I originally planned this as a ’10 of the most beautiful places in the world’ post but found myself immediately struck with the inability to choose just 10, so instead here are 10 of the most beautiful places in Europe [Note: This was still a very VERY hard task]. Since I began travelling 3 years ago, I have left pieces of my heart scattered throughout 23 countries in Europe and brought home with me treasured memories that surely bias my views but I asked my trusty gut what she thought and this was her reply…
1. The Cinque Terre, Italy
The Italian candy land of colour, the five villages that make up the Cinque Terre provide the perfect oasis for escaping the Italian summer heat and the perfect test for colour blindness.
2. Cappadocia, Turkey
With endless fairy chimneys, cave churches, hot air balloons, and of course beautiful horses, Cappadocia is a travel destination suitable for any Disney princess – i.e. full of endless adventure and magical landscapes.
3. Budapest, Hungary
If Cappadocia is the travel destination for Disney princesses, then Budapest is where they spend their ‘Happily ever after’. From the lights of the Parliament building glimmering on the Danube against the dark night sky to the misty view over the city from atop the Fisherman’s Bastion, this city is, without doubt, one of the 10 most beautiful places in Europe.
4. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Waterfalls, waterfalls, WATERFALLS! Need I say more?
5. Everywhere, Iceland
Speaking of waterfalls… Obviously, this list is not in order as I’m not shy in declaring that Iceland is the MOST beautiful place in Europe, and possibly the entire Earth – although I am still not convinced that it is actually on Earth as Iceland is the capital of all things otherworldly. In the warmer seasons, you can enjoy bathing in the midnight sun at one of the many geothermal lagoons spread across the continent or climbing down into the magma chamber of a dormant volcano. Conversely, in the cooler seasons, you can watch the solar particles dance with the Earth’s electromagnetic field to create the Northern Lights over a lagoon of icebergs or wander through temporary ice caves formed inside one of Iceland’s many glaciers. See what I mean by otherworldly?
6. Santorini, Greece
The only sunset that I have ever enjoyed more than an Icelandic sunset is a Santorini-an one – There’s just something in the air over there. Be sure to stay up at Oia to fully appreciate it.
7. Pamukkale, Turkey
Literally translating to ‘cotton castles’, Pammukale is as magical a place as it sounds. The natural wonder is the result of thousands of years of hot, mineral-saturated spring water flowing down the mountainside and hollowing pool-sized basins into the earth. As the calcium and hydrogen carbonate in the water reacted, it formed calcium carbonate which is what gives the pool their white crust. The beauty of this spot has been appreciated as far back as the 2nd century when it was decided that a place this beautiful must be sacred to the gods.
8. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
A lonely castle in the Bavarian wilderness with its own personal bat cave? Yes, please! Walt Disney thought it was so beautiful he modelled Cinderella’s castle off of it, and I’m not about to disagree with him.
9. Dubrovnik, Croatia
The beauty of Dubrovnik is not limited to one area, or view or moment of time, but is endless and enriched in the whole city. Having said that, I feel its best appreciated from above where you can enjoy the clash of colour between the rooftops and the Adriatic sea.
10. Seville, Spain
If I had a dollar for every time Seville wowed me, I’d be rich enough to have flown back and now be living there. The whole city is an analogy for the colourful Spanish culture, and as such, you can’t help but slip straight into it like a hot bath on a cold winters night.
Elle is a world-wanderer, star-gazer, dog-lover and meteorologist in the making. When she’s not busy studying the Earth’s climate, she’s off experiencing it first hand all around the world. Over the past 3 years, Elle has travelled to 31 countries across Europe, Asia, Oceania and the United States and has no plans of stopping anytime soon. You can follow her colourful adventures on her Instagram, Facebook and blog.