Image of St Mark's Basilica and Square Venice Italy. ONe of the most beautiful churches in Europe

35 of the Most Beautiful Churches in Europe

This is my guide to 35 of the finest and most beautiful churches in Europe, from tiny beach chapels to magnificent cathedrals.

The beauty and variety of churches in Europe is astonishing. From small rural chapels to some of the grandest cathedrals in Europe.  

There are hundreds of thousands of churches in Europe, where Christianity has been the foremost religion for much of the last two millennia. Join us as we explore some of the most beautiful churches in Europe from some of its 3,000 cathedrals to tiny chapels hidden away in remote countryside.

We’ve been fortunate to have visited many of the finest European churches and set out to show you some of the most inspiring ones we’ve discovered along the way.

We’ve drawn our selection from 13 European countries, and will add more as we visit them. Some are among the most famous churches in Europe, but as we venture off the beaten path,  you’ll hopefully discover new places to explore along the way. Enjoy!

See also:

Image of St Paul's Cathedral dome from the rooftop of One New Change. St Paul's is one of the most beautiful churches in Europe
St Paul’s Cathedral – One of the most famous buildings in London

32 Beautiful Churches in Europe

1. Our Lady Before Tyn Church, Prague 

Image of The Church of Our Lady Before Týn and Prague Christmas Market
The Church of Our Lady Before Týn is a magical backdrop to Prague’s Christmas Market in the Czech Republic
Image of Tyn Church Prague and city skyline
Our Lady Before Tyn Church and St Vitus Cathedral, Prague
Image of the Týn Church Prague and Astronomical Clock
The Týn Church and Astronomical Clock

If the Brothers Grimm had ever built a church, it would have looked something like this

This must be one of the most famous churches in Europe, or at least one of the most photographed. The Gothic spires soar above Old Town Square Prague, looking like something out of a medieval fairytale. It is especially magical at Christmas time when the  Prague Christmas markets are held in Old Town Square.

Apart from St Vitus, it’s undoubtedly among the most recognizable churches in Prague. The interior is also Gothic, with mostly Baroque furnishings and decorations. 

If you are visiting Prague at Christmas time please check our Prague Christmas Market Guide

See Also: Tyn Church Prague – the Gothic wonder of the Old Town

2. St Vitus Cathedral, Prague 

Image of statue on Charles Bridge and St Vitus Cathedral Prague
The statue of St John Nepomuk and St Vitus Cathedral
Image of St Vitus Cathedral Prague in springtime
St Vitus Cathedral from Petrin Hill

The superb national church of the Czechs, and one of the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe

The greatest church in the Czech Republic stands high above the stunning capital, one of the most prominent landmarks of Prague. It’s within the walls of Prague Castle, and visible from many places along the Vltava river in Prague.

Like Cologne Cathedral, St. Vitus Cathedral took around 600 years to build, begun in the Middle Ages and only completed in 1929. It’s a magnificent Gothic edifice with later features including some rich Art Nouveau period stained glass. It’s one of the great churches of Central Europe.

Don’t miss: the Wenceslas Chapel, the resting place of the Good King who looked out on the Feast of Stephen.   

See this link for more beautiful churches in Prague.

3. Partrishow Church, Wales 

Image of the church at Partrishow in the Brecon Beacons Wales
St Issui’s Church, Partrishow, in the secluded Black Mountains range of the Brecon Beacons

Remote medieval Welsh church hiding a rare survival in a rural idyll  

This tiny, remote church in the back of the Brecon Beacons beyond takes some finding, but it’s worth the persistence and drive around the hilly maze of high hedges and narrow roads. 

This medieval church hides a very unusual secret in its rood screen, an ornate carved wooden screen separating the chancel and nave – all but a handful in Britain were destroyed during the Reformation.

It’s a blissful place, with birdsong and the occasional ‘baa’ from the resident sheep the only sounds for miles around. 

