While man-made history dots Europe in an intriguing blend of superb architecture and reminders of times gone by, nature is the true genius behind much of its beauty. The natural wonders of Europe would take a lifetime to discover, so it pays to pop them on your travel bucket list, right now.
Verdon Gorge, France
The Verdon Gorge, in south-eastern France, is nicknamed the ‘Grand Canyon of Europe’ and for good reason. The panoramic views can be accessed while you’re walking, kayaking or hiking and the towering limestone cliffs are also popular with rock climbers.
Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland
If you’ve always wanted to embark on a glacier expedition, why not try the Alp’s largest and longest, Aletsch Glacier. In the Bernese Alps, the area covers approximately 171 km and extends to the Alestsch Forest.
One of the most visited attractions in Forsand, Norway, Preikestolen or the ‘Pulpit Rock’, rises high above Lysefjorden. You can hike there and stand on the almost flat top, taking in spectacular panoramas – though this is not a spot for those scared of heights!
Crooked Forest, Poland
For a quirky side to nature, head to West Pomerania, in Poland. A grove of approximately 400 pine trees have a unexplainable ‘bend’ in their trunks, making them perfect props for a magical fairy-tale backdrop.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
If you love waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes National Park will be your fairyland. The forest reserve in central Croatia is most revered for its chain of lakes, which are joined by beautifully positioned waterfalls cascading over lush vegetation. There are two sections, the lower and upper lakes, and walking paths allow hikers to travel through and over the water.
Giant’s Causeway, Ireland
Straight out of myth and legend, Giant’s Causeway is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, inspiring the imaginations of all who see the interlocking basalt columns. It’s located in County Antrim and the tallest of the columns are approximately 12 metres, on land and disappearing mysteriously into the sea.
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Soaring a majestic 702 feet at their highest point along the Atlantic Coast, County Clare’s Cliffs of Moher are dramatic, to say the least. You can admire the views on over 800 metres of protected pathways, stopping at viewing areas and a visitor’s centre.
White Cliffs of Dover, England
The White Cliffs of Dover have as much historic meaning as they do natural beauty. Facing France across the Strait of Dover, the startling white, chalk cliffs were often the first or last site of England for travellers, before air travel started, as they stand guard at the gateway of the country.
The mighty Matterhorn straddles the border of Switzerland and Italy, rising into the heavens with its unique, triangular shape. You can climb, hike and ski around it, but you may just want to stand back and gaze in awe as the sun reflects off its snow-capped peaks.
Brimham Rocks, England
A collection of natural rock formations in Northern Yorkshire, the Brimham Rocks provide a wonderful spot for walking, picnicking and climbing. The fantastical shapes of the balancing rocks have been named over the years, including the Sphinx, the Watchdog and the Dancing Bear.
The natural wonders of Europe will take your breath away and keep you coming back for more, across a lifetime of adventure.