Europe is definitely more than just big cities. The Old Continent boasts an abundance of breathtaking and amazingly gorgeous natural sites and other places such as vast lakes, superb islands, impressive mountain sceneries and stunning tulip fields, mind-blowing waterfalls, canyons and sandy beaches you can hardly believe actually exist. Explore the following ten places you should not miss when visiting Europe.
1. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia’s main tourist attraction and a must-see at that. The park, situated halfway between Zagreb and Zadar, covers a total area of 300 square kilometers and features 16 lakes. The fauna found in this place is remarkable as it is inhabited by rare bird species, deer, bears, wolves and boars. The landscape here is truly stunning and visitors should not miss some of the Upper Lakes such as Prošćansko, Ciginovac, Okrugljak, and Batinovac, and Lower Lakes Milanovac, Gavanovac, Kaluđerovac and Novakovića Brod. The Plitvica stream and the River Korana will undoubtedly take your breath away! The park offers several accommodation options, restaurants, cafes, and a bunch of recreational activities.
2. Keukenhof Gardens, Holland
Kuekenhof is the most beautiful garden in the world and is situated in the heart of Holland. This place features more than 7 million bulbs in bloom and 800 varieties of tulips. If the beauty of colourful flowers enthrals you, then this is a park to enjoy. Wander around inspirational gardens such as the Amsterdam canal garden or the selfie-tuin which makes a perfect spot to take nice selfies. The park is open for a limited time (20 March – 17 May 2015). Don’t miss some of the spectacular flower shows that take place on specific days and times. The Keukenhof experience is more than a floral park, there is much more to see and do.
3. Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
This palace dates back to the 17th century and is Vienna’s most popular cultural treasure and tourist attraction. This World Cultural Heritage site is characterised by baroque-style works of art, and exceptionally beautiful gardens. The palace’s interior is full of outstanding examples of decorative art, frescoed ceilings, crystal chandeliers, huge mirrors and glided ornaments.
4. Lavender fields, France
Lavender has been described as the “soul” of Provence in France. There are numerous lavender fields you can visit in this region, each one being more spectacular than the next. The colours, the scent and the texture of these lavender fields are awesome. These fields can be explored by car, by bike or even on foot. Typical lavender regions are Pays d’Apt (Luberon), Pays de Bluech (Baronnies), Pays de Digne etc. Lavender fields usually bloom from mid June to mid August, depending on the area and the seasonal weather.
5. River Tinto, Spain
Originally called Rio tinto (red river), it lies in south-western Spain and originates in the Sierra Morena mountains of Andalusia. The river owes its reddish hue to a bunch of minerals like copper, gold, silver etc that have been mined along the river since antiquity. It is said that the river is extremely dangerous for people due its high acidity levels. A plethora of different colours ranges from shades of red, violet to black and orange make up a splendid landscape surrounding the river.
6. The Devil’s Bridge (Rakotzbrücke), Germany
The Rakotzbrücke Bridge is nestled among the verdant foliage of Germany’s Kromlauer Park, and was built in 1860. The bridge is also known as the devil’s bridge, as it is said that it was so dangerous and miraculous that it must have been built by Satan. The bridge’s reflection merges into a perfect circle, regardless of which angle you observe it from. This stunning sight is a favourite spot among professional photographers.
7. Pamukkale, Turkey
This is one of Turkey’s top attractions and mineral spa resorts near Denizli province. Pamukkale literally means “cotton castle” which it actually is. The ancient castle built on the hill is a real fortress and it is symbolic of the city. The landscape here is utterly extravagant. Also, several tectonic movements that take place every now and then, allow people to admire amazing scenery including the notable limestone bathrooms that were formed by earthquakes, creating a real kingdom of imposing stairs. The water in this area is thermal and this alone makes it a fascinating spa destination.
8. Crooked Forest, Poland
This forest is located in a tiny corner of western Poland and is populated by 400 pine trees with a 90 degree bend at the base of their trunks, all bent northward. The actual reason why these pine trees are curved still remains a mystery, but it is believed to be some sort of human intervention.
9. Krimml Waterfalls, Austria
Krimml waterfalls are the highest waterfalls in Europe and the fifth highest waterfalls in the world, with a height of 380 meters. The Krimml Waterfalls were officially declared a health spa as early as 1803 and have been dubbed as a “remedy for city life and sensibility”. This site attracts roughly 350,000 visitors every year and it is a popular alpine resort.
10. Drina river, Balkans
Drina River, in the central Balkans is probably one of the most gorgeous bodies of water to ever exist. The river meanders through picturesque mountainous and plain regions of Bosnia and Serbia. Interestingly, a tiny little home has been balancing on a rock in the middle of the river for over 45 years. During the summer months, there is rafting on the Drina, in which all kinds of boats participate.
If you are looking for a relaxing holiday in Europe’s most enchanting landscapes, then these are just a few suggestions to enjoy a relaxing time and do activities while enjoying the unparalleled beauty of these idyllic places.