Don’t you love a good viewpoint that looks down on a city and its landmarks? Europe is full of good views, whether they are from cathedral domes, bell towers, or one-of-a kind places like the Eiffel Tower. Here are 6 of my favorites so far. I do hope to discover more in future travels!
The Eiffel Tower
The most beloved and recognizable viewpoint in Paris! The sheer size of the Eiffel Tower is astounding. It is 1,000 feet high. See the little dots on the second level in the close-up photo? Those are people dwarfed by the tower.
You can be whisked up to the second and third levels in an elevator and walk all the way around to see the Seine down below. The Arc de Triomphe is visible, and the gold dome of the Invalides shines in the sun. A surprise to me was finding green, park-like areas. I could stay up on the third level for hours, just gazing at Paris.
The London Eye
The London Eye sits at the edge of the Thames in the heart of London and lifts you gently above Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. The website describes this as being “part of the skyline.” And during the half hour you are high in the sky, the views are breathtaking. The London Eye was designed for the year 2000 celebrations, but it was so popular that it is now a permanent part of London.
When in Rome, you will likely visit the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. Be sure to seek out the side entrance to the Cupola and climb to the roof surrounding the dome. This dome, designed by Michelangelo in 1547, is the tallest in the world. Navigating the spiral staircase yields these views. And when you are back on the ground, look up at where you’ve been!
Bonus view in Rome: Straight down the boulevard from St. Peter’s Basilica is Castel Sant’Angelo, a lesser known gem of the city. Built by Roman Emperor Hadrian, this castle holds so much history. Here you can view the River Tiber below and the dome in the distance.
St. Mark’s Campanile (Bell Tower) in Piazza San Marco is a freestanding tower you can ascend by elevator for astounding views of the red roofs of Venice. I love the onion domes of the cathedral, too. The tower is more than 300 feet high and was first built in 1514. The lighted top originally served as a lighthouse for boats. After lightning strikes and fires, the tower cracked and completely disintegrated in 1902. The present tower opened in 1912. As it’s been standing for more than a century, be assured it’s safe.
The seat of government in Germany, the Reichstag originally was completed in 1894. After a suspicious fire when Hitler came to power in 1933, the building was not used and then was damaged at the end of the war. It wasn’t until after the fall of the Wall and the Communists left the city that the new, unified German government moved into the Reichstag and the interior of the building was modernized. You can enter the glass dome when you tour the Reichstag, and as you wind up the circular glass structure, you see views of Berlin from every angle. You can look down on the Tiergarten’s greenery. And you are above the iconic Brandenburg Gate.
Last but not least is the view from the top of St. Vitus Cathedral on a hill above Prague. You can climb the many steps to the dome that houses the cathedral bells. The view from here takes in the Old Town of Prague, the Vlatava River, and the Charles Bridge. The red roofs of Prague are stunning.