Europe is home to some of the most popular cultural attractions in the world. From gorgeous architecture to beautiful art galleries, fascinating museums, authentic cuisine, and wonderful music, the cultural heritage of Europe never ceases to amaze travelers who love to explore cultural destinations. Europe is also the place where many artists were born and inspired to create all types of art. Writers like Miguel de Cervantes, Charles Pierre Baudelaire, and William Shakespeare; painters like Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Van Gogh; sculptors like Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Donatello; composers like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky were all born in Europe and they all shaped the world of art and the world we’re living in.
Cultural tourism is very popular in Europe. In fact, it is believed that 40% of all European tourism is cultural tourism. Whether you choose to visit a cultural destination to learn about history, observe the fascinating architecture, get lost in art galleries, attend concerts, opera, or a mix of these activities, European cities will not disappoint you.
Get ready to explore some of the most amazing cities in Europe by selecting your favorite destinations from our list of top cultural attractions in Europe. We divided our picks by country and city to make things easier for you. You have 11 countries and 18 cities to choose from and we’re sure you’ll love them all.
You cannot talk about European cultural destinations without talking about Paris and its wonderful culture and cultural attractions. The beautiful city, often called the City of Lights, is home to many historic and cultural attractions. Tourists and locals alike enjoy historical monuments, old churches, world-renowned museums, film festivals, fashion shows, delicious food, and iconic monuments such as the Eiffel Tour every day.
What to see in Paris
Landmarks: Eiffel Tour, Palais Garnier, Quartier Latin, Conciergerie, Place de la Concorde, Arc de Triomphe.
Museums and art galleries: D’Orsay Museum, Louvre Museum, Centre Pompidou (modern and contemporary art), Musée de l’Orangerie.
Palaces and chateaux (in and near Paris): Versailles, Élysée Palace, Tuileries Palace, Château de Fontainebleau, Luxembourg Palace, Palais Bourbon, Château de Rambouillet.
Churches and religious establishments: Basilica of Sacré-Coeur, St.-Denis Basilica, Sacre Coeur Basilica, Saint-Etienne du Mont, and Sainte-Chapelle, Sadly Notre-Dame Cathedral, the most visited cultural and historical attraction of France is temporarily closed after it was severely damaged by fire in April 2019.
The cosmopolitan city of Bordeaux is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007 and it’s the place you should visit if you want to mix culture with wine. Amazing, world-renowned French wine! Bordeaux is a lively city with a vibrant lifestyle and a sophisticated and elegant appearance. Aside from wine and gourmet cuisine, Bordeaux impresses visitors with its magnificent stone architecture and many cultural attractions.
What to see in Bordeaux
Landmarks: Place de la Bourse, Pey Berland Tower, Place des Quinconces (one of the largest European city squares), Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, Pont de pierre, Puerta de Cailhau, The Grosse Cloche, Girondins Monument, Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas, Porte de Bourgogne, palais Gallien, Bordeaux City Hall.
Churches and religious establishments: Bordeaux Cathedral, Basilica of St. Michael, Place Pey-Berland, Basilica of Saint Severinus of Bordeaux, Holy Cross Church in Bordeaux,
Museums: Cité du Vin (wine museum), Museum of Aquitaine, Museum of Fine Arts, CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art of Bordeaux, Musée National des Douanes.
Rome has many things to offer to travelers: a place rich in art and history, good food, and diverse experiences for those who love to visit cultural attractions. Italy’s capital is a place where you can admire historic monuments, masterpieces of Roman architecture, and influential art. Culture is on display everywhere in Rome and, while visiting the city, you will have an unforgettable cultural trip.
What to see in Rome
Landmarks: Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, St. Peter’s Square, Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna, the Spanish Steps, Pantheon, the Catacombs, Villa Borghese, Piazza del Popolo, Campidoglio, Baths of Caracalla, Fiumi Fountain, St. Angelo Bridge, Arch of Constantine, Pincian Hill, Domus Aurea, Largo di Torre Argentina, Trajan’s Column and Trajan’s Market, Pyramid of Caius Cestius.
Churches and religious establishments: The Vatican, St Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore, Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls, St. Clement Basilica.
Museums: Castel Sant’Angelo, Borghese Gallery and Museum, Capitoline Museums, Quirinal Palace, Raphael Rooms.
