Europe is renowned for its impressive variety of architectural styles dating back centuries. Ranging from Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Renaissance to name a few, we have the largest concentration in such a small geographic area. Not only does it boast all of this but also some of the latest cutting-edge contemporary architecture which will be sure to amaze. Listed below are examples of stunning creations which can be found in some of our favourite cities.
Seville – Metropol Parasol
Metropol Parasol – locally recognized as Las Setas de la Encarnación (“Incarnación’s Mushrooms”) due to its quirky shape is thought to be the largest wooden structure in the world. Rejuvenating the dormant market space, Jürgen Mayert designed the Metropol Parasol with six parasols offering much needed shade from the scorching Andalusian sun. At the top, marvel at the breath-taking views of the city from the panoramic walkway and restaurant. At street level, the structure houses the Mercado de la Encarnación with 40 stalls selling an array of fresh food. Roman and Moorish ruins discovered during its construction are now on show in the basement below the plaza and are well worth a visit. Visit the Seta de Sevilla website for more information.
Valencia – Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences)
Wandering through the Jardin del Turía from the old town, you are met with the futuristic wonder that is the City of Arts and Sciences designed by local architect Santiago Calatrava. This incredible series of buildings will make you feel like you are in a science fiction movie. Located in the southernmost building, the Oceanogràfic aquarium has to be the best I have visited in Europe with a spacious setting and plenty of outdoor areas ideal for warm, sunny days when you don’t want to be cooped up inside for too long. The complex is divided into different climate zones and also features a dolphin show which is always a favourite with children. Combined tickets which include entrance to the Hemisfèric and Science Museum can also be purchased. The Hemisphèric is an amazing digital 3D cinema with a 900 metre concave screen which impresses spectators with its educational films centred around nature. Hiring a bike, paddle boarding or trying out the water balls in one of the complex’s pools are other ways to appreciate this architectural wonder. Visit the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias website to start planning your visit.
Brussels – Atomium
This iconic building made to look like a magnified cell of a crystal represents the faith the world had in science and economic progress. Constructed for the first post-war World Fair in 1958, this now retro creation is still one of Brussels’ most visited attractions. At 103m high, you can enjoy 360˚ views of the city. Wander through the surreal tube-like walkways and maze of stairs and escalators to explore the different nodules. There is also a restaurant with panoramic vistas and a museum dedicated to the history of the building. Visit the Atomium website for more information.
Berlin – Fernsehturm (Berlin TV Tower)
Soaring above the city, the Berlin TV tower is the perhaps the epitomy of cold war Berlin and the era of surveillance. Visit the Telecafe revolving restaurant or just appreciate the 360˚ views over Berlin and its turbulent past. At 368 metres high, it is also the highest building in Europe open to the general public. Although somewhat unsettling to imagine its former purpose, it has become a symbol of the modern Berlin cityscape and the vibrant culture it now possesses. From my hotel room at the Park Inn Alexanderplatz, it was an incredible sight towering over me in distance as the sun was setting behind it. Visit the Fernsehturm website for more information.