Europe is so packed with amazing urban environments and historical sites that it can be easy to forget that it also has a wonderful array of natural landscapes. Here are some of the most beautiful areas of unspoiled nature that you can visit in Europe.
One of the most stunning waterfalls in Europe can be found far to the north in Iceland. Located on the Skjálfandafljót river, Godafoss is a 36-foot-high drop that fills Lake Mývatn year round.
The waterfall is not only stunning to see but also has a fascinating history. Its name, which means "waterfall of the gods," was given to it around 1000 AD when the country converted from Norse theology to Christianity. The priest who was tasked with leading the country into this new religion decided that the best way to make the change was to throw all the idols depicting these old gods into the waterfall.
This unbelievable cliff is located in the Hardangerfjord region of Norway. It sits at a height of 3,500 feet above sea level and juts out over 2,100 feet above Ringedalsvatnet Lake. There is no other sight like it in the world.
Reaching Trolltunga is a challenge, however. The cliff face is 8 miles from the trailhead, and the round trip can be expected to take at least 10 hours. The trip is worth it, however, as you will also have the opportunity to see such stunning sites as Brufejell Caves and the Ringedal dam.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Head into the Plitvice Lakes National Park to see some of the most stunning natural environments Europe has to offer. Across the park you can explore 16 natural lakes and view the 100-plus waterfalls that dot the landscape.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is a little easier to reach than some of the other places on our list. The park is relatively close to both the large city of Zagreb (for hotels and activities) and the tourist city of Zadar if you would prefer to relax.
The Dolomites, Italy
The Alps are famous worldwide, but not quite as many people know about the equally stunning Dolomites. The towering peaks in this mountain range of northeastern Italy stick out of the pristine countryside that surrounds them, making for stunning photo opportunities.
The Dolomites are also a bit easier to reach than the Alps are. An easy stay is offered in the city of Bolzano, where you can visit in comfort and gaze out at the steep mountains from the comfort of your cabin window.
St. Kilda, Scotland
This storm-battered archipelago off the northwestern coast of Scotland offers some of the most striking sights in the United Kingdom. The island has been uninhabited since 1936 when the islanders who lived there decided their way of life was no longer sustainable.
Today you can visit the island by boat, viewing some of the highest cliffs in the U.K. from afar while enjoying the active marine life that makes the island their home. Otherwise, you can disembark and tour the island on foot and encounter the more than 1 million sea birds that nest on the island, including the largest colony of puffins on the British Isles.
Zlatni Rat, Croatia
The Mediterranean may get most of the attention for its pristine beaches, but the Adriatic Sea has plenty to offer as well. One of the best places to take in the beach is at Zlatni Rat, in Croatia.
Also known as the Golden Cape, Zlatni Rat is an area of Brač Island. While the sights alone are worth the trip, you can also enjoy activities such as windsurfing, paddle boarding, and jet skiing while you enjoy the sun.