The diversity and abundance of Natural wonders in Europe is surprising for such a developed, urban and populated region. They include powerful waterfalls, beautiful lakes, high mountains, canyons, forests, craters, and national parks.
Despite being one of the smallest and most densely populated continents, Europe still offers a huge variety of natural landscapes, sceneries, and landmarks. Some are famous others are unexpected, but they are all amazing. Furthermore, with mostly highly developed nations and tourism industries, traveling in Europe is easy and acessible, though albeit expensive.
These natural wonders in Europe post will include all the main regions of the continent, organizing the landmarks by the country or regions for easier understanding. So, let’s explore some of the remarkable natural European wonders.
Natural Wonders in Europe – Iceland
Gulfoss Waterfall, Iceland
By Victoria from Iceland Trippers
As one of Iceland’s most beloved and well-known waterfalls, Gullfoss Waterfall is an easy pick for one of the best natural wonders in Europe.
Translated to “Golden Falls” in English, Gullfoss sits just 70 miles, or a one-and-a-half-hour drive, away from Reykjavik. Therefore, it is a popular stop along the famous Golden Circle route through Iceland.
It’s also insanely beautiful since it is nestled inside a canyon through which the Hvítá River runs through. Additionally, it features two drops that reach a total height of around a 100-feet.
However, what is truly unique about this waterfall is that you get a unique perspective of it from above, not below. And while you can visit this amazing waterfall year-round, Gullfoss Waterfall Iceland has some viewpoints that should be avoided during inclement weather.
So, while you can visit the viewing platform near the Gullfoss Visitor Center all year long, the lower is treacherous and icy in the winter and is best avoided. You can also avoid paying for the restroom here by making use of the one in the visitor center.
By Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler
Skogafoss is a breathtaking waterfall located in southern Iceland near the cliffs of the former coastline. After the coast retreated several kilometers away, the cliffs remained. One of the most unique things about Skogafoss is that it comes directly from the Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull glaciers.
Legend has it that a man named Thrasi Thórólfsson first settled in the area and hid gold underneath the waterfall. Three men tried to retrieve it, but the ring of the handle broke (and is now at the Skógar Folk Museum). When the sun shines on Skogafoss, you can still see a glimmer of gold.
Skogafoss, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland, is located in the south along the Ring Road. It’s a two-hour drive from Reykjavik, and you can see the waterfall from the road. There is plenty of free parking available.
You can walk right up to the waterfall but be careful of the powerful spray. There is a hiking path on the side of the waterfall that you can climb to the top. If you have more time, you can hike the Skogagil ravine along the river, where you can see up to 30 smaller waterfalls!
This powerful and stunning waterfall is one of the best natural landmarks in Europe for travelers.
Silfra fissure in Iceland
By Cristina from Honest Travel Stories
Located in the UNESCO world heritage site Thingvellir National Park in Iceland, Silfra is a unique place for at least two reasons.
The first reason is that you can snorkel or dive between two tectonic plates, the European and the North American ones. The second is that the water is believed to be the clearest in the world, as it comes from a glacier and is filtered through volcanic soil before it arrives in Silfra.
Even if you travel to Iceland for a limited time, the location is close enough to the capital city of Reykjavik, which makes snorkeling in Silfra a definite must-do.
It might seem scary when you hear about snorkeling or diving in 2 degrees Celsius water, but it’s definitely worth it. You will enjoy this experience in small groups of at most six people, you’ll have special water suits to keep you dry, and you’ll have a very experienced and helpful guide that will take care of you all steps of the way.
So if you choose one natural wonder to enjoy in Europe, make it Silfra, Don’t forget: it’s quite literally the only place in the world where you can do this!
Þingvellir National Park, Iceland
By Suzanne from Meandering Wild
Þingvellir National Park is a stunning landscape just 50 kilometers from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. This national park was identified as being of cultural and natural significance in 1930 and became a UNESCO world heritage site in 2004.
It can be reached from Reykjavik by following road 35 north. The visitors center for the area is located on road 35, and from here, it is easy to explore the area.
The national park is probably best known for its landscapes. Dotted across the skyline are dormant volcanoes, formed 10000 years ago when a large shield volcano erupted. A large canyon dominates the area around the visitor’s center and is the point at which two tectonic plates come together. The canyon is the joint between the Eurasian plate and the North Atlantic plate, and it is one of the few places where the North Atlantic Ridge can be seen above the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. The canyon continues below the surface of the lake and is the draw for many divers who come to explore the Silfra fissure.
Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Iceland
By Janae from Adventures With TuckNae
Black sand beaches are formed from crushed lava. In the case of Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, the lava erupted from the nearby Katla volcano.
