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Although religion is playing a less prominent role in European civilization nowadays, churches, mosques, synagogues, cathedrals and basilicas still play a very important role in the city landscapes of most European cities, and tourism as a result of that.

Erik, the Europeish editor with the most spare time, got the assignment to select the most beautiful religious buildings in Europe. As Erik also has a difficult time making choices, the result is a list with 79 impressive (Wieskirche), unusually located (Santuario di San Besso, Meteora), or uniquely designed (Hallgrimur, Chiesa di Dio Padre Misericordioso) churches.

1. St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow (Russia)

Moskou - Basilius cathedral

Moskou - Basilius cathedral interior

2. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona (Spain)

Barcelona - Sagrada Familia

Barcelona - Sagrada Familia interior

3. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul (Turkey)

Istanbul - Hagia Sophia

Istanbul - Hagia Sophia interior

4. Kölner Dom, Cologne (Germany)

Keulen Dom

5. Catedral de Santa Maria de la Sede, Sevilla (Spain)

Sevilla - Catedral de Santa Maria de la Sede

6. Borgund stavkirke, Borgund (Norway)

Borgund Stavkirke

7. Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence (Italy)

Florence - Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

8. St. Sava Cathedral, Belgrade (Serbia)

Belgrado St Sava Cathedral

9. Winchester Cathedral, Winchester (England)

Winchester Cathedral

10. Notre Dame, Paris (France)

Paris - Notre Dame

11. Duomo, Milan (Italy)

Milaan - Dom

12. Pechersk Lavra, Kiev (Ukraine)

Kiev - Perchersk Lavra

13. Basilica di San Marco, Venice (Italy)

Venice - Basilica di San Marco

14. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna (Austria)

Vienna - St Stephans Cathedral

15. Chartres Cathedral, Chartres (France)

Chartres Cathedral

16. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn (Estonia)

Tallinn - Alexander Nevsky

17. Notre-Dame of Amiens, Amiens (France)

Amiens Cathedral

18. Cadiz Cathedral, Cadiz (Spain)

Cadiz Cathedral

19. St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest (Hungary)

Budapest - St Stephans Cathedral

20. Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp (Belgium)

Antwerpen - Church of our Lady

21. Basilica di Sant’Antonio, Padova (Italy)

Padova - Basilica di Sant’Antonio

22. Bruges Cathedral, Bruges (Belgium)

Bruges Cathedral

23. Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik (Iceland)

Reykjavik Hallgrimskirkja

24. Notre-Dame de l’Immaculée-Conception, Lourdes (France)

Lourdes Cathedral

25. Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican City

Rome - Basilica di San Pietro

26. St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, Brussels (Belgium)

Brussels Cathedral

27. Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, Assisi (Italy)

Assisi Cathedral

28. Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent (Belgium)

Gent - St Bavo

29. Duomo Santa Maria, Pisa (Italy)

Pisa Duomo

30. Münster Unserer Lieben Frau, Freiburg (Germany)

Freiburg Munster

31. Nagy Zsinagóga, Budapest (Hungary)
grote-synagoge

32. Speyer Dom, Speyer (Germany)
dom-speyer

33. Catedral de Santa Eulàlia, Barcelona (Spain)
santa-eulalia

34. Santa María la Real de La Almudena, Madrid (Spain)
cathedral-almuneda

35. St Paul’s Cathedral, London (England)
st-pauls-cathedral

36. Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow (Russia)
chram-christa-spasitelja

37. St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague (Czech Republic)
vitus-cathedral

38. Echmiatsin Cathedral, Echmiatsin (Armenia)
ejmiadzin

39. Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Mtscheta (Georgia)
svetitschoveli

40. Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée, Monaco (Monaco)
cathedrale-monaco

41. Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, Saint Petersburg (Russia)
st-isaac-cathedral

42. Oudenbosch Basilica, Oudenbosch (The Netherlands)

43. Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp (France)

44. Saint John’s Cathedral, Den Bosch (The Netherlands)

45. Beauvais Cathedral, Beauvais (France)
beauvais

46. Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Metz, Metz (France)
cathedrale-metz

47. St. Andrew’s Church, Kiev (Ukraine)
andreas-kirche

48. Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire (England)
ely-cathedral

49. Ulm Cathedral, Ulm (Germany)
munster-ulm

50. Temppeliaukion Kirkko, Helsinki (Finland)

51. Utrecht Cathedral, Utrecht (The Netherlands)

52. Riga Cathedral, Riga (Latvia)
riga-dom

53. Santuario di San Besso, Ronco Canavese (Italy)
santuario-san-besso

54. Basilica of Sts. Stanisław and Vaclav, Kraków (Poland)
wawel-cathedral

55. Westminster Abbey, London (England)
westminster-abbey

56. Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre, Paris (France)
montmartre

57. Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Lisbon (Portugal)
mosteiro-jeronimos

