Ah, Europe… When you say it, you immediately think of history, culture, art…The Old Continent really has a lot to offer when it comes to tourist destinations. Everyone loves going sightseeing. There are castles in Germany, Gaudi’s buildings in Spain, glorious works of art in Italy, gardens of Versailles in France, aurora borealis in Scandinavian area, Buckingham Palace in London, and so on, and so forth. However, there are plenty of other sights that also provoke a “wow” factor, though perhaps of a different kind.
What you shall witness on this list can amaze or repulse you, or both. Your eyebrows will be raised on more than one occasion because these sights are quite unusual for the most of the world. Surely, if you are living in that particular city or area, you have gotten used to the view, while the tourists are easily noticed by their shocked expressions.
However, if you believe this is going to be another list of some unusual buildings, guess again. Admittedly, there are some constructions that are simply appalling, but we also focused on some strange festivals and customs. There are just some things you don’t see every day. Actually, they are to be seen only once a year, hence more interesting and valuable to cherish.
Therefore, if you’re into weird and wonderful, proceed reading and add these to your European itinerary.
25 A Mercury fountain in Spain
While so many people visit Barcelona to admire Gaudi’s renowned La Sagrada Familia and other incredible buildings, you should do something original and brag about seeing a mercury fountain. The big musical one simply doesn’t suffice it, does it?
Mercury Fountain was ordered by the Spanish Republican government to be displayed at the 1937 World Exhibition. The work of art was supposed to show protest against Franco’s regime since his troops attacked one of the biggest mercury mines in Almaden. Sadly, people were unaware of how deadly mercury is. Nowadays, though, it is safely displayed behind safety glass at the Fundacio Joan Miro. (Source: LoveExploring)
24 Dancing House in Prague
You’ve probably seen the image already but weren’t quite sure where you can find it. Now that you know you can have great beer there, perhaps you’ll book the tickets immediately.
The Nationale Nederlanden building is the real name of the place, but it is also nicknamed after two immortal dancers – Fred and Ginger. The rooms are completely asymmetrical, and the building has 9 floors occupied by offices and a restaurant. This example of postmodern architecture surely stands out from the surroundings, but we believe it would be like that in any other city in the world. It even reaches onto the pavement. True freedom of movement. (Source: LoveExploring)
23 Jump into a very specific pool in Austria
Speaking of beer, here’s a whole pool of it! Literally. While Cleopatra used to bathe herself in wine and donkey’s milk, she should have thought twice and taken a bath in a spa wellness.
There are beer swimming pools in a 200-year-old brewery (in the cellar, to be more precise). The liquid is said to be excellent for the skin, and though it’s not really meant for drinking, you can still try. At a temperature of 32C, we hardly recommend it. (Source: TheGuardian)
22 Phallological Museum in Iceland
If you have ever heard of something extremely weird in Europe, then it was probably this museum. True, it’s nothing like the park in South Korea, but while the park is more artistic with all the statues, the museum is much more scientific. You can see over 215 penises and penile parts from all kinds of mammals (including humans). What is more, a couple of certificates are vouching that the owners will leave their parts to the museum once they pass away. Go to Reykjavik for more information. (Source: LoveExploring)
21 La Tomatina (Tomato fight) in Spain
This event is approaching. On the last Wednesday of August, make sure you are in a Valencian town called Buñol, and you’ll have something to see! People will be red with tomato juice, throwing the vegetables and laughing. It’s always in the news every year, but that’s nothing till you go there and see for yourself. Not only to see, but take part in it, too! It’s too good of an opportunity to make a fool of oneself and have a blast.
20 Old Operating Theatre Museum in the UK
If you are ever in London, ditch the traditional landmarks and go to have a look at what Victorian medicine practice was like. The museum is actually located in the attic of an old church. You will learn what doctors were using 300 years ago to treat patients and the real operating theatre of the era looked like. What is more, surgical re-enactments are held regularly. However, don’t go there if you are too sensitive. (Source: GrumpyCamel)
19 The hungry tree in Ireland
While you’re in the neighborhood, drop by to Dublin. Here you will see a bench half eaten by a tree, or at least that’s what it looks like. Perhaps it’s not the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in your life, but it will definitely stick to your memory. After all, there are plenty of unusual festivals, museums, and buildings, but something like this? Exactly.
