Sommarøy, Tromsø, Norway
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No doubt you did a double-take on realising these tropical-esque isles were actually in one of the chilliest parts of Europe. To fully appreciate all the different shades of blue in the surrounding waters, walk to the top of a small hill named Ornfloya, accessible from the highway leading away from Sommarøy island. Image: Johan Lolos.
Meteora, Thessaly, Greece
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Consider the effort monks of eons past invested to construct the terracotta-roofed monasteries that sit confidently atop precarious-looking peaks. Though the buildings date back to the 14th century estimates suggest the rocks formed 60 million years ago. Image: Johan Lolos.
Seceda, South Tyrol, Italy
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You could hike to the top of this Italian mountain but you could also jump in the cable car and ascend thousands of metres into the air in just 15 minutes. Stand on the edge to see a line-up of the Dolomites extending towards the horizon. Image: Johan Lolos.
Giau Pass, Italy
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The distinctive Dolomites part to reveal this mountain trail, the highest within the range. Its challenging terrain makes it the first choice for key physical challenges such as the Marathon of the Dolomites and the Giro d’Italia. Image: Johan Lolos.
Lago di Braies, Italy
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Another awe-inspiring spot in the Dolomites, this lake rests in the shadow of the 2810-metre-high Croda del Becco mountain. But the lake itself is no slouch – it’s elevation is almost 1500 metres. Image: Johan Lolos.
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More than five per cent of Europe’s alps are found in Germany and the Bavarian region is home to a significant selection of those. Lake Gerold, at the foot of the Karwendel mountain range, is a peaceful retreat, the waters lined with old-world wooden huts. Image: Johan Lolos.
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The country’s highest mountain, Zugspitze, naturally affords quite a view of the world below. Visit the country’s highest ski resort and look down to Lake Eibsee and straight ahead to another 400 peaks scattered throughout four different countries. Image: Johan Lolos.
Aiguille du Midi, France
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This almost 4000-metre-tall mountain is a favourite among trekkers. But if hiking these powdery inclines doesn’t appeal, the mountain is also home to a cable car that takes you to a glass-bottomed perch, Step into the Void, where you gaze down feeling a combination of fear and awe. Image: Johan Lolos.
Matterhorn, Valais, Switzerland
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This craggy spike has long inspired imaginations – including those at Disneyland, who named a ride after the recognisable summit. It looms at a jaw-dropping 4478 metres above sea level in an almost-perfect pyramid. Image: Johan Lolos.
Ryten, Lofoten, Norway
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Ascend over 500 metres to reach the pinnacle of this peak and you’ll be rewarded with a view of Kvalvika Beach far below, a sliver of sand sparkling golden in the late-night sun. Image: Johan Lolos.
Sassen-Bünsow Land National Park, Svalbard, Norway
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Looking at these snow-swaddled slopes, it’s hard to imagine a wealth of Arctic wildlife is hidden beneath the rocks but this protected park is actually home to many species of birds. Image: Johan Lolos.
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No, that’s not a watercolour painting – it’s an aerial shot of one of the most stunning formations in all of Iceland. The incredible mix of colours comes courtesy of the rhyolite rock that captures the sun’s rays once the snow melts. Image: Johan Lolos.
Durmitor National Park, Montenegro
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Better known for its harbour towns than craggy terrain, Montenegro’s north-western park is dotted with 23 mountains and some reach over 2300 metres in altitude. The heights also give way to incredible lows, including Europe’s largest canyon, the Canyon of Tara. Image: Johan Lolos.
Triglav National Park, Slovenia
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This 880 square kilometre park covers the Eastern Julian Alps and multiple glacial lakes, streams and rivers, including the River Soča, a chilly swimming spot that’s also home to the Soča trout. Image: Johan Lolos.
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More than 200 kilometres of hiking trails meander through this valley between the Valaisian and Bernese Alps. It’s part of a swathe of Switzerland protected by the UNESCO World Heritage region Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch. Image: Johan Lolos.
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These winding rivers and glacial volcanos belong to the gods. “Thórsmörk” is the god of these Icelandic highlands (which translates to “Thor’s Valley”). The mountains are regularly covered in a film of mist, thanks to the warmer-than-average temperatures in lower reaches of the valley. Image: Johan Lolos.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
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Nestled between two mountain ranges, the Mala Kapel to the west and the Licka Pljesivica to the southeast, this waterfall-strewn national park was Croatia’s first. If reaching great heights is your wish, there are four hiking trails within the park, but seven tracks that will take you around the interconnected lakes. Image: Johan Lolos.
Lac de Pormenaz, France
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The iron-rich Aiguilles Rouges protect this lake from all but the most avid adventurers. Surrounded by peat bogs and granite paths, it can only be accessed on two feet. Image: Johan Lolos.
Up Next: The Most Beautiful and Historic Churches in Europe
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Once the central meeting place for communities past, thousands now flock to these European churches to marvel at their splendour, learn about their complex histories and wonder how these intriguing structures are still standing.