Top 40 Breathtaking Cathedrals and Churches Around the World

Discover the 40 most breathtaking cathedrals and churches worldwide. Experience their unique architecture, rich history, and significance in this comprehensive guide.

Marvel at Istanbul’s Blue Mosque or Paris’s Notre Dame. They captivate with their religious brilliance, reaching beyond all faiths.

Wikipedia notes 3,380 Catholic cathedrals worldwide. With 3,030 cathedrals, 306 co-cathedrals, and 44 pro-cathedrals, mostly in Catholic-majority countries.

These age-old structures have weathered centuries. Selecting a favorite is tough due to their historical and architectural splendor.

Presenting the 40 most breathtaking cathedrals and churches:

40.) Meteora Monasteries


Located in Thessaly, Greece. Built in an unknown year. It became a world heritage site in 1988.

Central Greece’s Meteora houses awe-inspiring Eastern Orthodox monasteries. The establishment date is unclear. The Skete of Stagoi formed by the 11th and 12th centuries.

In the 12th century, Meteora drew ascetics. This led to six monasteries built on enormous natural pillars. Their importance led to UNESCO World Heritage inclusion.

39.) Grundtvig Church


Found in Copenhagen, Denmark. Construction started in 1921.

The church’s foundation was laid in 1921, marking Grundtvig’s birthday. Built between 1921 and 1926, it displays unique expressionist church architecture. Its west facade stands out with a towering bell tower.

The church houses two organs. Built in 1940 and 1965 respectively. One has 14 stops, two manuals, and a pedalboard. The other showcases 55 stops, four manuals, and a pedalboard.

38.) Borgund Stave Church


Situated in Borgund, Norway. Constructed between 1180-1250.

The Stave Church at Borgund, now a museum, is known for its vertical wooden board walls. It has a central plan resembling a double-shelled Greek cross configuration.

A new Borgund Church was built nearby in 1868, reducing its use. It was acquired by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments in 1877.

37.) Wieskirche


Located in Steingaden, Germany. Established in 1754.

Wieskirche, a rococo church, was designed in the late 1740s. It underwent extensive restoration from 1985 to 1991 and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983.

36.) St Patrick’s Cathedral


Based in New York, New York. Constructed in 1878.

This cathedral became an iconic symbol of Roman Catholicism in the United States. Renovations took place in 1927 and 1931. A significant restoration project occurred from 2012 to 2015.

35.) Subotica Synagogue


Located in Subotica, Serbia. Built in 1902.

Built during Austria-Hungary’s administration, the Subotica synagogue is a prominent art nouveau religious structure. The innovative design makes it a pioneering example of its time.

34.) Church of Mary Magdalene

Church of Mary Magdalene


Situated in Jerusalem, Israel. Established in 1886.

A Russian Orthodox church built by Tsar Alexander III. Its style is inspired by traditional tented roofs of 16th- and 17th-century Russia.

33.) Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano)


Located in Milan, Italy. Constructed in 1386.

This cathedral, the largest in Italy, took six centuries to complete. Its roof provides a close view of its intricate sculptures.

32.) Santiago de Compostela


Based in Galicia, Spain. Established in 1075.

This cathedral has long been a pilgrimage destination on the Way of St. James. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

31.) Washington National Cathedral


Located in Washington, D.C. Built in 1907.

Construction began in 1907 and concluded in 1990. The Neo-Gothic design closely resembles the English Gothic style from the late fourteenth century.

30.) The Siena Cathedral


Based in Siena, Italy. Constructed in 1263.

This cathedral was designed and completed between 1215 and 1263. The exterior and interior are constructed of white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes.

29.) St Paul’s Cathedral


St Paul’s Cathedral in London, England is a striking symbol of the city. Constructed in 1697, its grand dome towers at 365 feet. As the second-largest church building in the UK, St Paul’s held the title of London’s tallest structure until 1967. While sightseeing entry has a charge, the St Dunstan’s Chapel is free for prayers outside service times.

28.) Church of the Transfiguration


Located on Russia’s Kizhi Island, the Church of the Transfiguration is a remarkable cathedral. This 1714 building, known as a summer church, doesn’t hold winter services due to lack of heating. Made entirely of wood except for its domes and roof shingles, this cathedral stands as a testament to Russian carpentry traditions.

27.) Gergeti Trinity Church


Gergeti Trinity Church, located in Georgia, was constructed in the 14th century. Its solitary location on a steep mountain has made it a national symbol. Reachable by a tough 3-hour trek or a 30-minute jeep ride, this church was a popular tourist spot even during the Soviet era, when religious services were prohibited.

26.) Cathedral of Brasília


The Cathedral of Brasília, finished in 1960, is an architectural marvel. Its unique design features 16 concrete columns, resembling hands reaching towards heaven. The cathedral, which attracts around a million visitors annually, underwent extensive renovations in 2012. renovation.

25.) Chapel of the Holy Cross


The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona, was inspired by the Empire State Building. Completed in 1956 for US $300,000, this religious site was later voted one of Arizona’s Seven Man-Made Wonders.