58. Aglona Basilica, Aglona (Latvia)
aglona

59. Meteora, Kalambaka (Greece)
meteora

60. Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy (France)
le-mont-saint-michel

61. Chiesa di Dio Padre Misericordioso, Rome (Italy)
chiesa-di-dio-padre

62. Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, Liverpool (England)
metropolitan-cathedral

63. Catedral de León, León (Spain)
cathedral-leon

64. Taidekappeli, Turku (Finland)
taidekappeli

65. Wieskirche, Wies (Germany)
wieskirche

66. Durham Cathedral, Durham (England)
durham

67. St. Stephan’s Church, Istanbul (Turkey)
stefan-church

68. St. Mark’s Church, Belgrade (Serbia)
markuskerk

69. Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim (Norway)
nidaros

70. Burgos Cathedral, Burgos (Spain)
burgos

71. St. Bavochurch, Haarlem (The Netherlands)

72. Bremilham church, Malmesbury (England)

73. Saint Sophia Cathedral, Kiev (Ukraine)
sint-sofia

74. Sveti Jovan Kaneo, Ohrid (Macedonia)
sveti-jovan-kaneo

75. Stavanger domkirke, Stavanger (Norway)
stavanger

76. Kizhi Pogost, Kizhi (Russia)
kizhi

77. Esztergomi Bazilika, Esztergom (Hungary)
esztergom

78. Asamkirche, Munich (Germany)
asamkirche

79. Graun Tower, Lago di Resia (Italy)
reschenmeer

Image sources: 1-25: Shutterstock.com, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79.

We probably missed at least a few wonderful churches, basilicas, cathedrals, mosques or synagogues. Feel free to share your favorite religious building in the comments, and maybe we’ll add it to the list!

Category: Buildings | Europe

39 comments on "The 79 Most Beautiful European Churches";

