Learn about the most stunning lighthouses in Europe. They have provided nighttime illumination and safety for sailors for hundreds of years. These extraordinary structures are brilliant monuments that guard us against the wind and the water.
1. Maiden’s Tower, Istanbul – Turkey
The Maiden’s Tower, or Kz Kulesi in Turkish, is a tower that is situated on a small islet near the southern entrance of the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, Turkey. It has been known as Leander’s Tower (Tower of Leandros) since the medieval Byzantine era.
The tower’s construction and location are the subject of numerous legends. The most well-known Turkish myth is that an emperor had a beloved daughter, and one day an oracle foretold that she would die at the age of eighteen at the hands of a poisonous snake.
2. Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse, Hjorring – Denmark
Northern Denmark’s Rubjerg, in the Jutland municipality of Hjrring, is home to the Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse, which is situated on the North Sea shore. On December 27, 1900, it was first illuminated.
A major issue in the region is coastal erosion, as well as shifting sands. The neighbouring Mrup Church offers the best view of the coast’s erosion, which occurs at a rate of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) each year on average.
On August 1, 1968, the lighthouse stopped being used. The structures housed a museum and coffee shop for a while until being abandoned in 2002 due to the constantly changing sands. The sand pressure had seriously harmed the little buildings by 2009, and they had to be taken down. By 2023, it’s anticipated that the tower will collapse into the water.
3. The Tower of Hercules, A Coruña – Spain
The Tower of Hercules is the only Roman lighthouse that is still in operation today that performs the same tasks as when it was first built: it serves as a maritime beacon and aids in ship navigation as it crosses the Atlantic Ocean.
It was most likely built by the Roman Empire in the finis terrae of the previously known world towards the close of the first century or at the start of the second century A.D. to follow the ships that were encroaching at the westernmost point of the Empire.
4. The Santa Marta Lighthouse, Cascais – Portugal
The Sea Museum, which has significant assets and is the best illustration of the connection between Cascais and the Sea, is also included in this tour. It provides a general overview of lighthouses and the life of a lighthouse keeper. Casa de Santa Maria also stands out for the variety and richness of its tile collection.
5. Fastnet Rock, Ireland
Small clay-slate islet Fastnet Rock has quartz veins. It is separated from the considerably smaller southern Little Fastnet by a canal that is 10 meters (33 feet) wide and rises to a height of approximately 30 meters (98 feet) above low tide.
The Fastnet Race travels 1,126 kilometres (700 miles) round trip from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, around the rock, and back to Plymouth. It is one of the world’s most renowned offshore yachting events. Additionally, it is occasionally used as a mark for yacht races from nearby sailing hubs like Schull and Baltimore.
6. Phare Saint-Mathieu, Plougonvelin – France
On Pointe Saint-Mathieu near Plougonvelin, close to Brest in Finistère, there is a lighthouse called Saint-Mathieu. The public is welcome to visit the lighthouse.
The remnants of an abbey, a sémpahore, and a lighthouse may be found on Saint-Mathieu’s peninsula. The associations these structures have throughout Saint-Mathieu’s history explain this strange juxtaposition (some ideas were made to restore the abbey while destroying the lighthouse and reconstructing it elsewhere).
7. The Low Lighthouse, Burnham on sea – UK
There are three lighthouses in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, England. However, only The Low Lighthouse is still operational. It is a listed building of Grade II. It is supported by nine wooden piers, some of which have reinforcement plate metal. On the seaward side of the building, a vertical red stripe may be seen.
8. Virgin Island lighthouse, Plouguerneau – France
Ile Vierge, also known as Enez-Werc’h in Breton, is an islet measuring 6 hectares (15 acres) that is situated 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) off the coast of Brittany, directly across from the settlement of Lilia.
It is located in the Finistère department’s Plouguerneau commune. The tallest “traditional lighthouse” in the globe, as well as the tallest stone lighthouse in Europe, are located there. The English Channel’s southernmost point is designated as Île Vierge by the International Hydrographic Organization.
9. Farol da Ponta do Arnel, Sao Miguel – The Azores
This was the first lighthouse constructed in the Azores, and it serves as the customary landfall light for ships coming from Portugal’s main island. In 1929, the keeper’s complex was considerably increased. Located at the easternmost point of the Ilha de So Miguel, reached through a rough but paved road.
10. Phare du Petit Minou, Brest – France
In the Plouzané commune’s roadstead, in front of the Fort du Petit Minou, is a lighthouse known as the Phare du Petit Minou. It indicates the right path for ships to use to enter the roadstead by being in line with the phare du Portzic.
The sailors can recall this by using the mnemonic “the Minou blushes when he covers les Fillettes” because it also has a red flag that denotes a hazardous area around the plateau of les Fillettes, also known as “the girls” and one of the submerged rocks in the Brest goulet.