Western Europe is one of the most popularly visited places in the world. If you desire a Jewish perspective on some of the most famous sites of all time, look no further than a Israel Tour’s guided tour of western Europe. Whether the Ireland, Scotland and England Tour or the Jewish Heritage Tour of Spain strikes your fancy, you’re sure to have an amazing time exploring historical sites, eating culinary masterpieces and soaking in the culture. Check out this list of the top things to see in each country.
La Sagrada Familia (Barcelona)
Ranked as the number one thing to do in Spain on TripAdvisor, La Sagrada Familia is a quintessentially Spanish tourist attraction. With construction beginning in 1882 (and seemingly never ending), the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia is a monumental church devoted to the Holy Family (Jesus, Mary and Joseph). Its early construction was executed by architect Francisco de Paula del Villar, but famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi was commissioned to continue the project in 1883. Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the site as a minor basilica in 2010. But the story of La Sagrada Familia is not yet finished- it won’t be fully completed until 2026 – on the 100th anniversary of Gaudis death. The Sagrada Familia will have taken 144 years to complete. The basilica is funded by the people and subsequently, tickets are kind of pricy, but totally worth it to see Spain’s number one attraction.
Originally constructed as a small fortress in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, Alhambra was renovated and rebuilt in the mid-13th century by the Moorish emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar. Today, it is a pinnacle of Moor culture and one of the most popular destinations in all of Spain. The giant fortress will take a whole day to explore, but it’s well worth it for the picturesque sights and rich history. The price for entry is around 13 euros, while it is nine euros for children. Alhambra is only fully open March through October, so be sure to plan accordingly.
The Ring of Kerry (County Kerry)
This drive showcases some of the most picturesque, quintessentially irish views in the whole country. It is consistently rated as the number one spot not to miss in Ireland, both because of its stunning scenery and also all of the attractions it encompasses. These sites include: Gap of Dunloe, Bog Village, Rossbeigh Beach, Cahersiveen Heritage Centre, Derrynane House, Skellig Experience, Staigue Fort, Kenmare Lace, Molls Gap, Ladies View, Torc Waterfall, Muckross House, The Blue Pool, Ross Castle, Ogham Stones, St Mary’s Cathedral, Muckross Abbey, Franciscan Friary, Kellegy Church, O’Connell Memorial Church, Sneem Church and Cemetery, Skellig Michael, Beehive Cells and the Stone Pillars.
Edinburgh Castle (Edinburgh)
It should come as no surprise that Edinburgh Castle is rated as the number one tourist attraction in Scotland. The castle has a rich history: the oldest part, St. Margaret’s Chapel, dates from the 12th century, the Great Hall was erected by James IV around 1510, the Half Moon Battery was created by the Regent Morton in the late 16th century, and the Scottish National War Memorial was constructed after World War I. An adult ticket is 17 euros; most say this is fair for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit the castle.
There are so many things to do in England, so we thought we would suggest a few different attractions to put on your list. Must-sees include: the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Tower of London, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Oxford University. Don’t worry, the Israel Tour’s Ireland, Scotland and England Tour allots a large chunk of time to England, to experience all the quintessential sights.