When it comes to impressive things to see, Europe has a lot to be proud of. From beautiful beaches and incredible natural sights to theme parks, shopping hotspots and cultural hubs, Europe plays host to an amazing selection of wonderful cities all waiting to be explored.
Where you choose to head first in this varied and vibrant continent all depends on what you’re looking for. For those looking to experience a little slice of culture as part of their trip abroad, Europe is home to a great range of cities that boast architectural wonders, that are sure to impress even the toughest critics. To help you create your architectural travel bucket list, we’ve rounded up just a few of the amazing places in Europe to visit if you want to experience some history.
As a city with so much history, it’s inevitable that Athens is packed full of incredible architecture and beautiful spots to see. With buildings from the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, the structures in this cultural hotspot offer something for all architectural buffs to enjoy. Don’t miss out on seeing some of the many impressive temples, one of the most common historical structures still standing in the city today. Famous favourites include The Acropolis, a citadel set high on a rocky hill above the city containing the famous Parthenon, and The Ancient Agora, at site famed for its historical significance. Another one not to miss is the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, originally built during the 5th century BCE.
Another city with a rich history is Berlin, the capital of Germany. Following a dramatic, troubled 20th century, in which the city experienced the impact of World War Two, Berlin is packed with reminders of its turbulent past – including the Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust memorial, and other examples of Nazi-related architecture. This mix of cultural vibrancy and grit has led modern-day travellers to flock to the city in a bid to experience the wonders of this European favourite. The layout of the city is varied, with pockets of attractions and hotspots dotted throughout – rather than located in one definite centre. If you’re in the market for even more culture during your break in Berlin then head to one of the many museums located here – more than 170 call the capital home. Inspired by the Athens’ Acropolis, the Brandenburg Gate is a must see, as is the glittering dome atop the renowned Reichstag – now the home of German parliament.
If you think of incredible European architecture you probably think of Barcelona. The Spanish city is a perfect example of blending historical buildings with modern vibrancy, with sleek current construction added over the years. Head to the Barri Gòtic in the old city to see the essence of the city’s history, although nothing quite says ‘Barcelona’ like a visit to some of Gaudi’s impressive creations – in particular, La Sagrada Familia. Antoni Gaudi was dedicated to creating urban spaces that flowed naturally in Barcelona, a place he felt passionately about, which is why there is such a high level of his influence in areas of the city. From flowing stonework to pockets of beautiful ceramics and mosaics, Barcelona is a true favourite – you can even fit in a trip to the beach too!
Take a trip back in time with a visit to beautiful Florence, where you feel like you’ve escaped into a magical fairytale world. Making the most of Renaissance style, as the birthplace of the 14th century movement, Florence is a relatively small city with an incredibly big impact. It’s no surprise that it features on many ‘must see’ lists across the world. With many buildings featuring beautiful embellishments, with towering domes and columns atop their surfaces, Florence feels like a magical escape into a world unknown. Don’t miss out on a visit to the Basilica di Santa Croce, or the Galleria degli Uffizi, containing some of Italy’s best known paintings. Although, of course, the famous hotspot is the Duomo – the city’s most iconic landmark. The sight of the impressive domed red-tiled roof and campanile, or bell tower, is visible across the beautiful city – leaving a mark on all who visit.
A new favourite for architecture fans in Europe, Budapest is growing as a travel hub in the continent over recent years. Deemed by visitors as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest boasts everything culture-lovers could want from a new city destination to explore – including romance, rivers and beautiful buildings. The parliament building is a statuesque wonder, while the Royal Palace is a grand setting for a museum, gallery and library. The Great Synagogue is a another unique experience, as the largest Jewish house of worship outside of New York City, boasting impressive architectural elements. Enjoy a cruise down the Danube River to see the sights from the water, and take a trip to the hot springs or thermal baths to relax after a day of walking.
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