Europe is the first choice for many tourists looking to explore the memories of the past while enjoying the comforts of the present. One of the best ways the continent takes people to the past is through buildings and structures from historical times. Some of the most iconic buildings from the past still existing today are cathedrals. Check out 8 of the most beautiful European cathedrals below.
St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy
Start your journey in the capital of incredible churches, Italy. You can move around easily in the country, taking advantage of its advanced train system. For instance, a Naples to Rome train will take you to the country’s largest city within a short time. There, you can pay a visit to the historic St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. This center of Catholicism is the largest church in the world. Apart from its stunning looks, St. Peter’s Basilica also houses many historic artworks like Michelangelo’s Pieta.
Blue Church, Bratislava, Slovakia
If you are in a neighboring country like Austria, you can take a Vienna to Bratislava train to get to the stunning Blue Church in Slovakia. The church got its unofficial name from the color of the wall but is formally known as the Church of St. Elizabeth. Located in the Old Town of Bratislava, the church is a secessionist of the Catholic church. A visit to the Blue Church will make you feel like you are in a fairy tale.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
Despite being uncompleted, Sagrada Familia is still one of the most beautiful churches in Europe. The Roman Catholic church was the work of Antoni Gaudi, and his signature is quite evident across the building’s structure. Sagrada Familia is expected to be completed in 2026, but the completed parts still draw thousands of tourists to Barcelona every year.
Notre Dame de Paris, Paris, France
Paris has many beautiful sights, so it is no surprise that it has some of the most beautiful churches in Europe. Of these churches, the Notre Dame de Paris stands out. The church is a site of stunning architectural designs and fascinating history. The cathedral’s construction spanned almost two centuries between 1160-1345. Some parts were damaged during the French revolution in the 1790s but have since been restored in 1845 and recently in 1991.
Duomo di Milano, Milan, Italy
Duomo di Milano is one of the most stunning pieces of architecture one can see in a lifetime. The church will steal your breath whether you see it outside or inside. With a capacity to hold 40,000 people, the church is the largest in Italy and took about 600 years to complete. Today, it serves more than a religious purpose as millions of people troop to Milan yearly to see it.
Hallgrimskirja, Reykjavik, Iceland
Located in the Scandinavian country of Iceland, the Hallgrimskirkja church is one sight you are unlikely ever to forget. The futuristic church looks like something out of a sci-fi movie but is an actual structure that took almost 50 years to complete. Goujon Samuelsson started the construction in 1937 and was completed in 1986. If you are ever in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, you should take some time to view the remarkable church.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia
Saint Basil’s Cathedral is one of the oldest churches on this list. Despite being completed as far back as 1560, the cathedral is still in good condition. Situated majestically in the Red Square in Moscow, the church is predominantly red with other colors like yellow, blue, and green. The breathtaking building is now used as a museum and holds only one service yearly on the Day of Intercession.
Westminster Abbey, London, England
Italy may have most of the most beautiful churches in Europe, but other countries also have a fair share of them. In England, none is more remarkable than Westminister Abbey. Apart from being the venue for most of the Royal family’s events and holding a wealth of their history, the church’s building is a sight to behold. The imposing gothic structure can overwhelm you with the spires jutting out and unique marble and glass adorning the walls.
Cathedrals and other religious buildings contribute significantly to Europe’s wealth of beautiful structures. This list has covered a few of some popular tourist countries, but there are still more you can see on the continent. You can check out the historical cathedrals in the country you visit to have a more focused list.