Head to Ireland’s oldest law school grounds and check out the 80-year-old tree munching on a bench. (Source: LoveExploring)
18 A tropical island in Germany
Yes, you read it well. It’s not an island per se, but rather a piece of sunny paradise inside a former zeppelin hangar. Actually, it has become so popular they have to add extra space. You’ll have the feeling you are on a real beach, even though you’re only some 40 miles south of Berlin, the capital. By the way, what would you eat for a snack at a German beach than bratwurst and beer, of course. (Source: TheGuardian)
17 The Cube Houses in the Netherlands
Whereas most of the Netherlands is rather traditional when it comes to architecture styles, there’s Rotterdam with its wildly bold designs. The Cube Houses definitely dominate the downtown area, and you can’t go past them without expressing wonder. You can see the inside by visiting the Cube House Museum at a low price or even stay at the Cube Hostel. Imagine the faces of your friends when you tell them about your accommodation. Definitely worth it, isn’t it? (Source: TheGrumpyCamel)
16 The Nuclear Bunker in Croatia
Have you ever been inside one? No? But you have certainly read about them and know how popular they were once when people were more afraid of a possible nuclear war. Pay a visit to a bunker on the island of Vis in Croatia. It’s located some 920 feet deep into a mountain, and it was meant to protect the president and his entourage. The complex was constructed with the intention of enabling 300 people to live and work for 6 months before finally coming up to the surface. (Source: TheGrumpyCamel)
15 Pripyat town in Chernobyl, Ukraine
If you think visiting a nuclear bunker can be a bit depressing and extremely spooky, what would you say about the ghost town in Chernobyl? There are 1 to 2-day tours during which you visit the power plant and the surrounding buildings, including the kindergarten. Also, you’ll come quite near to the reactor which exploded due to a human error. The area won’t be safe to live in for another 20,000 years. (Source: LiveScience)
14 Tedfest in Ireland
Now, this has nothing to do with the world-renowned TED talks. Quite the contrary, the festival is a tribute to the 90s TV series Father Ted. The event has been held for the past 12 years. It’s basically like a big costume party where everyone is dressed up as priests, bishops, nuns, housekeepers, milkmen, and even Elvis and hairy babies. Oh, and giant rabbits and bricks, too. If that doesn’t sound strange to you, then you must’ve seen some seriously weird stuff in your life. (Source: TheGuardian)
13 Festa de São João do Porto (Saint John’s feast) in Portugal
For another crazy night, head to a country down south. This annual celebration in Portugal is also a sight to be seen. Imagine thousands of people coming downtown to pay respect to Saint John the Baptist by throwing garlic flowers at each other or hitting one another with (soft) plastic hammers! The festivities are over 6 centuries old, but it was in the 19th century when it really took off.
12 Deve güreşi (Camel Wrestling) in Turkey
You’ve got used to bullfighting perhaps, and even dog fighting but in this battle, the animals aren’t taken out. The loser may fall down or run away, and sometimes a certain sound is a sign enough. The whole event takes place during camel mating season, so the males are more aggressive than usual. If you have thought that camels are kind, slow, somewhat dull creatures, think again. The people around you cheering excitedly will certainly make you join in as well. (Source: EuropeIsNotDead)
11 Nøgenløbet Roskilde in Denmark
If you’re into heavy-metal and electro-pop festivals, this is the perfect place for you. If you’re rather comfortable with your clothes on, here’s a warning. From 1999, the Saturday of the festival is the time when a nude race takes place. One male and one female winner get the prize – a ticket for the next year’s event. The participants are running around the festival’s campsite. Actually, it’s so popular that a qualifier race had to be organized. For the male contestants. (Source: EuropeIsNotDead)
10 The Postman’s Palace, France
Where can you find Archimedes, Caesar, and the Gallic chief Vercingetorix at the same time? Why, on a facade of the Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval, which is a palace built by the local postman. It took him 33 years to finish it (he started in 1879), and it is a wonderful mixture of, well…everything. What is fascinating about this combination of fairies, fountains, Egyptian tombs, and classical columns is the fact that this is the very first, and perhaps the only, example of the naïve architecture of this kind. (Source: TheGuardian)
9 Froggyland in Croatia