Not only does the black sand set this beach apart, but there are other natural landmarks that add to its stunning beauty. This is one of the best locations in Iceland to find basalt columns.
Upon arrival, you will first see only the walls of the columns. After rounding the corner, you will come across a cave formed from the basalt columns. This cave is known as Hálsanefshellir Cave, and although not very deep, it is still impressive and photo-worthy.
Next, if you continue down the beach, you will be able to view a set of rock formations known as Reynisdrangar. These unique rock formations sit just off the coast in the dangerous waters of the Atlantic Ocean. They make a dramatic background for photos but beware of sneaker waves which carry multiple unsuspecting tourists out to the ocean every year.
Reynisfjara is located in Southern Iceland and is one of the best things to do near Vik, Iceland. It is known to be one of the most beautiful (non-tropical) beaches in the world.
The best way to visit Reynisfjara is to fly into Keflavík Airport and rent a car to drive 3 hours to Vik. If you do not wish to drive, there are tours from Reykjavík that include a stop at Reynisfjara.
Europe Natural Landmarks – Great Britain
Jurassic Coast, England
By Paulina from the UK Every Day
Jurassic Coast in England is a huge coastal area between Dorset and East Devon. This UNESCO World Heritage Site in South West England, with the most famous natural wonders in the UK, such as Durdle Door, cannot be missed when visiting Britain.
The best way to get there from London is by car, which takes around 3 hours drive. You can also get there by train or with a tour company. However, traveling on your own will allow you to explore many hidden places in southern England.
This coastal region has a 185-million-year history and impressive geology. If you want to admire natural wonders from Triassic, Cretaceous, and Jurassic periods, there is no better place to visit. It is also a significant area to study fossils.
Spectacular cliffs and sandy beaches spanning 95 miles on the English coast will take your breath away. This is an ideal destination for hiking or relaxing during summer. Furthermore, it is a dream location for photographers due to the dramatic coast that has been shaped by the sea for many years.
Some of the top spots to visit include Old Harry Rocks, Lulworth Cove, Exmouth, and the iconic Durdle Door. When traveling to Jurassic Coast, make sure to spend there a lot of time as this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has plenty to offer for its visitors.
Isle of Skye, Scotland
By Moumita from Chasing the Long Road
The Isle of Skye is a stunningly beautiful island in the Inner Hebrides of northwest Scotland. There are plenty of attractions on the Isle of Skye to make you fall in love with this small island. Skye is famous for its rugged coastline, outstanding natural wonders, rich wildlife, and fascinating history. You can either drive through the Skye Bridge or catch a ferry from Mallaig to reach this island.
One of the best attractions on the Isle of Skye is the picturesque Fairy Pools. It is a web of small waterfalls renowned for clear turquoise blue water against the backdrop of majestic mountain ranges of the Cuillin Mountains. Apart from marveling at the view, you can take a dip in the water in summer.
The iconic pinnacles of Old Man of Storr on the Trotternish peninsula are one of the best-known rock formations in Britain. Also, not too far from there is the Quiraing – one of the most dramatic landscapes in Skye. It consists of a large grassy surface (table), a sharp pointy pinnacle (needle), and a unique rock formation that looks like a medieval keep. Enjoy the spectacular panoramic views from here. You can hike the entire Quiraing circuit in a couple of hours.
Natural wonders in Europe – Ireland
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
By Janelle Axton from Make the Trip Matter
The majestic Cliffs of Moher should be at the top of everyone’s bucket list when visiting Ireland. They are stunning sea cliffs that rise above the Atlantic Ocean, located in the west of Ireland in County Clare.
The Cliffs of Moher are arguably the best natural landmark in Ireland, famous for their dramatic beauty. The cliffs run for about 14km (9mi) and reach 214m (702ft) at their highest point. The most typical way to view the Cliffs is to walk along the top, though you can take a boat tour to view them from sea level as well.
The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark were designated as a UNESCO site in 2015 in part for its rare natural habitats and unique floral collections (over 70% of Ireland’s species of flowers are found in the Burren) that are not found anywhere else on Earth. In addition, the area has remains of human settlements that are over 6000 years old.
The best way to see the Cliffs of Moher is to spend some time in the west of Ireland and stay in either Galway or the small town of Doolin. However, there are many tours departing from the bigger cities in Ireland, including day tours from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher. A tour is a great way to see the Cliffs of Moher because there are many smaller historical and natural sites along the way that are worth viewing as well.
Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland
By Charles McCool from McCool Travel
The Giant’s Causeway, one of the top places to visit in Northern Ireland, is one of the world’s most iconic natural attractions and geologic formations. Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the only one in Northern Ireland, and is managed and protected by the UK National Trust.
