20 extraordinary cathedrals in Europe

Discover the continent's array of stunning churches, ornate cathedrals, and breathtaking basilicas.

By Lane Nieset
Published 18 Dec 2018, 08:05 GMT

Of the many reasons to book a trip to mainland Europe, touring its magnificent cathedrals is near the top of the list. Awe-inspiring artwork by masters like Michelangelo draws an abundance of tourists, but the extravagant exteriors—some of which took centuries to complete—are every bit as picture-worthy as the biblical treasures displayed inside. Walk where kings were crowned, and view some of the most stunning basilicas, churches, and mosques in the world. From island monasteries sprouting from the sea to design-savvy contemporary chapels occupying capital cities, here are 20 cathedrals that should top your list of must-see sites in Europe.

Lane Nieset is a freelance journalist based in Nice, France. Follow her travels on Twitter @LaneNieset.

Explore Nat Geo

  • Animals
  • Environment
  • History & Culture
  • Science
  • Travel
  • Photography
  • Space
  • Adventure
  • Video

About us


  • Magazines
  • Disney+

Follow us

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society. Copyright © 2015-2024 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved