Europe is a continent of vast beauty and culture, not only is it home to some of the prettiest natural sights but Europe houses magnificent architecture dating back centuries and today is kept preserved with delicate care. Being visited by thousands of tourists every day, here are some of the most famous & beautiful churches in Europe that you must visit if you ever get the chance.
10 Most Beautiful Churches In Europe
1. St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
In the heart of Rome, Italy lies one of the largest churches in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica is a stunning example of Renaissance architecture.
It was designed by some of the greatest artists and architects of the time, including Michelangelo, Bramante, and Bernini.
Michelangelo’s famous statue, the Pieta stands tall at the very center of the basilica.
2. Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
Apart from the Eiffel Tower, this iconic church is one of the most visited landmarks in France. A masterpiece of Gothic architecture, it is widely recognized for its ornate facade, flying buttresses, pointed arches, and intricate stained-glass windows.
Construction of the cathedral began in 1163 and took over 200 years to complete. The cathedral was extensively renovated in the 19th century, during which many of the original features were restored, including the iconic gargoyles that adorn the roofline
The stars of the show are its three large stained glass rose windows, which are located on the west, north, and south facades of the building.
The windows are made of thousands of pieces of colored glass, arranged in intricate patterns and designs. The largest rose window is on the west facade and measures over 13 meters in diameter.
3. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
Sagrada Familia features ornate facades and towers, intricate stained-glass windows, and a stunning interior inspired by nature. This unique church was designed by Antoni Gaudi and is still under construction after more than 100 years.
Antoni Gaudi spent over 40 years of his life working on it until his untimely death in 1926. Since then, other architects have continued his work, with the hope of finishing the building by 2026, the centenary of Gaudi’s death.
The basilica’s design is inspired by nature, and it features a unique combination of Gothic and Art Nouveau styles.
The exterior of the building is adorned with intricate sculptures, which depict various scenes from the Bible, as well as natural elements such as fruits, leaves, and animals.
4. St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice, Italy
Located in the heart of Venice, St. Mark’s Basilica is a stunning example of Byzantine architecture. The church is adorned with intricate mosaics and contains numerous works of art and relics.
With intricate mosaics covering its walls and ceilings, the church is a symbol of architectural excellence. The church contains numerous works of art and relics, including the remains of St. Mark the Evangelist.
5. Westminster Abbey, London, England
An architectural masterpiece, Westminster Abbey is a gothic church that has served as the site of numerous royal coronations, and weddings, and as a burial place for many notable individuals, such as monarchs, statesmen, and poets.
It contains numerous tombs and memorials for famous British figures. The abbey contains numerous tombs and memorials to famous British figures, including Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, and William Shakespeare.
Construction on the abbey began in the 11th century and continued over several centuries, with numerous additions and renovations being made. The oldest part of the church is the nave, which dates back to the 11th century.
The transepts were added in the 13th century, and the choir was rebuilt in the 14th century. The abbey also features a number of chapels, including the Lady Chapel, which was built in the 16th century.
It has also served as a place of worship and pilgrimage, The abbey’s architecture and rich history have made it a popular tourist destination and a symbol of English heritage
6. Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany
A towering gothic church, Cologne Cathedral is known for its intricate facade and ornate stained-glass windows. It is also home to numerous religious relics and artifacts.
The cathedral is also home to numerous religious relics and artifacts, including a reliquary containing the remains of the Three Kings.
The cathedral’s stained-glass windows are some of the largest in the world, and they create a breathtaking effect when the sun shines through them.
The cathedral took over 600 years to complete, with construction beginning in 1248 and ending in 1880. 600 long years! I think we really need to appreciate the dedication and consistency put up by the designers and people of the past who worked to make this cathedral what it is today.
7. St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague, Czech Republic
St. Vitus Cathedral is a magnificent Gothic cathedral located in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic. It is one of the most important and iconic landmarks of Prague, and it has served as the spiritual and cultural heart of the city for centuries.
The cathedral’s design is a unique blend of Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance styles, and it is home to a wealth of intricate carvings, paintings, and sculptures.
Overall, St. Vitus Cathedral is a remarkable feat of architecture and artistry, and it is a testament to the skill and creativity of the craftsmen who worked on it over the centuries.
It is a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling to Prague, and it is a cultural treasure of the Czech Republic.
8. Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Italy
It was built in the Gothic style between the 13th and 15th centuries, and it is known for its stunning dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi.
The cathedral’s facade is made of pink, green, and white marble, and it features intricate carvings and decorative elements.
Inside, visitors can see beautiful frescoes and stained-glass windows, as well as a large clock designed by Paolo Uccello. The cathedral is an important cultural and historical landmark in Florence
9. St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England
The cathedral is known for its intricate mosaics, beautiful choir stalls, and impressive pipe organ. St. Paul’s Cathedral is an iconic Anglican cathedral located in the heart of London, England.
Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city and an enduring symbol of British history and culture.
The cathedral’s bell tower is also a notable feature, and it contains 12 bells, including the Great Paul Bell, which weighs 16.5 tons.
One of the most impressive areas of the cathedral is the Whispering Gallery, which runs around the interior of the dome. The gallery gets its name from the fact that a whisper spoken against the wall can be heard clearly on the opposite side, some 30 meters away.
Visitors can climb to the top of the dome for breathtaking views of London
A visit to St. Paul’s is definitely worth it, not just beautiful architecture alone but because the whispering gallery seems like a fun experiment to try out with your family!
10. Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Assisi, Italy
The Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, also known as the Assisi Basilica, is a religious complex located in the town of Assisi in central Italy.
It is an important pilgrimage site for Catholics, as it contains the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of Italy.
The basilica was built in the 13th century in honor of St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan order and is known for his love of nature and his commitment to poverty and humility. The basilica is divided into two parts, the Upper Church and the Lower Church, both of which are decorated with stunning works of art.
The Upper Church is a light-filled space with high ceilings and colorful frescoes that depict scenes from the life of St. Francis and other biblical stories. The most famous of these frescoes are the series of paintings by Giotto di Bondone, one of the greatest Italian artists of the 14th century.
The Lower Church is a more somber space, with vaulted ceilings and stone pillars. It is home to the tomb of St. Francis, which is located in a crypt beneath the altar. The walls of the Lower Church are adorned with intricate frescoes that depict scenes from the lives of Jesus and the apostles.
Housing a number of chapels and other religious artifacts, including the Sacro Convento, a medieval monastery that was built adjacent to the basilica. The monastery contains a collection of works of art and historical artifacts that offer a glimpse into the lives of the Franciscan monks who have lived there for centuries.
These churches dating back centuries and even more aren’t just plain buildings, not just brick and concrete made into a structure. The stories they have to tell are worth more than you could imagine.
To be able to experience the years of history that come along with it would be enriching. The art displayed is an outcome of everything the artist is trying to tell you, his experience with God and what he believes about the scriptures, freedom struggles and so much more.
If you ever make a trip to Europe, hopefully you’ll get a chance to visit these churches!