Venice is known for its immense beauty and romantic scenery. The serene city is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world and it surely deserves this recognition. The intriguing cultural heritage, peaceful canals, and vibrant art make the lagoon city a perfect destination for culture-rich city breaks.
There are many things to do in Venice, aside from a gondola ride, of course. Visiting museums, exploring art galleries, discovering historical buildings and churches, and admiring Renaissance and Gothic palaces are all activities you can and should do during your stay in Venice.
What to see in Venice
Landmarks: the Grand Canal, Bridge of Sighs, Piazza San Marco, Rialto Bridge, Burano, Murano, St Mark’s Clocktower, Ponte dell’Accademia, Venetian Arsenal, Ponte Degli Scalzi.
Palaces and palazzos: Doges Palace, Ca’ d’Oro, Ca’ Rezzonico, Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, Grassi Palace.
Museums and art galleries: Gallerie dell’Accademia, Teatro la Fenice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Museo Correr, Museum of Glass, Punta della Dogana, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art.
Churches and religious establishments: St. Mark’s Basilica, St Mark’s Campanile, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, Basilica dei Frari, Isola di San Michele, Chiesa di San Zaccaria, Church of the Santissimo Redentore, Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo.
Birthplace of democracy, drama, and philosophy, Athens is a city where you can find cultural heritage attractions at every corner. Athens is literally an open-air museum that mesmerizes visitors. Named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena, the city has spectacular Mediterranean landscapes, historical heritage sites, many hubs with gastronomic delights, and a booming art scene.
What to see in Athens:
Landmarks: Acropolis, Parthenon, Plaka, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Ancient Agora of Athens, Syntagma Square, Monastiraki, Mount Lycabettus, Theatre of Dionysus, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, National Garden, Panathenaic Stadium, Arch of Hadrian, Port of Piraeus, Psyri, Hadrian’s Library, Philopappos Monument, Tower of the Winds, Pnyx, Roman Agora.
Museums and art galleries: Acropolis Museum, National Archaeological Museum, Benaki Museum, Old Acropolis Museum, Kerameikos, Byzantine and Christian Museum, Museum of Cycladic Art, Stoa of Attalos, Numismatic Museum of Athens.
Churches and religious establishments: Erechtheion, Temple of Hephaestus, Temple of Athena Nike, Daphni Monastery, Panaghia Kapnikarea.
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and the most visited city in Spain. Rich in cultural attractions and amazing art, Barcelona is the place where you can discover many architectural masterpieces, historic monuments, and wonderful museums. Not only that, but the food scene and the vibrant nightlife make tourists fall in love with the place.
What to see in Barcelona
Landmarks: Park Güell, Gothic Quarter, Montjuïc, Plaça de Catalunya, Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, Palau de la Música Catalana, Columbus Monument, Plaça d’Espanya, Rambla De Mar, Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona, Plaça Reial, Gran Teatre del Liceu.
Palaces and buildings: Casa Milà, Casa Batlló, Güell Palace, Casa Vicens Gaudí.
Museums and art galleries: Picasso Museum, Poble Espanyol, Joan Miró Foundation, Montjuïc Castle, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Gaudí House Museum, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, CosmoCaixa Barcelona, Museu de la Xocolata.
Churches and religious establishments: La Sagrada Familia, Cathedral of Barcelona, Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Munich is a place where you can find the perfect mix of history and modernity. The capital of the Bavarian region of Germany, Munich, is home to numerous art galleries, museums, historic monuments, and other cultural attractions that can keep tourists busy for days.
What to see in Munich
Landmarks: Marienplatz, Hofbräuhaus München, Victuals Market, Karlsplatz, Old Town, Odeonsplatz, Hofgarten, Königsplatz, Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, Feldherrnhalle, Isartor, Karlstor.
Castles and buildings: New Town Hall, Old Town Hall, Rathaus-Glockenspiel, Neuschwanstein Castle.
Museums and art galleries: Munich Residenz, Nymphenburg Palace, Deutsches Museum, BMW Museum, Alte Pinakothek, Neue Pinakothek, Pinakothek der Moderne, Bavarian National Museum, Glyptothek, Dachau concentration camp, Lenbachhaus, Haus der Kunst.
Churches and religious establishments: Frauenkirche, St. Peter’s Church, Asam Church, Theatine Church, St. Michael’s Church.