You can find more special things to see and do in our Wales Bucket List

4. St Mary’s Church, Capel-y-Ffin, Wales

Image of St Mary's Church Capel-y-Ffin Black Mountains Powys Wales UK
Tiny St Mary’s Church Capel-y-Ffin

Beauty in a minute package in the tranquil Llanthony Valley 

If you’re driving, the 18th century church in Capel-y-Ffin (‘the chapel on the border’ in Welsh) can be visited the same day as Partrishow, the ‘crooked church’ of Cwmyoy and the ruin of Llanthony Priory. 

St Mary’s Church is minuscule, just 8 metres long by 4 metres wide, and we always stop there for a few minutes when we’re passing. Last time we visited the front pew was filled with teddy bears, looking towards the east window.

This is almost clear glass, giving a view of the mountain behind, save for the inscription, “I will lift mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my strength.’  I’m not a religious person, but this is one of the most spiritually moving places I’ve ever visited. 

5. St Mark’s Church, Zagreb, Croatia 

Image of St Mark's Church Zagreb Croatia withits striking tiled rof
St Mark’s Church Zagreb and its stunning tiled roof

That roof… 

St Mark’s is the parish church of Gornji Grad, Zagreb Old Town, on the hill above the modern city. It’s a mainly Gothic building from the 14th century, with a superb carved wooden portal facing the Square.

However, the main reason people visit the church is to photograph its outstanding tiled roof, which has the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia on one side and the city of Zagreb on the other. 

See Also: One Day In Zagreb – 24 Hours in the Croatian Capital

6. Santa Maria della Salute, Venice 

Image of Santa Maria della Salute church Venice at sunset
Salute church at sunset
Image of Santa Maria della Salute church in Venice at night

The unforgettable domed church at the entrance to the Grand Canal 

The sublime domed basilica of Santa Maria della Salute was built in the 17th century in thanksgiving for deliverance from the plague. Designed by Baldassare Longhena, its distinctive domes are among the most distinctive Venice landmarks.  

This is one of three churches in Venice featured in this article that you can see from the same spot on the Molo waterfront outside the Doge’s Palace. It’s also one of the best places to watch the sunset in Venice.

You can find more beautiful churches in our guide – Churches in Venice 

7. Basilica di San Marco, Venice 

Image of the facade of San Marco Basilica Venice
The facade of St Mark’s Basilica Venice in the golden late winter light
Image of the Campanile of St Mark's Basilica Venice
The Campanile of San Marco from the Doge’s Palace Venice

One of the grandest churches in Europe, with sublime Byzantine-style mosaics 

St Mark’s Basilica is the ultimate statement of Venetian wealth, built to house the (pilfered) relics of St Mark and show their might and power to the world.

One of the most famous churches in Italy, San Marco is stunning inside and out, but bear in mind that you’re rushed through in ten minutes flat, no time to appreciate the majestic golden mosaics. At least you don’t have to rush seeing it from outside, in one of the grandest squares in Europe.  

8. San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice 

Image of San Giorgio Maggiore Church Venice at dawn
San Giorgio Maggiore at sunrise
Image of San Giorgio Maggiore church Venice from St Mark's Campanile
San Giorgio Maggiore from the lofty vantage point of St Mark’s Campanile

Palladian perfection across the water from San Marco 

San Giorgio Maggiore is one of the loveliest churches in Venice Italy, a Renaissance gem by master architect Andrea Palladio.

The Basilica looks breathtaking at dawn, especially if you’re in Venice in winter, from the waterfront with the rows of gondolas lined up in front of it. The church itself can be reached by the number 2 vaporetto from nearby San Zaccaria. 

You can find more beautiful Venetian landmarks in our Venice Landmarks Guide

9. Basilica di San Antonio, Padua 

Image of St Anthony's Basilica Padua
The Basilica of St Anthony in Padua, known locally as Il Santo

A monument to one of the humblest of saints, but humble this is certainly not

The Basilica of St Anthony of Padua, a disciple of St Francis of Assisi, is one of the most stunning churches in Italy. The saint’s shrine is a magnificent work in marble, surrounded by photographs of horrific car crashes and injuries – San Antonio is credited with saving these people with his miraculous interventions.

