Greetings Earthlings

Where to go in Europe...

I recently came across an article on GotSaga discussing the so-called 'can't miss landmarks in Europe'. Of course these top 22 are debatable. In fact, why a top 22 list...why not a top 10 or top 25? But 22??? What gives?? I'll work with it though. Given than I have only been to parts of Italy below is a summary of how I fare (not very well, which, I might add, was expected)...hopefully that will change one day...soon....

I have bolded the sites I've visited, italicized the ones I really want to visit (within the next five years, hopefully), underlined the ones I want to visit but doubt I'll get to see anytime soon and I've just left the ones that I could care less about as is...

1. Eiffel Tower - Paris, France (I may actually want to climb it...the verdict is still TBA)
2. Palace of Westminster - London, UK (don't really care about it but I'm certain I'll see it if and when I get to London)
3. Hagia Sophia Mosque - Istanbul, Turkey
4. The Palace of Versailles - Paris, France
5. Charles Bridge - Prague, Czech Republic
6. Buckingham Palace - London, UK
7. Puerta del Sol - Madrid, Spain (even though I really could care less about anywhere in Madrid except the Prado and the Bernebeu...if it wasn't for Real Madrid and a certain tennis tourney in May I probably wouldn't have any interest in going to Madrid at all)
8. Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral - Paris, France
9. Neuschwanstein Castle - Bavaria, Germany
10. Tivoli Gardens - Copenhagen, Denmark (although I'd rather see the Little Mermaid statue)
11. Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao, Spain
12. The Parthenon on the Acropolis - Athens, Greece
13. St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican City, Rome
14. Custom House - Dublin, Ireland (WTF? This seriously made the list??)
15. Colosseum - Rome, Italy
16. Stonehenge - Wiltshire, England
17. Giants Causeway - Antrim, Ireland
18. Alhambra - Granada, Spain
19. Red Square - Moscow, Russia
20. Saint Mark's Basilica - Venice, Italy
21. Rialto Bridge - Venice, Italy (wow, I'd probably think The Bridge of Sighs was just as significant)
22. David - Academy in Florence, Italy  (of course I want to see it but of all the sites in Florence THIS certainly is not my priority, *cough* Uffizzi*cough* - geez, the David isn't even the top statue to see IMO *cough* Perseus, Signoria Square* cough*)

Of my responses, the top five in that order that I really want to visit are as follows...#5 Notre Dame, #4 Stonehenge, tied at #2 Neuschwanstein & the Parthenon, #1 Versailles (but Florence and Venice in general trump all of the above IMO). I'd love to see the South American version of this list.

For reference, here is the full article...

These are the landmarks in Europe that you don't want to miss for your photo album.....

1- Eiffel Tower - Paris, France

A symbol of Paris and one of the most famous landmarks in the world. Built by Gustave Eiffel in 1887-1889, the tower was almost torn down in 1909 and only saved due to its use as a telegraphy antenna.

The tower has become the most prominent symbol of both Paris and France, often in the establishing shot of films set in the city.

2- Palace of Westminster - London, UK

On the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Palace of Westminster (more widely known as the Houses of Parliament) is the seat of Parliament in the United Kingdom. It's often termed the "Mother of All Parliaments" - an exaggeration, but perhaps only a slight one. The present building largely dates from the 19th century when it was rebuilt following a fire in a splendid example of Victorian neo-Gothic architecture. The House of Commons (elected Members of Parliament or MPs) is located to the north of the building and is decorated with green leather upholstery, and the House of Lords (unelected Lords) is located to the south and decorated with red leather upholstery.

3- Hagia Sophia Mosque - Istanbul, Turkey

Dating from the sixth century, it was originally a basilica constructed for the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I. A masterwork of Roman engineering, the huge 30 m diameter dome covers what was for over 1000 years the largest enclosed space in the world. The church was looted by the fourth Crusaders in 1204, and became a mosque in the 15th century when The Ottomans conquered the city. It was converted into a museum in 1935.

4- The Palace at Versailles - Paris, France

The Palace of Versailles has been the scene for several historic events, not the least of which was the signing, on 28 June 1919 within the Hall of Mirrors, of the Peace Treaty between defeated Germany and the Allies that brought the First World War officially to an end. The signing of the treaty at Versailles, of course, mirrored the proclamation, in 1871 within the same long hall, of the establishment of the German Empire under the Prussian king, subsequently the Kaiser.

5- Charles Bridge - Prague, Czech Republic

Its construction started in the 14th Century and it is one of Prague's most beautiful attractions. Over the day it is a bustling place of trade and entertainment.

During the night the Charles Bridge is a quiet place. But during the day it changes its face into a very busy place, with painters, owners of kiosks and other traders alongside numerous tourists crossing the bridge.

6- Buckingham Palace - London, UK

The main residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (reigned since 1952, coronated 1953). Other residences are Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle.

