Best Places To Visit In Europe: Are you going to visit Europe for the first time soon, and finding it difficult to select as which places to visit in Europe, then you are not the only one who is confused.
Europe with its long-dominant history offers so many places to visit. From England to France, from Germany to Italy, this continent is full of amazing sightseeing places.
That’s why to make things simple for you I’ve made a list of some of the best ancient sites to visit in Europe which are renowned for amazing museums, ancient architecture and beautiful scenic places.
List Of Best Places To Visit In Europe
1. The Vatican City: The State Within Rome
Within Rome, itself is the enclave known as the State of the Vatican City, which is the sovereign territory of the Holy See, the Pope. It is the smallest nation in the world, and even has representation in the United Nations, as a non-voting member state.
Within the Vatican City you can find the grand Saint Peter’s Square, a fine expanse surrounded by classical beauty, having been redesigned by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, from 1656 to 1667,
with the express purpose of being a place where a large number of people could gather to be blessed by the Pope – indeed the Pope now does a weekly blessing of the people assembled in the square.
Saint Peter’s Basilica is the largest basilica in the world, and many of Italy’s great Renaissance architects worked on it, including Michelangelo, Raphael and Bernini.
Perhaps the piece de resistance of a tour of the Vatican is a visit to the Sistine Chapel, with its magnificent Renaissance works, including frescoes by Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Rosselli, and its impressive ceiling which was executed by Michelangelo.
In the Vatican City, you can also find the Vatican Library, Vatican Museums, which include an Etruscan Museum, an Egyptian Museum, and a Tapestry Gallery.
In the museums you can also find important works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Giotto, and other great artists, including some wonderful classical statues.
There is so much to see in the Vatican City, that it really one of the best historic places to visit in Europe.
2. Rome The Eternal City
Now that the winter is about to over, it could be time to be considering a spring break, and where better to spend a few days, just as the weather is finally turning warmer, than the wonderful city of Rome?
The Eternal City is built on seven hills, on the River Tiber, and was lucky to escape World War II without too much damage, so the centre still has a strongly Renaissance and Baroque feel.
But perhaps first we ought to go even further back to Rome’s beginnings in ancient times – there is still an amazing amount of the ancient Roman architecture.
Take a look at the Colosseum, which goes back to 70-80 AD, and
Other ancient sights include the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, the Circus Maximus, the Baths of Caracalla, and numerous other buildings from this period.
Not only does Rome have these artefacts from ancient times, but also some fantastic medieval architecture as well.
Take a look at the Santa Maria Maggiore and the San Paolo Fuori le Mura – both of these have breath-taking 4th-century mosaics.
Rome also played a leading role in the Renaissance, and there is plenty of evidence for this in Rome today – such as the Piazza del Campidoglio by Michelangelo.
During this period, the wealthy families of Rome built beautiful houses for themselves, such as the Palazzo del Quirinale, the Palazzo Venezia, and many other gorgeous palaces.
Needless to say, Rome has the most spectacular museums and galleries, including the National Museum of Rome, the Museum of Roman Civilization, the National Gallery of Modern Art, and many more besides.
Besides all the serious stuff, there are also plenty of hedonistic things to enjoy about being in Rome, such as the lovely Italian gelati, a variety of delicious coffees, tasty pasta and pizza, and excellent Italian wine. Has to be in my list of best places to visit in Europe.
Also Read: Best Christmas Markets In Europe
3.York Ancient Walled City
So many visitors to England confine themselves to London, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon, but I reckon that if you don’t go up north, you are missing lots of things, and one of those things is the impressive and historic walled city of York.
The city was founded in AD 71 by the Romans, but after their departure came under the Anglo-Saxons, and was then later ruled by the Vikings, until the unification of England.
York still has plenty of its great past in evidence, so, if you are interested in history, then you will love York, which has some fantastic museums and architecture.
One of York’s most impressive museums is York Castle Museum, which has recreations of old streets and rooms.
Here you can see different living rooms through the ages, including a Victorian room, and a typical 1950’s room. There are also collections of old domestic artefacts, including even old toilets – yes, really!
Outside The Castle Museum is Clifford’s Tower – a Norman keep built on top of a motte, which is open to visitors.
As a tribute to York’s Viking past, there is The Jorvik Viking Centre – a novelty of this museum is that you go in a little train through a recreation of Viking York, seeing Viking houses, and how people lived.
If you love trains, then you will enjoy a visit to the National Railway Museum, which is not far from York railway station. Here you can see old steam locomotives, and step into old railway carriages from days gone by.
One of the most impressive architectural sites of York is its minster – York Minster is the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe and is right in the heart of the city centre. What else would be a better ancient place to visit in Europe.
4. Arles: Walked in the footstep of Van Gogh
In the list of best ancient historic places to visit in Europe, now we have come to number 4 in our list and it’s Arles.
Winter is coming to the UK, and it is as the autumn leaves start to fall that I turn my thoughts to escape off to the south of France, where there are reasonably warm temperatures throughout the winter, or at least warm compared with England.
It seems that Vincent Van Gogh also found the south of France to be a great escape from the cool northern European weather, because it was to here that he came to paint in the sunshine,
producing many of his famous works here, such as his paintings of sunflowers, Cafe at Night, and the well-known painting of his bedroom.
Van Gogh came specifically to Arles, in the beautiful southern French province of Provence, renowned for its sunny weather, its lavender, its good food with plenty of garlic, its wine, and its relaxed and easy going lifestyle, as seen in the relaxing afternoons locals spend playing petanque, and sitting in cool cafes enjoying an expresso, or perhaps a pastis.
Arles, in fact, has a long history, going back to the Greeks, and there are also significant Roman ruins, including an impressive Roman amphitheatre.
If you want to see a fine example of early sculpture, then visit the Church of Saint Trophime, a Romanesque church that was built in the 12th century – the portal depicts the Last Judgement, and is a foremost example of the sculpture of this style and period.
The citizens of Arles have a distinctive traditional dress, which they wear for local festivals and cultural events, and which gives Arles a very unique feel.
The city has a couple of museums, one of which, The Museum of Arles and Provence Antiques, has a fine collection of old Roman artefacts.
It is quite amazing that, given that Van Gogh lived and painted here, there are none of his works on display in the town.
5. Stonehenge: Stone Circle Of Mystery
On number five in my list of best historic places to visit in Europe is Stonephenge.
One of the most famous prehistoric sites in the world, and the subject of considerable speculation, Stonehenge is a spectacular monument that you must not miss if you visit the south of England.
Stonehenge is situated just eight miles north of the historic city of Salisbury and is a circular setting of large standing stones surrounded by earthworks.
The stones themselves are thought to date back to around 2200 BC, and the earthworks may go back to 3100 BC. It is even thought that some building activity in the area could go back to an incredible 8000 BC.
It seems that the stones were brought from 25 miles away, which is a pretty amazing thought when you consider that it probably took 500 men to pull one of the 50 tonne stones.
There have been many theories about the origin of Stonehenge, ranging from the scientific to the paranormal. Stonehenge has become a place of pilgrimage and celebration for modern day Druids and pagans.
Every summer solstice dawn appears over the stone known as the heel stone, and this sight attracts great numbers of visitors.
Salisbury is a good place to stay for those considering visiting Stonehenge and has a good number of places to stay.
Alternatively, half an hour from Stonehenge, in the historic town of Shaftesbury, there is the Royal Chase Hotel, a former monastery which is now a highly rated hotel with restaurant and heated indoor swimming pool.
While you relax in the pool spare a thought for the souls who dragged the stones all those miles.
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