We talked about Munich but we cannot talk about the cultural attractions of Germany without including Berlin on the list. The cosmopolitan capital of Germany is a vibrant, young, and dynamic city that seems to reinvent itself year after year. From historic monuments to street art and from museums and wonderful architecture to a buzzing nightlife, Berlin is the city of unlimited possibilities.
What to see in Berlin
Landmarks: Brandenburg Gate, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Alexanderplatz, Potsdamer Platz, Berliner Fernsehturm, Victory Column, Gendarmenmarkt, Unter den Linden, Kurfürstendamm, Hackescher Hof, Oberbaum Bridge, Bebelplatz, Teufelsberg.
Palaces and buildings: Reichstag Building, Charlottenburg Palace, Sanssouci Palace, Alte Nationalgalerie, Rotes Rathaus, Bellevue Palace.
Museums and art galleries: Museum Island, East Side Gallery, Pergamonmuseum, Neues Museum, Jewish Museum Berlin, Topography of Terror, Wall Museum – Checkpoint Charlie, Altes Museum, DDR Museum, Bode Museum, German Historical Museum, Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Stasi Museum.
Churches and religious establishments: Berlin Cathedral Church, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Nikolaikirche, French Cathedral, Neue Kirche.
The capital of England and the United Kingdom, London, is the most visited city in the world. The Royal family, the heritage architecture, the world-class museums and art galleries, plus the numerous cultural activities draw millions to London every year. Art enthusiasts have more than 1000 galleries to visit and history nerds have plenty of destinations to add to their lists. Moreover, London is also the place where high-end fashion, film festivals, and music events take place so there’s surely something for everybody in the lively city.
What to see in London
Landmarks: Big Ben, Coca-Cola London Eye, Tower Bridge, Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, London Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe, Millennium Bridge, Kensington Gardens, Leicester Square, The London Dungeon, Monument to the Great Fire of London.
Palaces, castles, and buildings: Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Palace of Westminster, The Shard, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace.
Museums and art galleries: The British Museum, Natural History Museum, The National Gallery, Madame Tussauds London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Modern, Royal Observatory Greenwich, SEA LIFE Centre London Aquarium, Churchill War Rooms, The Sherlock Holmes Museum, Tate Britain, Museum of London.
Churches and religious establishments: St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey.
Manchester is the place where the Industrial Revolution started. You can see Manchester as the first modern city and you wouldn’t be wrong. The city is home to many historic cultural attractions but also a place for football fans and the place of birth of many musicians and Nobel prize winners. A little bit of everything is how we’d describe Manchester and that’s perfect for those who love to explore diverse cities.
What to see Manchester
Landmarks: Old Trafford, Etihad Stadium, The John Rylands Library, Albert Square, Canal Street, Rochdale Canal.
Palaces and buildings: Manchester City Council, Beetham Tower, Manchester Opera House, Ordsall Hall, Bramall Hall.
Museums and art galleries: Science and Industry Museum, National Football Museum, The Lowry, Manchester Art Gallery, IWM North, Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery, People’s History Museum, Chetham’s Library, Portland Basin Museum, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Museum of Transport, Stockport Air Raid Shelters.
Churches and religious establishments: Manchester Cathedral, Gorton Monastery.
Situated on the Danube River, Vienna, the capital of Austria, was the home of Mozart, Strauss, and numerous other artists that left their mark on music and art. Elegance, grandeur, and culture – the three words that describe Vienna best. From majestic museums to different architectural styles, gothic churches, and majestic palaces, Vienna is the place where you can see history and art at every street corner.
What to see in Vienna
Landmarks: Graben, Spanish Riding School, Danube Tower, Innere Stadt, Historic Centre of Vienna, Plague Column.
Palaces and buildings: Schönbrunn Palace, The Hofburg, Belvedere Palace, Rathaus, Hundertwasser House, Austrian Parliament Building.
Museums and art galleries: Vienna State Opera, Albertina, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Austrian National Library, Kunst Haus Wien Museum Hundertwasser, Leopold Museum, Secession, Museum of Natural History Vienna, Wien Museum Mozart apartment, Imperial Treasury Vienna, mumok, Sigmund Freud Museum, Museum of Applied Arts.
Churches and religious establishments: St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Karlskirche, Stephansplatz, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Votivkirche.