40,000 perfectly formed basalt columns make up Giant’s Causeway. The formation stretching from land into the sea gives it its name, as it looks like a path a giant would have utilized. In fact, local folklore legend suggests that such a giant, Finn McCool, strode this path to Scotland, but a Scottish giant destroyed the path after a skirmish.
But the scientific merits are why Giant’s Causeway is recognized by UNESCO and other nature conservation organizations. The exposed basalt columns allow researchers to better understand volcanic activity in the Northern Atlantic region and around the world.
Giant’s Causeway covers 40 hectares and is approximately 3 km wide. So there is a lot to explore. Most visitors simply climb the columns in and near the water (careful, they are slippery) but hiking trails into and above the hill provide remarkable views of the formations, sea, and the Northern Ireland coast (and often Scotland).
You can reach Giants Causeway by public bus, tour bus, or drive yourself. Giant’s Causeway (in Bushmills, Northern Ireland) is about three hours north of Dublin airport and one hour north of Belfast airport.
Europe Natural wonders – France
Gorges du Verdon, Provence
By Ann from The Road Is Life
The spectacular Gorges du Verdon is located in Provence, France, 2.5 hours from Nice or Cannes by car. This incredible natural wonder is the largest gorge in France and is often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Europe.
The best way to see the Gorges du Verdon is by including it on the south of France road trip itinerary. Driving through the gorge is an unforgettable experience as you follow the narrow winding road that runs along the edge of the cliffs. Make sure to take advantage of the epic viewpoints that can be found at various points on the drive.
If you’re short on time, the Gorges du Verdon can be seen on a day trip from Nice. Taking an organized tour of the gorge will also include a visit to the Lavender fields of Provence and stops in the charming villages of Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.
One of the best activities when visiting the Gorges du Verdon is renting a kayak or a small boat and enjoying a peaceful cruise while taking in the stunning scenery. Boats can be rented at the entrance to the gorge at the turquoise-colored Lac de Sainte-Croix.
Auvergne Volcanoes Park, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
By Patricia Pagenel from Ze Wandering Frogs
While France is known for its stunning Alps and Pyrennes mountain range, the Auvergne area in Central France is home to the natural wonder of extinct volcanoes. Indeed the Parc Natural Regional des Volcans is home to over 80 ancient volcanoes best accessed from Clermont-Ferrand, the region’s main city.
The natural park covers the mountains from the Monts Dore to the Chaîne des Puys, with two of the highest points being the famous 4,806-ft (1,465-m) Puy de Dôme and 6,188-ft (1,886-m) Sancy Massif. The Volcanoes Park is an outdoor paradise, with numerous hiking and mountain biking trails going through rolling hills, rural fields, and stunning vistas.
Formed 70,000 years ago and with the last known eruption estimated around 4,000 BCE, the Chaîne des Puys – Limagne fault tectonic arena was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2018 as a perfect display of West European Rift continental rifting when the earth’s crust allows magma to rise and uplifting the ground.
Summer is a great time to enjoy the famous landscape in France, but winter is also a great time when snow covers the top of the mountains, allowing for winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing.
Mont Blanc, France/Italy
By Mike Still from LiveTravelTeach
Mont Blanc is a favorite natural wonder of the European Alps. The mountain is surrounded by an outdoor lover’s Disney land with countless well-maintained trails and slopes making it perfect for any season. Visitors ski in the winter and hike year-round, while extreme adventurers can paraglide and much more.
The tour du mont blanc is the best way to experience this natural wonder since there are many peaks coming off the namesake massif. You can do anything from a 4-12 day tour du mont blanc taking you through mountain passes, eye level with glaciers, and experiencing the mountains like never before. My wife and I did a self-guided tour du mont blanc where a tour company shipped our luggage between each location, so we only had to hike with a day bag.
One of the amazing things about Mont Blanc is that it sits on a country border, and you’ll hike from France into Switzerland and back into Italy in a matter of days. The best way to get to Mont Blanc is by train to Les Houces, France. From here, you can spend just a day or two in the Chamonix valley or go on a full tour of Mont Blanc. Non-hikers can go up a 3,000-meter gondola to mountaintops with unparalleled views.
This area is a stark contrast to the rest of Europe, making it a beautiful wonder. With high peaks gathering snow year-round, you can see glaciers on the same day that you’re enjoying a summer swim in an alpine tarn. The food and culture in the region shouldn’t be forgotten, and you’ll have a chance to try some of the freshest cheeses and pasta you can imagine.
Cows roam freely through the pastures feeding on unique flora that gives each small region a unique cheese opportunity that you likely can’t find in your home country. We loved the local wines and the fact that this natural wonder is so easily accessible, with villages, refuges, and even hotels all around.
