Europe’s landscapes and man-made outdoor attractions complement the Continent’s art and culture. Especially if you’re visiting during summer, experience some open-air sightseeing and visit some of our favorite outside places.
What is your favorite outdoor attraction in Europe? Share your experience in the comments below.
Bulb Fields, Southern Netherlands
In spring the fields stretching from Leiden to Haarlem are awash in color, filled with millions of blooming tulips and other flowers. You can tour the region by car or bike. However you go, you'll want to make a stop in the town of Lisse at Keukenhof, the largest flower garden on earth, with roots—in terms of legacy—that date back to the 15th century.
Charles Bridge, Prague, The Czech Republic
Prague's greatest landmark is as much a town square as a bridge—people meet and hang out here at all hours. The Charles Bridge (Karluv most) is also the optimum place for spectacular views of the city, particularly at night, when the foot traffic diminishes and the surrounding monuments are bathed in colored light.
Giverny, Ile-de-France, France
Replacing paint and canvas with earth and water, Claude Monet transformed his 5-acre garden into a veritable live-in Impressionist painting. Come to Giverny to see his lily pond—itself a half-acre "Monet"—then peek around his charming home and stroll the time-warped streets to the ultrastylish Musée des Impressionnismes.
Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France
The Jardin due Luxembourg is one of Paris's prime leisure spots. Relax in a reclining park chair with a picnic lunch or a book and watch a game of boules while the kids enjoy a marionette show.
The Matterhorn, Switzerland
From the summit station of Gernergrat, the Matterhorn steals the thunder from all the surrounding Alpine peaks. In the valley below this snaggle-toothed mountain, Zermatt is one of Switzerland's most appealing resort towns.
Ring of Kerry, Western Ireland
The Ring of Kerry route around the Iveraugh Peninsula is one of Europe's great drives, with gorgeous views of classic Irish coastline. Get off the main road and you'll find fabulous places to hike, bike, and boat. An excursion out to the Skellig rocks is an unforgettable adventure.
One of the world's most picturesque islands, Santorini cradles the sunken caldera of a volcano that last erupted around 1600 BC. To merely link the phenomenon to the Atlantis myth and the Minoan collapse misses the point—what matters is the ravishing sight of the multicolor cliffs rising 1,100 feet out of sparkling blue waters, a visual treat that makes the heart skip a beat or two.
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen's top attraction is an amusement park, and much more. Tivoli Gardens has glorious flowers, ponds, concerts, theater, and over 30 restaurants. Visit twice—once during the day, once at night.