True story: the first time my daughter saw the Eiffel Tower, she screamed.
I don’t mean that metaphorically (“she was so excited she screamed”). I mean she really and truly let out a Level Nine “these aren’t my parents” scream in the middle of Avenue de la Bourdonnais. Had we not been obvious Americans in full view of the world’s most famous monument, this could have been a problem. Chayce—in all her childlike abandon—did exactly what we all want to do when we turn a corner and WHAM-O! we find ourselves face-to-face with a place that belongs in a guidebook.
She got really excited.
Humans have this iconic imagery database in our mind’s eye, don’t we? Since childhood, we’ve been flooded with captivating images and cinematography of European landmarks that have sparked decades of wanderlust. Of course, no one wants to miss out on her chance to join the landscape, so I've assembled this handy guide to some of the most iconic European photo ops.
Though there are many wonderful places to get a photo with the Eiffel Tower, this one, taken from Place du Trocadéro, is perhaps the most iconic.
If you want a killer sunset photo op in Santorini, you have to hang around Oia. After a fabulous dinner at Meltini, head down the road to the Adronis jewelry store, then down the alley toward the sea. Stunning Blue Dome beauty awaits!
For a special view of the Provencal lavender fields that inspired Vincent Van Gogh, journey from your spot in the South of France to the Valley of Sault. Insider tip: July is the best time to catch the fields in full bloom.
Perhaps Barcelona's most iconic image is this view from the top of Park Güell, Gaudí's imaginative masterpiece.
The view of Ponte Vecchio, a bridge crossing the Arno River in Florence, Italy, is especially magical at sunset. Get this view from the St. Trinity bridge.
Journey to the western coast of Ireland and jump in front of the camera for this iconic view of the Cliffs of Moher! The best part? There's literally no bad angle. And try not to be disappointed if you don't schedule your tour for a clear day; the clouds only add to the mystique, right?
Venice is known for her stunning canals, but this view of the Grand Canal, taken from the Rialto Bridge, is as iconic as they come.
Don't limit your Vatican City sightseeing to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel! Climb to the top of the dome for this iconic, sweeping view of St. Peter's Square, Rome, and the Tiber River. I hate to say it, but pictures don't do this view justice!
If you've #GOT to get your Game of Thrones fix on, take a helicopter tour over Croatia for this cinema-worthy view of King's Landing, Croatia!
I’m a big believer in joining the story when you travel. These iconic images are of scenes that you (and, likely, 1,000 other tourists) can join. They are the places where you make your own postcards. I intentionally left off sights and monuments such as the Louvre or the Colosseum, but you should totally pose in front of those too. Of course, a major component of travel is discovering secret places, hidden alleyways, and off-the-grid locales; I hope you don’t spend all your time abroad exclusively seeking out tourist destinations. However, a special part of the shared experience among travelers is—undoubtedly—finding yourself face to face with a landscape that, up until that time, only existed in other people’s scrapbooks.