European Natural Wonders – Balkan countries
Blue Eye, Albania
By Laura Meyers from Laure Wanders
Located 22 km from Sarande, on the Albanian Coast, the Blue Eye (Syri I Kalter) is a mysterious water spring. What makes this place quite fascinating is that no one really knows how deep it is. Multiple attempts have been made to descend into the Blue Eye’s turquoise waters to calculate its depth, but the deepest point the divers have reached is 50 m deep.
Blue Eye is a unique place where an estimated 18.400 liters of water is pumped up to the surface from an underwater cave every single second! If you decide to swim in it – which will be very cold, but many people do it – you’ll notice how you get pushed to the surface too.
The easiest way to reach the Blue Eye is by renting a car or by taking a taxi. It’s also possible to get there by bus from either Sarande or Gjirokaster, but it’s good to know that you will still need to walk the last 2 km to reach the entrance. Guided tours are available from Sarande too, which is probably the easiest way to visit the Blue Eye if you don’t have a car.
All in all, the Blue Eye is a stunning place with clear turquoise waters and quite a bit of mystery, and it cannot be missed on a visit to Albania.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
By Anne Betts from Packing light travel
The stunningly beautiful Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia is one of the most unique natural phenomena in Europe and the most famous natural landmark in Croatia The connecting lakes, streams, and waterfalls are among the great assets of the park, earning it UNESCO-listed status for its natural and ecological significance.
The easy walking trails and boardwalks weaving their way past cascades and waterfalls make for leisurely hikes. Environmentally friendly electric boats and trains help visitors navigate the park’s 4,856 hectares (12,000 acres) of natural splendor.
Two international airports place travelers within easy reach of the park. It’s a leisurely 140-kilometer drive from Zagreb airport, and the Split airport is 213 kilometers away. These distances make a day trip possible, but the national park is best appreciated with a two-day visit. A two-day pass permits exploration of the higher trails that offer spectacular views and hiking the more popular boardwalks and trails before and after day trippers arrive and depart. It also means entering when the park opens and staying until it closes, with opportunities to photograph in various shades of light.
Having a vehicle makes it easier to enjoy the local hospitality and home-cooked meals offered by the many private accommodation providers located outside the park. There are four hotels within the park, so this is another option, along with Borje Camp, which opens in May for the season.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
By Martha from May Cause Wanderlust
Lake Bled is a special place in Slovenia. It is a popular spot due to its stunning natural beauty, and it is the literal poster child for Slovenian tourism.
It’s a natural wonder due to the combination of still turquoise water, a pretty islet in the middle of the lake, and the stunning Julian Alps.
The man-made additions to the area, including the church on Bled Island and the medieval clifftop castle, only enhance the natural beauty of the surroundings. And its peaceful environment is protected by a ban on motorized boats on the lake: only man-powered pletnas are allowed.
There are some lovely things to do in Lake Bled, including walking the perimeter of the lake, which takes approximately 1.5-2 hours. To get a great view of the lake and the mountains, you can hike to a viewpoint such as Ojstrica Osojnica. And, of course, a great thing to do in Lake Bled is to take a boat out to the island to explore it. The water is so peaceful and serene!
Lake Bled is in the northwest of Slovenia, and you can reach it from the capital Ljubljana by car, bus, or train. A bus is a good option for many because it is fast and drops passengers very close to the lake.
Pirin National Park, Bulgaria
By Laurel Robbins from Monkeys and Mountains Hiking Adventures
Pirin National Park is one of just three national parks in Bulgaria and is located in southwestern Bulgaria. The easiest and most convenient way to get there is by renting a car from Sofia to Bansko, one of the main entrances to the park. It’s 155 km and takes about two hours. Bansko makes a great base if you’re planning on doing day hikes or mountain biking.
Pirin is an incredible place for hiking, mountain biking, and other adventures. You’ll find over 370 km of hiking trails, including the famed international E4, the 10,000 km long route. The terrain is quite rocky due to the elevation; most of the trails are over 2000 m – so even the easier hikes will be more difficult than what you may be used to. You’ll also have the option to sleep in a rustic mountain hut if you choose to do a multi-day adventure.
The park is a designated UNESCO site owing to its exceptional beauty with its limestone mountains, 70 glacial lakes, and extensive flora. It’s home to approximately one-third of all of Bulgaria’s plants, an incredible 1315, including the endangered black and white fir (Pinum peuce). You’ll also find Bulgaria’s oldest tree here – the Baykusheva Fir, which is an astonishing1300 years old!
Natural wonders in Europe – Iberian Peninsula
Rock of Gibraltar, Gibraltar
By Alison Nicholson from Alison on Foot
Standing at over 400m tall, the Rock of Gibraltar looms over this British Overseas Territory at the southern tip of Spain and, whether you arrive by land, sea, or air, is an unmissable sight.
