Europe, being home to 50 nations, is one of the most anticipated continents in terms of history, culture, and geographical diversity.
From serene mountain ranges and picturesque countryside to arctic vistas and crystalline coasts, this Old Continent has hundreds of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, with too much natural beauty and thousands of corners to soak in once in a lifetime.
With the following serene natural wonders of Europe, there is something more to Europe than just outdoor cafes and pre-historic castles.
When it comes to a European vacation, most of us think of Roman ruins and Parisian cafes. But the fact is that Europe has lots of attractions beyond human-made marvels.
Though 700 million humans populate the continent, there is no lack of towering heights, dazzling wide skies. And the vast open spaces in Europe which will astound even the most die-hard dweller. Here are the most spectacular natural wonders of Europe.
Table of Contents
- 1 Secret Destinations: Top 13 Natural Wonders of Europe You Must Visit
- 1.1 Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
- 1.2 The Dolomites, Italy
- 1.3 Eisriesenwelt, Austria
- 1.4 Melissani Cave, Greece
- 1.5 Tuscany, Italy
- 1.6 Faroe Islands, Denmark
- 1.7 The Fjords, Norway
- 1.8 Caves of Aggtelek Karst, Hungary, and Slovakia
- 1.9 Blue Grotto, Capri, Italy
- 1.10 Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
- 1.11 Gorges du Verdon, France
- 1.12 Island of Skye, Scotland, UK
- 1.13 Las Médulas, Spain
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Secret Destinations: Top 13 Natural Wonders of Europe You Must Visit
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
The most popular tourist attraction in Croatia is the Plitvice Lakes National Park was granted the status of UNESCO World Heritage site in the year 1979.
The National Park is well known for its sixteen lakes in Europe, which are connected well by a series of waterfalls. And are set in the intense woodland populated by bears, deer, bears, wolves, and rare species of birds.
When it comes to the best time to explore its beauty of nature in Europe, you can plan your trip at any time of the year as the Park take on various hues in different seasons whether it’s rich colors of autumn, lush greens in summer/spring or magical scenes in the ice and snow in winter.
The Dolomites, Italy
The Dolomites are mountain range in northeastern Italy. It belongs to the Southern Limestone Alps and extends from River Adige to the Piave Valley in the east.
The Sugana Valley and Puster Valley define the southern and northern borders. The Dolomites are around shared equally between the provinces of South Tyrol, Belluno, and Trentino. The mountain groups of similar structures spread over River Piave towards the east.
The Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park and several other parks are positioned in the Dolomites and were announced a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Dolomites formed over 280 million years ago during the Permian period when it merges part of Africa, and Europe in a supercontinent called Pangaea.
And there was a great oceanic gulf and tropical sea known as Tethys. A lot of people get here to climb the covered paths of vie ferrate created during the First World War so; it is the ideal place to explore as it is one of the natural wonders of Europe.
The World of the Ice Giants “Eisriesenwelt” is a naturally formed ice and limestone cave in Werfen, Austria, around 40 km south of Salzburg. The cave is located in the Tennengebirge section inside the Hochkogel Mountain of the Alps.
Extending over 42 km and visited by over 200,000 tourists per year, Eisriesenwelt is the world’s largest ice cave. The Tennengebirge Mountains were found during the Wurm glaciations of the Pleistocene in the late Tertiary period.
One of the massifs of the Austrian Alps, the Eisriesenwelt mountain range is the largest karst plateau of the Salzburger Alps, and Eisriesenwelt placed the rim of the plateau.
Even though the cave is 42 km long, tourists are allowed to visit only the first kilometer. Which is covered in ice, like the rest of the cave has limestone, making it the best landforms and of the best nature in Europe.
Related read: Austria is known for many things including stunning castles you must visit!
Melissani Cave, Greece
Covered by the dense greens, there is a miracle of nature in the subterranean world of Kefalonia where you can let your footsteps guide you along the cave of the nymphs.
As the sun sets, the serene waters change the shades of blue, and its endless stalactites and honey-like brown walls will be breathtaking and will take you to another magical and mythical world.
During the excavations in 1962, only a few plates, oil lamps, and figures were found depicturing several nymphs and the god Pan.
According to the legends, the Melissani Cave was the spot where Mellissanthi, one of the Nymphs, drowned when Pan God rejected them.
The cave lake of Melissani forms the appeal of rum as there is a lake in B-shaped cave which has Small Island, with forests and trees covering it.
Stretched over 23000 sq. Km (8900 sq. miles) and with a population of over 3.8 million residents, as of 2013, Tuscany is the regional capital in Central Italy. Tuscany is well regarded for its history, landscapes, artistic legacy, and its strong cultural influence.
It is well regarded as the origin of the Italian Renaissance, and it houses several influential figures in the history of science and art. And has well-regarded museums like the Pitti Palace and Uffizi.
Tuscany is the significant producer of wins like Chianti, Morellino di Scansano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, etc. It has a strong cultural and linguistic identity and is often known as a ‘country within a country.’
Hence it is also one of the famous landmarks in Europe. Tuscany has a lot of natural spas offering pleasant holiday experiences with its thermal waters and all kinds of treatments.
Faroe Islands, Denmark
This North Atlantic archipelago is located 200 miles north of Scotland and around the midway between Iceland and Norway. The terrain of this Europe landscape is rugged, and it receives a sub-polar oceanic climate, which is wet, windy, cold, and cloudy.
Temperature ranges around freezing all the year-round due to the Gulf Stream. The Ulster Museum preserves a collection of Faroese underwater algae.
