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Birds-eye View: 10 European Cities with Breathtaking Views and Where to Find Them

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 Taking sightseeing to a whole new level…

One of my favorite activities when visiting a new city is to see the city from an elevated level. Something about getting an aerial perspective of a city makes me appreciate it more. Each city’s landscape is unique, but removing yourself from the streets and seeing it from above takes things to a whole new level. All ten of these cities had a lil something special and a little height that took my breath away. Here are some of the best scenic views in Europe.

Starting with the feeliest of feels…

Best Scenic Views in Europe - Lucerne Switzerland

Best Scenic Views in Europe

1. Athens, Greece – Lycabettus Hill

Athens, Greece - Lycabettus Hill - Scenic View View from Lycabettus Hill in Athens, GreeceThis view will take your breath away. Literally. It’s quite the climb. This hill sits at 909 feet (277m) above sea level and is the highest point in Athens. My study abroad roommate and I decided to truly take the scenic route and walked up to the summit. We visited Greece on spring break during our semester abroad, so in early March the temperatures were milder, which made the hike pleasant.  The views become more and more stunning as we went up. We timed it to arrive before sunset. It was simply blissful. 

How to get there: 

Walking: Personally, recommend for some physical activity and scenic views along the way. Closer to the top, there are some zig-zag stairs and the climb is somewhat long. Be prepared with good walking shoes and pack water. Cost: free!

Funicular: Departs roughly every 30 minutes at the corner of Ploutarhiou and Aristippou. Note the funicular is closed off from views on the way up. Cost approx. 7.50 euro return trip, Hours: 9 am-1: 30 am

Taxi: Taxi can only drop you off to a certain point. Still, be prepared to walk the rest. Cost: varies

Additional Attractions: At the top, there is St. George Church and a small cafe if you need a snack or want to see more sites.

 

2. Capri, Italy – La Piazzetta

Capri, Italy - La Piazzetta

Ahh, Capri. This island off the coast of Naples sure is a treat. A treat with a view. The plaza, named Piazza Umberto I, is commonly referred to as La Piazzetta, which translates to ‘the small square’. The piazza is surrounded by restaurants, cafes, and shops. 

How to get there: 

Funicular: (recommended) If arriving by ferry from the Amalfi Coast, take the funicular up from the port of Marina Grande

Bus: From Marina Piccola and Anacapri: take the bus. Stops very close to the Piazzetta. 

Additional Attractions: Be sure to notice the clock tower, the main element of the square.

 

3. Cinque Terre, Italy – Vernazza

Cinque Terre, Italy - Vernazza

Vernazza, one of the five towns of Cinque Terre has a picturesque and iconic view. Cinque Terre translates to five lands, representing the 5 neighboring towns that make up the landscape.

How to get there: 

Walking: (recommended) There is a walking trail that connects all 5 cities you can do. Walking from Monterroso to Vernazza takes 1.5 to 2 hours.

Train: (also recommended) If Hiking is a hard no, there is a 20-minute train ride from La Spezia. It runs approximately every hour.

Do not recommend taking a car because it is one of the more remote locations.

 

4. Florence, Italy – Duomo, Campanile, & Piazza Michelangelo

I had several favorite spots to view the city of Florence when I studied abroad there. Here are some of the classics.

DuomoFlorence, Italy - Duomo, Campanile, & Piazza Michelangelo

How to get there: 

Stairs only: 414 stairs to be exact. 

Cost: 18 Euro (includes access to the cathedral, dome, baptistry, bell tower, crypt, and museum.)

 

Campanile

Campanille - Florence, ItalyHow to get there: 

Stairs only: 414 stairs to be exact. 

Cost: 18 Euro (includes access to the cathedral, dome, baptistry, bell tower, crypt, and museum.)

Tip: Personally recommend doing the Duomo during the day and then returning to the bell tower in the evening to watch the sunset! Once all of the lights turn on, it’s quite magical.

 

Piazza Michelangelo

View from Piazza Michelangelo, Florence, Italy How to get there: 

Walking (recommended): Explore a bit of the Oltrano and then make your way up! Be sure to visit when the sunsets if you have the chance!

Bus/Taxi/Car: Also options!

Cost: Free!

 

5. Lucerne, Switzerland – Männliturm

View from Männliturm - Lucerne Switzerland Scenic view of Lucerne Switzerland

Sweet Switzerland. Something about Lucerne stole my heart.  The view, the stunning mountains in the background (being from the midwest, this was a big deal) I mean come on… so gorgeous. This view is taken from one of the towers of the old city wall. Personally, I think this is one of the best scenic views in Europe. It was so breathtaking and picturesque!

6. Munich, Germany – St. Peters’s Church

View from - St. Peters's Church - Munich, Germany

View from - St. Peters's Church - Munich, Germany

Not going to give you the whole spiel about the views. So here is a view of the glockenspiel instead.  (Also, that joke. I know. Can’t help it, I’m sorry) . 

How to get there: 

Stairs only: 299  stairs to be exact. 

Cost: 3 Euro

7. Paris, France – Eiffel Tower

Paris, France - Eiffel Tower ViewView from Eiffel Tower - Paris, France

Classic. Iconic. How can you not say, “Oui”, to this view? The park below paired with the vast and dense city of Paris makes you think you maybe you aren’t so big after all..(Just look at those tiny dots of people!)

How to get there: 

Stairs and then lift: (recommended)19 euros

By Lift: 25 euros

 

8. Salzburg, Austria- Hohensalzburg Castle

View from Hohensalzburg Castle - Salzburg, Austria Salzburg, Austria-

Salzburg: the location of the Sounds of Music. The hills are alive and thriving in this view. The Hohensalzburg Castle sits atop this hill which overlooks the city and some sweet views.

How to get there: 

Walking: Tip: You can still get some pretty sweet views on the way to the castle without paying admission. 
Cost: 12.20 euros

9. Sevilla, Spain – Catedral de Sevilla- Giralda Tower

Sevilla, Spain - Catedral de Sevilla- View from Giralda Tower Sevilla, Spain - Catedral de Sevilla- View from Giralda Tower

A view with some Spanish charm.

How to get there: 

Stairs only: Height: 320 ft (97.5m)
Cost: 8 euros (Cathedral and tower)

10. Zurich, Switzerland – Grossmunster

Zurich, Switzerland - Grossmunster View Zurich, Switzerland - Grossmunster View

The Grossmusnter church in Zurich is a great location to soak up some pretty views of the city. The steeped pitched rooftops, unique architecture, mountains in the distance make this view all the better.

 

 

Do you enjoy climbing towers or hiking to get a new perspective? Do you have a favorite aerial view of a city that leaves you speechless? What other cities and locations would you add to your list of the best scenic views in Europe? Let me know in the comments!

 

Check out my post: Where in the World for some other destinations and scenic photos!

 

 

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Design to five is a blog enhancing the link between culture, travel, and design. The blog showcases products from local, sustainable, business from around the world, and travel-related content to encourage affordable, conscious, and educational adventures for design lovers.

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