The Rock of Gibraltar was formed millions of years ago, and not only is it impressive from the outside, but it has a rich history inside, too, including St Michael’s Cave with its huge caverns of stalagmites and stalactites and the Great Siege Tunnels, which were dug out by the British Army in the 18th century.
In addition, evidence of Neanderthal Man was unearthed during excavations in Gorham’s Cave Complex, which led to the area being granted UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2016.
Reaching the top of the Rock is a highlight of any visit to Gibraltar. You can head up in the cable car or, if you’re feeling energetic, it’s worth climbing the Mediterranean Steps.
At the summit, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Gibraltar below, Morocco to the south, and the Spanish Costa del Sol to the north and greeted by the inquisitive Barbary Macaques who have made the Rock their home.
Benagil cave, Portugal
By Cambpell Louw from The Algarve Family
The Benagil cave, also known as Algar de Benagil in Portuguese, is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the Algarve, Portugal. The famous coastline in the south of Portugal is known for its amazing beaches and the beautiful limestone cliffs all along the coast lining the turquoise ocean. The massive rock faces create stunning scenery with unique rock formations and impressive sea caves.
The erosion of the sandstone created the massive Benagil sea cave over millions of years. The roof of the cave makes it different. A wide-open hole in the center of the roof, known as ‘the eye,’ lets natural light into the cave. Inside the cave, there is a small beach that is popular for taking photos.
Reaching the Benagil cave is part of the adventure. Since the cave faces the ocean, it can only be reached from the water. Getting into the cave from the ocean can be accomplished in several ways; a boat trip, kayak, Stand Up Paddle, or even swimming; definitely something for everyone to enjoy. If you enter the cave on a boat trip, you are not allowed to leave the boat. To walk on the beach, you have to paddle or swim to the cave.
The cave opening faces the ocean about 200m to the east of the small village of Benagil between two beaches, Praia de Benagil and Praia da Marinha. There are plenty of boat tours departing from Lagos, Portimão, Albufeira, Vilamoura, Armação de Pêra, Quarteira and Benagil itself.
Sierra Nevada National Park, Spain
By Linn Haglund from Amused by Andalucia
One of the most spectacular natural wonders you will find in Europe is the Sierra Nevada National Park in southern Spain. It spans an area of nearly 86.000 hectares through the Granada and Almeria provinces, the latter being less known. Most people typically spend one day in Granada and then use it as a base for discovering the national park as the historical city is set right on the outskirts of the park. So are a lot of other charming villages like Monachil, Capileira, and Trevelez.
The best way to reach the park is by car, though the mentioned villages can be reached by bus and from there you can strap on your hiking boots and get lost for weeks sleeping in mountain huts. The variety of the lower mountains takes you through lush forested areas, past waterfalls, and through rivers, and the higher mountains show off a more hostile side with bare, rough, rocky terrain and packs of curious mountain goats showing off views for kilometers making the Sierra Nevada National Park incredibly beautiful.
The natural park hosts the highest peak in the Iberian Peninsula, Mulhacen (3479 meters above sea level), as well as a few others of mainland Spain’s highest peaks like Veleta, which is where the skiing slopes go down from in the winter months.
Natural Wonders Europe – Italy
By Monique from Trip Anthropologist
Vesuvius is known throughout the world as the volcano that exploded and covered the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, and several other settlements in 79 AD. Mount Vesuvius lies on the Bay of Naples in southern Italy (Campania) within Vesuvius National Park.
3 million people live around Mt Vesuvius, which grows in height after each eruption and is considered one of the most dangerous active volcanoes in the world that will erupt again. There have been 21 eruptions since 1660, the last was in 1944. This means that the volcano has different regions, including Mount Somma (at 600m above sea level), Valle de Gigante (Valley of the Giants), the cone of the volcano, and the crater.
Vesuvius is a young volcano that has one of the greatest effects of any volcano upon the lives of people living on its slopes and in its shadow. It continues to grow and change – before the eruption of 1631, there were forests and three lakes inside the crater!
The enormous crater is 600 meters across and over 300 meters deep. 9 Hiking trails lead around the volcano to the crater, where lookouts allow you to peer into the crater. The National Park has a flat entrance fee, and you can hike from the main car park and bus stop to the crater. Day trips to Vesuvius and Pompeii are very popular.
Cascate del Mulino – Saturnia Hot Springs
By Tori from Tori Pines Travels
Located in the rolling hills of Tuscany, Italy, the Saturnia hot springs are one of Europe’s most picturesque natural wonders. Heated underground, the water emerges at a perfect 99 degrees Fahrenheit, runs down the hills, and creates dozens of natural pools to bathe in. The water is bright blue and has the most stunning backdrop of the Tuscan hillside.
