Europe is a broad and expansive continent filled with a variety of landscapes, cultures, and climates. With that comes beautiful treasures that attract thousands of visitors every year. Though they say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you can be sure that these stunning European destinations will dazzle even the harshest critics.
1. Blue Grotto, Italy
On the coast of the island of Capri is the Blue Grotto, a famously beautiful cave. With a mouth that’s just a little over a yard high, the amazing cavern can only be entered by lying flat in a small wooden row boat. The water is said to shimmer like a crystal inside. The best time to witness the Blue Grotto is between noon and two, though in the morning, there are great reflections in the cavern, too.
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2. Trolltunga, Hordaland, Norway
Trolltunga is a lovely rock formation that sits 3,600 feet high in Hordaland, Norway, overlooking the Ringedalsvatnet lake. It’s known as one of the most spectacular scenic cliffs in not just Norway, but all of Europe, for that matter. It’s not easy to get to Trolltunga -- it takes 10 to 12 hours to reach by hiking. But once you get there, you understand. The beauty is worth it.
3. Rakotzbrücke, Kromlau, Germany
Deep in Kromlau, Germany, there’s a bridge that looks so enchanting, one might think it was pulled out of a fairy tale. The Rakotzbrucke is known as the Devil’s Bridge because it was a feat of engineering in its day, and therefore could only have been done with the help of Satan (or so the legend says). It was commissioned by a knight in 1860 to be built as a thin arch over water so that when it reflects, it creates a beautiful circle. The bridge can still be visited today in Kromlauer Park, but unfortunately, it can’t be crossed, as the government hopes to preserve it for centuries to come.
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4. Keukenhof Park, The Netherlands
You don’t have to love gardens or flowers to be amazed by Keukenhof Park in The Netherlands, which is only open in the spring and is home to seven million tulips that come in 800 varieties. Originally built in 1857 as a garden for Castle Keukenhof, it has become so much more than that today. The park covers almost 80 acres, so it’s easy to spend a full day here. Visitors of Keukenhof Park can enjoy tours, flower shows and presentations, or take a boat ride past the blossoms.
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5. Santorini, Greece
Santorini is an island in the Aegean Sea, but it’s not the island itself that makes the list, rather it's the towns on it. Fira and Oia are whitewashed head to toe, from the cubiform houses and buildings (some of which have those iconic blue roofs) to the stairs that lead up and down between them. These buildings sit upon jagged cliffs and are surrounded by gorgeous Mediterranean waters. It’s no wonder that 1.5 million people visit the island every year to soak up the beauty of it all.
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6. Tunnel of Love, Klevan, Ukraine
There’s a leafy tunnel in Klevan, Ukraine, and it’s a sight to behold. Over the years, the trees were molded and shaped as trains passed on the tracks below, so today, they create a natural tunnel. The tunnel has become more than just a route for trains: It’s said that lovers can make a wish inside, and if their love is sincere, the wish will come true (hence the name, Tunnel of Love). Though the tunnel is beautiful in the summer and spring, it’s also a sight to behold in fall when the leaves change colors, or in winter when snow cakes the trees.
7. Hruboskalsko, Czech Republic
In the Czech Republic is a rock city known as Hruboskalsko. It comprises interesting tower-like rock formations that rise above the forest line to create a beautiful scene. To experience Hruboskalsko, visitors take a wonderful hike up and down stairs and through gorges and chasms. Be sure to stop at The Band for the most beautiful view of the sandstone towers.
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8. Eisriesenwelt, Austria
Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and that’s so true for Eisriesenwelt, the largest ice cave in the world. Eisriesenwelt sits high above Wefren, Austria, and is a labyrinth that extends about 30 miles. The centuries have created a wonderland of ice and natural sculptures for visitors to experience during tours, which are offered between May and October. Be sure to dress warm, even in the summer months!
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9. The Alps
The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range in Europe, and whether they are covered in fresh snow or not, they are extraordinarily beautiful among the peaks of the world. The dramatic range extends 750 miles across eight countries: France, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. Though they're not as high as the Himalayas, Andes, or Rocky Mountains, they set a powerful scene in Europe -- especially in Austria and Switzerland -- and are unforgettable in their beauty.
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