From baroque to 19th-century buildings, from medieval fortresses to magnificent palaces, and from gothic churches to lively shopping streets, Salzburg has them all. Aside from the many architectural wonders, the city is the birthplace of Mozart and the place where you can visit his childhood home turned into a museum that displays the instrument little Mozart used.
What to see in Salzburg
Landmarks: Mirabellgarten, Residenzplatz, Plaza de Mozart, DomQuartier Salzburg – Mehr als ein Museum, Festungsbahn, St Sebastian’s Cemetery.
Palaces, castles, and buildings: Fortress Hohensalzburg, Mirabell Palace, Schloss Hellbrunn, Schloss Klessheim.
Museums and art galleries: Mozart’s Birthplace, Mönchsberg, Salzburg Museum, Haus der Natur Salzburg, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Residenzgalerie, Museum der Moderne Monchsberg, Panorama Museum, Freilichtmuseum Salzburg, Keltenmuseum.
Churches and religious establishments: Salzburg Cathedral, St Peter’s Abbey, Petersfriedhof, Stift Nonnberg, Franciscan Church, Kollegienkirche, Maria Plain.
Amsterdam is another European city that is a little bit of everything – business hub, cultural attraction, and a romantic destination. The rich and diverse cultural scene of Amsterdam offers everything to tourists: art, film, music, theater, architecture, museums, and wonderful views of the canals.
What to see in Amsterdam
Landmarks: Jordaan, Bloemenmarkt, Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein, Magere Brug, Singel, Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, National Monument, A’DAM Lookout, De Gooyer Windmill, Nieuwmarkt, Munttoren.
Palaces, castles, and buildings: Dam Square, Royal Palace Amsterdam, Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder, Muiderslot.
Museums and art galleries: Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, Heineken Experience, Rembrandt House Museum, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, NEMO Science Museum, Amsterdam Museum, Madame Tussauds Amsterdam, The National Maritime Museum, Eye Film Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Diamant Museum, Tropenmuseum, Museum Van Loon, Museum of Bags and Purses, Jewish Historical Museum, Foam.
Churches and religious establishments: The Oude Church, Begijnhof, The New Church, Westerkerk, Church of Saint Nicholas.
Charismatic, vibrant, artistic, and cultural – this is Lisbon for those who fell in love with its charms. The capital city is the place where you can admire beautiful architecture, visit several museums, enjoy art galleries, indulge in delicious local cuisine, and spend time at the beach.
What to see in Lisbon
Landmarks: Tower of Belém, Praça do Comércio, Santa Justa Lift, Padrão dos Descobrimentos, National Sanctuary of Christ the King, Arco da Rua Augusta, Vasco da Gama Bridge, Ascensor da Bica, Ascensor da Glória, Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, Aqueduto das Águas Livres, Miradouro de Santa Luzia, Torre Vasco da Gama.
Palaces, castles, and buildings: Castelo de S. Jorge, Queluz National Palace, Palace of Ajuda, Palácio dos Marqueses da Fronteira.
Museums and art galleries: Carmo Convent, National Museum of the Azulejo, National Coach Museum, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, MNAA National Museum of Ancient Art, Museu de Marinha, Museu Coleção Berardo, Museu do Fado, MAAT.
Churches and religious establishments: Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon Cathedral, Ponte 25 de Abril, National Pantheon, Basílica da Estrela, Church of Sao Roque, Church of São Vicente of Fora.
History, culture, architecture, and gastronomy – you can enjoy all of these and more in the charismatic city of Porto. The remarkable buildings and religious establishments that offer great views over the city are responsible for part of the charm. But the colorful streets of Porto are filled with many other treasures that wait to be discovered. Not to mention the fact that Porto is another Portuguese sea city with amazing beaches facing the Atlantic.
What to see in Porto
Landmarks: Luís I Bridge, Livraria Lello, Casa da Música, Funicular dos Guindais, Arrábida Bridge, Cordoaria’s Garden, Câmara Municipal do Porto, Porto Bridge Climb, Clérigos Tower.
Palaces, castles, and buildings: Bolsa Palace, Fort of São Francisco do Queijo, Episcopal Palace, Casa de Serralves, Walls of D. Fernando.
Museums and art galleries: Museu Serralves, Soares dos Reis National Museum, Casa do Infante, Portuguese Centre of Photography, World of Discoveries, Porto Tram Museum, FC Porto Museum, Port Wine Museum, Quinta da Macieirinha romantic museum.