There are a few things you should know before visiting the Tuscany hot springs, like the fact that there is sulfur in the water, so you will smell it in the air around the springs. It’s not terribly strong, but not the best smell either. Thanks to the sulfur and other minerals in the water, a dip in the pools is thought to be healing to the body. Whether it truly heals or not, it is an incredible free spa day that you won’t want to miss out on.
Getting there is easy, but it is not close to any of the major cities, so you will need a car. Rent a car from Rome and drive 2 hours and 15 minutes north, or leave from Florence and drive 2 hours and 45 minutes south. The drive is almost as enjoyable as the hot springs, surrounded by green hills and vineyards and popping in and out of hilltop villages all along the way.
By Lori Sorrentino from Travlin mad
Northern Italy has more than its share of breathtaking landscapes with craggy peaks, azure lakes, and mule paths cutting their way through mountain passes to the impossibly adorable towns that lie nestled in the nooks and crannies below.
More often than not, it’s the Italian Dolomites that create the backdrop to so many images of northern Italy travel destinations. They comprise several Park systems and Italy’s only National Park and are among the country’s most recognized UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
In 2009, 18 peaks in the Dolomiti rising above 3,000 meters were awarded this special designation not only for their unique beauty but also for the scientific importance of their geology and geomorphology. So, as you can imagine, there are countless hiking trails to follow and winding roads to explore on an adventurous road trip through Italy.
If Instaworthy pastoral scenes are what you’re looking for, a visit to the Santa Maddalena Church in the lush green valley of Val di Funes should be at the top of your list. Lago di Braies is also an easy day hike with spectacular views. And, of course, everyone’s favorite hike is to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, three of the most distinctive peaks in the Sexten Dolomites.
Natural Landmarks Europe – Germany
By Soumya from Stories by Soumya
Lake Konigssee in Germany is one of the deepest and cleanest lakes in all of Europe. Nestled deep within the Alps, near the small German town of Berchtesgaden, Konigssee makes for a wonderful day trip from Munich.
Konigssee is Germany’s prettiest alpine lake. It is unique because it is almost 620 feet (190 m) deep at its deepest point and is sparklingly clean. The lake is a beautiful emerald green color and is surrounded by steep mountainsides, giving it the appearance of a fjord. In Germany, Lake Konigssee is often referred to as nature’s own masterpiece.
What makes Konigssee prettier is the presence of a picturesque onion-domed church of St. Bartholomew that stands on a peninsula halfway down the lake. You can get to the church and onwards to Lake Obersee by riding an electric boat (only electric ferries have been allowed on Konigssee since 1909 to retain the lake’s water quality). The boat ride is magical because the oarsman plays his harmonica throughout the ride, and the music echoes all over because of the presence of sheer mountain cliffs.
To get to Konigssee, take a DB train from Munich to Berchtesgaden and then a bus from Berchtesgaden bus stop to Jennerbahn. You can also drive or join a guided tour to get there.
By Ali from Berlin Travel Tips
The Spreewald forest might not be as well known as Germany’s Black Forest, but it’s just as gorgeous. This UNESCO biosphere reserve is great for outdoor lovers, and it’s a protected habitat for thousands of animal and plant species. The waterways have been used for farming, fishing, and transportation for centuries.
The forest gets its name from the Spree River, which runs north through the region and up through Berlin. This is a popular place for outdoor activities. You can take a tour on a flat-bottomed punt boat to get to know the region. Or, if you’d prefer to explore on your own, you can rent a canoe or kayak. You can also enjoy this natural wonder on one of many hiking trails or cycling trails, most of which are pretty flat.
Aside from the outdoor activities, Spreewald is also famous for its delicious pickles. These are some of the most famous pickles in Germany, so be sure to try some while you’re here. In the center of Lübbenau, there are a few stalls dubbed Gherkin Mile where you can try and purchase a wide variety of pickles. The Lübbenau Spreewald tourism office even has a cycling pickle tour.
There are several towns in the Spreewald, but Lübbenau is one of the easier ones to visit. You can easily get to the Spreewald from Berlin in about an hour by taking the RE2 train south. Note that there is a different town called Lubben ahead of Lübbenau.
Natural wonders in Northern Europe
By Una from Wandernity
For those looking for an adventure, Trolltunga in Norway is the perfect destination. This natural wonder is a piece of rock that hangs precariously off the edge of a cliff in Norway. Trolltunga translates as “Troll’s tongue,” and it juts out from a mountainside, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
What’s so unique about it?
