The Schengen Area boasts some of the most beautiful places on Earth.
With its layers of history, all the great food, unique architecture, vibrant cities, fairytale castles, and overlapping cultures, the Schengen countries have everything to offer to their visitors.
From luxurious beaches and limestone cliffs to a mix of historical styles such as art nouveau, medieval, and baroque, Europe offers a slew of fabulous places to visit, eat, shop, and stay.
The options are seemingly endless, which makes picking the best attractions to visit a great challenge.
That’s why Visas Association has put together a list of the top-rated attractions in the Schengen Area, no matter whether you’re looking to visit an architectural masterpiece like the Palace of Versailles or seek a chance to immerse yourself in nature with a trip to Lake Bled in Slovenia.
Plan an unforgettable trip to the Schengen Area with our list of top attractions that will definitely make for some breathtaking photographs.
Table of contents:
- Acropolis of Athens, Greece
- Prague Castle, Czech Republic
- Venice Canals, Italy
- The Matterhorn, Switzerland
- Alhambra Palace, Spain
- Palace of Versailles, France
- Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Portugal
- Lake Bled, Slovenia
- Orava Castle, Slovakia
- The Blue Lagoon, Iceland
- Black Forest, Germany
- Comino Island, Malta
- The Parliament Building, Hungary
- Gravensteen, Belgium
- Schönbrunn Palace, Austria
1. Acropolis of Athens, Greece
The Acropolis of Athens is Greece’s most famous ancient archaeological site.
Located on a rocky outcrop, the main attraction at the Acropolis is the Parthenon, but there are other iconic structures as well.
After passing the side entrance known as the Dionysus Theatre entrance (we do not recommend the main entrance as it is usually very crowded), you will pass the Sanctuary of Asclepius. Then, you will walk through the Stoa of Eumenes before reaching the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, an impressive Stone Roman theatre.
The Acropolis of Athens will simply leave you awestruck. If you travel to Greece, discovering the jaw-dropping ancient grandeur of one of the most famous archaeological sites on Earth is an absolute must.
2. Prague Castle, Czech Republic
Looking to immerse yourself in stories of nefarious princes and heroic knights? Then you must visit the jaw-dropping, magnificent castle of Prague.
Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world. Here is where Prague’s history is said to have begun in the ninth century.
Your experience in Prague will never be complete without visiting this castle complex including the Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, Romanesque Basilica of St. George, beautiful gardens, and much more.
The castle complex is home to a bewildering array of historic buildings, allowing you to enrich your culture and immerse yourself in a surreal, stunning dark atmosphere.
3. Venice Canals, Italy
We all know that the canals of Venice are among the world’s most romantic places.
No matter how many photographs of the Floating City you might have seen, riding a gondola in Venice at sunset time is still a fabulous experience.
The city has hundreds of canals that connect the 118 islands that make up the city, the largest of which is the Grand Canal.
More than 170 buildings dating from the 13th to the 18th century line the banks of this waterway about 3,800 meters long. Venice looks like a fish from above, and the Grand Canal splits it into two sides, creating a kind of “letter S” inside the fish-shaped city.
When travelling to the Floating City, all you need to do is hop aboard a gondola and discover the stunning architecture that embraces Venice’s canals!
4. The Matterhorn, Switzerland
Matterhorn is a mountain of the Alps, located at the border between Switzerland and Italy and isolated at the head of the Zermatt valley.
At 4,478 metres, this ruggedly good looking jewel of the Swiss Alps offers a paradise for all nature-lovers looking for inspiration, peace and quiet.
There are several ways to enjoy the most famous peak in Switzerland. Whether you choose to hike the nearby slopes, take a scenic helicopter tour, ride a cable car, or enjoy a scenic train ride, you’ll get some of the best views.
Especially if you’re a passionate rock climber, the Matterhorn gives you an incredible opportunity to experience the alpine world in every dimension.
5. Alhambra Palace, Spain
The Alhambra is a jaw-dropping palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain.
Considered the best-preserved Muslim Medieval City in the world, visiting Alhambra gives you the unique opportunity to discover impressive palaces, beautifully decorated courtyards, and enchanting gardens.
Originally built as a small fortress in 889 CE, Alhambra is more than just a palace; it is an entire city full of remarkable Islamic art and architecture.
Located in the heart of Alhambra, the Court of the Lions is probably the most famous place in the entire palace complex. With its twelve lions that throw jets of water, the Court of the Lions is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful pieces of Islamic art ever conceived.
6. Palace of Versailles, France
The Palace of Versailles is one of the most remarkable achievements in French 17th century art.
This opulent palace containing 60,000 artworks and 2,300 rooms spread over 63,154 m2 is still holding sway in the public imagination thanks to the elaborate grandeur of Baroque art.
The palace’s beautiful gardens were executed in the French formal garden style, covering nearly 2,000 acres.
Located on the first floor of the palace’s central body, the glittering Hall of Mirrors (containing 357 mirrors) is the most emblematic room of Versailles. The room illustrates the power and grandeur of Louis XIV and is completely revolutionary for something built at the end of the 17th century.
7. Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Portugal
Located in Belém, a district of Lisbon known for being home to many of Portugal’s most notable buildings, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos is one of many famous monuments included on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
The construction of this highly ornate monastery began on 6 January 1501 by order of King Manuel I to celebrate Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the sea route to India.
In fact, the monastery lies in the place where Vasco da Gama is thought to have prayed before taking the voyage that has opened the water-trade route between Europe and India.
A fine example of Late Gothic Manueline architecture, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos is a true masterpiece you shouldn’t miss during your trip to Europe.