The Treasury on the north side of the church has a collection of gory relics, including the saint’s vocal cords. An amazing building and intense experience. 

See Also: The Best Things To Do In Padua

10. St Paul’s Cathedral, London 

Image of St Paul's Cathedral London and a red telephone box
St Paul’s Cathedral
Image of St Paul's Cathedral London at night
St Paul’s at night

The masterpiece of English Baroque

St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most famous London landmarks, its grand dome dominating the one part of London that’s not full of skyscrapers.

The exterior is akin to a Neoclassical temple, the interior a wonder of riches, the highlight of which is the magnificent choir. The climb to the top of the dome is rewarded by some of the best views in London.   

St Paul’s’ status as a British national icon was enhanced during the Second World War, when it was photographed surrounded by fires from the London Blitz.   

11. St Stephen Walbrook, London 

Image of the interior of St Stephen Walbrook London
Serenity in the City of London – St Stephen Walbrook

Possibly Sir Christopher Wren’s most beautiful church

Wren built over 50 churches in London after the 1666 Great Fire, and over twenty places of worship survive, including this gem just around the corner from the Bank of England. This church is built in Wren’s English Baroque style like many but not all of his City of London churches..

Like many London churches it has suffered the ignominy of being hemmed in by several unattractive office blocks (and in this case a Starbucks) but venture inside to see this beautifully proportioned church, one of the most delightful in London. 

12. St David’s Cathedral, Wales

Image of St David's Cathedral Pembrokeshire Wales UK
St David’s Cathedral, the spiritual heart of Wales in its westernmost corner

Two pilgrimages to St David’s were worth one to Rome   

You have to head to the far west to find the finest of all churches in Wales.  The small city – a village that makes Wells (see below) look like a metropolis – is in a gorgeous corner of Pembrokeshire. It’s surrounded by awesome beaches and dramatic coastal scenery. 

However, top of your things to do in St Davids has to be the Cathedral, a simple stone building from the outside and the most splendid, ornate church in Wales inside.  It was founded in the 6th century AD by St David, patron saint of Wales, and became a major place of pilgrimage. One of the ecclesiastical wonders of the United Kingdom.

Read: Things to do in St Davids Wales and 6 Pilgrimages In Wales To Discover

13. Tintern Abbey, Wales

Image of Tintern Abbey Wales in autumn
Tintern Abbey, arguably the birthplace of tourism in Britain

Stunning medieval church ruin in the gorgeous Wye Valley 

British tourism was born in the late 18th century in the Lower Wye Valley, along the border between England and Wales. Visitors came to sketch picturesque views along the river, and would stop at the romantic ruin of the Abbey church at Tintern. It’s hardly changed, one of the great landmarks in Wales, a glorious Gothic edifice whose roof has, for almost 500 years, been the sky. 

14. Agios Pavlos, Agia Roumeli, Crete 

Image of Agios Pavlos Church and Beach Crete
One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited – Agios Pavlos, Crete

Gorgeous ancient Byzantine chapel overlooking one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete

We rate Agios Pavlos one of the best beaches in Crete, and it takes quite an effort to reach it, but the rewards are immense.

Travel from Paleochora or Chora Sfakion on the Agia Roumeli ferry, then either charter a boat from there or walk an exhilarating 5 km along the E4 Trail. 

The beach is named after the simple, weathered ancient chapel above it, which is believed to date from the early 11th century. It’s a staggeringly beautiful place worth building your south Crete itinerary around.  

See Also: 30 of the Most Famous Landmarks in Greece

15. Georgioupolis Chapel, Crete, Greece 

Image of the fishermen's chapel at Georgioupolis Crete
The simple whitewashed fishermen’s chapel at Georgioupolis

One of the loveliest churches in Greece, a whitewashed chapel seemingly floating on the Mediterranean 

Georgioupolis Crete is the longest beach on the island, almost 10 km (6 miles) long, and it’s especially attractive at its western end. Here the whitewashed sailors’ chapel of Agios Nikolaos seems to sit out to sea – it’s easily reached by a ten-minute walk along a rocky causeway. 

