There are plenty of beautiful things to see when exploring Europe. Walking around the charming old towns and neighborhoods, crowded streets, and narrow passageways will surely introduce you to the distinctive European culture. Among all these beautiful cityscapes, you will see rows of significant, famous statues that are known around the world you should definitely include in your itinerary.
So, before making any further plans, check out our list of the top 10 famous statues to see in Europe – some will certainly catch your eye!
1. Venus de Milo
An ancient Greek statue created during the Hellenistic period, is one of the top signature marks of the Greek Antiquity and the whole of their culture. But that goes beyond just one country or one culture. Venus de Milo is one of the most significant statues in the world.
Since its rediscovery in 1820, Venus de Milo has been displayed in the Louvre Museum. For that, we actually suggest a guided tour so that you can learn all about things like Parian marble, Athenian sculptor Praxiteles, and the statue's journey since 150 BC.
2. Monument of Alexander the Great
Mostly, all Greece tour packages include extensive tours taking you through their most important historical sites, and while there are plenty of things to see, most tend to overlook the Monument of Alexander the Great.
The statue stands in Athens, right by the sea, making it the perfect destination for people who are looking to mix relaxing vacation time with some thorough historical exploration. The 6-meter bronze equestrian statue of Alexander the Great represents the hero riding his famous companion – the horse Bucephalus.
A face and a name known by many, the statue of David is one of the most famous pieces by Michelangelo and one of the key reasons go to visit Florence.
David was the first colossal marble statue after antiquity, originally commissioned to be the central piece of the Florence Cathedral. However, nowadays, it adorns the Gallery of the Academy of Florence and brings in thousands of people every year. The fact that it is a Biblical figure rather than anything else is also why the statue is as important to Christians as it is to art collectors.
4. Our Lady of Piety
While you are still in Italy, board a quick Florence to Rome train and then make your way to Vatican City. Here, among hundreds of other widely acclaimed art pieces, you can admire the beautiful statue of Our Lady of Piety, once again, by Michelangelo.
The image of Jesus and Mary at Mount Golgotha is a vital work of the Italian Renaissance style, not to mention its significance to the Catholic Church. The marble sculpture moved through a couple of locations before settling down in Vatican City, but you can learn all about that through a guided tour, which we suggest!
5. Cristo Rei
One of the main symbols, overlooking all of Lisbon, Cristo Rei is essential to visit if you are vacationing in the European south.
You will sometimes hear people calling it the Sanctuary of Christ the King, but Cristo Rei works just fine, especially when talking to the Portuguese. The statue was inspired by the other famous one of the same style – Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, but this is kind of our European version, with a very specific meaning behind it. It represents the gratitude the Portuguese nation felt after being spared the direct destructive effects of the Second World War.
6. Romulus & Remus
One more for Italy! The statue of Romulus and Remus ranks high among the most important figures in Rome, especially while knowing the inspiration and story behind it.
An important thing to know – Italians also call it the Capitoline Wolf, but we are talking about the same piece here. It represents the legend of how Rome came to be in the first place, depicting twin brothers Romulus and Remus drinking milk from the she-wolf.
There are some debates going on about the age and origin of the sculpture, so you might not find anything specific concerning that, but it still should not stop you from admiring it.
7. King Decebalus
One of the most impressive ones on our list, the rock statue of King Decebalus is the face, quite literally, and the most important monument of Romania.
The statue is a colossal carving of Decebalus, the last king of Dacia, who was known for fighting the Roman emperors Domitian and Trajan, trying to protect his people and the independence of his country, the one we now know as Romania.
It took ten years and twelve sculptors to complete it, but the time and manpower were well worth it, as now it is one of the most stunning images in Europe.
8. Manneken Pis
Manneken Pis, Dutch for The Little Pissing Man, is an amusing and charming statue inviting tourists from all over the world! The figure is displayed in central Brussels, Belgium.
It depicts a small boy urinating in the fountain, but besides its fun appearance, it also has some interesting facts about it. It was designed by the Brabantine sculptor in the 17th century, at which time no one knew how big and important it would come to be.
Nowadays, people visit Manneken Pis to hear stories about it from the locals. There are multiple legends about the figure, including the one where people say that Brussels was once on fire, and the boy managed to put it out by urinating on the whole city!
9. The Victory of Samothrace
Let's get back to Paris and admire yet another piece of art so important to Europeans, historians, and art lovers worldwide.
Otherwise known as the Nike of Samothrace, the statue adorns the halls of the Louvre but was originally found on the island of Samothrace, north of the Aegean Sea. Similarly to the Venus de Milo, it was constructed during the Hellenistic period, and the two are actually not that far away from each other in the museum!
It represents the winged Goddess Nike or Victory. However, she is displayed as having no arms or head, but that only adds to the beauty.
Probably the least known on our list, but just as significant, Maman is one of those sights that are both sweet and kind of intimidating. For people who fear spiders and big objects, we suggest admiring it from afar!
In reality, though, the statue in Bilbao, Spain, is not one of a kind, per se. The bronze, stainless marble sculpture of a huge spider with long legs is a metaphor for nurturing, spinning, weaving, and protection, all things that were particularly important to the author, Louise Bourgeois. In a specific way, she found she was honoring her mother like that.
The Spanish Maman has brothers in Tate Modern, the National Gallery of Canada, the Mori Art Museum, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Qatar National Convention Center.
Here you go! Ten awesome statues, all coming with their own stories, styles, and ages. You just have to pick a region and find the closest one since there are no wrong choices here. Have a good time exploring, and we wish you a wonderful Euro trip!