As a travel lover, I’ve visited many churches in different countries. One aspect that fascinated me were the stained glass windows. Before reading and writing were common, stained glass windows were the storytellers to its viewers. Bright and sophisticated, these fragile gems are the highlight of some of Europe’s churches. Whether it be a small, detail-oriented window or a 6 paneled section, these illuminating artworks can be the highlight of your next Europe vacation!

Saint Chappelle, Paris, France

Along with its heavy Gothic-styled interior, Saint-Chappelle is known for its 15 pristine 13th-century stained glass windows depicting scenes from the old and new testaments; each window stands over 40 feet tall and consists of more than a hundred thousand pieces. The area in front of the windows is made of mainly out of gold and also makes a stunning accent to the stained glass windows. Though the picture is incredible, nothing matches seeing it in real life when you travel to Paris. 

Saint Chappelle, Paris, France

Photo: Jean-Christophe via Wikimedia Commons

Coventry Cathedral, Coventry, England, UK

Since the 1200s, countless churches have been rebuilt in England. The last was built and consecrated in the late 1900s by orders of Queen Mary. Inside the most recent church, more specifically in the baptistery, is where you can see the 195 glass panels set on the wall in an artistic display. Sitting in front of the colorful display is a holy rock said to be brought from Bethlehem. Be sure to take time looking at patterned panels that sit on the wall and enjoy the atmosphere the colors bring to this meaningful place when you travel here. Coventry Cathedral will bring your Europe vacation nothing but serenity and peace.

Coventry cathedral, coventry, UK

Photo: John Dalkn via Flickr

Buckfast Abbey Monastery, Buckfastleigh, England

Since the opening of its doors in the 1200s, Buckfast has been a place of spiritual and educational learning. During the day, the monastery’s doors are open to Monks who come for daily worship and teachings; a private school is run here as well. In the 1950s, a man named Dom Charles put together the detailed, stained glass depiction of Jesus to stand behind the altar. Since then, travel lovers who have laid eyes on the piece have been struck with awe. Travel to England to experience its magnificence in person.

Buckfast Abbey Monastery, Buckfastleigh, England, UK

Photo via geograph

Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany

Construction was started in 1248 but it was not until 1880 that the entire cathedral was completed. The outside appearance does not compare to the inside, especially with two sections highlighted by stained glass wonders. The one section behind the altar shares its bold primary colors to depict the old and new testaments. The second floor is also gifted with mesmerizing colors. Here, you can see 48 religious figures depicted in dozens of windows. This travel jewel will certainly be the highlight of your Germany trip.

Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany

Photo: Fred via Flickr

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

No picture can compare to walking through La Sagrada Familia in person. When I took my first steps inside, I was simply in awe of the architecture and the stained glass windows that were surrounding me. The church was built in 1882 under the orders of Antoni Gaudi and will not be completed for another 5 years. You’ll fall in love with La Sagrada Familia just as fast as I did.

la sagrada familia Barcelona, Spain

Photo: Sagrada Família. via Wikimedia Commons

Inside, travel lovers will find an incredible amount of detail and color. Each wall is covered in vibrant windows that flood color into the room during the day. Personally, I got a sense of whimsicality as I paid close attention to the detail around me.  Though it was crowded, I was able to cancel out all the noise and enjoy my visit to La Sagrada Familia. I highly suggest you travel here on your Europe vacation.

la sagrada familia Barcelona, Spain

Photo: Joseph Bracons via Wikimedia Commons

St. Nicolaaskerk Church, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The church was built by Adrianus Bleijs in 1887 and recently, in 2012, it was converted to a basilica, becoming the only one of its kind in Amsterdam. Within the interior is a mix of Renaissance and Baroque architecture along with 18th century stained glass windows. Situated around a gold painted ceiling sits the dome window. It serves as an accent piece and illuminates a rainbow of opalescent colors throughout its interior landscape. Travel to the Netherlands to get in touch with this divine beauty.

St. Nicolaaskerk Church Amsterdam, Netherlands

Photo: Gary Ullah via Flickr

Basilica di Santa Croce, Florence, Italy

This basilica is a special place for many, since it is the resting ground for Michelangelo, Galileo, and other famous Italian figures. Built in 1924, Santa Croce became the largest Franciscan basilica in the world. There are 6 chapels inside. The main chapel is where you can see the stunning stained glass windows, exquisite Europe travel gems. It is a spectacular sight to see the cross in front of it glowing with colors carried from the window. In Florence, Italy, this basilica is always on fire with color. Travel here to see for yourself.

Basilica di Santa Croce Florence, Italy

Photo: Lyall Bouchard via Flickr

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland

Built in 1220, the cathedral went through a long history of change before coming under final construction in 1555; to this day, it is maintained in pristine condition. Though the original windows did not survive the tragedies, experts have worked hard to recreate history and restore the beauty the windows gave to the church. A series of windows that can be seen in the West end depicts the life of Saint Patrick (as seen below). Stained glass windows were used to tell stories and this cathedral is a definite example. Travel to Ireland to see true art.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral Dublin, Ireland

Photo: Joris Leermakers via Flickr

We hope you will add these stunners to your Europe vacation.

Also Read:

Here Are The 8 Creepiest Churches Made Of Bone

Gorget Glamping, Go Champing: Stay in Medieval Churches Across England

For more incredible Europe vacation ideas, visit our Travel Ideas section