After reading an article on the most iconic buildings in Europe, I decided to write an article for Europe a la Carte featuring some of my favourite buildings in Europe.
Roman Amphitheatre in Tarragona, Spain
The Roman Amphitheatre by the seafront in Tarragona is remarkably well preserved. I’d recommend that you try to visit during the Terraco Viva Festival in May to see the gladiator show.
Gladiator show in the Roman Amphitheatre in Tarragona
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice, France
The central section of the 1990s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC) in the French city of Nice, stands on four pillars. The glass frontage reflects views of the city. There’s a roof top garden which is home to some modern sculptures. I’d recommend that you pop into the nearby Jardin Marechal Juin to see the large head sculpture, which is home to a library.
MAMAC in Nice
Convento de Cristo in Tomar, Portugal
Convento de Cristo in the Portugese town of Tomar was originally built in the 12th century as a bastion for the Knights Templar, a Christian military order, as part of the line of defence against the Moors.
Covento de Cristo in Tomar
Palm House in Vienna, Austria
The Palm House in Vienna’s Schonbrunn Palace Park opened in 1882. In 1901, it was renovated in Vienna’s famous Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) style.
The Palm House in Vienna
Temple of Athena, Paestum, Italy
The Tempe of Athena, dating from 500BC, is one of the three temples in this Greek city located in the south west of Italy. By the time we arrived at Paestum enroute to Puglia, it was after dark and the site was closed.
Temple of Athena, Paestum, Italy by LaurPhil
Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, Dublin, Ireland
Now I’m not a female who’d normally bother to seek out shopping centres when travelling. However, it’s worth visiting the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre in the Irish capital of Dublin. It’s architecturally interesting, as it’s constructed around an 18th century mansion.
The Corn Exchange in Leeds, England
During each of my three visits to Leeds, I’ve visited the 1860s Corn Exchange, as I love it’s ceiling. It was redeveloped as a boutique shopping centre in the 1980s. If you’re a fan of grand Victorian architecture, you should also visit the Tiled Cafe at Leeds Art Gallery and the arcades of the Victorian Quarter.
The Corn Exchange in Leeds
The Smallest Cathedral in the World, Nin, Croatia
Normally I think of cathedrals as large, grand edifices. But the 9th century Cathedral in Nin is around the size of a detached house.
Me standing in the entrance to Nin Cathedral
The Shard in London, England
As the Shard is the highest building in the European Union, it dominates the London skyline. If you’re willing to part with the £30 admission fee, you’ll get a great panorama of London from the View from the Shard.
The Shard in London
MuCEM in Nice, France
From the distance, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Culture (MuCEM) in Marseille, looks like a large black box. However, you can appreciate the interplay between the buildings’ ornamental skin of filigree concrete and the surrounding sea and sky in the reflective walkways which run between the solid sides of the building and the skin.
Walkway at MuCEM, Marseille
Bratislava Castle in Slovakia
The imposing rectangular Bratislava Castle towers above the River Danube. On a clear day, you can see Austria and Hungary from the rocky hill on which the castle is located.
Bratislava Castle in Slovakia
Louvre Pyramid in Paris, France
The Louvre Pyramid consists of one large pyramid, which is the main entrance to the museum, surrounded by three smaller pyramids.
Alcazaba in Malaga, Spain
I had a wonderful view of the Alcazaba Moorish fortress from my holiday apartment in Malaga. When visited the Alcazaba on a Sunday afternoon, it was a popular spot for wedding photography.
The Alcazaba in Malaga
St James Court Hotel London, England
The St James Court first opened as a luxury hotel in 1902. In my teens in the late 1970s, I had a live-in Summer job at the hotel, Unbelievably, some of the apartments in the courtyard were then being used as staff accommodation. At that time, the building was looking a bit tired and it was more a tourist class hotel; some of the hotel rooms didn’t even have ensuite bathrooms. However, when I stayed at the St James Court earlier this year, it looked as the though the current owner, Taj Hotels, had spent some serious cash on renovations, with the building returned to its Edwardian glory and the rooms upgraded.
The internal courtyard at the St James Court Hotel London
Palace of Art Budapest, Hungary
The Palace of Art is located in Heroes’ Square in the Hungarian capital. It was built in 1895 in a neoclassical style. I liked the wooden vestibule, with its stained glass windows, which led in the foyer.
Foyer of the Palace of Art in Budapest
The Ferry Hut in Alnmouth, England
The Ferry Hut, in the seaside village of Alnmouth in Northumberland, was originally the shelter for the ferryman who rowed the boat across the River Aln. It’s now a tiny local history museum.
Me by the Ferry Hut in Almouth
The Belfry of Bruges, Belgium
The Belfry of Bruges is a medieval bell tower in the city’s Market Square. There are 366 narrow steps to climb to reach the top. If you’ve seen the movie ‘In Bruges’ you’ll remember Colin Farrell’s initially polite attempt to deter some overweight American tourist from visiting. I recommend that you try to visit the Belfry of Bruges either early or late in the day, to avoid a long queue to enter.
The Belfry of Bruges
La Vallette Restaurant in Valletta, Malta
This restaurant is in an old palazzo. It’s a bit incongruous, as the restaurant fare is more akin to a greasy spoon than the type of upmarket establishment which you’d expect to find in this impressive building.
La Valletta Restaurant in Valletta
Riverside Museum in Glasgow, Scotland
The Riverside Museum was designed by architect Zaha Hadid as the new home for the Museum of Transport. I liked the jagged roof on the front of the building and the way that the masts of adjacent Tall Ships are reflected in the glass frontage.
The Riverside Museum in Glasgow
The Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic
The Nationale-Nederlanden building was designed for a Dutch insurance company in a collaboration between architects Frank Gehry and Vlada Milunic It’s known locally as the Dancing House.
The Dancing House in Prague
Malaga Market, Spain
What makes Malaga Market stand out is the enormous stained glass windows which depict local scenes.
Malaga Market in Spain
The Lipstick in Gothernburg, Sweden
The 1980s Lilla Brommen skyscaper, is known locally as The Lipstick. I liked the contrast of the modern building with Barken Vikiing sailing ship (which is now a hotel). For a few pounds, take the lift up to the observation room on the top floor of The Lipstick for some great views of Gothenburg.
The Lipstick and Barken Viking in Gothenburg
The Hill House in Helensburgh, Scotland
Designed by the Scottish architect Rennie Macintosh and his artist wife Margaret Macdonald, the Hill House is a fusion of Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts and Scottish Baronial styles. Unfortunately you’re not allowed to take photo of the interior.
The Hill House in Helensburgh
The Rotunda in Birmingham, England
The 1960s Rotunda building in central Birmingham. It was refurbished and turned into residential accommodation in the mid 1980s. The top floors are the Staying Cool serviced apartments. I’ve stayed in one of these two bedroom apartments, which had a wrap around balcony.
The Rotunda in Birmingham by Very Quiet
Old Town Hall in Prague, Czech Republic
The intricate 15th century Astronomical Clock is at at the base of the Old Town Hall in the Czech capital of Prague. It’s worth going up the tower of the Old Town Hall (accessible by stairs or lift) for the panoramic views of the city.
Astronomical Clock on the Old Town Hall in Prague
I hope that you’ve enjoyed my photo tour of 25 of my favourite buildings in Europe.