16. Three Bells of Fira, Santorini 

Image of the Three Bells of Fira church Santorini
The Three Bells of Fira
Image of the Three Bells of fira Church Santorini
Another take on the Three Bells with Nea Kameni Island across the water

Iconic blue-domed Santorini church overlooking the breathtaking caldera 

The Santorini villages of Fira and Oia are among the best places to watch a Santorini sunset, but if you want somewhere a little quieter and just as spectacular, head for the Three Bells of Fira, a lovely church with a triple bellcote above the caldera.

It’s rarely open, but come anyway – for me it’s the most beautiful of the churches in Santorini, and its slightly isolated location keeps the crowds away.  

17. Seville Cathedral 

Image of Seville Cathedral at night
Seville’s massive and marvellous Cathedral

The largest Gothic church in the world 

Seville Cathedral is vast, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world. When construction started in the early 15th century it was intended to be without equal. It replaced the former Grand Mosque on the site, and the sole element of this to be retained was its minaret, the Giralda tower, one of the most famous landmarks in Spain

The Cathedral has survived two dome collapses, and will impress you enormously with its sheer scale and space. 

18. Siena Cathedral 

Image of the west facade of Siena Cathedral Italy
The stunning west front of Siena Cathedral
Image of the Cathedral or Duomo in Siena at sunset
Siena in silhouette

One of the most beautiful churches in the world, inside and out

The Siena Duomo dominates the amazing medieval city, and is one of the best things to see in Tuscany.

Decorated with black-and-white stripes inside and out, it’s an incredible building, with a phenomenal west façade, elegant tower, magnificent mosaic floor and marble sculptures by Michelangelo and Donatello.

It’s difficult to think of so much artistry and detail in a single church as this.  Take your time – this belongs in the top 5 of this list. 

19. Ortigia Duomo, Siracusa, Sicily 

Image of the Duomo in Ortigia, Syracuse, Sicily
The gorgeous Baroque facade of the ancient Duomo in Ortigia

Medieval and Sicilian Baroque delight built around an Ancient Greek temple

Ortigia is the ancient island core of Syracuse (Siracusa in Italian), a Greek colony that became the most powerful state in the Mediterranean back in the 5th century BC. 

Parts of the cathedral – walk around to the north side of the building and you’ll see a row of ancient columns – remain from this time. The striking Baroque façade dates from the early 18th century, having been rebuilt after the devastating 1693 earthquake. 

It’s the focal point of the Piazza del Duomo, the island’s achingly beautiful main square. 

See Also: 15 of the Most Underrated Cities in Europe

20. Florence Cathedral, Italy 

Image of the Duomo or Cathedral in Florence Italy
Details of the Duomo
Image of Florence Cathedral or Duomo and city centre
Florence’s Duomo has dominated the city’s skyline for over 600 years

Renaissance wonder, dazzling outside, surprisingly sombre within

The Duomo of Florence – la Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore – is one of the most remarkable medieval churches in Europe.

It comprises three buildings – the main body of the church, the Baptistery and Campanile, the latter the work of Renaissance pioneer Giotto da Bondone. All three are richly decorated with marble, and the dome – the work of Filippo Brunelleschi in the 15th century – is the largest brick dome ever built.

After all that, the interior comes as a surprise, as it’s rather bare, cavernous and austere.  

See Also: Photographing Florence

21. Westminster Abbey

The best place in London to delve into UK history – and the church is stunning too

Image of Westminster Abbey and the Victoria Tower in London
The west front of Westminster Abbey, with the Victoria Tower, part of the Houses of Parliament, in the background
Visiting Westminster Abbey image of the Lady Chapel
Westminster Abbey Lady Chapel

Even if you only have one day in London, you should visit Westminster Abbey.  It’s one of the great historic European churches, and the site of many important royal events. The most recent of these were the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022 and the Coronation of King Charles III in 2023.