Well, first of all, it’s enormous! The rock is several meters long. It’s hanging 700 meters (2,300 feet) above Lake Ringedalsvatnet, and you can climb on it for a thrilling photoshoot. Secondly, it has an incredible view. When you stand on Trolltunga, you can see for miles in every direction. Finally, it’s one of the most popular hiking trails in Norway. Thousands of people hike to Trolltunga every year to experience its beauty for themselves.
Getting to Trolltunga is no easy feat, but it is well worth the effort. The hike to the top and back down takes around 10-12 hours, with a mix of uphill and downhill sections. However, the views from the top are simply stunning and make the hard work worthwhile. And there are patches of snow up in the mountains, even in the middle of the summer in contrast to the hot summer weather.
For those who want to experience Trolltunga up close, it is possible to camp overnight at the top of the mountain near the cliff. This is a great way to appreciate the beauty of this unique place truly.
Whether you’re looking for a challenge or just want to take in some stunning scenery, Trolltunga is definitely worth a visit.
By Steph from A Nomad’s Passport
Preikestolen is a ledge that towers 604 meters above the Lysefjord in Norway and is one of Europe’s best natural wonders. Also known as Pulpit Rock, it is 25 m x 25 m large, and grants everyone that hikes there an astonishing view.
Thanks to its incredible scenery and location, it is one of the best places in Europe for nature lovers. It has also been featured in Mission Impossible: Fallout, which makes it an interesting place to visit for movie buffs.
To get to Preikestolen, you have to hike 3.8 km, so the total length of the hike is 7.6 km. The trail features flat areas that grant you scenic views and several steep staircases. If you feel up to it, you can cool off in one of the three small mountain lakes along the trail.
The trailhead is around 2 hours away from the city of Stavanger, and you can choose between fully organized tours that include a guided hike or taking public transport to get there.
Finnish Lakeland, Finland
By Bradley from Dream Big, Travel, Far
While one could say that Finland is one giant Lakeland, the Finnish Lakeland, in particular, comprises some of the world’s most beautiful and spectacular lakes. The sprawling surfaces look like a glittering sheen that reflects the surrounding forests and skies—a truly magical sight to behold.
The lakes are beautiful year-round, but summer and autumn are probably the best seasons to visit. The colors of the fall can be breathtaking, while the temperature is nice enough for long walks and hikes. In the warmer months of summer, you can swim in the lake for an experience like no other.
This region is the largest of Finland’s four landscape regions and the reason behind the nickname “the country of a thousand lakes”. From Joensuu to Savonlinna, there are tons of cities to discover unique cultures and traditions, but the real highlight remains all the boundless lakes and lush forests.
Lake Päijänne, the second biggest lake in Finland, is a lovely place for river cruises and kayaking. Discover its rocky shores and white sandy coves.
It’s easy to reach Finnish Lakeland from anywhere in the country and is less than 3 hours by train from Helsinki. However, driving can be especially rewarding as the views along the way are incredible.
Curonian Spit, Lithuania
By Ellis from Backpack Adventures
The Curonian spit in Lithuania is a unique European natural wonder in the Baltic states. The narrow peninsula is about 98 kilometers long and averages between 1 and 4 kilometers in width. It separates the Curonian lagoon from the Baltic sea and is a protected area shared by both Lithuania and Russia.
The Curonian spit is shaped by the forces of the sea and wind, and the landscape of sand dunes, and pine forests continue to change. It is sparsely populated, but the small communities that made the Curonian spit their home adapted to the ever-changing nature around them.
Nida in Lithuania is one of the larger towns on the Curonian spit. It had to move several times as the moving Parnidis sand dune covered homes in the past. The continuous effort of people to combat erosion while preserving beautiful nature made it a UNESCO world heritage site.
Nowadays, it is the perfect place to start your holiday on the Curonian spit. The dunes and forests offer endless hiking opportunities. When you are lucky, you might spot some wildlife like deer, wild boar, elk, or fox. The unique flora and fauna on the Curonian spit are very different from the mainland.
Nida is a fishing village where you can see traditional wooden homes and try local seafood delicacies like smoked fish. Getting to the Curonian spit is easy from the mainland city of Klaipeda. There are frequent ferries to the spit where you can catch the local bus to Nida.
Natural Landmarks in Central Europe
Krimml Waterfalls, Austria
By Martina from PlacesofJuma
One of the absolute most beautiful natural wonders in Europe is the Krimml Waterfalls in Austria. This imposing natural gem is located in the province of Salzburg, near Zell am See, and is a popular destination for day trips from Vienna and other Austrian cities. Unique and famous, the Krimml Waterfalls are known for their incredible drop height of 380 meters! Thus, this waterfall is one of the highest waterfalls in Europe.
