Five stunning vistas you should be seeing

Posted 24 Jun 2015

With diverse landscapes that range from eternally snowy alpine peaks to soaring church spires and flaming autumnal vineyards, it might seem impossible to narrow down the best views in Europe. Here are just five of our favourite inspirational vistas, both manmade and natural, to get you inspired for your next trip. These all make up a stage of our cycling tours , each taking in diverse landscapes and fascinating cultures, from wine tasting in South Tyrol to boating in Bavaria.

Fjord Konigssee

Whether it's shrouded in the fog that streams off the mountains or the sun piercing its deep emerald green water, fjord Königssee is one of Germany's most spectacular sights. The lake was carved into the surrounding mountains by glaciers, and holds the illustrious titles of both Germany's cleanest and deepest lake. Either hop on a rowboat or join a boat tour, which will take you past the baroque, red domed church of Sankt Bartholomä by the lakeside.

Adige Valley

Connecting North and South, and Germany and Italy, the Adige Valley is an ancient passageway through the Alps. Flanked by snow-topped mountains, its stepped plateaus hold vineyards that burst into flame-like colours during the autumn, or teem with activity during the late summer harvest. As well as the incredible views down to the colourful mansions of Trento, the valley produces some fantastic wines perfect for sampling en route, including earthy, fruity and incredibly rare Lagrein.

Bamberg

Often referred to as 'Franconian Rome', Bamberg is spread over seven hills. This Bavarian town is a UNESCO world heritage site and a place of extraordinary beauty, fusing Slavic and Germanic influences. Expect to discover a new half-timbered medieval building, sleepy canal or sprawling 17th century mansion around every corner you explore. Bamberg's long and fascinating history also saw it becoming the centre of southern Germany's Enlightenment, home to figures like the famous philosopher Georg Hegel and influential Romantic writer E. T. A. Hoffmann.

Appenzell

Green, rolling hills, brightly painted buildings and winding, car-free lanes characterise this pretty little Swiss town. You can follow one of the hiking trails through the fields for a gentle expedition, but for a really spectacular vista, take the cable car upwards to Berggasthaus Aescher, a restaurant built directly into the cliff face. Here, diners can sample delicious, hearty alpine cuisine amidst a patchwork of green fields – sometimes you'll even see cloud banks stretching out below you as you eat.

San Gimignano

Otherwise known as 'the city of beautiful towers', San Gimignano's 14 towers are framed by waving cypruses and spectacular medieval architecture. Although 14 now remain, there were originally 72 towers, built by wealthy patrician families trying to out-compete one another with more and more elaborate homes. The best views are as you approach the town, but you can also find plenty of incredible sights close up. In the Palazzo Communale, for example, fascinating frescoes by Memmo di Filippuccio give visitors a detailed insight into daily medieval life.

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