The church was founded in the 10th century but most of what we see now dates from the 13th century onwards. The narrow Gothic nave and choir seem to soar skywards, and the lady Chapel was added 200 years later. Its stunning fan vaulting is one of the high points of English Perpendicular Gothic art.

The Abbey houses the tombs of 17 English monarchs and many more royals, nobles and Britons of note. Some of Britains’s best-known scientists, writers and politicians are also buried there. It’s the nearest thing that the UK has to a national church. 

See Also: Visiting Westminster Abbey – The Complete Guide   

22. Coventry Cathedral, England 

Image of the statue of St Michael outside Coventry Cathedral
Jacob Epstein’s St Michael Slaying The Dragon on the facade of Coventry Cathedral
Image of the spire of the 'old' cathedral at Coventry England
The spire was all that survived the bombing of Coventry Cathedral

20th century marvel built next to the bombed-out ruin of the original 

Coventry was one of the worst-hit cities in the Luftwaffe bombing raids of World War II, and its Cathedral was destroyed in one of these attacks.

The ruin has been left as a poignant reminder of the destruction of war, and a new Cathedral was built in its shadow by Sir Basil Spence, and opened in 1962.

It contains some splendid modern religious art, from the statue of St Michael by Jacob Epstein to the Baptistery stained glass windows by John Piper. 

23. Frauenkirche Dresden

frauenkirche Dresden Image of the Frauenkirche in Dresden and the statue of Martin Luther
The Frauenkirche and statue of Martin Luther
Image of the interior of the Frauenkirche Dresden
The soaring interior of the Frauenkirche

One of the most important Protestant churches in Germany, which also rose from the ashes of World War Two

The Frauenkirche Dresden is one of the most iconic churches of Europe. Like Coventry Cathedral – with which it has forged close links – it was destroyed by bombing raids in World War Two. 

The Baroque masterpiece with the distinctive bell-shaped dome was one of the features of the famous Dresden skyline. The whole city was destroyed in February 1945 by a combination of Allied bombs and the ensuing firestorm. It remained a heap of rubble for many years, but its rebuild was completed in 2005. 

The interior is a classic Lutheran church design, with galleries high above the nave drawing your eyes heavenwards. One of the most beautiful churches in Germany.  

24. Wells Cathedral, England 

Image of the west front of Wells Cathedral Somerset England
The famous west front of Wells Cathedral
Image of Wells Cathedral central tower and Vicars Close Chimneys England
Wells Cathedral central tower and the medieval chimneys of Vicars Close

One of the wonders of medieval England 

Tiny Wells, in the rural county of Somerset, is one of the most underrated cities in Europe – indeed many don’t even realise it’s a city. Many of its attractions are ecclesiastical, and it has the most complete cathedral precincts in the British Isles, with a Bishop’s Palace and Vicars Close, one of the loveliest streets in Europe.

Head for the spacious Cathedral Green to gaze at the west front of the Cathedral, adorned with around 300 medieval statues. 

25. Gloucester Cathedral, England 

Image of Gloucester Cathedral England
Magnificent Gloucester Cathedral

A medieval marvel that Harry Potter fans will recognise 

Gloucester is one of the great English cathedrals, built over half a millennium in a mixture of styles. These include Romanesque (also called Norman in the UK) and Gothic architecture, as well as Perpendicular, an English variant of late Gothic. 

The Norman nave, the enormous Great East Window (which you can see up close) and Perpendicular Lady Chapel are all essential sights. 

Meanwhile, Harry Potter fans will head for the enchanting Cloister, which has featured in two movies from the series.  

26. Burgos Cathedral, Spain 

Image of Burgos Cathedral Spain
Burgos, one of the great Spanish cathedrals
Image of the lantern tower at Burgos Cathedral in Spain
A closer look at the lantern tower at Burgos

Lavish Gothic extravaganza and burial place of Spanish folk hero El Cid 

Burgos is the only Spanish cathedral to have the distinction of being a World Heritage Site in its own right and not in conjunction with other buildings or parts of a city, The twin spires and central lantern tower above this northern Castilian city, and it’s reason enough to travel out of your way to see it.