When it comes to flora, the Faroe Islands have natural vegetation and is dominated by the wildflowers, arctic-alpine plants, grasses, lichen, and moss.
A huge part of the lowland area here is grassland, and some are covered by the shrubby heathers, especially Calluna vulgaris.
The fauna species include the birds and seabirds which were attracted to open lands like heather, usually due to the lack of woodland and various suited habitats.
If you’re still looking for other destinations to visit, make sure to also check out the other places to visit in Denmark (including the capital city – Copenhagen). While you’re at it, don’t forget to explore some of its stunning castles!
The Fjords, Norway
A fjord is a narrow, deep and elongated lake-drain or sea, with the steep landscape on three sides. The mouth of the fjord is the opening of the sea, and it is often shallow.
The inner part of the fjord is known as the sea bottom. It is not a fjord if the geological formation is more extensive. It is a cove or a bay.
The fjords were formed by the vast glacier tongues which have shaped the landscape through several ice ages. Hence, a fjord is a U-shaped valley undersea, and it is often covered by dramatic scenery on the west coast. Scoresby Sund in Greenland is the world’s longest fjord.
Related read: Other beautiful things to do in Norway is to explore its stunning castles.
Caves of Aggtelek Karst, Hungary, and Slovakia
Also known as Baradla-Domica Caverns, the Aggtelak Caves are the limestone caves on the Slovakian-Hungarian border, i.e., around 30 miles northwest of Miskolc, Hungary and about 40 miles southwest of Slovakia.
It is Europe’s largest stalactite cave system and its stalagmite and stalactite formations. The caverns and its surroundings have been well regarded as a national park by both Slovakia and Hungary, and the area was well considered as a World Heritage Site in the year 1995.
The caverns were formed in the Cenozoic Era in the rugged and uplifted Aggtelek Mountains which have great karstic features. Eleven sinkholes are feeding the hidden streams. There are over 14 miles of chartered pathways.
The main path follows the course of the Acheron River. It is one of the famous landmarks in Europe thanks to its narrow corridors of caverns connecting the spacious chambers and the stalagmites and stalactites.
When you do visi Hungary, don’t forget to explore its capital city, Budapest, and as well its surrounding cities you can visit for a day. Plus, there are also stunning castles in Hungary and as well in Slovakia!
Blue Grotto, Capri, Italy
The Blue Grotto is a sea cave on the Coast of Capri Island in southern Italy. Shining through the seawater and passing along the underwater cavity, the sunlight creates the blue hues which illuminate the cavern.
The cave is stretched around 50m in the cliff at the surface, and it is over 150m (490 ft.) deep having a sandy bottom.
The cave is 25m wide and 60m long. It has a 2-meter full entry and is around 1 meter high at low tide, making safe access only when there are low tides and the calm sea. Visitors need to lie flat on the bottom of a 4-person rowboat to enter the grotto.
Then the oarsman uses a metal chain attached to the walls of the cave to guide the boat in the grotto. It is not allowed to swim in the grotto. The Blue Grotto is one of the best sea caves in the world which has a lot of emeralds and blue light.
In each of these caves, nature and quality are determined with its right combination of breadth, depth, light source, and water clarity.
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Located on the Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast of Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher are some of the beautiful landforms in Europe. Rising steeply from Doolin, they stretch to over 700 ft. Stretching for around 5 miles to Hags head.
They have been one of the major tourist destinations and the ideal Europe landscape and a must-see for a lot of people visiting here. For most individuals, visiting the Co Council is the best way to have vast experience in the Cliffs of Moher.
Built-in the year 2007 with the investment of a whopping 30 million euro and covering only small parts of Cliffs, it attracts more than 1.5 million visitors per year.
The site and the road network find it hard to cope with the volumes due to the traffic delays and long queues at the Cliffs during summer.
Related read: Explore Irelands stunning islands and its beautiful coastal areas.
Gorges du Verdon, France
Located in southeastern France, the Verdon Gorge or Gorges du Verdon is a river canyon that is also known as one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe. It is around 25 km long and around 700m deep.
It is named for turquoise green hues and formed by Verdon River, which is one of the most stunning characteristics of the location.
The most important part of it is located between the Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and Castellane, where the river has cut ravine to 700m of depth with limestone mass.
The Verdon River at the end of canyon flows in Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, the artificial lake. Because of its vicinity to French Riviera, it is a very popular gorge among the tourists.
One can easily rent kayaks to get along the river, drive around the rim, or hike.
If you can drive, take the opportunity to go on a road trip around South of France and perhaps you stumble upon of the country’s magnificent castles. You can start from Nice and drive around its surrounding cities.
Island of Skye, Scotland, UK
The Isle of Skye is the northernmost and the largest island of the Inner Hebrides in Scotland. The peninsulas of the island radiate from the hilly center covered by the Cullins.
Its rocky slopes form some of the most significant mountain views in the nation. Even though it has been named as Gaelic Sgitheanach, which refers to a winged shape.
The island has been covered since the Mesolithic era, and its history includes the Norse rule and a long period of Clan Donald and Clan MacLeod domination.
Las Médulas, Spain
Las Medulas is an ancient gold mining area near Ponferrada town in the El Bierzo comarca. It was the most prominent gold mine and the largest gold mine with an open pit in the whole Roman Empire.
It is one of the best landscapes in Europe listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 2014, advanced aerial surveys were conducted here with LIDAR, which has confirmed the huge extent of the works of the Roman era. Its spectacular landscape is formed by wrecking the mountains through a Roman technique of mining described in 77 AD.
The technology used was a kind of hydraulic mining which includes undermining a mountain with a large amount of water.
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