress that stood on the cliffs, are 120 million years old and reach heights above the sea from 200 to meters.
One of the many legends about the Cliffs of Moher tells of the golden city of Kilstiffen, which sank beneath the waves after its leader lost the key to the city's spectacular castle.
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