18 European Natural Wonders To Reignite Your Wanderlust

Published January 16, 2015
Updated January 22, 2018

7. Douro River Valley – Portugal

European Natural Wonders Douro Valley

The rich earth of Portugal’s Douro River Valley makes it a premium location for vineyards.
Source: Flickr

For at least two thousand years, humans have been growing wine along the banks of the Douro River. This luscious valley provides fertile ground for vineyards and olive orchards. In these rolling hillsides, human cultivation lives in harmony with natural beauty.

8. Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park – Spain

Cabo De Gata

Southern Spain rolls into the Mediterranean at Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park. Source: Flickr

Home to flamingos, purple herons, eagles, and more than a thousand other bird species, Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park is one of the most important nature reserves in Western Europe.

Far from the revelry of Madrid, this picturesque coastline encompasses the beauty of sand dunes, volcanic formations, and hidden beaches. It is the perfect escape for someone who wants to feel as far away from city life as possible.

9. Melissani Cave – Greece

European Natural Wonders Melissani Cave

Guides lead visitors by boat through the 3.5 kilometers of underground passages in Greece’s Melissani Cave.
Source: Wikimedia

Hidden away on the Greek isle of Kelafonia in the Ionian Sea, Melissani Cave has waters so clear that boats appear to float in the air. This cave was once sacred to the god Pan, even though it is named after a nymph whose love Pan rejected. In her sorrow, she plunged into a lake and killed herself. The centerpiece of the cave is a wide opening to the sky where the overhanging rocky roof collapsed several thousand years ago.

10. Santorini – Greece

European Natural Wonders Santorini

The cliffs of Santorini are, in reality, the rim of an ancient volcano. Source: Flickr

Though known for its white-walled, blue-topped domiciles, Santorini, Greece, is the remnants of a resurrecting volcano that blew its lid in an enormous eruption around 3,500 years ago. What once was a round island became what is seen today, a rim of broken shards. In 1707, a small, smoldering island reemerged from beneath the waters, and volcanic activity has continued to the present day.

11. Durmitor National Park – Montenegro

European Natural Wonders Durmitor Park

It would be worth booking a trip to Montenegro just to explore the stunning vistas of Durmitor National Park. Source: Flickr

A mosaic of mountain peaks, glacial lakes, and the deepest gorges in Europe, Durmitor National Park in Montenegro is one of the continent’s most magnificent natural treasures. Among its many splendors, the park is home to the Tara River Canyon, which runs for 80 kilometers and reaches a depth of 1,300 meters.

John
John has been writing for All That Is Interesting since 2014 and now lives in Madrid, Spain, where he writes and consults on international development projects in East Africa.