Top 10 European cemeteries

by Charlie Leocha on October 23, 2010

Just in time for Halloween, TripAdvisor.com lists the top 10 cemetery attractions in Europe, according to traveler popularity. These range from WWII cemeteries along the Normanday coast to Rome’s catacombs burrowed into the soft rock under the ancient capital.

Here are the top 10 burial sites in Europe according to comments of its members by TripAdvisor.

1) American cemetery, Colleville-sur-mere, France
The World War II cemetery is located on the bluff overlooking Omaha beach, which was one of the bloodiest landing points for the American forces during the Normandy invasion in June 1944. It contains the remains of nearly 9,500 American military personnel. The impressive and moving cemetery also features at the beginning of Steven Spielberg’s 1998 film ‘Saving Private Ryan’.

2) Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Paris, France
One of the world’s most famous cemeteries, located in the east of Paris, Pere-Lachaise is the final resting place for a number of famous people, ranging from rock royalty such as Jim Morrison, to French chanteuse, Edith Piaf, and Irish novelist, poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde.

3) Zentralfriedhof, Vienna, Austria
The second biggest cemetery in Europe witnesses thousands of passionate classical music pilgrims each year, paying their respects to famous composers including Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms and Johan Strauss.

4) Catacombe di Roma, Rome, Italy
These ancient catacombs were first constructed around the second century AD, following the traditional underground burials of the Etruscans. Over the centuries, these catacombs were sacked, pillaged, added to and destroyed.

According to one traveler: “I had a wonderful and informative guide who has been doing the cemetery tours for the last 28 years. It was great and extremely moving.”

5) Highgate Cemetery, London, UK
Filled to the brim with gothic tombs and buildings, Highgate Cemetery is the home to many notable world figures, including the tombs of philosopher Karl Marx and novelists George Eliot and Douglas Adams. Highgate Cemetery is also the site of the famed Highgate Vampire of the 1970′s.

6) Sudfriedhof, Leipzig, Germany
Leipzig’s South Cemetery is the city’s largest cemetery, located near the Monument to the Battle of the Nations. It is also one of the largest and most beautiful park cemeteries in Germany, featuring numerous rare trees, some 10,000 rhododendron bushes and historical monuments on its grounds.

7) Cimetière de Montparnasse, Paris, France
Another of Paris’ famous cemeteries, Cimetiere de Montparnasse was created out of several farms in 1824 as a response to cemeteries being banned from central Paris in the early 19th century. The tombs of famous French artists and intellectuals can be found here, including Charles Baudelaire, Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

According to one traveler, “It is a great place for a quiet peaceful stroll or rest. Great artistic memorials, beautiful plants and some interesting history.”

8) Cimitero di Staglieno, Genoa, Italy
The Staglieno cemetery is considered an open-air museum in view of the number and the artistic quality of the monuments. Among those buried here are the Italian XIX century patriot and politician Giuseppe Mazzini, the pop singer and author Fabrizio de Andre, and Oscar Wilde’s partner. The cemetery is even featured on the cover of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart single and Closer album.

9) Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague, Czech Republic
Opened in the 15th century and part of the old Jewish ghetto in Prague, this is the oldest known Jewish cemetery in Europe. As the cemetery had to stay within the confines of the ghetto and therefore couldn’t expand, it is estimated that the tombs are layered 12 deep in some parts.

10) Protestant Cemetery, Rome, Italy
A calm and peaceful oasis in Rome, the Protestant Cemetery houses the likes of romantic poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats, whose mournful epitaph reads, “This grave contains all that was mortal, of a YOUNG ENGLISH POET, Who on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his Heart, at the Malicious Power of his Enemies, Desired these Words to be engraven on his Tomb Stone: Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water.”

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  • Ed F London

    While I think the list of cemeteries is of great interest to those of us who travel, to link the list with a reference to Halloween is both cheap and derogatory, trite and juvenile.

    I cherish your subtleties in your blogs, articles, and human behaviour observations, but I think you’ve missed the mark with this leader.

  • Bruton

    I believe the Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires should be mentioned.
    It is filled with lovely tombs, one of which is the often visited resting place of Eva Peron.

  • http://[email protected] terry cummings

    you left out the largest US Military cemetery in Europe – St. Avold in Alsace. It holds more graves that Normandy.

  • wendy reian

    Has no one heard of MARGRATTEN in SE Netherlands near the Belgium border? 8301 soliders are buried there, and the Netherlands has given the land, in perpetuity to the Americans as a ‘thank you’ for their sacrifices during the BATTLE of the Bulge in winter of ’1944′ it is also are are referred to in the poem “IN FLANDERS FIELDS”…. (WWI). The location, with it’s rolling hills, and green fields is such solitude for those who died in the noisy blood bath that occurred there. Many bodies were removed and sent “home” to USA to be nearer to their families, but the grave sites remain, and the cemetery is immaculately maintained..

  • http://www.charoncms.com/products/gis-mapping Loria Schleiff

    Cemeteries are great destinations and one of the most basic ways to feel a tangible connection to the past and learn the history of a certain place besides going to a museum. Highgate cemetery in London is one of my favorites. The place is filled with ornate headstones and magnificent  tombs and was the setting for numerous horror films.

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