Sit back, relax and enjoy the views. Some of Europe’s most magical natural wonders come in the form of waterfalls. From raging falls in Iceland to babbling brooks in Hungary, they come in many forms. See some of the favorite falls here before seeing them firsthand on your trip to Europe.
In 2021, eleven amazing spa towns in seven European countries were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a ‘transnational serial’ World Heritage Site, called the “Great Spa Towns of Europe”. These towns, in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom represent a unique cultural achievement and urban form which was at its height from the late 18th century to the 1930s.
Baden bei Wien, Austria: "Spa of Emperors"
The casino and conference complex, originally built as the Theresienbad, sits almost directly over the original spring, the Römerquelle. Along with the Summer Theatre, the complex marks one boundary of Baden’s Kurpark. The formal area, with its bandstand, cafe and the Undine fountain leads up to manicured gardens peppered with statues and temples to famous musicians who composed world-famous works here. Lanner and Strauß, Beethoven, and Mozart were just a few of Baden’s eminent visitors. Energetic guests who hike up the hill from the park will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views over the town, its vineyards, and rolling landscape.
Spa, Belgium:"Café of Europe"
Taking a carbonated water bath in one of Spa’s traditional copper baths from the 1860s at the Thermes de Spa is one of life’s great pleasures! As you luxuriate and deeply relax in the iron-rich water from the Marie-Henriette spring, thousands of tiny bubbles settle on your skin, softening, purifying, and taking away all the stresses of the day. After taking the funicular down the hill to the center of the town, more relaxation awaits at boutique shops and lively restaurants. Tasting the waters in the Pouhon Pierre le Grand and admiring the Livre d’Or, a huge painting of past spa guests, is also a must!
Františkovy Lázně, Czechia: "A European Model Spa"
This “new” spa town was deliberately planned with a grid layout, and its quintessential yellow buildings achieve a harmonious look through baroque symmetry principles. The town is surrounded by a triple layer of parks, in which twenty-four springs and their pavilions are linked by long, level promenades. One such pavilion is the Glauber Springs Hall, built in 1930. As with many springs in Františkovy Lázně, the water bubbles up in glass cases – press your ear to the glass to hear the music of the springs from deep within the earth!
Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic: "Europe's Open-Air Salon"
The landscape surrounding the Great Spa Towns of Europe is almost as important as the waters! It provides a beautiful setting to the towns and is a wonderful natural resource. Walking or hiking in the woods was fashionable here long before “forest bathing” was invented, and there are paths aplenty, some of them leading to little pavilions or “gloriettes” overlooking the town. The funicular in Karlovy Vary leads to the Diana lookout tower and restaurant, with a view that will take your breath away!
Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic: "Grand Harmony with Nature"
A visit to Mariánské Lázně is not complete without a stroll through the Main Colonnade, an ornate, cast iron, neo-baroque construction that was completed in 1889, replacing the original Kursal. Look up to admire the ceiling frescoes representing man’s desire to fly and listen for music from the “singing fountain” nearby. The Colonnade is the focal point of the annual opening of the spa season, a wonderful example of the continuance of living spa traditions in the Great Spa Towns of Europe. Weekend-long celebrations in early May include the consecration of springs; a ceremonial procession featuring the entrance of King Karel, the spa’s founder, on a horse; a concert by the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra; masses; and a rich program of events centered around the springs.
Vichy, France: "Queen of the Spa Towns"
The Vichy Thermal Spa Les Dômes is a magnificent bathing palace dedicated to traditional hydrotherapy and drinking cures for digestive, metabolic, and rheumatic diseases and allergies. Overlooked by two neo-Byzantine towers which once held reservoirs for the spring water, the main building, completed in 1903, displays both Romano-Byzantine and Art Nouveau styles and is lavishly decorated inside and out.
Bad Ems, Germany: "The Picturesque Imperial Spa"
An enviable riverside location in the steep-sided valley of the River Lahn gives Bad Ems its unique look and feel. Parks and grand baroque thermal buildings stretch along the waterside, and visitors can follow in the footsteps of international visitors, including several world-renowned composers, who were drawn by the sophistication of the spa town in the 19th century. A modern funicular and hiking trails in the woodlands around the town lead to viewpoints with spectacular vistas of the river and surrounding landscape.
Baden-Baden, Germany: "Summer Capital of Europe"
Will you be lucky here in the extravagant, gold-encrusted, neo-baroque surroundings of the casino in Baden-Baden? Roulette, blackjack and poker await those who enjoy a game of chance, while The Grill restaurant is a great venue for a late supper. Baden-Baden, once known as the “Summer Capital of Europe” is associated with many famous writers, composers and celebrities, both past and present.
Bad Kissingen, Germany: "Between Classicism and Modernity"
Extensive riverside spa gardens and grand buildings characterize Bad Kissingen, including the Arkadenbau, a covered lounge area which was commissioned in 1834 by King Ludwig I to protect spa guests from wind and weather. This building contains the Rossini Hall, originally built as a conversation room and now a magnificent concert hall. With the Regent’s building and the Wandelhalle, it is one of the main focal points of cultural life in the spa today.
Montecatini Terme, Italy: "Garden Spa of Europe"
Taking the waters at the Tettuccio Terme is an experience you won’t forget! This palatial building, extended and rebuilt in the 1920s, was constructed with drinking therapies in mind and allows guests to walk through grand colonnades or relax in the reading room or the bustling cafe. Music and dancing are part of daily life at Tettuccio Terme, and there are shops here as well. A gallery with huge ceramic allegorical panels, showing the beneficial effects of water from birth to old age, serves waters from the Tettuccio, Regina, Leopoldine and Rinfresco springs. The thermal water that flows directly from the Tettuccio spring runs into a large pool from an ornate fountain decorated with sea creatures.
Admire the works of da Vinci, Rembrandt and Klimt firsthand at some of the finest classical art museums in the world.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that has been awarded as having cultural or environmental importance. Luckily, Europe has plenty of UNESCO sites to explore. From ancient castles to quaint seaside towns, you’ll find natural and cultural beauty everywhere you go. Consider this gallery your guide to some of the best UNESCO sites in Europe to discover on your next trip.
When it’s made in Europe, it’s usually something special. From world-renowned beers to luxury automobiles, Europe has a knack for handcrafting greatness. Get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the factories and museums you can tour while in Europe.
If you want to take a walk with your family in almost untouched nature, Serbia is the right place for your vacation.
Music is at the heart of every country, city and person in Europe. But the type of music you’ll find during a trip to Europe can vary dramatically. From modern rock festivals to classic opera performances, you’re sure to see and hear a wide range of performances. Browse this gallery for a taste of some of Europe’s most interesting music scenes.
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Galway’s International Oyster & Seafood Festival, held each September, is a globally renowned event, second only to St. Patrick’s Day.
Journey through the history of Portugal!
Let the aroma guide you to new experiences!
In the 18th century, sheep cheese manufacturers were established in Slovakia: the first one was in 1787 in Detva, and the second one in Zvolenská Slatina in 1797, which is still operating nowadays. Demikát, together with sheep cheese gnocchi, is another Slovak traditional dish, for the preparation of which this type of cheese is used.
If you want to explore the best of modern, contemporary theater, Europe is the ideal destination.