10 Most Iconic Churches in Europe

By Dotun Ola

From early medieval structures to more contemporary ones, Europe is home to many stunning structures created in many architectural styles. Because they were constructed in various historic architectural styles, we adore European churches. Nevertheless, you may also identify a lot of regional traits in them. Here are 10 of Europe’s most recognizable churches to help quench your wanderlust a little.

1. Berlin Cathedral

The biggest Protestant church in Germany is the Berlin Cathedral. The church was constructed between 1894 and 1905, although it appears much older. The Renaissance and Baroque Revival styles were used in their creation by father and son architects Julius and Otto Raschdorff.

The church sustained significant damage in World War Two due to Allied bombardment. Even if it was later restored, there are still disagreements over the components that require reconstruction and maintenance.

2. Aachen Cathedral

The German town of Aachen is one of Europe’s oldest cathedrals. Due to the presence of Gothic, Romanesque, and Carolingian features, it is highly distinctive. King and queen coronations in Germany took place in the Aachen Cathedral. Additionally, Charlemagne, one of the most well-known European emperors, was laid to rest there in 814.

One of the most famous churches in Europe, it is a must-see location for anybody interested in medieval architecture.

3. Florence Cathedral

Florence is home to one of Europe’s most famous churches. Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles were used to construct the Santa Maria del Fiore or Florence Cathedral. Today, it is well-known worldwide for its 1436-completed dome, which renowned architect Filippo Brunelleschi created. The dome continues to be the enormous brick dome in existence.

4. Šibenik Cathedral

One of Europe’s most stunning churches is the Saint James Cathedral in Sibenik. In 1402, work on it began. The cathedral was constructed entirely of stone and was designed in the Renaissance style.

Its 74 stone heads, which are pictures of Ibenik locals and are found on the church’s exterior walls, make it unique. And a particular building method was used to build its dome.

5. Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome

In addition to being one of the most recognizable cathedrals in Europe, Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome is one of the most well-known churches in the entire globe. It has been rebuilt multiple times throughout history and is the location of various works of art by well-known painters. Among the most well-known are Michelangelo’s dome, the facade and nave by Maderno, and the Baldacchino by Bernini.

The current church was constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries using Renaissance and Baroque architectural elements.

6. Notre Dame, Paris

Undoubtedly, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is one of the most well-known medieval churches in Europe. The French Gothic architectural style was used to construct this Mary-centered church. Its flying buttresses, rose windows, and numerous western facades make it relatively easy to identify. Its construction, which began in the 12th century and took more than 200 years to complete,

In 2019, a sizable fire spread to the cathedral’s roof. Since then, the church has been undergoing renovations and is not open to the public.

7. Cologne Cathedral

One of the most well-known Gothic churches in all of Europe and the most popular tourist attraction in Germany is the Cologne Cathedral. It once held the record for the world’s highest church (before the Ulm Minster surpassed it). The world’s largest church facade is still present, though.

The building of this structure began in 1248 and was not completed until 1880.

8. Saint Charles Church, Vienna

Karlskirche, sometimes referred to as Saint Charles Church in Vienna, is one of the most well-known Baroque structures on the continent. It was created in the 18th century by renowned architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. The commitment made by Emperor Charles VI during the plague pandemic led to the construction of the chapel.

It is devoted to Saint Charles Borromeo, the patron saint of the Habsburg family and a savior against the epidemic. Vivaldi was interred nearby in a cemetery that is no longer visible; thus, the church now regularly holds concerts by the composer.

9. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is one of Antoni Gaudi’s most well-known structures. The church’s construction began in 1882. However, it is still unfinished today (the plans are to have the church finished after 2026). Sagrada Familia has nonetheless been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Both inside and outside, the church is intriguing. You may see statues on its outside that undoubtedly served as inspiration for several of the Star Wars movie characters. Sagrada Familia is a magnificent church with no apparent historical architectural parallels. And unquestionably one of Europe’s most recognizable churches.

10. Munich Cathedral

The magnificent Gothic-style Frauenkirche, often known as the Munich Cathedral, is a church. Due to its brick construction, the structure is highly distinctive among the European Gothic cathedrals. In contrast to the Cologne Cathedral, it was built quite quickly and was finished in 20 years (1468–1488).

According to mythology, the devil assisted the architect Jörg von Halsbach in his endeavor. The devil’s footprint that may be seen inside the cathedral is evidence of such.