During a visit, you should definitely hike the dreamlike waterfall trail. This is a 100-year-old hiking trail that winds in serpentine along the Krimml waterfall. Along the way, you can enjoy an insanely beautiful view of the falls and the green landscape in the valley. But not only that! This natural wonder is also healthy because the aerosol of the waterfall is also said to have a healing effect, especially for respiratory diseases.
The ticket office opens only at 8:00 in the morning, but you can visit the waterfall at any time and pay the entrance fee even later. If you like, you can also visit the nearby Krimml Water Worlds, which is especially interesting for children.
A visit to the Krimml Waterfalls is possible from May to the end of October. In winter, you can only visit the lower part of this natural wonder, the waterfall path remains closed.
Bialowieza National Park, Poland
By Dee from Vanilla Papers
Bialowieza National Park is a lush, centuries-old forest in eastern Poland that’s the largest surviving stretch of the primeval forest that once covered most of Europe.
Undisturbed for centuries, Bialowieza is a remarkably preserved primary forest dotted with enormous conifers and broad-leaved trees. It’s also home to the European bison – and it’s one of the most unique places to visit in Europe.
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve that offers a fascinating look at an old-growth forest and its dead wood and fungi. It’s been fiercely protected by activists from logging and has remained undisturbed.
The national park is about a 5-hour train journey from Warsaw, and it’s a popular summertime destination for vacationing families. The park covers some 105 square kilometers near the Poland-Belarus border, with a few historic attractions to explore.
Hike or bike this national forest for a look at this breathtaking landscape. Or get lucky and spot some wildlife like elk, roe deer, wolves, and wild boars.
Head to the Strict Nature Preserve to explore the oldest section of the national park, full of swampy lands and oaks, spruce, and pine. This part of Bialowieza can only be entered with an official guide, and walking through unmarked paths is strictly forbidden.
Visit the 19th-century Palace Park, which was built for the Russian tsar and served as the hunting lodge of Polish kings. And don’t miss the European Bison Show Reserve, a 4-kilometer enclosed park that’s home to numerous bison.
Bohemian Switzerland National Park, Czech Republic
By Megan Indoe from Bobo & Chichi
Located north of Prague in the Czech Republic, close to the border of Germany, is the gorgeous Bohemian Switzerland National Park which is home to one of the most beautiful European natural wonders, which includes landscapes like lush forests, unique rock formations, and the scenic Elbe River.
The natural scenery of Bohemian Switzerland National Park has inspired creatives for centuries, and it’s no wonder why.
The Elbe Sandstones are a true European natural wonder in themselves, offering sweeping views from viewpoints and even used as filming for fantasy movies like the Chronicles of Narnia at the Tisa Rocks.
One of the most impressive natural areas and wonders in Bohemian Switzerland National Park is Europe’s largest sandstone arch, Pravčická brána.
This natural sandstone arch towers above 52 feet high and 26 feet wide and offers views that are worthy of a painting from one of the several viewpoints in the area, along with the beautiful structure next to it, the Falcon’s Nest.
You also don’t want to miss a tranquil boat ride down the Kamenice Gorge, which feels straight out of a fairytale.
For exploring this area, you can either join a local tour operator from Prague with companies like Northern Hikes, which is a sustainably focused small tour company that specializes in customized tours in the area, or you can rent a car and drive the 1.5-2 hours to Bohemian Switzerland National Park and spend a few days exploring the region and national park on your own.
Grindelwald Glacier, Switzerland
By Keri from Bon Voyage With Kids
If you are visiting Switzerland, a trip to the Bernese Alps area is something out of a storybook. Specifically, if you head to the beautiful mountain area of Grindelwald, you will think you stepped right into a scene from Heidi. Towering over this beautiful, picturesque town full of wooden Swiss chalet-style buildings is some of the most beautiful mountain range that including the Eiger.
But your eyes are quickly drawn to one of Europe’s most natural wonders, the Grindelwald Glacier. While this incredible beautiful phenomenon is a site to see, it is a bit of a sad tail when you see postcards and evidence from years ago when the glacier extended down the valley where you could easily touch it. But what remains of the glacier is still a site to behold, and one you feel very close to just being in Grindelwald.
However, if you want to get closer to it, you can certainly do so. From the center of town, you can ride a cable car up to Pfingstegg, where you can begin your hike to the Baregg Hut, a cliffside restaurant with a spectacular view of the Glacier. This is approximately a 3 km round trip. But there are some narrow trails and uneven ground, as well as steep uphills, so it is not a simple stroll. Good hiking gear is strongly suggested especially good hiking boots. But it is considered a moderate hike.
You can also visit the Grindelwald Glacier Canyon, which is a fascinating walk through tunnels, and rock formations, and you can even go out on a secured net over rushing water! It is a spectacular natural wonder in Europe and one to add to the bucket list!
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