  1. Reply Ben Cook 14.12.2010 Now *that* is what I call a collection of church photos. Bravo :)
  2. Reply Matteo 14.12.2010 excuse me, reschensee, or Lago di Resia is not located in Austria, but in Italy!!!
  3. Reply Europeish 14.12.2010 @Matteo: thanks for pointing that out! We have updated the post with the appropriate location.
  4. Reply Europeish 15.12.2010 Thank you Christian Today for suggesting the Asamkirche, which is now listed at #78!
  5. Reply Lloyd Westgard 21.12.2010 Amazing photos...
  6. Reply Darko 26.12.2010 Have a look at this one, St. Clement & St. Panteleimon church: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plao%C5%A1nik
  7. Reply nottellingmyname 01.03.2011 OMG some of the churches are beautafull ! and some not but some are not rated right ! some are ugly and the beautafull but rated tooooo low i mean come on !
  8. Reply cfaa 15.03.2011 how did you possibly create a list of the most beautiful churches in europe and not include ONE from ireland?
  9. Reply required 22.03.2011 Hagia Sophia is a museum - not a church nor a Mosque.
  10. Reply MIKE WALLACE 04.05.2011 OH MY GOD... I'd like to thank the creator of this web site for taking the time to compile this beautiful collection
  11. Reply sinafa 27.06.2011 So beautifull collection indeed but I think you can add the Cathedral of Vilnius in Lithuania. Part of the UNESCO patrimony... I visited it last year it's just gorgeous ! :)
  12. Reply Jacques CLEMENT 08.07.2011 I have visited around 200 cathedrals in Europe; You made an outstanding work there but some huge cathedrals are missing as Strasbourg, Albi, Bourges, Reims in France all UNESCO CLASSIFIED and Rouen or Toledo and perhaps the most beautiful of all: the Mezquita of Cordoba in Spain! There are many wonders also in germany as Regensburg (Ratisbonne), in Italy as Siena and Orvieto or the major basilicas of christianity in Roma (San Juan Laterano, Santa Maria Maggiore and San Paolo extra muros....only to list some huge ones! Jacques
  13. Reply Raúl 26.08.2011 I think you should have a look to the York Minster, just amazing!
  14. Reply Raúl 26.08.2011 Ah! I forgot it! You can't leave Santiago de Compostela behind!
  15. Reply DoozieWD 28.10.2011 Some really good ones, although your missing the best of all and historic story... Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. The New church they built on the grounds is nice but very modern. If you read up on the history on the original church and what happened with the 3 kids is pretty remarkable. Being there is COMPLETELY breath taking, you literally feel the religious calm atmosphere Take care
  16. Reply Sanja 01.11.2011 St. George′s Church (crkva Svetog Djordja)Topola, Serbia should be in this list. Great list!
  17. Reply Tauraus Reed 17.12.2011 no Rosslyn Chapel...how?
  18. Reply Jonathan 18.01.2012 Stunning compilation! Only one thing I can't get over: the fact that Rheims Cathedral is missing. Other than that: simply awesome.
  19. Reply Pedro 16.02.2012 unbelievably beautiful churches. hard to believe men built such beautiful creations. no one builds anything such as this anymore. its why so many tourists still visit the old structures, no beauty today anymore, just ugly condos and artificial buildings. its is tragedy of modern age.
  20. Reply Agnes Bezzina 11.04.2012 St John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta, built by the Knights of St John in the 16th Century is undoubtedly one of the finest baroque churches in Europe. Definitely suggest this addition ... See website for more details ... http://stjohnscocathedral.com/
  21. Reply What I know to be true « Art Teach Travel 22.04.2012 [...] items we see in our travels are artworks. All that we enjoy as tourists, such as palace and cathedral architecture, historical bridges and walls, woven fabrics, rugs and tapestries, marble sculpture [...]
  22. Reply luis 27.06.2012 I think Saint Jame's Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela (Spain) is a must. It's so beautiful and quite important in the european history.
  23. Reply Josephine 20.08.2012 This is awesome!!! I mean to watch or see the most popular and beautiful churches around europe..Amazingly beautiful…
  24. Reply mauro 27.08.2012 Nice photos indeed.. though, with all due respects, I think n.53 and n.79 shouldn't stand among the others; considering how many European Jewels are still missing in this list. Mauro, Ferrara -Italia
  25. Reply mauro 28.08.2012 BTW: Just in case someone is interested to insert it.. here a photo of San Petronio Basilica that's facing Piazza Maggiore in Bologna down-town (Italy) http://www.bulgnais.com/pmaggiore_01_small.jpg or http://www.bulgnais.com/images/pmaggiore_01.jpg
  26. Reply Artemisia 02.09.2012 Marvellous! Where will I ever find the time to visit them all? An extensive collection but even if you doubled it I doubt the list would be complete. Some of the lovliest churches are smallish (compared to St Peter's, Rome), and are mostly tucked away in places not usually reached by the descent of the touristy hordes: what about beautiful Trani Cathedral in Puglia, Italy: blindingly white at midday on a summer's day against the turquoise sea just beyond it, the enigmatic Basilica di Collemaggio, L'Aquila, Italy with its rose and cream stone facade like a pillow lace design, a Templar banner put up long after the Templars were gone...? And York Minster, Yorkshire,UK? Burgos Cathedral, Spain where El Cid campeador, Ruy Diaz de Vivar and his wife Ximena lie buried...? Not intended as criticism, only suggestions for our greatest churches hunters. Last but not least, many compliments for the lovely photos, that have the power to take us where we cannot go.
  27. Reply aa 08.09.2012 no Romanian monasteries, you can't call this the most beautiful churches without romanian ones
  28. Reply England 10.10.2012 I travelled in serbia last year, i think that you need to put more serbian cathedrals here, like Gracanica, Visoki Decani, Holly Virgin of Ljevis, Studenica or Pecka Patrijarsija.
  29. Reply Clint Spiteri 30.11.2012 What about St.John's Co Cathedral in Valletta, Malta? http://stjohnscocathedral.com/
  30. Reply Sacré-Coeur: The Heart of Paris | Travel in Paris 10.01.2013 [...] proves that the French are not only masters of wine and cancan, they are the masters of one of the most breathtaking basilicas of Europe too. Sights La Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, the Basilica of the Sacred [...]
  31. Reply peter 08.02.2013 One should consider the interior of Notre dame Cathedral in Montreal! http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8159/6977424908_7e086f9bfd_z.jpg
  32. Reply peter 08.02.2013 sorry, the list was for european churches....... disregard my earlier post
  33. Reply Ivo 19.06.2013 What about Bulgaria? There are maybe 3-4 that should be on this list
  34. Reply Raymond Anthony 21.06.2013 How can you miss the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Same thing for the Mesquita of Cordoba.
  35. Reply david 06.07.2013 i like the Bogrund Stave Church in Norway...Take yourself back to the time of the Vikings in Northern Europe. Giant men wearing fur coats, wielding huge axes with ruthless warfare tactics. If you can believe that these men were actually religious and spent time going to church, the Bogrund Stave Church is where they would go. Located in the heart of Norway, this ancient, wooden church is truly something out of this world.
  36. Reply Peter Sollie 31.07.2013 You might never have seen the Tromsdalen kirke (Ishavskatedralen) in Tromsø Norway. Its the most beautiful modern church built after second world war.
  37. Reply Jakub 30.09.2013 What about Slovakia? Check the Cathedral of the Saint Martin in Bratislava and Cathedral of the Saint Elizabeth in Košice!
  38. Reply David 30.10.2013 I'm unpleasantly surprised that the Alexander Nevski cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria is not on this list... Shame on u
  39. Reply erikur 02.12.2013 What about the old church of uppsala in sweden or the blue mosque in istanbul,turkey?

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