Natural wonders of Europe, from ice caves to stunning isles…
Europe is home to some of the most amazing natural wonders in the world, from verdant valleys to towering mountains. Most people think of the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the Parisian night or the remains of Roman history when planning for a European getaway. But if, like us, you love cities but can’t wait to get out in nature, the continent’s natural wonders are unique and include hundreds of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here are few natural wonders of Europe to fall in love with.
Cliffs of Moher – Ireland
On the edge of Ireland, the cliffs tower a whopping 702 feet above sea level. This coastline is about five miles long, and the view is amazing. Situated in County Clare along the wild Atlantic Way, the best time to view is around April to August, when the skies are more clear, without grey clouds or thick fog. The cliffs are home to hundreds, if not thousands, of puffins. The Cliffs are also part of the UNESCO Global Geopark. It’s best to have a raincoat and a good pair of hiking shoes as most of the path is gravel. Here’s the official website.
The Verdon Gorge – France
Dubbed the Grand Canyon of France, the 25 km-gorge runs between nearly 700 feet of limestone walls, almost reaching the Alps. This landmark in central Provence, the deepest gorge in France, is popular among hikers, kayakers, and rock climbers. Boat and kayak hire is from near the pont de Sainte Croix bridge. Also, for the less sporty, they can have a scenic drive along the rim. There are little villages nearby welcoming travellers who instantly fall for the old world charm. See official website.
The Dolomites – Italy
The Dolomites mountain range is located in northern Italy. the 18 peaks covers about 350,000 acres of land and can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Hikes and drives are popular choices. For example, Sass Pordoi is a pass between the Stella and Marmolada groups of the Dolomite mountains and is perfect for a peaceful drive. It is also accessible by cable car and open for hikers. Similarly, the Monte Cristallo is in the center of the Dolomites, and can be reached by cable car and hiking and there is skiing too! Check out the different regions and where to go on their official website.
Melissani Cave – Greece
Named “the most beautiful” in Greece is in the island of Kefalonia. The water in the lake is so clear and blue that you could actually see the bottom of the lake. The cave was considered to be the home to nymphs in Greek mythology, and is also called the Caves of the Nymphs. The cave was named after one particular nymph, Melissanthi. The entrance fee to the cave is about 7 euros with a boat ride included.
Eisriesenwelt – Austria
Eisriesenwelt is the world’s largest ice cave and is a must when in Austria. The entrance fee is 24 Euros and includes a cable car ride and cave tour. However, the only way to enter the cave is through a tour, you can’t enter by yourself. The ice formations, sculpture, figures, and ice wall are astonishing. Remember to pack warm clothes as its absolutely freezing in the cave.
Isle of Skye – Scotland
Scotland’s second largest island is filled with valleys, mountain ranges, and amazing coastlines. Also, known as the “cloud island” due to the misty, foggy weather. The island offers an extensive options of hiking trails: Brother’s Point and Fairy Glen are the more well known ones. There are also campsites and fishing towns to visit! The weather is best around mid- May to September, but oftentimes is extremely busy in July and August.
Godafoss – Iceland
The Waterfall of the Gods is among the most beautiful waterfall in the country. The falls got it’s unique name when a priest decided to convert the country from Nordic Gods to Christianity. The statues of the Gods were thrown into the falls as a symbolic act of the conversion, giving Godafoss is name. The falls itself isn’t towering like many would think, but it’s history and horseshoe shape makes it worthwhile for a visit!
Plitvice Lakes – Croatia
The lakes are recognized as UNESCO world heritage sites in 1979. The grounds has 16 lake altogether, and are linked with a series of waterfalls. The lakes are well known for color that changes throughout the year. Tour groups are offered, but many recommend exploring by yourself and get some information at its tourist office. May and June are the best times to visit, which avoids Croatia’s busy months, July and August.