This is a very tight and subjective selection of the most beautiful places in Europe. Some will agree, others may find different locations more worthy of honors, but without dispute, these places deserve to be called the beauties of our Mother Nature. Besides, you can drop me a note of your favorites anytime.
Meanwhile, here’s my European top five as far as beauty goes:
5. The Isle of Skye. Scotland
National Geographic experts cannot be wrong – recently the Isle of Skye has been voted the 4th best island in the world by 650 professional travel specialists.
The reasons it has been rated so high are clear. The wild landscape of Skye, the second largest island in Scotland, is dramatic, vibrant and breathtaking. The inland mountains, cliffs, inlets and endless beaches create spectacular scenery capable of amazing even those thick-skinned urban enthusiasts insensitive to the nature’s charm.
The island’s population is very small, but old – it dates back to the Middle Stone Age. Today there are around 9,000 people living on Skye.
Skye’s wildlife is not as diverse as in mainland Britain, but it is one of the wildest in the country. It is a great bird watching place, but other wild animals can also be spotted:
The Skye’s history is extremely rich and the highland spirit can be felt in the air – folk art, traditional music and sports (shinty) are cultivated by the locals, some of whom still speak Gaelic.
4. Sicily. Italy
Sicily, burned by sun, permeated with the smell of wine, sundried tomatoes and the scent of history…this is an island where espresso tastes better than anywhere else in the world, and water seems to be unrealistically azure.
The island is inhabited by 5 million people, and the 25,700 square kilometers that it occupies make it the biggest island in the Mediterranean Sea.
Sicily is home to Mt. Etna, the tallest (3,320 m/10,900 ft) active volcano in Europe. Despite frequent droughts, the island is covered with vineyards and olive groves as well as orange and lemon trees.
3. The Swiss Alps and Switzerland.
The Alps, the greatest mountain system in Europe, is stretching from Austria in the east, through Switzerland, to France in the west. This spectacular range, with its sharp peaks always covered with snow, is a stunning travel and sport destination in both summer and winter.
A big portion of this rocky cake belongs to Switzerland, one of the richest countries in the world, with a unique blend of cultures and people speaking four languages (Swiss German, French, Italian and Romansh).
The place that can hardly escape attention in the Swiss Alps is St. Moritz, one of the world’s oldest mountain resorts. The town, backdropped by the magnificent alpine walls, lies at the foot of a crystal-clear lake and enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year.
2. Venice. Italy
Venice lies somewhere between dreams and reality. It is hard to believe that this town was built by man, and not by some magical creatures. Marcel Proust once said: “When I went to Venice, I discovered that my dream had become-incredibly but quite simply- my address.”
This is Venice – the town of magic, dreams, fairy tales and beauty.
The canals of Venice were constructed on an archipelago that comprises 118 islands. Around 400 bridges connect the town and therefore Venice is also called “the City of Bridges”. The canals serve as roads for the gondolas and their modern version – motorbuses- to be used as the main means of public transportation.
Ice, geysers, hot springs, rocks, glaciers, green hills and lakes… these are the features of Iceland – the second largest island of Europe, located in the corner of the continent, in the cold North Atlantic Ocean.
Tundra covers around 60% of the land while lakes and glaciers take up approx. 14%. The climate is subpolar oceanic, wet and windy. Due to rather unfriendly weather conditions the island is inhabited by only 320,000 people, of which around 120,000 live in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.
Call it banal or incomprehensive, the list is to stay intact. With the myriad mind-blowing spots in Europe any top 5, 10, or 100 would inevitably turn out biased, be it down to the partiality of a limited perspective or local favoritism. At the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder (Oops…That’s banal!) Anyway, you’re more than welcome to share your picks.