Europe is renowned for its stunning architecture across destinations. The astonishing masterpieces often include colorful mosaic and beautifully designed tile work – and simply can’t miss them on your Europe trip. Whether they are located in a house, a church, or a mausoleum, these delicate pieces of art have been around for centuries and still captivate travel lovers from around the world.
Here’s the best of Europe’s architecture and design for your travel bucket list. Plan a summer getaway to your favorite European destination:
The House of Million Pieces – Chartres, France
La Maison Picassiette or “The House of Millions Pieces” is a tiny house built in the 1930s by Raymond Isadore. He was inspired to build something greater and started to decorate his petite maison in mosaic.
Over the years, the maison’s interior (including the furniture) and exterior was covered in broken tile pieces, glass, procelain, crockery, and any other material that he could get his hands on. At the beginning of the ’60s, Isadore had to stop because there was nothing left to cover. Now, his house is a museum open to the public and can be seen as an artist’s playground.
Park Güell – Barcelona, Spain
Created by Antoni Gaudí in 1900, the Park Güell enthralls with its sheer creativity, artistic vision and inviting colors. There are many quirky attractions within the monument core. The magnificent dragon stairway from the entrance esplanade features the tile-shard mosaic dragon sculpture – the most famous image of the park.
The nature square or Plaça de la Natura at the center of the park boasts stunning views and was planned for staging large open-air shows that could be watched from the surrounding terraces. Other spots like the Austria Gardens and the slanting Laundry Portico are unforgettable in their unique designs. Keep an eye out for Gaudi’s eye-popping mosaic covering the ceilings.
Plaza de España – Seville, Spain
Located within the María Luisa Park, Plaza de España, built in 1929 is one of Seville’s most impressive structures. Tall enough to be visible around the city, its sheer grandeur ensures the Plaza is a major landmark. Spanning 50,000 square meters, its many terraces and alcoves feature detailed tile work and ceramics with vibrant colors depicting Spain’s artistic culture.
After exploring the plaza, make sure to spend time walking around the Maria Luisa Park that surrounds it. Here, you will be surrounded by bright flowers, different types of trees, ponds and fountains.
Mausoleum of Galla Placidia – Ravenna, Italy
The starry sky depicted on the cupola of this mausoleum has fascinated countless travel lovers. In fact, Cole Porter, on his honeymoon in Ravenna, was so moved by the starry sky that it inspired his famous track Night and Day. This location was meant to be Galla Placidia’s resting place – she was the sister of the Roman Emperor Honorius who shifted the Capital of the Western Empire from Milan to Ravenna in 402 AD.
Brimming with character, this building is one of the oldest monuments in Ravenna. Inside, you will find the walls and ceiling covered in sparkling glass tiles depicting Christian and Roman scenes. When entering the building on the northern side, look above at the lunette to see the piece ‘Christ and the Good Shepard’; many say it is the best depiction of religion during that time.
Palace de Peña – Sintra, Portugal
Sintra makes for a lovely day trip from Lisbon where you can see the whimsically designed Peña Palace. What was once a monastery – built by King Manuel in the early 1500s – was turned into a beautiful palace by King Ferdinand II in the 20th century. When adding to the original structure, the king decided to separate the identities: the old monastery would be painted pink/red and the new palace would be painted ochre.
The new addition, crafted in trend with Portuguese architecture, was adorned with traditional Portuguese tiles. These stunning tiles can be seen on the outside as well as inside. This UNESCO World Heritage Site overlooks the national park that is open for all to explore.
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