The 7 Modern Wonders of Europe
Europe might be known for its rich history, but there’s much more to this continent than medieval churches and Roman ruins. From modern art museums to football stadiums, some of the most fascinating European tourist attractions were actually built in the last few decades.
If you would rather skip the history lesson and indulge in some contemporary sightseeing, here are 7 of Europe’s modern wonders to add to your must-see list.
1. FC Barcelona Football Stadium, Barcelona
Perfect for sports fans, a full tour of this stadium offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most iconic soccer clubs in history. It includes a priority access pass, so you can skip the queues and explore at your own pace. Visitors are even permitted to walk onto the pitch, which offers 360° views of the surrounding stadium, the largest of its kind in Europe.
The museum features audio-visual displays, information about the club’s history and footage of their most famous matches, and an entire room devoted to legendary player Lionel Messi.
Hint: You could take a tour of this stadium after completing our Northern Spain & the Pyrenees Tour, which concludes in Barcelona.
2. Grafton Street, Dublin
Lined with cafés, fashion boutiques and jewellers, Grafton Street is Dublin’s premier shopping district. Located in the city centre, it’s a magnet for buskers and street performers, with some of Ireland’s most famous musicians said to have launched their careers here. It’s even rumoured that U2 front man Bono drops by occasionally for an impromptu performance!
Sprawling from Saint Stephen’s Green in the south all the way to the northern College Green, the majority of the street is pedestrian-only, so you can wander from one shop to the next and soak up the atmosphere without dodging traffic. Grafton Street is quite high-end, so be sure to bring your wallet. If you’re travelling on a budget, maybe just stick to window shopping (but, either way, it’s an enjoyable experience!).
You’ll also want to save time for a short walk to nearby Temple Bar, another must-see street in Dublin where you’ll discover the city’s most famous pubs and bars (perfect for an evening out on the town).
Hint: You could visit Grafton Street right before joining our Ireland Connection Tour, which commences in Dublin.
3. Centre Pompidou, Paris
With a massive public library, movie theatre, museum of modern art and panoramic terrace, the Centre Pompidou has something to entertain every kind of tourist. Built in the 1970s, this 20th-century architectural marvel is named after former French President Georges Pompidou, who commissioned the building in an attempt to strengthen Paris’s image as an artistic and cultured city in modern times.
The centre’s museum, known as the Musée National d'Art Moderne, is home to the largest collection of modern art in Europe, while the library takes up 3 whole floors. The Centre Pompidou can be found in the Beaubourg area of Paris, near the historic Marais district.
Hint: You could explore the Centre Pompidou the day before beginning our La Grande France Tour, which starts in Paris.
4. Campo de’ Fiori, Rome
This iconic square may have been built in medieval times, but today it plays host to one of Rome’s more modern tourist attractions. Just South of Piazza Navona, the Campo de’ Fiori functions as a marketplace during the day and a party hub at night. On every morning except Sunday, it comes alive with market stalls where fruit, vegetables, meat, pasta and flowers can be bought.
The square is surrounded by restaurants and bars, where young people come to drink and dance after dark. If you have a few spare hours in Rome, this the perfect pace to unwind with a drink after a long day of sightseeing.
Hint: You could spend some time in Campo de’ Fiori on the last day of our Italian ‘Grande’ Tour, which finishes with a breakfast in Rome.
5. Tate Modern, London
As Britain’s national museum of modern art, London’s Tate Modern is renowned for its contemporary exhibitions. Located on the southern bank of the River Thames in the former Bankside Power Station, this cultural institution exemplifies modern industrial architecture. It has 7 gallery floors in total, each of which contains a different collection of modern art, ranging from early 20th-century paintings to modern-day sculptures.
Admission into the Tate Modern galleries is free, although some of the larger exhibitions require visitors to purchase a ticket.
Hint: You could visit Tate Modern at the conclusion of our Best of British Tour, which conveniently finishes in central London.
6. BMW Museum, Munich
It might be known as the home of Oktoberfest, but beer isn’t the only thing that Munich is famous for. The BMW Museum is one of the city’s most visited modern tourist attractions, luring motoring enthusiasts from all over the world.
Considering how synonymous BMW is with their culture, it makes sense that the Germans built a museum dedicated to this iconic car. The museum covers the company’s entire history, starting nearly 100 years ago when it was first founded in Bavaria, all the way up to the latest and greatest models to come off the assembly line.
Hint: You could explore the BMW Museum at the end of our Black Forest, Bavaria & the Tyrol Tour, which concludes in Munich.
7. Petrin Hill Observation Tower, Prague
Before settling down to a tasty bowl of goulash, be sure to check out Prague’s Petrin Hill Observation Tower. Built in the 1890s, this building offers jaw-dropping views of the city in every direction. In order to access the tower, visitors must first walk on foot up Petrin Hill, which takes about half an hour. From there, 299 stairs lead to the observation deck. It might sound like hard work, but trust us: the view is more than worth it!
Hint: You could climb to the observation deck during the leisure afternoon we spend in Prague on our Bohemia and Christmas in the Tyrol Tour.
If these destinations prove anything, it’s that you don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy travelling through Europe! Regardless of whether you want to stick with modern tourist attractions or delve into Europe’s past, our tours cater to all kinds of travelling preferences. Pick a destination today and start planning your next escape.