Churches and religious establishments: Clérigos Church, Porto Cathedral, Monument Church Of St Francis, Igreja do Carmo, Church of Saint Ildefonso, Chapel of Souls, Igreja de Santa Clara, Igreja da Misericórdia.
While Rusia belongs to Asia, not Europe, St. Petersburg is situated on European ground. And, while discussing the top cultural attractions in Europe is hard to leave this city out. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered Russia’s cultural capital. So you can imagine the city is filled with cultural attractions for everybody. Museums, art galleries, palaces, historic landmarks, churches and many more can be visited in St. Petersburg.
What to see in St. Petersburg
Landmarks: Peter and Paul Fortress, Nevsky avenue, Palace Square, Mariinsky Theatre, Old Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange and Rostral Columns, Bronze Horseman, Saint Isaac’s Square, Anichkov Bridge, Alexander Column, The Palace Bridge, Tsarskoye Selo.
Palaces and buildings: Peterhof, Winter Palace, Yusupov Palace, Pavlovsk Palace, The Menshikov Palace, Saint Michael’s Castle, Stroganov Palace, Marble Palace, Summer Palace of Peter the Great, Mikhailovsky Palace.
Museums and art galleries: State Hermitage Museum, Russian Museum, Cruiser Aurora, Kunstkamera, Faberge Museum, SMOLNY Historical and Memorial Museum.
Churches and religious establishments: Savior on the Spilled Blood, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral, Peter and Paul Cathedral, Alexander Nevsky Lavra, Smolny Cathedral, St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral, Kronstadt Naval Cathedral.
Same as St. Petersburg, Moscow is situated on European ground and is a place where history, culture, and modern life blend together wonderfully. Russia’s capital is home to numerous museums, art galleries, and an overabundance of landmarks that you must see. Most of them are situated in the Kremlin and the Red Square but there are plenty of other attractions spread around Moscow that are just as impressive.
What to see in Moscow
Landmarks: The Moscow Kremlin, Red Square, Bolshoi Theatre, Sparrow Hills, Ostankino Television Tower, Alexander Garden, Ivan the Great Bell-Tower, Peter the Great Statue, Tsar Bell, Poklonnaya Hill, Spasskaya Tower, Tsar Cannon, Fallen Monument Park, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Sobornaya Square, Moscow Kremlin Wall.
Palaces and buildings: Lenin’s Mausoleum, Grand Kremlin Palace, Kuskovo, The State Kremlin Palace.
Museums and art galleries: The State Tretyakov Gallery, Armoury Chamber, All-Russian Exhibition Center, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, State Historical Museum, Kolomenskoye, Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve, Museum of Cosmonautics, Izmaylovo Kremlin, Almaznyy Fond.
Churches and religious establishments: St. Basil’s Cathedral, Novodevichy Convent, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Dormition Cathedral, Cathedral of the Annunciation, Kazan Cathedral, Cathedral of the Archangel.
Since we included two Russian cities on this list, we had to include Istanbul as well since the city is actually one of the most visited destinations in Europe. Istanbul is Turkey’s cultural capital and it bursts with wonderful attractions for tourists. Here you can see many historical monuments, medieval ruins, and history museums but you can also visit mosques, palaces, and art museums. In addition to cultural attractions, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can enjoy a hot air balloon ride.
What to see in Istanbul
Landmarks: Basilica Cistern, Galata Tower, Sultanahmet Square, Maiden’s Tower, 15 July Martyrs Bridge, Galata Bridge, Rumelihisarı, Miniaturk, Gülhane Park, Valens Aqueduct, Anatolian Fortress, Walls of Constantinople, Column of Constantine, Obelisk of Theodosius.
Palaces and buildings: Topkapi Palace Museum, Dolmabahçe Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Yıldız Palace, Küçüksu Palace.
Museums and art galleries: Hagia Sophia Museum, Chora Museum, Istanbul Archaeological Museums, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Rahmi M. Koç Museum.
Mosques and religious establishments: The Blue Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque, Ortaköy Mosque, New Mosque, Rüstem Pasha Mosque, Little Hagia Sophia, Eyüp Sultan Mosque, Hagia Irene, Fatih Mosque.