Much of it was built in the Flamboyant Gothic style, including the lovely lantern tower.

Also seek out the ornate Constable Chapel, with its own small lantern tower, in the north-east corner of the Cathedral.   

See Also: 30 Amazing Spanish Landmarks To Explore

27. Lake Bled Island Church 

Image of Lake Bled and its island church in Slovenia
The gorgeous church, island, lake, castle and mountains of Bled

Picture-perfect medieval church on an island in an Alpine lake 

Lake Bled is one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe, but it’s the Church of the Assumption of Mary on one of the most beautiful islands in Europe (yes, there’s a theme here) that really makes the scene.

The only way across is by boat – by the local pletna or you can row yourself – then climb the 99 steps to the lovely Gothic church with Baroque artwork.  

28. Matthias Church Budapest (Matyas Templom)

Image of the Matthias Church or Matyas Templom in. Budapest
The Matthias Church or Matyas Templom in Buda
Image oif the tiled roof of the Matyas templom or Matthias church in Budapest
The splendid Art Nouveau tiled roof of Matyas templom

The loveliest church in Budapest   

If you’re planning on photographing Budapest you’ll be seeing plenty of the Matthias Church (Matyas Templom), whose spire dominates the Buda skyline. 

It overlooks the Fishermen’s Bastion, which in turn overlooks the River Danube, Hungarian Parliament and the Pest side of the city. You can also see St. Stephen’s Basilica – Budapest’s Cathedral – from there.

This predominantly late-Gothic church got a makeover in the late 19th century, which included some splendid Art Nouveau decoration inside and the Zsolnay tile-patterned roof. The tiles have been replaced in recent years, and have been on sale as World Heritage tiles in the church shop!

See Also: Photographing Budapest

27. Salzburg Cathedral, Austria 

Image of Salzburg Cathedral Austria
The Salzburg skyline, with the Minorite Church in the foreground and Cathedral behind

The Baroque beauty where a certain W.A. Mozart was baptised 

It’s rare for a European cathedral to be built in a single stint – but this is the case with Salzburger Dom, which was constructed in the 17th century on the site of its ruined Romanesque predecessor.

This makes for an unusually harmonious whole, and the same could be said of most of the Altstadt (Old Town) which was rebuilt at the same time.

Take the elevator to the top of the Mönchsberg for a breathtaking view over the Cathedral and surrounding churches, one of the best views in Europe.  

See Also: 40 Famous Landmarks In Austria

30. Karlskirche, Vienna, Austria 

Image of the Karlskirche in Vienna Austria
Karlskirche and the Karlsplatz Christmas Market in full swing

The crowning achievement of Viennese Baroque

The Karlskirche – dedicated to St Charles Borromeo – sits just off the main Ringstrasse, on the edge of Vienna’s Innere Stadt.

The exterior works beautifully, with a Roman-style portico, dome and columns inspired by Trajan’s Column in Rome.  Inside it’s just as inspirational, the dome decorated with superb frescoes. 

Karlsplatz, on which it stands, plays host to one of the best Vienna Christmas Markets, to which the church makes a stunning backdrop.  

30. Sainte Chapelle Paris

La Sainte Chapelle Paris Image of stained glass windows in Sainte Chapelle Paris
The stunning apse windows in Sainte Chapelle
Image of the east windows of Sainte Chapelle Paris
The stained glass windows of Sainte-Chapelle

La Sainte Chapelle Paris is an astonishing architectural masterpiece. This private royal chapel is rare in that it was built in one relatively short stint, from 1242 to 1248. Hence it’s a church with complete architectural unity and harmony. 

It is one of the wonders of Rayonnant Gothic, its walls seemingly fashioned out of stained glass. The windows are separated by delicate stonework, giving an impression of lightness. It’s especially effective when sunlight floods through the windows, almost giving an impression of being in heaven. Which is probably what was intended for its builder, Saint Louis IX, King of France. 

