Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Top Ten Best Tourist Attractions

During our travels in Europe, we had the opportunity to see many typical "tourist attractions" in Europe. Here are our ten favorites. Please note: we are limiting the list here to man-made tourist attractions. These are also limited to things we have actually seen while we've been living in Europe the last two years. I'm sure there are plenty other great attractions out there but, if we didn't see them, they're not on this list.

  • The Vatican
    Any list about the best attractions in Europe has to start with the Vatican. I was absolutely amazed by this place, errrr, country. Every time you put your $5 into the church basket, it just feeds the catholic church monster. For everyone that does that on a weekly basis - thank you. The Vatican was very impressive and I thoroughly enjoyed the art that your donations helped buy.

  • The Colosseum
    This was legitimately cool. Even though the Colosseum is just a shell of its former self, you can smell the history in the place. The guide told us stories of the "shows" that used to go on in that place and... WOW. Now I'm normally not one that likes to watch people brutally murdered in front of me purely for entertainment purposes. But, I would have really, really liked to have visited the Colosseum during its heyday. (In case you are wondering, I watched the movie Gladiator again within 2 days of returning home from Rome)

  • Charles Bridge
    Here's an attraction that I can see from my bedroom. OK, that's not technically true, but it would be true if I had a 20 foot long neck. I try to cross the bridge at least once a month - just for the fun of it.

  • Blue Mosque
    After seeing about 100 different churches in Europe. I've got to be honest with you, stain glass windows and crucifixes (crucifi?) just don't do much for me any more. The Blue Mosque in Istanbul was my first Mosque and was a nice change of pace.

  • Gaudi Architecture in Barcelona
    My favorite architect ever - Antoni Gaudi. The city of Barcelona is loaded with works by this guy. The guy must have been on some serious drugs - because his buildings were like nothing I have ever seen. Each one was better than the other.

  • The Last Supper
    I had always assumed that The Last Supper was just a normal piece of art - produced on a regular canvas. I had no idea it was painted on the side of a church wall. It's not part of a museum. You have to order your tickets months in advance and all you get to see is The Last Supper - there is not much else. The whole experience takes 15 minutes. And, after reading The Davinci Code, I spent 14 of those minutes trying to figure out if the one dude was a chick. Diagnosis - inconclusive!

  • The Louvre in Paris
    I have to admit, I am not very knowledgeable when it comes to art. As an engineer in college, I didn't have much room on my schedule for electives like Art History. So, when I am in a new city, I feel like I should go to the top museums even though I know I won't get a whole lot out of them.

    That's not true with The Louvre. By far the best museum I have ever been to... and there is not even a close second. I prefer the sculptures to the paintings. While I can comprehend how some people can be good painters (even though I am not), I have absolutely no idea how some of these sculptures were done. It blows my mind.

  • Belam Castle
    This is a little castle on a port in Lisbon. It doesn't have nearly the same fame as any of the other items on this list. But, what can I say, I really enjoyed this place. I felt like a little kid running around the castle, taking pictures and hanging out in the dungeons. If you find yourself in Lisbon, definitly chek it out.

  • Statue of David
    The Statue of David resides in a little museum in the outskirts of Florence. The museum isn't much, except for the big statue of David in the middle of the room. As I mentioned above - sculptures blow my mind. But this sculpture in particular is head and shoulders (and penis) above the rest.

    I remember staring at this statue for a solid 30 minutes. I walked around it and studied it from every angle. I was mesmerized... ans I have no idea why. For lack of a better word, the statue was just "perfect". Bravo Michelangelo, Bravo!

  • Acropolis, Greece
    This one is on the list just for the history. The Acropolis itself is falling apart. You really are looking at big pieces of marble and rock. On the day we visited it, it was at least 100 degrees outside and we had to walk up a very tall hill with the mid-day sun hitting our back.

    But still, knowing the history of the place, it just made the trip well worth it. It's a place everyone should visit once.

It should be noted that I put this together almost out of obligation. The truth is that the typical "tourist attractions" are rarely the best thing about a city (except Rome). The best parts of a city are walking around the neighborhoods, eating the local food, talking to people, etc. Sure, you visit the typical tourist attractions, but that's not what you remember. It's the time you spent in the city.

Prague is the perfect example of this. With the exception of the Charles Bridge, the tourist attractions in Prague are rather lackluster. But, it is still arguably the most beautiful city in Europe. And the best way to experience that beauty is by just aimlessly walking around the city... not by visiting the attractions.

Check back tomorrow for a list of the places in Europe I wanted to visit, but didn't have a chance to.


Blogger Ketty said...

I have been to Prague and I think, The main attraction in Prague is Old town square where you find people taking walk, breaks, eating and taking pictures. the atmosphere there is very friendly and touristic. The best way to see the square is with the guided walking tour so that you could get to know it's history and culture. which is really very amusing.
Prague places to visit

2:12 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home