8. Lake Bled, Slovenia
Lake Bled is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque places to visit in Slovenia.
Located in the Julian Alps and at 35 km from Ljubljana International Airport, this small lake with a church on the island in the middle has all the ingredients for a perfect trip – a stunning view of crystal-clear waters, hiking trails, and the oldest castle in Slovenia dating back to 1011.
If you want to dine with a spectacular view, you can have lunch or dinner in the castle’s restaurant. Or, you can rent a rowboat or paddle boat – especially if you want to visit the lovely church.
If you plan on visiting Europe and haven’t decided on your travel destination yet, Lake Bed is the perfect spot to spark your wanderlust.
9. Orava Castle, Slovakia
Built in the Kingdom of Hungary in the 13th century, Orava Castle is located on a high rock above the Orava river in the Zilina Region of northern Slovakia.
This wonderfully-preserved castle sends a chill down the spine. In fact, the castle stood for vampires’ residence many scenes of Murnau’s classic 1922 movie Nosferatu.
Never conquered, this impressive fortification will carry you back into old times.
The castle also offers a variety of expositions, cultural events, and events for children and adults.
10. The Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Located in a lava field, the Blue Lagoon is more than an outdoor spa; it’s a magical place designed for absolute peace of mind and complete relaxation.
This luxury spa is one of Iceland’s most iconic attractions, and it’s little wonder as to why. If you look at the water’s milky blue shade caused by the high silica content and the black lava field surrounding the spa, you will be totally intrigued.
The water temperature averages 37–39 °C (99–102 °F), meaning you will stay warm and relaxed without overheating your body.
Thanks to its soothing waters and the exceptional minerals that nourish the skin, the Blue Lagoon is an absolutely unique location you have to put on your bucket list when visiting Europe.
11. Black Forest, Germany
If you get to the Black Forest in Germany, you will love every second of your adventure.
Located in Germany’s southwest corner, this area abounding with myths and legends is well known for its deep woodlands, picturesque, half-timbered villages, thermal spas, scenic lakes, and hiking trails.
A week might not be enough to cover all the wonderful attractions you can visit here.
Whether you choose to visit Lake Titisee, the Triberg Waterfalls, the Hohenzollern Castle, or haunt for a cuckoo clock in nearly all the shops, the Black Forest is the perfect place if you’re looking for an active and crowd-free holiday in the Schengen Area.
12. Comino Island, Malta
Comino is a small island located between the islands of Malta and Gozo in the Mediterranean Sea, measuring 3.5 square kilometres.
Comino may be a very small island, but it is a great place to go for a day trip or even spend a few days if peace of mind and inner calm are what you are seeking.
Once a pirates’ hideout, the island is famous for the Blue Lagoon Bay, a paradise for snorkelers and divers.
With a permanent population of four residents, the island also boasts a hotel, a small chapel, and Saint Mary’s Tower, a large watchtower built in 1618 to defend the island from Barbary pirates.
With its crystal clear turquoise waters and awe-inspiring caves, the unspoilt island of Comino is an absolute can’t miss for anyone travelling to Malta.
13. The Parliament Building, Hungary
The Parliament is Hungary’s most iconic building. Situated in the Pest side of Budapest and mirrored in the Danube’s glassy surface, the parliament was built in neo-Gothic style and is a spectacular building both in and out.
The Hungarian Parliament has 691 rooms filled with stunning art, 10 courtyards, 29 staircases, and 88 statues of Hungarian rulers. It’s said that 40kg of 22-carat gold and approximately 500,000 precious gems were used to decorate this colossal, marvellous construction.
Ranked among TripAdvisor’s top 15 most beautiful landmarks, this real jewel is the third largest Parliament building in the world.
14. Gravensteen, Belgium
A trip to Ghent is simply not complete without a visit to Gravensteen, a jaw-dropping medieval castle that will send a chill down your spine.
Also known as the Castle of the Counts, Gravensteen dates from 1180. It was used as a courthouse and a prison until the 18th century. The castle boasts a sinister collection of torture equipment used to extract confessions of guilt from people accused of committing crimes.
Outside of the gruesome torture chamber, admiring the panorama atop the tower and the weapons and armour collection is an absolute must when visiting the castle.
Gravensteen also hosts various cultural activities and events, especially during the Ghent Festivities.
15. Schönbrunn Palace, Austria
This magnificent Rococo palace is one of the most important cultural and historical monuments in Austria and Europe.
The Schönbrunn Palace has a total of 1,441 rooms, 45 of which are open to visitors. The palace’s park is home to wonderful fountains, statues, and flowers, and you can visit it free of charge. You can also have breakfast or grab a coffee at Café Gloriette, one of Australia’s most glorious coffeehouses.
If you’re travelling to Austria, you must absolutely squeeze this superb palace into your Vienna travel itinerary. We also encourage you to enjoy a classical concert in the Schönbrunn Orangery – the place where Emperor Joseph II challenged Mozart and Salieri to an opera contest in 1786.
Conclusion: With so many superb sights and sensational scenery, the Schengen Area is undeniably one of the most charming travel destinations in the world.
In this area without borders, you can travel freely and enjoy dream destinations, from vibrant cities and fairytale towns to gorgeous beaches, lush vegetation, and fabulous soaring mountains.
If you want to get your Schengen Visa without hassles and make the most out of your lovely trip to Europe, you are in the right place. If you find bureaucracy bothersome or simply cannot afford to spend weeks or even months to figure out what documents to submit, Visas Association’s team of experts will guide you through every step of your application.
Get your 100% FREE Schengen Visa consultation to save your time and feel confident with your application!