12 places in Europe you should see at least once
Whether you’re drawn to history, rollicking city life, or stunning natural scenery, Europe has it. It’s the second-smallest continent, but the diversity is what makes a trip here worth the time and expense. Deciding where to go when there’s so much to do and see can be daunting, so here are 12 places that everyone should see with their own eyes at some point in their lives.
- Fjords in Norway. These narrow inlets with steep cliffs are created by the erosion of glaciers. With beautiful waterfalls cascading down vertical mountainsides into clear blue water, you might feel like you’re in another world. You can visit them by boat through the intricate waterways that come between each one. Norway has more than one thousand fjords, all along the coast, but the most iconic ones are located on the western coast of the country.
- Big Ben in Norway. This tower is found as a part of the Palace of Westminster, where the Parliament of the United Kingdom meets. The massive clock atop it, which weighs 13 tons, is both regal in its appearance, and its reliability – since 1859, it’s rarely stopped. While the daytime view is impressive, the glow of the four clock faces at night is stunning.
- Pubs in Dublin. Guinness Draught Stout, a St. Patrick’s Day favorite in the States, was invented in Dublin in 1759. Even today, it’s still the best-selling alcoholic drink in Ireland, so experiencing it from the source is a must when visiting The Emerald Isle. Some of the best pubs to soak up the Guinness and the traditional pub culture include O’Donoghue’s, The Brazen Head, McDaid’s, and The Long Hall.
- The Parthenon in Athens. This one-time temple, completed in 432 BC, was dedicated to the ancient Greek goddess Athena, the patroness of Athens. Now, it serves as a reminder and monument to ancient Greek culture. Architecture and art aficionados will certainly appreciate this stop, with its interesting classical structure and incredible decorative sculptures.
- The Alps. The largest mountain range that lies entirely in Europe, The Alps stretch across eight countries, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, and Switzerland. While you might not be able to get to traverse each of its 750 miles, you will be able to enjoy beautiful hikes, adrenaline-infused skiing, and amazing views at many different points along the range.
- Biergartens in Munich. There are few better ways to enjoy one of Germany’s best exports than outdoors at these festive establishments, where it is consumed by the liter. It’s complemented by German soft pretzels, bratwurst, and other Bavarian treats, not to mention high spirits. Out of the nearly 200 biergartens in Munich, some of the most prominent include Augustiner Keller, Hofbrauhaus Munchen, and Hirschgarten.
- The Eiffel Tower in Paris. The romance of the city is best exemplified by this structure, which has been the most recognizable structures since it was built in 1889. If you’re adventurous, you can climb the 1,021 stairs of the first two levels. Take the elevators to the top (the only option) and marvel at the beauty of The City of Lights 1,063 feet above ground.
- The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. Originally known as the residence of the Pope, the Sistine Chapel now draws visitors for its frescos that adorn the interior. The most famous is “The Last Judgment,” which Michelangelo painted the ceiling on his back in the 1500s. It remains one of the foremost artistic marvels of the entire continent, if not the world.
- The Colosseum in Rome. Built from concrete and sand in 80AD, The Colosseum lies in the center of Rome. It served as an amphitheater during Imperial Roman times and was the site of dramas, mock sea battles, executions, and other public spectacles. It had other uses over the years, including housing, a fortress, and a Christian shrine.
- Nightclubs in Berlin. Few cities compare to Berlin when it comes to the nightlife culture. The vibrant parties are a draw for many, for good reason – they offer something you can’t really find anywhere else. If you like cutting-edge techno spun by groundbreaking DJs, you’ll find plenty of that. Berlin also hosts open-air music venues as well as legendary concerts that feature more than 36 straight hours of music and dancing.
- Canals in Venice. Venice consists of 117 islands connected by 400 bridges, and much of the travel in this Italian city is done on the water via canals. While you can take a ride on a gondola, which was the main form of transportation in the 12th century, you can also try the more modern, local way of traversing the canals – the traghetto. Meaning “ferry” in Italian, the traghettos are how everyday Venicians get to and from where they need to go and offer a more authentic experience.
- El Clasico at Barcelona’s Camp Nou. This soccer stadium holds nearly 100 thousand fans every week for FC Barcelona matches. Multiple times per year, they play archrival team Real Madrid in what is dubbed El Clasico. Whether you’re a die-hard soccer fan, or just a casual sports enthusiast, you don’t want to miss the displays of passion and skill that comes with watching two of Spain’s best clubs going head-to-head.
Best Places to Visit in Europe [US News and World Report]
50 Places Everyone Should Visit in Europe [Business Insider]