Many the most iconic landmarks in Europe, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, need little or no introduction.
Europe has some of the world’s finest history, art, and culture. If you’re planning a vacation, you could be feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do and see!
With so many iconic places in Europe, you won’t be short of options for your next big European adventure—the only difficult part will be choose which one to visit first.
These European landmarks are must-see attractions for every traveler, whether it’s your first trip or one of many.
Famous Landmarks in Europe
1. Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is undoubtedly the most well-known sight in any of Europe’s major cities, out of all the world’s prominent monuments.
The Eiffel Tower is situated in the heart of Paris, beside the Seine River, which runs through the French capital.
The tower is named after Gustave Eiffel, a notable French architect of the nineteenth century.
Also Read: French Landmarks
Tourists refer to the monument as the “Eiffel Tower,” but residents in Paris have called it “La dame de fer,” which translates to “The Iron Lady” in English.
The tower’s construction started in the winter of 1887, and it was finished and opened to the public two years later, in 1889.
It was built as the world’s highest man-made building, surpassing the Washington Monument in America’s capital city.
The Eiffel Tower held this title until the Chrysler Building was built 41 years later, when it was surpassed.
The Colosseum, one of Rome’s most famous landmarks, is impossible to miss for visitors. This vast arena, which covers over 250,000 square feet, was once the most important facility in the Roman Empire in terms of public attention and athletics.
The Colosseum sits in the heart of Rome, alongside other ancient monuments dating back to the first centuries A.D.
The Colosseum was constructed and erected under the direction of Emperor Vespasian, although it was not finished until the reign of his successor, Titus, decades later.
The Colosseum was built in 80 A.D. and quickly became a landmark for people living in the empire’s capital.
Also Read: Famous Buildings in Europe
The Colosseum has remained one of the most famous structures in Italy, as well as one of the finest historic buildings from this period that is still surviving, throughout the centuries following the fall of Rome.
However, the top half of the southern part of the Colosseum fell in a huge earthquake that devastated the city in 1349.
3. Leaning Tower of Pisa
Few historical structures in Italy are more famous than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
This remarkable construction attracts a large number of tourists each year who come to marvel at the building’s ability to defy gravity.
Work on the tower started in 1173, but it wasn’t long before builders realized that the foundation had severe issues since it was constructed on shifting and sinking Earth underneath.
It was completed in 1372, and enormous efforts have been made to keep it standing since then.
4. Sagrada Familia
The biggest incomplete Roman Catholic church is this Gothic-style church erected in the Middle Ages. It was created by Catalan architect Antoni Gaud and is situated in the Eixample area of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
It is still incomplete because to interruptions from war, vandalism, and sickness. The project was restarted in the 1950s, but development remained sluggish until 2010, when improved technology enabled quicker methods to construct the structure.
A plan is in the works to build 10 additional spires to represent major biblical New Testament personalities.
The completion of the spires was scheduled for 2026 to commemorate Gaudi’s death in 1926, but has been pushed back because to the Covid-19 epidemic.
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located two miles (3 kilometers) west of Amesbury in Wiltshire, England.
It is made up of an outer ring of vertical sarsen standing stones that are about 13 feet (4.0 m) tall, seven feet (2.1 m) wide, and weigh around 25 tons, and is topped by connecting horizontal lintel stones.
The interior is surrounded by a ring of small bluestones. Inside, there are two bigger vertical sarsens and two free-standing trilithons joined by a single lintel.
On the summer solstice, the entire landmark is oriented toward the sun. The stones are set inside earthworks in the middle of England’s most densely packed Neolithic and Bronze Age monument cluster.
Stonehenge is a British cultural icon and one of the most well-known locations in the country.
It has been a legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1882, when legislation to preserve historic monuments was first successfully established in the United Kingdom.
UNESCO included the tower and its surroundings on the list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage; the surrounding region is owned by the National Trust.
6. Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle is the most renowned castle in the world, with over 1.4 million tourists each year. This 19th-century edifice in Bavaria, Germany, is the ultimate emblem of strength and beauty.
Also Read: Famous Landmarks in Germany
It was erected in 1882 in a Romanesque architectural style and commissioned by King Ludwig II, who would eventually flee to the castle during his disastrous reign.
King Ludwig spent his last days at the castle and died there in 1886. The castle was opened to the public after his death.
Despite the fact that construction was scheduled to take three years, unrealistic timelines and ambitious plans resulted in the project taking more than two decades to finish. But it was all worthwhile since the castle contains wonderful patterns and craftsmanship.
This magnificent building has inspired castles in films such as ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Cinderella.’ If you want to see this castle in all of its glory, go during the autumn season, when vibrant foliage surrounds it.
7. Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens is a rocky outcrop above the city that contains the remains of multiple ancient monuments of significant architectural and historical worth, the most famous of which is the Parthenon.
The name acropolis comes from the Greek words akron (“highest point, extreme”) and polis (“city”). Because there are multiple acropoleis in Greece, the word acropolis is general.
In ancient times, the Acropolis of Athens was also known as Cecropia, after the fabled serpent-man Cecrops, the alleged first Athenian monarch.
While there is evidence that the hill was populated as early as the fourth millennium BC, the most significant monuments on the site were built by Pericles (c. 495-429 BC) in the fifth century BC, including the Parthenon, Propylaea, Erechtheion, and Temple of Athena Nike.
During the Venetian siege of Athens during the Morean War in 1687, gunpowder stored in the Parthenon was hit by a Venetian bombardment and exploded, seriously damaging the Parthenon and other monuments.
Parthenon, built between 447 and 432 BC, is one of the world’s most recognizable structures. It was devoted to the goddess Athena and functioned as the major temple for Athenians.
The Parthenon was built atop the ruins of Hekatompedon, a sixth-century temple.
In 480 BC, Persians demolished Hekatompedon, compelling Athenians to construct a new temple to hold the stunning 12-meter gold and ivory sculpture of Athena.
As a result, they constructed the beautiful Parthenon temple in white marble, which was 70 meters long and 30 meters broad.
It was surrounded by a promenade with 17 columns on each side and eight columns on the major façade. Parthenon has been demolished throughout the years, but it is being rebuilt to resemble the old temple.
9. Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is a neoclassical landmark in Berlin constructed on the instructions of Prussian King Frederick William II after restoring Orangist control by repressing Dutch public rebellion in the 18th century.
It was erected on the site of a previous city gate that marked the beginning of the route from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg a der Havel, which used to be the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg.
It is situated in the western portion of Berlin’s Mitte district, at the intersection of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße, just west of Pariser Platz.
The Reichstag building, which houses the German parliament, is one block to the north (Bundestag). The gate marked the entrance to Unter den Linden, a street lined with linden trees that led straight to the regal City Palace of the Prussian kings.
Throughout its history, the Brandenburg Gate has been the location of key historical events, and it is now regarded not just as a symbol of Germany’s and Europe’s turbulent past, but also of European unity and peace.
10. Big Ben
Big Ben is a London tower clock known for its unrivaled precision and enormous hour bell weighing 15.1 tons.
It is an emblem of the United Kingdom and an identifying shot in films set in London. Big Ben is a must-see site for travelers in London and around England since it is a British cultural landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Big Ben is housed in the Elizabeth Tower, which was once known as the Clock Tower. Although Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell at London’s Palace of Westminster, the moniker also refers to the clock and the clock tower.
Big Ben was finished in 1859, and it became the world’s biggest and most accurate clock. Big Ben is the largest of the tower’s five bells.
The Big Ben is said to have been named after either Sir Benjamin Hall, who oversaw its construction, or Benjamin Caunt, a heavyweight boxing champion. The tower clock has undergone various restorations to enhance its look since its erection.