Every year some 50,000 invited guests are entertained at garden parties, receptions, audiences, and banquets. The Garden Parties, usually three, are held in the summer, usually in July. The Forecourt of Buckingham Palace is used for Changing of the Guard, a major ceremony and tourist attraction (daily during the summer months; every other day during the winter).

7- Puerta del Sol, Madrid - Spain

This plaza is the "heart" of Madrid and one of the busiest places in the city. On the north side of the plaza there is a famous statue of an oso (bear) climbing the madroño tree, which is the symbol of Madrid. Also in Sol, just in front of the Capital building of the community of Madrid, is Kilometer Zero, a plaque showing the point where the measuring of national highways begins. Both the bear statue, and Km. Zero are common meeting spots for friends. The giant neon Tío Pepe sign above the plaza is also a famous fixture of this area. New Year’s celebrations are broadcast from Sol every year with the ringing of the clock bringing in the new year.

8- Notre Dame de Paris cathedral - Paris, France

otre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in France and in Europe. It was restored and saved from destruction by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, one of France's most famous architects. The name Notre Dame means "Our Lady" in French, and is frequently used in the names of Catholic church buildings in Francophone countries. Notre Dame de Paris was one of the first Gothic cathedrals, and its construction spanned the Gothic period. Its sculptures and stained glass show the heavy influence of naturalism, unlike that of earlier Romanesque architecture.

9- Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany

The world famous Neuschwanstein castle is situated a few kilometres to the east. Some visitors come to tour the castles and leave immediately afterwards leaving the beautiful little town unexplored. This is a great pity as there is much to see in Füssen and the surrounding area if you know what you are looking for! There are magnificant lakes with beatiful views and the "Kalvarienberg" which has the "Stations of the Cross" on it.

 

10- Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark

A famous amusement park and pleasure garden in Copenhagen, Denmark. The park opened on August 15, 1843 and is the second oldest amusement park in the world, after Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg.

Tivoli is currently the most visited theme park in Scandinavia and the 3rd most visited in Europe.

11- Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao, Spain

Frank Gehry's spectacular twisting titanium-clad modern art museum is perhaps the most celebrated building of the 1990s. The graceful, sensuous curves, evocative of the ships that used to be ubiquitous along the docks of Bilbao, are covered in titanium squares, which resemble the scales of a fish and shimmer in the sunlight. In keeping with the maritime theme, appropriate for the setting, the skylights of the largest gallery (formerly known as the Fish gallery) are designed to look like the fins of fish.

12- The Parthenon on the Acropolis, Athens, Greece

The Athenian Acropolis is the ancient high city of Athens, a prominent plateaued rock perched high above the modern city with commanding views and an amazing array of ancient architecture, mostly from the Classical period of Ancient Greece, the most famous of which is the Parthenon. A visit to Athens is not complete without visiting the Acropolis - hundreds of tourists each day accordingly make the pilgrimage.

13- St. Peter’s Basilica - Vatican City, Rome

The centre of the Catholic world, this magnificent basilica with its Michelangelo designed dome has an awe-inspiring interior. This place is huge, but everything is in such proportion that the scale escapes you. To give you a comparison, you can fit the Statue of Liberty, statue and pedestal (height from ground of pedestal to torch: 93m), underneath the dome (interior height of 120m from floor to top of dome) with room to spare.

 14- Custom House, Dublin, Ireland

A marvelous neoclassical 18th century building in Dublin, Ireland which houses the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

15- Colosseum - Rome, Italy

Known properly as the Flavian Amphitheatre, this most famous of Roman landmarks takes its name from the giant statue of the emperor Nero that once stood near this location. Originally capable of seating some 50,000 spectators for animal fights and gladiatorial combats, the amphitheatre was a project started by the Emperor Vespasian in 72 and completed by his son Domitian sometime in the 80s. The Colosseum when completed measured 48 m high, 188 m in length, and 156 m in width. The wooden arena floor was 86 m by 54 m, and covered by sand.

16- Stonehenge - Wiltshire, England

Stonehenge is in a World Heritage Site of over 2000 hectares that is considered one of the most archaeologicaly rich in Europe. It is home to some of the most important Neolithic and Bronze Age finds and structures in the UK, and contains some 200 scheduled monuments. It is also the site of one of the biggest Chalk grassland reversion projects in the world.

17- Giants Causeway - Antrim, Ireland

Giant's Causeway is a spectacular rock formation on the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland. The site consists of some 40,000 basalt columns rising out of the sea. The Giant's Causeway is Northern Ireland's only UNESCO World Heritage Site.

18- Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Part fortress (the Alcazaba), part palace, part garden (the Generalife) and part government city (the Medina), this medieval complex overlooking Granada is often considered on par with the 7 wonders of the world. Many visitors come to Granada expressly to see the Alhambra.

The Alhambra was a palace, a citadel, fortress, and the home of the Nasrid sultans, high government officials, servants of the court and elite soldiers (from the 13th to the 14th century). Other notable buildings belonging to a different time period are also included, such as the Renaissance style Palace of Charles V, which houses the Alhambra Museum (most of the items are from the site of the monument) and the Fine Art Museum.