24.) León Cathedral


León Cathedral in Spain, a masterpiece of Gothic style, was completed in the late 16th century. It houses a vast collection of sacred art. Visitors can explore the cathedral’s 15th-century altarpiece and cloister filled with sculpted details.

23.) St. Basil’s Cathedral


St. Basil’s Cathedral, built in Moscow, Russia between 1555–61, is famous for its vibrant colors. Despite being outside the Kremlin, it is often associated with Russia in western media. The church was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.

22.) Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière


The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière in Lyon, France, built between 1872 and 1884, offers stunning city views. Its nickname “the upside-down elephant” aptly describes the building’s silhouette. It receives around 2 million visitors annually.

21.) Winchester Cathedral


Winchester Cathedral in England, completed by the early 16th century, is one of Europe’s largest cathedrals. Known for its long nave, the cathedral has also featured in movies like The Da Vinci Code.

20.) Nidaros Cathedral


Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway, was built over Saint Olav’s burial site from 1070 to 1300. It is the northernmost medieval cathedral and houses two organs.

19.) The Church of Mary the Queen or Our Lady of the Lake

The Church of Mary the Queen, also known as Our Lady of the Lake, is located on a small island in Lake Bled, Slovenia. Its 1534 bell of wishes is a key attraction. Visitors can reach the island by Pletna boat, renting a rowboat, or swimming.

18.) St. Peter’s Church


St. Peter’s Church in Riga, Latvia, is a parish church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Its history, dating back to 1209, spans periods associated with Gothic, Romanesque, and early Baroque styles.

17.) Hagia Sophia


Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, has served various religious roles since its construction in 537 AD. Its iconic dome is considered a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture.

16.) St. Stephen’s Cathedral


St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, dates back to 1147. This iconic building with a multicolored tile roof is one of Vienna

15.) Hallgrímskirkja


Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavík, Iceland’s largest church, stands tall at 244 feet. Built in 1945, it’s named after poet Hallgrímur Pétursson.

14.) The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus


Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus, a Gothic wonder in Prague, Czech Republic. It’s the Archbishop’s seat and the nation’s largest church.

13.) Westminster Abbey


Westminster Abbey, a historic building in London, England. It’s been the setting for 16 royal weddings since 1100.

12.) Le Mont Saint-Michel


Le Mont Saint-Michel, a stunning island fortress in Normandy, France. UNESCO World Heritage Site visited by over 3 million people annually.

11.) The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral


St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria is a Neo-Byzantine marvel and a primary tourist attraction in the city.

10.) Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)

Most Beautiful Cathedral - Germany's Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom), situated in Köln, Germany, is the fourth-largest cathedral and a prominent landmark in the country.

9.) Notre-Dame de Chartres

Most Beautiful Cathedral - Chartres

Notre-Dame de Chartres in Chartres, France is a splendid example of French High Gothic architecture. It’s famous for its stunning stained glass windows.

8.) La Catedral de Sevilla

Most Beautiful Cathedrals Seville

La Catedral de Sevilla, located in Seville, Spain, is a 15th-century Gothic marvel housing the world’s largest altar and the tomb of Christopher Columbus.

7.) Sainte-Chapelle

Most Beautiful Cathedral St Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle, in the heart of Paris, France, is known for its exquisite stained glass artwork. It was built by King Louis IX.

6.) The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Most Beautiful Cathedral Il Duomo

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, located in Florence, Italy, is known for its massive dome, the largest until Saint Peter’s Basilica in 1615.

5.) La Sagrada Familia

Most Beautiful Cathedral - Barcelona's La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain’s Art Nouveau basilica designed by Antoni Gaudi. It’s still under construction and set to finish by 2026.

4.) Notre-Dame de Reims

Most Beautiful Cathedral, Notre Dame Cathedral, Reims


Notre-Dame de Reims, a stunning cathedral in Reims, France, was the coronation site of many French monarchs. Completed at the end of the 13th century.

3.) Notre Dame

Most Beautiful Cathedral: Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Paris, France’s iconic monument, stands as a fine example of French Gothic architecture. It is home to intricate gargoyles and soaring towers.

2.) Basilica San Marco, Venice, Italy

Most Beautiful Cathedral Venice

Basilica San Marco in Venice, Italy is a mix of Byzantine and Western architectural styles. It’s located in Saint Mark’s Square and showcases mosaic-covered domes.

1.) St. Peter’s Basilica

Most beautiful Cathedrals - St. Peters

St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Italy. Michelangelo’s Renaissance masterpiece. It’s one of the largest churches worldwide with a capacity of 20,000.

Most Beautiful Cathedrals - Saint Peters


Make sure to visit the Sistine Chapel as well and take in the beautiful frescoes that tell the story of man. Painted by Michelangelo over a span of approximately 4 years, the 500-year-old ceiling is considered one of the world’s greatest treasures and most famous for it’s depiction of the creation of Man.

Most Beautiful Cathedral - Michelangelo's Creation of Man

Did we miss one? With over 3,000 to choose from, it certainly was hard to narrow down our favorites. Want to see more beautiful things? Click the next button to see the most beautiful places in the world.