10 European Superlatives: Some of the “est” Places in Europe

I’m a real sucker for any biggest, longest, widest, smallest or narrowest tourist attractions – I think a lot of us are! This post puts together ten European superlatives, including a few already in our archives and some others that I had lots of fun discovering. Of course, some of the superlatives are a bit controversial – every place wants to be able to advertise itself as the furthest point or the highest spot, and it’s tricky to figure out how to measure them – but it still makes a fun reason to travel somewhere.

Smallest nation in Europe

This place is in fact apparently the smallest nation in the world, not just Europe – but like many contenders for such a title, it barely seems worthy of being called a nation! But the Principality of Sealand – a sea fort off the British coast – claims to be the smallest nation (although nobody else recognises it as such). According to Wikipedia, a casino is due to open there soon!

sealand

Sealand by octal

Longest streets in Europe

Andy wrote an interesting post for us on the longest streets in Europe. Nobody can quite agree which one is the winner! The longest-sounding street may be the Cours Jean Jaures in Grenoble City, France – it’s not only long but also very straight.

Cours Jean Jaures by Guillame Cattiaux

Southern-most point of Europe

The farthest south you can get and still be on the European mainland, according to Andy, is Gavdos in Greece. Gavdos is a small island south of Crete (and being an island already makes me wonder if it can be counted as part of the mainland, but still!). It’s a relaxing place, more popular with fanatical bird watchers than tourists, but that makes it sound pretty attractive to me.

Gavdos by Wolfgang Staudt

Western-most point of Europe

According to at least some people, the most westerly point of continental Europe is Cabo da Roca in Portugal. It’s a picturesque spot with a lighthouse and is easy to combine with a day trip from Lisbon out to Sintra.

Cabo de Roca by ceiling

World’s smallest town

The Guinness World Records people agree that the Hum in Croatia is the world’s smallest town. It’s a gorgeous medieval walled town with just 23 inhabitants though the Guinness Book blessing means that it does get a few tourists coming through.

Hum by neha

Europe’s longest footbridge

In Ronneburg in the eastern part of Germany, you can find The Dragon’s Tail bridge which claims to be Europe’s longest footbridge. It joins the towns of Ronneburg and Gera and now forms a part of the German cycling path network.

Dragon’s Tail Bridge by Wikimedia

Northern-most point of Europe

If we’re talking about mainland Europe, then a popular choice for the most northerly point is Cape Nordkinn in northern Norway. It’s not really set up for tourists – it’s a day’s hike from Mehamn to get there – although some boat tours do stop by.

Nordkinn via Wikicommons

Highest road in Europe

The highest road in Europe can be found near Granada in Spain, and it’s the road that takes you across the Sierra Nevada mountains between Granada and the western Alpujarras. Unfortunately the very highest part of the road has now been closed to general traffic so you’ll have to work at the ski resort to actually drive your own vehicle on it, but you can still walk on it.

Aerial view by adrian, acediscovery

Largest castle in Europe

The Malbork Castle in Poland is known as the largest Gothic castle in Europe and in some lists, it is also listed as the largest castle of any kind in the world (obviously there’s some controversy over what exactly constitutes a castle!). In any case it’s an amazing place to visit; it dates back to the 1700s and has had a very interesting history, meaning some of it is still in ruins today.

Malbork Castle by Jeroen Fossaert

Narrowest house in Europe

If you’ve ever cruised the canals of Amsterdam it will come as no surprise that the narrowest house in Europe is found in Amsterdam – just one metre wide (or narrow, I should say) (about 40 inches). Apparently there are so many narrow houses there because at one stage taxes were based on how wide your house was!

Narrow Amsterdam houses by sandeep thukral

Podcast on the “est” Places to Visit in Europe

Subscribe to the Europe a la Carte Podcast in itunes.

 

Your European superlatives

Do you have any travel tips for “ests” in Europe?