And now for something really bizarre. A small museum in Split, Croatia, abounds with over 500 stuffed frogs. Not only that, but they are all exhibited in human positions. This was all the endeavor of Ference Mere, a 19th-century taxidermist, who was catching and stuffing frogs for 10 years before 21 different froggy scenes were completed. You can see frogs at court, or at a circus. What pleasure the man was driving from this is unknown, but it sure is one of the most uncommon sights to observe. (Source: TheGuardian)
8 La Tête Carrée in France
If you happen to go to Nice on the French Riviera, you will see a truly amazing sculpture. Firstly, because of its size: 98-feet high and 45-feet wide sculpture is impossible to miss. Secondly, you will see the literal representation of thinking inside the box. Indeed, it’s a huge cube on a human neck. It doesn’t look very fun, and neither is thinking inside the box, isn’t it? It’s located on the Promenade des Arts. By the way, it’s not just a sculpture – it’s a real library! (Source: LoveExploring)
7 Hyde Park in the UK
Once again, for the lovers of eerie places, here’s a special cemetery. It would be nothing special if it weren’t one of the oldest of its kind – here lie the remains of hundreds of beloved pets from the Victorian period. While we may be prone to thinking that it’s only nowadays that the whole pet craze has taken off, people have always valued their furry best friends. Most of them are dogs, but there are also a cat, a few birds, and a monkey, too. (Source: LoveExploring)
6 Neon Museum in Poland
Everyone goes to Warsaw to admire its history, but why don’t you go to a place which has the largest collection of neon signs in Europe? The Neon Museum certainly offers a lot to pop culture lovers. Imagine, you can see the neon signs of communist signs. If you think they advertised bars and cafes, think again. Some of them were saying “sewing machines”. That’s something quite out of the ordinary, wouldn’t you say? (Source: LoveExploring)
5 Kamppi Chapel in Finland
This is without a doubt the weirdest chapel in the world there is. Helsinki is the location of a wooden, wax-treated structure. Actually, it looks like anything but a chapel. Maybe a work of art (which it certainly is), or Noah’s ark. This is actually just a plain, simple Lutheran chapel offering comfort to the people passing by. Interestingly, it’s situated in the liveliest part of the city. Take a break from shopping and gather your thoughts at this place. (Source: LoveExploring)
4 Verity statue in England
Have you ever heard of Ilfracombe? How about Damian Hirst? A shark in the formaldehyde? Yes, that’s the guy. This contemporary artist from this very little town has decided to borrow one of his statues to the citizens for 20 years. It is a 66ft bronze artwork depicting a pregnant woman with a sword high above her head, allegedly demanding justice. There are split opinions about it, and the statue literally seems to be split in half – you can practically see the inside of a human’s pregnant body. Believe us, it is rather striking. (Source: BBC)
3 Succulent Plant Collection in Switzerland
Cacti and succulents aren’t the very first thing that pops to your mind when mentioning Switzerland, are they? However, if you have a green thumb, we guarantee you’ll love it here. This is one of the biggest collections of its kind in the world. If you are extremely fortunate, you may even catch a glimpse of the Queen of the Night cactus blooming at night. If you have several cacti at home, you are going to flip when you see all the beauties around you. (Source: LoveExploring)
2 Solar egg sauna in Sweden
Imagine being in Sweden’s most northern town called Kiruna. As expected, you can see the vast areas of snow and ice in winter time. Now, among all that whiteness, imagine something resembling a space capsule perhaps. Because it can’t get weirder than this.
The egg-shaped construction has something like a chimney coming out of it, and that’s the only thing standing out from the shiny piece of art. It’s actually a simple sauna, and the inside is as traditional and mundane as it’s supposed to be. If you have ever come across something and thought that was completely out of place then this image is the perfect summary of your stream of thinking. (Source: UnusualPlaces)
1 Soccer field in Norway
That doesn’t sound much promising, does it? After all, the whole planet plays soccer and another World Championship has just ended. Well, if someday one of the champions comes from the Henningsvær, which consists of a few islets, everybody will be amazed at the local soccer field.
Steep mountains and the sea surround the field and it looks completely out of place. Just as if God had been playing a joke and dropped a sports practice field here by mistake. The high mountains, bare terrain, and the fish drying around it certainly add to the whole feeling of illogical. But, local folks simply adore playing soccer. (Source: UnusualPlaces)