Europe's Iconic Buildings: The Most Googled Landmarks Revealed


There’s no question that Europe is home to many of the world’s foremost structures and buildings. Since the Romans occupied these lands over 2,000 years ago, man has transformed the landscape – building cities, palaces, churches, castles and cathedrals which have impressed and imposed for centuries. But which of the continent’s architectural feats continue to arouse most interest?

To find out, we’ve been exploring Europe’s landmarks from a wholly different perspective: Google. Data from the nation’s favourite search engine can reveal much about which buildings across the Channel fascinate and intrigue us the most – be it the architectural icons of Paris or the ancient wonders of Greece.

We’ve also enlisted the help of a handful of passionate travel writers, who are sharing their picks of the iconic buildings you should know about across the continent.

The most popular searched-for landmarks in Europe

The European buildings which earn the most hashtags

Hashtags have come to define how people share memories, stories and recommendations on their travels. Used on social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, they let people share pictures and updates about a specific region or place, grouping related posts together to make it easy for others to discover and share.

Travel writers share their ‘best of the rest’ European landmarks

While there’s no doubt that the great heavyweights of European architecture offer up a feast of culture and heritage, there’s a whole lot more to see and discover across Europe than these frequently searched landmarks. Here, we’ve selected three expert travel writers to share their favourite European buildings, so you can go off the tourist trail and discover something new on your next continental break.

Český Krumlov Castle

Cesky Krumlov Castle

Patti Morrow, Luggage and Lipstick

"In a country known for its castles, Český Krumlov Castle is one of the most picturesque sights I’ve ever seen. About a three-hour drive south of Prague in the Czech Republic, the captivating town of Český Krumlov is nestled in the South Bohemian countryside. The Vltava River snakes through the town forming a natural moat around part of the castle.

“The most visually outstanding feature of the castle is the multi-coloured round tower, originally built to guard the river entries. There are 162 steps you can climb to get a stunning bird’s eye view of the river and old town sprawled out on the horizon. Inside the castle estate is the Gothic-style Church of St. Vitus, dating back to the 15th century, with frescoes from the same period.”

Sarajevo City Hall

Betsy Wuebker, PassingThru.com

"Our favourite iconic European building is the Sarajevo City Hall, now the National Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Known as Vijećnica, the building, which is located in the old Turkish quarter, is exuberant and eclectic in design and colour. It is best described as Neo-Moorish in style, with Islamic and other multi-cultural influences as befitting the city’s meld of Eastern and Western elements.

“Completed in 1894, this building served as the City of Sarajevo’s Headquarters until 1947, when it became the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and housed the Academy of Fine Arts. As such, Vijećnica was the centre of the republic’s culture. Prior to the 1990s war, the library contained more than 150,000 rare manuscripts in a collection numbering more than 1.5 million volumes.

“Vijećnica is where Archduke Franz Ferdinand attended a reception prior to his assassination nearby in June 1914. This event is widely held as the spark which ignited WWI. In 1992, Serbian forces shelled it from the hills overlooking the city. Under sniper fire, librarians and private citizens bravely attempted to save priceless books, but the majority were destroyed by fire.

“The effect of this tragedy was a near-complete destruction of the written culture of Bosnia over the course of its history. One of the most poignant moments in the war was when award-winning cellist, Vedran Smailović, played among its ruins in protest.

“After a four-stage renovation which took 18 years, Vijećnica reopened in 2014 with a completely reconstructed interior, and replacement paintings, sculptures and books. Libraries worldwide had contributed to the restoration and rebuild. Vijećnica is a must-see when you travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Prague Old Town Hall

Jane Dempster-Smith, To Travel Too

“The Old Town Hall is the top tourist destination in Prague in the Czech Republic. A visit to Prague would not be complete without a visit to the top of the Tower in the modern glass elevator.  The 360-degree views are stunning.

“The Old Town Hall was constructed in 1338.  The Gothic Tower, the chapel and the clock are the oldest parts of the building. 

“The clock tells not only the time but the date as well, the position of the sun throughout the day, the phases of the moon, astronomical cycles and the feast days of the Christian calendar.

“Just before the clock strikes the hour you will see the figures of the 12 Apostles, a skeleton that pulls on a string, a figure of Miserliness shaking his money, a Turkish Man shaking his head and a figure of Vanity which is looking into a mirror.”

Discover Europe with Emerald Waterways

At Emerald Waterways, we make it easy to discover more of Europe’s beautiful heritage and landmark visitor sites. Join us for an unforgettable river cruise on the continent’s waterways, and experience renowned cities and buildings like never before. For more information or to book your next Emerald Waterways river cruise, visit the homepage or call us on 0808 115 0205.