Image of a stained glass window in Sainte Chapelle Paris
Medieval stained glass in Sainte Chapelle

Most of the stained glass is original, from the 13th century, but around a third of it was lost during the French Revolution.

The chapel is within the Palais de Justice on the Île de la Cité, a short walk from that other Gothic marvel, Notre-Dame de Paris. Notre Dame Cathedral is currently undergoing reconstruction and restoration following the catastrophic 2019 fire.

See Also: 22 Famous Churches in Paris

31. Albi Cathedral, France 

Image of Albi Cathedral in dramatic storm light
Albi Cathedral – photographers will wait years for a sky like this
Image of the Cathedral at Albi in France
A view of the length of Ste Cecile Cathedral in Albi

Beauty in brick and bulk in one of the best small cities in France

The Cathedral of Ste Cecile in Albi, in the south-west region of Languedoc-Roussillon, resembles an imposing military fortress or palace.

It’s rather like Florence Duomo in reverse, with a sombre brick exterior hiding an unexpectedly captivating interior.

This includes a stunning blue and gold ceiling vault and an intricate mural of The Last Judgement on the west wall of the church. The Cathedral and adjacent Archbishop’s Palace are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

See Also: 32 of the Most Famous Landmarks In France To Visit

33. Rouen Cathedral, France 

Image of the west front of Rouen Cathedral at sunset
Rouen Cathedral west front
Image of the St Romain Tower of Rouen Cathedral France
The St Romain Tower of Rouen Cathedral

Outstanding French Gothic cathedral, famously the muse of Monet

Medieval cathedrals were built to impress, even overawe, and Rouen Cathedral does that in spades.

Looking at the west front from across the Place de la Cathédrale, it’s close to impossible for a pair of human eyes to take it all in at once. Claude Monet famously revisited the subject numerous times studying the play of light on the Cathedral’s Flamboyant Gothic west front.

The interior is an overlooked Gothic treasure, with some superb 13th-century stained glass and several tombs of Dukes of Normandy, including the heart of Richard the Lionheart, King of England from 1189 to 1199.  For a few years in the 19th century its spire made it the tallest building in the world.

See Also: What Is France Famous For? and Normandy Road Trip

34. Sé, Lisbon 

Image of a tram passing Lisbon Cathedral Portugal
The number 12 tram cranks its way past the Sé

A little austerity can sometimes be a good thing 

Ancient, august Lisbon Cathedral overlooks the Alfama district and Tagus estuary, and makes such a wonderful backdrop for the famous and regular 12 and 28 trams which pass by.

Like many European cathedrals and churches it has undergone many changes in its long lifetime, and the Sé was badly damaged during the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. 

It’s a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic with some later additions. Its exterior is rather plain and austere, but there’s beauty in its stark simplicity.  

35. Jeronimos Monastery, Belem, Lisbon 

Image of the jeronimos Monastery Lisbon
Fountains outside the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos in Belem
Image of the Jeronimos Monastery Belem Lisbon Portugal
The Jeronimos Monastery at dusk

Manueline magnificence 

The Mosteiro dos Jeronimos is one of the greatest achievements of Manueline, the florid, ornate Portuguese take on late Gothic.

This magnificent church was built close to the departure point for many of Portugal’s Voyages of Discovery, and sailors would pray there for their safe return prior to heading off into the unknown.

Along with the nearby Monument to the Discoveries and the iconic Belem Tower, it’s one of the three top things to do in Belem, Lisbon. The church and cloister are both unmissable.  Don’t miss these famous Portugal landmarks.

Image of David Angel found of Delve into Europe Travel Blog / Website

David Angel is a British photographer, writer and historian. He is a European travel expert with over 30 years’ experience exploring Europe. He has a degree in History from Manchester University, and his work is regularly featured in global media including the BBC, Condé Nast Traveler, The Guardian, The Times, and The Sunday Times.  David is fluent in French and Welsh, and can also converse in Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech and Polish.

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