The Most Beautiful Places in Europe
There are so many stunning places to visit in Europe that I just can’t get over it. Every time I think I’ve found the prettiest place, I find a new one. Just for a little travel inspiration, I’ve decided to list some of the places I find to be the most beautiful on this continent. There is no order, no countdown. They all are gorgeous, and there is plenty more. I limited myself to one site per country and have only started out with ten total, but to be honest that’s just craziness since there are plenty amazing places throughout these countries, so stay tuned for more.[toc]
The first one is in Switzerland, one of my favorite countries in Europe filled with gorgeous vistas, jagged peaks, rushing rivers, and pastoral farm lands. I could have picked just about any place, like Gruyeres or Lake Geneva, but instead I chose the Swiss side of the Rhine Falls. Close to the water’s edge, the roar and spray of the falls reaches you and it’s not only an arresting visual, but is also a treat for the ears. You can just feel the stress leaving your body as you listen and watch. You can visit the falls from either the German or Swiss side and both provide you an amazing view.
The entire Dalmatian coast in this southern European destination is beautiful, but for some reason I really fell in love with this view of UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trogir. There is something about a harbor and a marble-white city that makes my heart sing, and there are many places like this. Some are better known, and highly visited, like Split or Dubrovnik, but some are a little more secret and quiet, like the surprising city of Sibenik, another one of my favorites.
Yorkshire Dales, England
England is a beautiful country that I don’t think many tourists get to see much of, except London and it’s castles and towers, as well as Canterbury with its impressive cathedral, but there is so much more. Sedbergh in the Yorkshire Dales with this brick viaduct is also one of the places that I love to think about living one day. The rolling hills, farm fields, high hedges, all speak to me of a peaceful co-existence with nature. We stayed here for a full week a couple of summers ago, and I just know that I would find so much inspiration living in a place as beautiful as this. I can’t wait to go back.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
I couldn’t help but add to the list of beautiful places, Monte Carlo in Monaco. With its hilltop castle, harbor filled with everything from small sailboats to luxury yachts, along with the fortune of being located on the Mediterranean coast, makes it one of the prettiest cities in Europe that I’ve been able to visit. However, Monte Carlo is one of the most expensive places to go as well, so we combined our visit with the Menton Lemon Festival in nearby France. We did splurge and spend the night, but you can easily visit on a day trip and enjoy the views, food, and fun with no problem.
The Netherlands is another place you can go to find un-paralleled beauty. It has windmills, canals, bridges, art museums, bikes, and flowers galore to gawk at continually. The towns and cities are filled with gabled, brick houses that line the canals and just beckon you in for a cup of coffee. Maybe because I lived in this small, intriguing country for a couple of years, but I just love it and its idyllic views.
Gaudari Pass, Georgia
Then there is Georgia! Wow! We couldn’t get enough of the stunning Caucasus mountains, still covered in snow, and glistening in the sun. After a weekend in its capital city of Tbilisi, we took a fantastic road trip around the country and were rewarded with gorgeous view after gorgeous view.
Spain is another country that is filled with stunning places. The entire Iberian peninsula is full of olive groves, hilltop cities, castles, cathedrals, and beauty. We found so many secret and not-so secret spots to fall in love with, and it propels us into returning again and again. Segovia, with its gigantic Roman aquaduct and beautiful Alcazar tops our list of some of the most amazing cities in Spain, as well as in all of Europe. Yet another place I could easily live and be inspired by on a daily basis.
The Blue Eye, Albania
And then there’s Albania! Where? You ask. Albania. Tucked in the south of Europe, I don’t think there are many people who have been or have even heard of this country. It’s definitely a hidden gem. Just take a look at the turquoise water found at a spot called “the blue eye.” Just a dot on the map, we’d not even heard about it until we were driving by and saw a sign. We pulled over, parked and found the most amazing little pond, bubbling up with stunningly clear water. Discovering it was one of those serendipitous travel moments that I will never forget. We’d already been blown out of the water by many of the other stops on our Albanian road trip, like Butrint and Berat, and here was another “b” to add to the list.
I have to say, water does play a huge role in my loving a landscape, especially when that water is as beautiful as it is in Lake Konigsee. For a real treat, visit in the fall to watch the Konigsee cows coming home across the water on special built wooden boats. Germany is another country that is jam-packed with stunning vistas, some of the most beautiful places to see in Europe. We love being able to go to places like this on a weekend jaunt, because Bavaria is full of such attractions.
And our last landscape to drool over for this week is the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. Up until maybe the last five years or so, I would say this was truly a secret place to go. It still retains a lot of its charm, even though there are busloads of tourists visiting it every summer. We went in April, though, and pretty much had the place to ourselves. I think Montenegro is definitely a country that requires another visit or two, especially when it ranks up there as one of the pretties places to see in Europe.
