Landmarks are landmarks for a reason. While they can often draw tourists in such large numbers that restaurants start to take advantage of it, areas get crowded, and locals get annoyed, they’re still spots that are worthy of consideration for the thoughtful traveler. Europe, with its centuries of rulers, wars, artwork, and more, as well as the wealth and opulence that came with colonial power, has more than its fair share of landmarks that are recognized not just in their native nations but around the world, and we’ve created a list of the ones you need to make sure you see.
With its many dynasties, past and present, Europe’s landmarks are often dominated by castles and palaces. Thanks to a strong Christian history, opulent churches have a strong presence on this list, but so do ancient pagan temples and one cathedral that was originally built as a mosque. France seems to have a bit of an edge over other European countries, with six landmarks on the list, four of which are in Paris. Spain follows with five landmarks spread out in five different cities. Moscow may be the official capital of Russia, but St. Petersburg seems to be its cultural capital, with three of the country’s four spots on this list. Italy, of course, also has a strong showing with four sites, not counting the two that are located in Vatican City. There are plenty of other landmarks throughout the rest of Europe that are worthy of note, however, and cities like Lisbon, Vienna, Kiev, and Valletta have just as much to offer both in terms of education and scenery. So if you’re planning a trip to the Old Continent, check out this list of 35 European landmarks you need to visit.