Man-made history dots Europe in an intriguing blend of superb architecture and reminders of times gone by. However, nature is the true genius behind much of its beauty. The natural wonders of Europe would take a lifetime to discover, so you’ll need to pop them on your travel bucket list, right now.
1. Verdon Gorge, France
The Verdon Gorge, in south-eastern France, is nicknamed the ‘Grand Canyon of Europe’, and for good reason. Panoramic views accompany you while walking, kayaking or hiking. Are you a keen rock climber? Test your skills on the towering cliffs.
2. 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 is in the Bernese Alps. The area covers approximately 171 km and extends to the Aletsch Forest.
3. Preikestolen, Norway
One of the most visited attractions in Forsand, Preikestolen, or the ‘Pulpit Rock’, rises high above Lysefjorden. You can hike to the incredibly flat top, taking in spectacular vistas along the way. Warning – this is not the spot for you if you’re scared of heights!
4. Crooked Forest, Poland
For a quirky side to nature, head to West Pomerania, in Poland. A grove of approximately 400 pine trees presents a magical fairy-tale backdrop, with mysterious bends in the tree trunks that enchant the eye.
5. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
If you love waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes National Park will be your favourite of the natural wonders of Europe. The forest reserve in central Croatia is most revered for its chain of lakes, joined by beautifully positioned waterfalls that cascade over lush vegetation. There are two sections, the lower and upper lakes, and walking paths that allow hikers to travel through and over the water.
6. 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. The tallest of the columns are approximately 12 metres, half on land and the rest disappearing dramatically into the sea.
7. 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, and stop at viewing areas and a visitor’s centre.
8. 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, in times before air travel.
9. Matterhorn, Switzerland
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.
10. 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 given nicknames across the years, like 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.