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Top 10 European attractions to visit

17 February 2016

Not sure which places to visit in Europe? This list of our top 10 attractions may be a good place to start.

Great Cathedral and Mosque

1. Great Cathedral and Mosque, Cordoba, Spain

This vast and beautiful mosque is famous for its forest of ancient columns. It was converted into the city’s cathedral in the 13th century and has been used as such ever since. An ornate Gothic chancel was built inside the original structure in the 16th century.

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2. Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood, St Petersburg, Russia

For many years this splendid cathedral was closed to the public and it opened again as a museum during the late 1990s after 25 years of renovation. The church was built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated on March 1, 1881, and the temple is one of the finest examples of the Russian revival style.


3. St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Italy

In the heart of Venice Square is Christendom’s largest church, St Peter’s Basilica. Inside you can feast your eyes upon the fascinating architecture and artistic works such as Michelangelo’s ‘Pieta’ and di Cambio’s famous statue of St Peter.


4. Ancient City Walls, Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik’s Old Town is completely surrounded by enormous stone walls that date back to the 10th century . Visitors can walk along the entire two kilometre length of the ancient walls, which is one of the best ways to appreciate the majesty of the Old Town and enjoy great views over the Adriatic.


5. Main Market Square (Rynek Glowny), Krakow, Poland

Dating back to the 13th century, Krakow's main square is the largest medieval town square in Europe. Surrounded by historical townhouses, palaces and churches, this huge 10-acre remains the hub of city life in Krakow.


6. Alcazar, Seville, Spain

The Alcazar is the former palace of the Moorish emirs that was rebuilt in its present from by Pedro the Cruel in the 14th century. Today, it remains the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe and one of the best remaining examples of mudéjar architecture.


7. The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Built by Ibn Ahmar and later expanded by successors, this magnificent and imposing complex has ornate domed ceilings, colourful tiles and enigmatic inscriptions. It is perhaps most famous for the Patio de Los Leones, a delightful arcaded courtyard with a lion fountain at its centre.


8. Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

This beautiful cathedral has become the most popular site of Christian pilgrimage after Jerusalem and Rome. See the beautiful Jubilee Door (only opened each Jubilee Year), the traditional tomb of St James and the ‘Portico da Gloria’, created in 1188 and one of the world’s major works of medieval sculpture.


9. Siena Cathedral, Siena, Italy

Built between 1215 and 1263 on the site of an earlier structure Siena's Cathedrale di Santa Maria, better known as the Duomo, is a gleaming marble treasury of Gothic art from the 13th and 14th centuries. Unlike Florence's Duomo, the interior is full of artistic treasures.


10. Colosseum, Rome, Italy

The Colosseum is considered one of Rome's most iconic pieces of architecture. Built during the Roman Empire, the amphitheatre dates back to 72 AD. In its day, it was used for gladiatorial contests, executions and other public spectacles.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.