Europe, 44 countries over an area of roughly 4 million square miles and spread-out over 3-4 time zones, its an incredibly diverse area of the planet comprising of many different cultures, languages and religions and Im lucky to have been able to see a fair bit of it so far, with the intention of seeing even more of it in the future!
Its incredibly easy as a European citizen just to hop on a plane from the UK and head off to somewhere on the continent for the weekend! The get from one side of the continent to the other can take realistically half a day, if that!
One thing I look for whenever I visit a new destination is a high lookout point, be it a building or tower or a high piece of land!
In this post I am going to give my 5 favourite look out points across Europe and how you can enjoy them too!
#1 – Hallgrímskirkja – Reykjavic, Iceland
Visited: December 2017 – Cost of Adult Admission: 900ISK
As the tallest building in Reykjavik at 75 meters tall and second tallest in the entire country of Iceland, it’s no surprise that Hallgrimskirkja stands out a bit! This also means that you will have no issue finding it if you are in the Icelandic capital.
Finished in 1986 after taking a whopping 41 years to finish construction, the cathedral observation area offers 360 degree views of the entire capital. On a clear day you can even see planes from the main international airport in Keflavík taking off and landing which is a bit away from the capital.
Because of its great views from the observation area, Hallgrimskirkja has become a huge hit with tourists and when visiting you can expect pretty lengthy queues to get up to the top, my advice is either get there early or if you are in a line just wait it out, I was in a pretty long line and it went down within 10 minutes of being in it!
#2 – Holmenkollbakken – Oslo, Norway
Visited: June 2018 – Cost of Adult Admission: 140NOK
Holmenkollbakken is sited in the Holmenkollen area of Oslo, Norway! Opened in 1892 and having gone through numerous renovations over the years from just a slope to a freestanding purpose built structure.
The site is at one of the highest points in the capital which you can get to easily by driving up to or taking a public bus! Besides the ski jump part of the structure, within the tower is a full museum showcasing the 1952 Winter Olympics in which the ski jump was used for as well as a large shop. Outside the grounds their are various recreation facilities that you can pay to use!
When I visited the site it was not overly busy and was able to get up to the top very quickly! To get up to the open area at the top of tower you have to take an glass elevator that travels diagonally, letting you be able to see the underside of the slope and it’s construction. At the top you have completely unspoilt 360 degree views of Oslo and surrounding areas!
#3 – Grossmünster – Zurich, Switzerland
Visited: August 2018 – Cost of Adult Admission: 5CHF
The Protestant church of Grossmunster is sited just a couple of streets back from the coastline of Lake Zürich in Zürich, Switzerland! Completed in the 1200’s the 800 year old structure has a large indoor space on the ground floor which you can walk around and two identical towers.
While one of the towers is accessible to climb up, the other is closed to the public. Luckily for the photographers the tower that is open is the one that is closer to the lake and the city centre!
When you enter the church doors you simply pay for a ticket at a small desk and then you can put any kind of bag in one of the storage boxes near the door, taking the key to it with you up the tower. The door to the tower is signed and you just follow the directions up the small, narrow and winding steps all the way to the top. At the top of the tower there are balconies that you can step out of with views on four directions!
#4 – Ostankino Television Tower – Moscow, Russia
Visited: July 2018 – Cost of Adult Admission: 1000py6
While some would argue about including Russia in this top 5, Moscow is in the western, European Russia! The Ostankino is also an incredible site to see just from the ground and well worth showcasing in this top 5!
Located a couple of miles out of central Moscow, the Ostankino tower was completed in 1967 and stands at 540 meters tall!
At the top of this incredible structure is an observation area with 360 degree views of Moscow and the outskirts of the Russian capital!
The process to get up to the top of the tower can be somewhat intimidating at first. To just get onto the tower site you need to pass through an airport style security, then you enter the ticket office which in order to get a ticket you require a form of identification. Your details are entered into a system and printed onto your ticket. Passing through another airport style security point your ticket is checked against your ID letter by letter! Only after all this you then enter the door of the tower where you take a high speed elevator to the top!
#5 Riga Cathedral – Riga, Latvia
Visited: December 2018 – Cost of Adult Admission: €5
Riga Cathedral is a must if you are visiting the Latvian capital! The Orthodox church was built by the 1200’s and is the biggest of its kind between the Baltic states.
During the time of the Soviet occupation the church was used as a concert hall due to the Soviet prohibition of Christian practices!
These days the top of the cathedral is open to tourists to visit it and see impressive unspoilt views of Riga. I visited over the Christmas period and the line for the top was quite big however it quickly went down!
I hope you found this top 5 useful and has inspired you to visit some of these destinations yourself! What are you favourite lookout places in Europe? Let me know in the comments below!