We’ve been to this divided island twice, and the photo is specifically in Southern Cyprus not far from the Roman ruins of Kourion. There are a surprising amount of Roman ruins, which was one of the main reasons we went to begin with. We loved traipsing around Pafos and learning all about Salamis, both which are also located near water. It really doesn’t matter where you go, it’s all stunning. The beaches are sandy, and the views divine. We always go very off-season and so we’ve never seen many people sun-bathing, but I’m sure the middle months of the year would be crazy. The first time we visited, we were there in November and we could still swim. I ask you what is better than that?
Velinko Turnovo, Bulgaria
Located in the mountains along the Yantra River, this small city rates as our favorite in all of Bulgaria. We loved the beautiful Black Sea towns, discovering quiet and peaceful monasteries, and much, much more about this Eastern European destination, but Velinko Turnovo captured our hearts. As we were driving in, we met a lone shepherd with some spring lambs. His huge smile welcomed us to pet the babies and take some photos, and the town only got better and better as we wandered the streets and enjoyed all the local artisans and their wares.
St. Malo, France
Northern France is full of amazing vistas and great places to stop to enjoy the crisp ocean air. On yet another road trip, we visited the walled city of St. Malo. The entire time we were there it rained and rained, but between the gorgeous stone walls and buildings, the smiling eyes of the locals, and food that exceeded every expectation, we were entranced. But France is like that! Everywhere you turn there’s beauty and tranquility. We’ve loved so many charming and pretty places, made all that better by the food (oysters!), of the parades and festivals, by the iconic sights to see, or just from familiarity as we go back time and time again to our favorites. Seriously, France!
The Austrian Alps
It just doesn’t seem fair that some countries have more than their share of beauty, and Austria is certainly one of these countries. We head back to the Austrian Alps at least once every fall; we just can’t stay away from towns like the one pictured, Tarrenz or the scenic drives and national parks. Let alone that there are such fun things to do such as learning all about the importance of salt or visiting UNESCO world heritage sites like the small, but sensational views of Hallstatt. Of course, as you know we love fall in the alps mainly because of all the festivals surrounding the cows coming home off of their summer pastures high in the mountains.
Vintgar Gorge, Slovenia
From Ljubljana to Lake Bled and everything in between, Slovenia is another country blessed with spectacular scenery and things to do. From the surprisingly pretty capital city, to the most iconic of tourist meccas, places like the Vintgar Gorge can get overlooked, even though it’s an amazing destination in its own right. Slovenia is one of those places for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, bike riders, people who want to go and enjoy nature, and it’s all packaged in a rather small area, easy to get from one place to another without taking a lot of your time.
It might not be the most secretive place on this list, but for some reason it still eludes many people’s bucket list. I cannot figure out why. The mix of old and new, east and west, all combined with amazing views makes Istanbul unforgettable. I just love it. And just like other main cities in a country, if tourists do go there, they don’t realize how many treasures Turkey holds. We’ve traveled from north to south, west to east, and there are so many beautiful places. Another favorite is the beach city of Kiz Kalesi, well off the beaten track of most tourists. Most of the country holds secrets such as the Black Sea where you can dance with the Laz people, or the far east where you can gawk at a Pasha’s palace, and so many more towns and cities, lakes and mountains in between where you will find the friendliest of people welcoming you to join in their everyday lives.
The Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland
There is something about a chilly, wind-beaten coast that just soothes my soul and the Antrim coast at the very top of Northern Ireland is just that kind of place. There’s plenty to do and see from Game of Thrones filming sites to natural rock formations, castles, and adventure rope bridges. It’s a rough, uncut beauty that will call you back again and again.
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
One of the lesser visited, but well on its way to being known cities, Mostar is an up and comer on the Europe tourist trail. It has every right to be, because it’s full of striking views, famous bridges, a war-torn and fascinating history, friendly people, and amazing food.
There’s really no one place to mention in this island country, cold and windy, and full of remarkable and rough scenic beauty. Whether you take a tour or camp, there’s no escaping the adventure and feeling of euphoric outdoorsy-ness that you get from traversing the narrow, winding roads of Iceland. Out every window is view of the harshness of the land. We loved everything from the animals to the plants, and were more than pleasantly surprised by the interesting sites to visit.
Cinque Terre, Italy
Okay, you’re right! It’s not hidden. Everyone that visits Italy wants to put Cinque Terre on their itinerary, but it is one of the most beautiful places in Europe as far as we’re concerned. Yes, there’s Venice. Yes, there’s Rome. Yes, there’s plenty of gorgeous towns, cities, sights, lakes, mountains. Again, Italy is just one of those countries that has it all.
There you have it. Between Part 1, last weeks ten secret and stunning places, and this weeks ten, you have plenty of places to add to your bucket list. We hope we’ve inspired you to buy that ticket to Europe, get out your camera and your sense of adventure and be ready to have the time of your life!
I’m sure there are plenty more beautiful places in Europe. What are yours?
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