Europe is home to some fantastic tourist attractions that welcome millions of visitors every year, creating a tourism boom for the countries in which they can be found. But have you ever wondered which of the many iconic structures the continent has to offer is the best?
Well, that is a question to which we are going to discover the answer to in about a month’s time. The annual World Travel Awards are scheduled for July and one of the categories is ‘Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction’. Along with Buckingham Palace, Titanic Belfast and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, which are representing the UK and Ireland, here are the other nominees.
The oldest attraction on the list, the Acropolis is an unmissable sight in both the sense that you cannot miss it and that you should definitely go for a visit if you find yourself on an Athens city break. Many people mistake the Parthenon (the most recognisable structure on the rocky outcrop) as the Acropolis, but there are actually many different monuments that make up this ancient citadel. Other buildings include the Propylaea, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. Having been in place since the fifth century BC, the Acropolis is a symbol of a celebrated empire that brought democracy to the world.
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Famous for being unfinished, La Sagrada Familia is one of the most prominent symbols of Barcelona. This basilica has a name meaning ‘the Holy Family’ and it presents the family of Nazareth as the perfect example of what a family united by love, harmony and peace should look like. Construction of the impressive structure has already spanned five different generations, with Barcelona’s own adopted son, Antoni Gaudí, having a hand in the design at one point.
The Eiffel Tower, Paris
The Eiffel Tower is probably the most instantly recognisable landmark on the planet. Just a glimpse of this steel structure has you immediately imagining the sights and sounds of Paris and it is a major reason why France receives more foreign tourists than any other country in the world. In 2014, it celebrated its 225th birthday and, with the opportunity to make your way to the top and admire breathtaking views of the city, it is no surprise that it is the most popular paid-for attraction in the world.
The Colosseum, Rome
Whilst many of the structures on this list have merely been bystanders to the history of their surroundings, you really get a sense that the Colosseum played a very active role in the story of Rome. The largest amphitheatre ever built was completed in AD 80 and was the setting for many bloody battles during a period when the Roman Empire spread far and wide. It’s design paved the way for the tiered ticketing system we have in theatres today (the most important people sat closer to the action) and a series of passageways and entrances meant that there was never a bottleneck when people left – perfect when having to quickly escape a lion on the loose.
Ribeira do Porto, Porto
Rather than being a particular building, the Ribeira is a district that stands at the heart of Porto’s vibrant cultural scene. The area acts as a microcosm of the city, showcasing just how colourful, historic and lively the city is. Numerous narrow alleyways lead down to a beautiful riverside square which beckons locals and tourists to take the weight off their feet in one of the many bars and watch the traditional boats float along the Douro River.
Whichever one of these attractions comes out on top in the World Travel Awards, there is no denying that they are all worth a visit should you find yourself in any of these cities. And if you want to ensure this is the case, contact our friendly team today about our range of European city breaks.