Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to visit many beautiful buildings and photograph some spectacular architecture. We’ve put together a list of ten of our favorite buildings in Europe although we love many more.
Castle Stalker, Appin, Argyll, Scotland
You might recognize Castle Stalker from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The best vantage point is by turning at the red mailbox in Appin, parking at the end of the road and walking passed the sheep meadow. There is a viewing spot up the hill at a cafe but it was overgrown when we were there and difficult to get a good view. You can also book a visit as long as you are willing to take a boat there and able to climb several stairs.
Antwerp City Hall
Antwerp city hall is decorated with 87 flags. Including Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium, Europe and the United Nations, there are also flags representing European Union member countries and nations that have a consulate in Antwerp. In front is the fountain depicting Brabo throwing the giant Antigoon’s hand into the river. One of the first things you will notice in Antwerp are the chocolate hands for sale in many shops. Antwerp means hand throw in Old English. Another great building is the Antwerp train station, don’t miss it!
Known as one of the most magnificent gothic cathedrals in Europe, Our Lady of Strasbourg just celebrated her millennial birthday with a wonderful light show. Inside you can watch the minutes tick by on an astronomical clock dating back to 1842 and an organ that is nothing short of a work of art. In the summer months, you can admire this towering beauty from a nearby patio while enjoying a local libation.
Known as the town hall of Florence, the Palazzo Vecchio looks like a typical palace from the outside but its real beauty is on the inside with great rooms covered in artwork where you can imagine the life of royals ballroom dancing into the wee hours. If you visit, plan on staying a few hours to take in all the nooks and crannies. The palazzo is open late most days, and until midnight in the summer months.
Quai Branly Museum
Not too far from the Eiffel Tower is the Quai Branly Museum. An architecturally interesting building including a living vertical garden that makes it look, well, alive! It’s definitely worth a walk by and if there’s an interesting exhibit happening than walk on in.
This massive cathedral, visible from miles away is the jewel of Orvieto. Opening in 1591 it was built under instruction by Pope Urban IV to house the Corporal of Bolsena. Inside this beautiful example of Gothic architecture, you will find smaller chapels including the chapel of San Brizio. During the summer months time in this chapel is limited to 15 minutes.
St Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest
There’s a reason Roman Catholic buildings are some of our favourites even though we don’t buy into the dogma. They are often adorned with gold and jewels and although sometimes acquired in despicable ways, they are a testament to the people’s faith in God. St Stephen’s Basilica built in a Classical style is an amazing sight to see. It is said to house St Stephen’s right hand. The shrine encasing the hand is paraded in the streets on August 20th, the anniversary of St Stephen’s death.
San Marino, a small country in Italy has three fortresses, all perched high up on Monte Titano. The Guaita Fortress is the most famous, built in the 11th century, it served briefly as a prison. In 2008, it became a World Heritage Site. It is quite photogenic on its rocky pedestal.
Vienna museum of natural history
Comprised of two identical buildings facing each other. From inside you can look up 40metres into the dome that is surrounded by portraits of natural scientists and collectors. And let’s face it, everybody likes a domed building.
BMW Factory, Munich
Germans are known worldwide for their designing achievements and BMW’s factory and museum are no exception. They are works of art and also house works of art. You can tour the factory and enjoy some pretty awesome exhibits in the museum.
There are so many beautiful buildings that have awed us on our travels and at home, this list could have been much longer. Did you see any of your favorites on this list? If not, which would you add?
It’s hard to decide which buildings would merit being added to this list of favorite buildings in Europe! My first thought was Sagrada Familia, the Gaudi-designed cathedral in Barcelona. And, second, Mont-St-Michel in France!
Good additions for sure!
Beautiful pictures! I’ve never been to Europe but hope to visit someday.
Thanks for your comment, I really hope you make it there some day. It will change you.
You can add Hagia Sophia Mosque, the most beautiful mosque in Istanbul.
Definitely a beautiful building!
There are so many beautiful buildings in Europe it’s hard to choose. Ive seen some on this list, but I didn’t know about the Quai Branly Museum. It looks very interesting. Should castles count as buildings? Because there are so many wonderful castles in Scotland, Germany, France and even in Romania.
I consider castles buildings and you’re right, there are so many beautiful castles and buildings in Europe, this list could easily grow to thousands.
That is a pretty special collection of building in Europe, have to admit that now I live in France I am drawn to anything French. The cathedral at Strasbourg looks amazing. But if you are ever down in the South of France, check out La Cite in Carcassonne. It might even usurp one of the buildings on your list.
We have been to Carcassonne, almost 20 years ago and it is impressive although I would never go again during the summer months.
hmm very beautiful buildings, the unique design
Uff, there is so many amazing buildings in Europe!