10 Breathtaking Views in Europe
Francis Peppet picks out 10 breathtaking views dotted around Europe… how many have you seen?
1. Kjerag Mountain, Norway
Kjerag’s sheer cliff face ascends from the deep blue waters of Lysefjorden, one of over a thousand fjords that were carved into the Norwegian landscape by colossal glaciers thousands of years ago. Clamber to the top for rewards of panoramic views over the ethereal fjord and the surrounding mountainous landscape. Discover Kjerabolten at the summit; a spherical boulder wedged precariously between the top of two cliff faces, perhaps driven into the rock by Nordic god Thor many moons ago.
2. Scotland Observatory, Gully on Ben Nevis in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands
The UK’s highest mountain poses a relatively challenging ascent to the average visitor, yet rewards those that take it on with breathtaking views of the enchanting Scottish highlands. Guided walks are the safest way to reach its summit up to an eight hour trek! The ruins of a once working observatory is now the location of an emergency shelter for climbers caught in bad weather. Settle yourself down on a rocky pew, unwrap your sandwiches and get a bird’s eye view of the kingdom you’ve just conquered.
3. Ferris Wheel at Tibidabo Mountain, Barcelona, Spain
Protecting Barcelona from the Catalunyan hinterland’s cooler weather, Tibidao offers mesmeric city views and of the Mediterranean’s striking azure waters. Not only will you find a spectacular Neo Gothic church at the top, but also a 100 year old, unabashedly kitsch amusement park. For the ultimate experience head to the park at sunset, grab yourself a bag of sugary churros, and strap yourself into the swinging carousel or settle aboard the Ferris wheel; fabulously ‘old school’ rides that boast unforgettable vistas.
4. White Park Bay, Northern Ireland
Hugging the North Antrim Coast, Whitepark Bay’s sweeping sandy beaches offer dazzling views over the Atlantic Ocean. Arcing bays give way to vast cliff headlands in this picturesque paradise, which even in high season feels secluded and unspoilt. A perfect place for a lazy stroll where surrounding hills are full of wild flowers and the dunes are home to hundreds of rabbits. Look out to sea and you may even spot dolphins frolicking in the calm coastal waters.
5. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Cascading amid dense forests and caves, the lakes of Plitvice glow a brilliantly bright turquoise, tempting travellers in with an unquestionable allure and romance. Sixteen interconnected lakes are well spread out, so take advantage of the free boat and bus services on offer and save your legs. Plitvice is a National Park plucked from a fairytale. Keep your eyes open for beautiful butterflies, birds and, if you’re particularly lucky, increasingly rare bears and wolves which roam these last vestiges of wilderness in Eastern Europe.
6. Scafell Pike, Lake District, England
England’s highest peak looms large in Cumbria’s Lake District and is a moderate but accessible hike for most travellers. Herbaceous scents of wild lavender meld seamlessly with the bleating of local sheep as you ascend through wild grasses and rural pastures on this leisurely climb. Amble to the summit and you’ll be gifted with beautiful views every which way, of shimmering lakes, rural farmland and quaint market towns nestled within lush green valleys.
7. Glacier Express, Switzerland
Hop aboard one of the most iconic rail journeys in the world, traversing snowy mountains and cavernous gorges high in the Swiss Alps. Linking ski resorts Zermatt and St. Moritz, the Express takes you on an eight hour journey over 291 bridges and through 91 tunnels. An amazing ride whatever the season! Feast on a freshly cooked meal and indulge in a bottle (or two!) of Swiss Riesling, whilst absorbing the majestic alpine landscape through panoramic, ‘ceiling high’ windows.
8. The Basilica, Rome, Italy
Seen by many as the beating heart of the Catholic world, St Peter’s Basilica is situated within the Vatican City’s Papal enclave. You’ll be greeted by the imposing Basilica upon entering St Peter’s Square – be sure to take a few minutes to drink in its grandeur. As one of the largest, ornate churches in the world, it makes for a majestic viewpoint. Climb the 551 steps to the Cupola’s summit and be rewarded with extensive views of this ancient, bewitching city.
9. The Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Cornwall
Carved into coastal granite, the Minack Theatre echos an ancient Athenian edifice, where playwrights of old would have penned fables of kingdoms, gods and war. In fact, the theatre is less than a 100 years old, yet offers stunning vistas of Porthcurno bay and the surrounding Atlantic Ocean. Drop by during the day and meander through tropical gardens, or come after nightfall to catch a theatrical sunset performance.
10. Step into the Void, Mont Blanc, France
High in the French Alps, a small box of reinforced glass precariously juts out over a rocky and icy precipice… step into the void – if you dare. Built in 2013, Europe’s highest tourist attraction transports you 3842 metres in a cable car. Shuffle out into a glass structure and absorb one of the most electrifying viewing experiences in the world. Either look directly down to see a 1000 metre sheer drop below your feet, or look ahead to witness Mont Blanc’s peak lurking menacingly in the distance. Breathtaking in every sense of the word!