In order to fully appreciate the unique architecture of the Alhambra set within the surrounding landscape, it is advisable to visit an area of the Albaicín called the Mirador de San Nicolás, or go to Sacromonte. From both of these places the Alhambra's spectacular location, lying just above the city of Granada, can really be admired.

19- Red Square - Moscow, Russia

The heart of Moscow and the first destination for most visitors to the city. Surrounded by St. Basil's Cathedral, the State History Museum, Lenin's Mausoleum and one of the Kremlin's long brick walls. The cobbles that make up the square are black and not red; the name comes from another gloss of the Russian word "krasniy", meaning "beautiful".

20- Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice - Italy

It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture. It lies on Piazza San Marco (in the San Marco sestiere or district) adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace. Originally it was the "chapel" of the Venetian rulers, and not the city's cathedral. Since 1807 it has been the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. For its opulent design, gilded Byzantine mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century on the building was known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro (Church of gold).

21- Rialto Bridge, Venice-Italy

One of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. It is the oldest bridge across the canal.

The engineering of the bridge was considered so audacious that architect Vincenzo Scamozzi predicted future ruin. The bridge has defied its critics to become one of the architectural icons of Venice.

22- David - Academy in Florence, Italy

The Gallery of the Accademia di Belle Arti has housed the original David by Michelangelo since 1873. The sculpture was allegedly brought to the Accademia for reasons of conservation, although other factors were involved in its move from its previous outdoor location on Piazza della Signoria. The original intention was to create a 'Michelangelo museum', with original sculptures and drawings, to celebrate the fourth centenary of the artist's birth. Today the gallery's small collection of Michelangelo's work includes his four unfinished Prisoners, intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II, and a statue of Saint Matthew, also unfinished. In 1939 these were joined by a Pietà discovered in the Barberini chapel in Palestrina, though experts now consider its attribution to Michelangelo to be dubious.

 

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Re: Well since I did go to Paris and London...
Thanks for the input. I never really had that much excitement towards visiting the Eiffel Tower - I just want to go to the top to say I did it. There are so many other places I'd go to in Paris and Sacre Couer would definitely be one. Did you get to visit Ste. Chapelle? I always wanted to attend a concert in that chapel and just look at all the stained glass windows. And of course Notre Dame, inside and out, and the museums...the Louvre and especially the Gustave Moreau museum as he is one of my fave artists. Don't even get me started on all the places just outside of Paris that are worth seeing!

London, not so thrilled about seeing anything in London except maybe Westminster Abbey, the Globe Theatre, the Tower and the Templar Church (and some plays in the theatre district if I'm lucky). London always seems like a stopover place, a gateway to some other city in Europe. I'd stay there for a weekend and continue on from there.

Agree totally about the Customs House - I have no idea how it made this list. I don't know much about Dublin but at least Trinity College and Guinness Storehouse would be worth a visit.

Rome is the place to go. The Colosseum is fabulous. The whole of the Roman Forum is just breathtaking. Sistine Chapel was humbling. The Raphael room in the Vatican Museum had the same effect. And if (when) you do go to Rome make sure you visit the Borghese Gallery if you like classic and renaissance art. I knew it would be great but that place was the ultimate art museum.
Re: Well since I did go to Paris and London...
I hate when there is construction. That is the problem with the Parthenon...there is always some conservation project going on on the Acropolis and some part of it is inevitably covered by scaffolding. Another issue that comes up during travels is closures. When I was visiting the Vatican Museum I discovered that there are areas/rooms that are only open at certain times/on certain days. I never was able to see the Borgia apartments during my visit. I guess they just want you to keep coming back.

I'd love to go to Southern France as well but more so on the western/central side than the eastern beaches towards the Monaco area. South east France seems too touristy and expensive. I'd pretty much go anywhere in France though. Northern Italy would be awesome as well - Turin, of course, Milan, Cinque Terre, Venice and the Lake District. I'd pay to see Jose Mourinho's house (villa) on Lake Como. LOL
the customs house? really? I can´t even remember it on the map and I was there a month ago! now, Tivoli Gardens..oh my..that looked so much fun! we didn´t go because we had just 2 days for Copennhagen, but really looked awesome...plus the Little Mermaid was still in Shangai in October..grrr
IKR - I didn't even know what the Customs House was. I had to look it up. I think someone from the Dublin Tourist Board paid the author to have it included on the list...LOL
What a good list! Even though I tend to stay away from the 'big' cities when I have been traveling, I have seen both landmarks in London, England. And we were going to go to the Alhambra while driving through Spain but as it happened we didn't because we didn't have time. I should be going to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in a month's time, and I am quite looking forward to that! :)
It is a good list that opens up much debate.

Your vacation is less than a month away now...have fun preparing over the next few weeks and enjoy yourself abroad :)
One thing for sure...there are so many places in the world to visit I will never get to all of the ones I want. :(

Thank you! I am started to get excited now. :)